Tuesday July 28
Supply Chain and Competitiveness Through the Lens of COVID-19
Noon to 1 p.m.

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This conversation with Bill Bates, Executive Vice President of the Council on Competitiveness, will be hosted by Varun Rai, Director of the Energy Institute and Associate Professor of the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Abstract: In 2007, the Council on Competitiveness released a major report titled, Transform, which made the case for resilience in the face of a myriad of potential threats to businesses, government and U.S. critical infrastructure. Over the past thirteen years, the nomenclature of resilience has become commonplace, yet the decimating impact of the COVID-19 virus on the U.S. economy and the lack of preparedness by the public and private sectors is evidence that the warnings and recommendations in Transformremain incredibly relevant. In short, the United States knew this was coming, and the country still wasn’t ready. In particular, the disruption to global supply chains across multiple sectors have laid bare the vulnerabilities to business as usual. From medical supplies to food to household staples, COVID-19 is forcing a reevaluation by government and business of their supply chains. This discussion will explore the implications, focusing on the deep policy, business, and infrastructure issues that have arisen and opportunities for building more resilient supply chains that could underpin a more competitive U.S. economy.

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Guest Bio: Bill Bates is Executive Vice President of the Council on Competitiveness and was the founding Executive Director of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils. Recently, he led multi-year initiatives to explore the economic opportunity for advanced manufacturing in the United States and the development of a national cyber security agenda. Bill is the chief architect of the Council's National Competitiveness Forum (NCF), the annual C-suite conversation that sets a pro-growth agenda for the U.S. policymakers. He is a frequent speaker both nationally and internationally on a range of competitiveness and innovation topics from education to technology policy to advanced manufacturing. Full bio here.

Host Bio: Dr. Varun Rai is Director of the Energy Institute and an Associate Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he directs the Energy Systems Transformation Research Group (aka “Rai Group”). Dr. Rai has held the position of Associate Dean for Research for the LBJ School since September 2017. His interdisciplinary research – delving with issues at the interface of energy systems, complex systems, decision science, and public policy – focuses on studying how the interactions between the underlying social, behavioral, economic, technological, and institutional components of the energy system impact the diffusion of energy technologies. Full bio here.

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