David Altig: Some people think our economists and policymakers never get outside of the marble walls of the Fed. But they don't know about this remarkable interaction between the people of the Federal Reserve Bank and the community that we serve.

Our Bank representatives go out and collect information by talking to people. This program came about because we realized there was a wealth of information that we wanted to be able to tap as we went about the business of trying to understand what's really going on in the economy.

William J. Krueger: I think the economic data that I share with the Atlanta Fed is used as an anecdotal confirmation of what the Fed economists see in some of the data. The questions revolve around employment, inventory, wage growth. For us in automotive, it might be about auto loans: are we seeing a lot more people taking out credit, or are they paying cash?

Carolyn Fennell: The airport activity depends very much on what the economy is doing. I meet frequently with our Bank representative, and we talk about what's happening with the economy.

People can't believe that I'm engaged in it—I'm not an economist, I'm not a financier—but I certainly am at the heart of observing what's going on in the community.

Earl Shipp: In addition to getting the insight of the Federal Reserve's economists, it's a chance for me to learn a little bit more about what others are seeing that are not necessarily in my industry.

The Fed resources that I use the most are the monthly reports, which give a running update of what's going on in different sectors of the economy—particularly areas like retail, that I don't see a lot of.

You get some indication of sentiment—what are people thinking?—because those are my customers, so access to that type of information is really, really valuable.

Marsha Folsom: It's a unique opportunity to be able to share what's going on at the grassroots level. And to have the Fed listen to us and to actually craft policy based on a lot of the things that they're hearing is a very important opportunity.

The information that we share is passed on to the president of the Fed, who is listening.

Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón: Miami is a small business community. Now, these are businesses that do not have the privilege of having economists on board to be able to help them guide their decisions, so having access to the brainpower of the Fed, and having the opportunity to have substantial dialogues about these issues, is something that a lot of people value in this community.

And it's something that I feel very proud to be associated with.

Folsom: Knowing that the information that we share is used in a very positive sense to assist the Fed in crafting monetary policy is very important to me as a citizen of this country.

Shipp: After joining the Fed, and learning more about what the Bank really does and its true role in the economy, you can't help but become an advocate for the Federal Reserve.

This is how the Fed is working to better manage the U.S. economy.