Center for Strategic Economic Research

The Center for Strategic Economic Research (CSER) maintains a highly qualified team of professionals. CSER's staff is supported by a network of associates in the broader research community as well as economic development and university partners. CSER's Director and Economic Advisor are invited to speak regularly within the economic development and business communities who rely on the Center's research as a key resource for identifying and analyzing local, statewide, and national economic trends. Brief bios for CSER's core staff are provided below.


Ryan Sharp serves as CSER's Director providing leadership and management for the organizations activities, research projects, and staff. His responsibilities include research design, project analysis, community outreach, project management, business development, and resource allocation. He participates in all CSER research and consulting projects, produces signature publications covering various economic topics, and directly supports regional economic development efforts in Northern California. Mr. Sharp has experience in both the public and private sectors including work in the economic development, management consulting, and technical research arenas. He has developed a wide range of skills in the regional economics and economic development fields including economic and demographic analysis and forecasting; cluster and workforce assessments; market and feasibility analysis; econometric and input-output modeling; strategic planning and collaborative processes; and performance monitoring and evaluation. Mr. Sharp has a Master's Degree in International Affairs from California State University, Sacramento with a focus in public policy and administration; a designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) by the International Economic Development Council; a graduate-level certificate in Collaborative Governance from California State University, Sacramento; and a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations specializing in political and economic development from the University of California, Davis.


Helen Schaubmayer, CSER's Deputy Director, is responsible for conducting original and secondary research and analysis for most CSER projects. Ms. Schaubmayer has a Bachelor's Degree in German and International Relations (specializing in economic development) from the University of California, Davis, and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento. She has experience in the local non-profit and private sectors. Her recent positions prior to CSER were Member Services Assistant, Project Manager, and Operations Manager. Responsibilities in those positions included coordinating/developing membership correspondence; developing manuals and presentations to train global departments on new procedures; and recommending organizational process improvements and documenting the approved processes. Ms. Schaubmayer's previous work experience plus her educational background allowed her to develop her project management, research, writing, communication, and analytical skills.


Dr. Suzanne O'Keefe serves as an Economic Advisor to CSER providing guidance on research approaches for complex research engagements. Dr. O'Keefe has over 11 years experience in economics faculty positions at the University of California, Berkeley; University of Southern California, Sacramento Center; and is currently an Associate Professor of Economics at California State University, Sacramento. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999 with fields of concentration in public finance, labor economics, and applied microeconomics and her B.A. in Economics and B.S. in Human Development from the University of California, Davis with highest honors in 1994. Dr. O'Keefe's current research interests include migration within California, the effect of the living wage on disposable income, and the effectiveness of enterprise zones. She has been published in several journals and reports and has presented her research in the Sacramento Region, Bay Area, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Dr. O'Keefe is affiliated with the American Economics Association and the International House Davis, where she serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors.


Michelle Stephens is an Associate focused on conducting research for CSERs economic development projects. Ms. Stephens has a Masters of Science in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelors of Arts in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis. She has experience in both quantitative and qualitative analysis from her positions with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the Yolo County Economic Development Department, and the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED). She also has extensive experience in research and content creation for both the private sector and public agencies. Her professional background includes business retention and expansion outreach, research into international business relations and the effects on local communities, entrepreneurship, and planning law.


Michael Billingsley is one of CSER's Research Analysts. Mr. Billingsley comes to CSER from a career in publishing where he was responsible for client/media outreach, logistics and government relations as well analysis of quantitative business metrics. He earned a B.A. in History with an emphasis on Critical Thinking from Sonoma State University. Currently a Masters candidate at Sacramento State University in the department of Public Policy and Administration, Mr. Billingsley is slated to graduate in the spring of 2013. Mr. Billingsley has contributed to recent research on Career Technical Education in the California Community College system for the Institute for Higher Education and Learning Policy and authored quantitative research focusing on the economic and social consequences of income inequality.


Celeste Silveira, Contracts Manager