Senior Program Officer
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Evan Absher is a senior program officer in Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where his work includes identifying ways to help cities further innovation and growth in their communities. He also is focused on helping to educate policymakers on new insights and understandings that result from Foundation-supported research and providing support for the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship and Education departments in the formation of applicable local policies and programs. Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Absher worked as a special assistant for Policy in the Office of Mayor Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, Mo. Earlier, he founded a small theatre company in Chicago and was a professional actor. Absher earned both his juris doctor and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He enjoys music, art, theatre, sports, and reading.
Chief Executive Officer
We Accelerate Women's Impact, a Public Benefit Corporation
Ms. Acosta served as the City of San Leandro’s first Chief Innovation Officer until April 2018, when she resigned her public service to return to the private sector. During her five years as CIO, Ms. Acosta successfully guided the City through an economic and cultural transformation, leveraging the City’s investment in fiber optics (Lit San Leandro ) to create a Smart City ecosystem built on five pillars: Tech/Infrastructure, Energy, Education, Advanced Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship/Civic Engagement. The City is now engaged in a Fiber Optic Master planning process to build on these pillars and increase community engagement in developing a Smart City strategy. Ms. Acosta will continue her work in San Leandro as a founding partner in the creation of a new business accelerator for women: We Accelerate Women’s Impact, a Public Benefit Corp. This accelerator will be a key new resource in a developing public/private collaboration intended to build a uniquely holistic approach to addressing economic gender gap issues.
Director, Broadband Development
KS Dept. of Commerce
Mr. Adams leads broadband and economic development efforts across the state of Kansas at the Department of Commerce. In this role, he coordinates with local communities, the telecommunications industry, universities, healthcare and other broadband stakeholders to promote efforts to harness advanced technology in economic development plans and improve quality of life. Adams also works closely with Governor Colyer’s Broadband Task Force to identify underserved areas and develop strategies to expand advanced broadband access. Ms. Acosta will continue her work in San Leandro as a founding partner in the creation of a new business accelerator for women: We Accelerate Women’s Impact, a Public Benefit Corp. This accelerator will be a key new resource in a developing public/private collaboration intended to build a uniquely holistic approach to addressing economic gender gap issues.
Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas
Mayor Alvey is the fifth generation of his family to live in Wyandotte County. Before elected as Mayor/CEO, he was the Assistant Principal for Faculty Formation and Professional Development at Rockhurst High School. He also served eight years as a member of the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities Board of Directors. He remains a member of the American Public Power Association (APPA) and currently serves on the APPA Policy Makers Council serving as 2nd Committee Vice Chair. Mr. Alvey also served on the Planning and Zoning Commission of the Unified Government. He served as the dean of students and also taught U.S. history at Rockhurst High School and served as Program Director of the Student Support Program in Marin County, California. Mr. Alvey is the former National Chair of Deans of Students of the Jesuit Secondary Education Association. He graduated from Savior of the World High School and attended Rockhurst College before graduating Summa Cum Laude in Philosophy and Letters from St. Louis University. Mayor Alvey and his wife Ann Marie are the parents of five children: Juliana, Christiana, Joseph, Mariana and Analisa.
Dorothy Baunach has spent her 30+ year career leading technology-based businesses and economic development organizations in Cleveland and Ohio. Spanning the technology spectrum from biomedical, materials and electronics to broadband she holds an unique perspective on community engagement, building support and momentum, and taking the long view to affect economic growth. As CEO of DigitalC, a digital empowerment organization, she is focused on advancing connectivity, data and innovation for community benefit. DigitalC's initiatives are designed to ensure digital equity in neighborhoods that have been left out of the digital economy, enable a change in culture around data in the civic sector, and drive place-based and equitable innovation to improve individual lives and the regional economy.
City of Lenexa, Kansas
After serving 3-years on the Lenexa Planning Commission, and 8-years on the Lenexa City Council, Michael Boehm was elected mayor in January of 2003 and has run unopposed in all subsequent elections (2007, 2011, 2015). He is a lifelong resident of Johnson County, Kansas. Mayor Boehm is a senior vice president at Commerce Bank and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Kansas. Mike is actively involved in community, city and state organizations involved in municipal policy and leadership. He serves on a number of public and community service organizations including: Johnson County Community College Foundation Board of Directors (2015 to present), League of Kansas Municipalities Board of Directors (President 2005-2006), Lenexa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (ex officio) (2003 to present), Lenexa Chamber of Commerce - Lifetime Member, Johnson County Community College Carlsen Center Program Advisory Committee, Johnson County Research Triangle Board (2011-2018), Lenexa Historical Society - Lifetime Member, and Holy Trinity Catholic Church.
KC Hotel Developers
City of San Leandro
From her time as a pre-school teacher to her present term as Mayor, Pauline Russo Cutter’s core values can be distilled down to the simple ingredients of family, community, cooperation and sustainability with an emphasis on kindness. Using that framework, form has followed function, building a community in San Leandro that has its eye set on leveraging today’s technology to push a highly diverse population into the forefront of Smart City innovation.
Assistant City Manager
City of Lee's Summit
Serving the City of Lee’s Summit as Assistant City Manager, Nick has a passion for community building. He has actively helped support various community initiatives to include citizen strategic planning, annual budgeting, and efforts to enhance the quality of life for Lee’s Summit residents. Previously Nick served in the United States Marine Corps as a Special Intelligence Communicator where he found interest in technology. Nick hopes efforts and thoughts that come from the wonderful professionals in the room will help communities develop faster and smarter.
City of Buhler
Daniel Friesen is a third-term mayor of Buhler, Kansas first elected at the age of 27. Mr. Friesen is also the co-founder and chief innovation officer of a rural fiber optic broadband company, IdeaTek, which deploys broadband in small and underserved rural Kansas communities. He has experience in the construction and operation of over 2,600 miles of fiber optic network, deployment of small cells, governmental planning and negotiations, and broadband consumer advocacy. Friesen currently serves on a FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee working group and was recently nominated to serve on the Kansas Broadband Expansion Taskforce.
Stephen Hardy is the CEO of mySidewalk, a technology company using spatial data to improve community decision-making in 180 cities across the country. This year, Stephen spearheaded mySidewalk's participation in The Opportunity Project, a White House initiative promoting accessible data for everyone—something Stephen firmly believes in. Before mySidewalk, Stephen launched the city planning practice at BNIM (2011 AIA firm of the year). In that role, Stephen developed BNIM's sustainable community planning practice where he became a highly sought expert for cities rebuilding after disasters. He has also worked for Senator Jerry Moran and The Conservation Fund. Stephen is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is a graduate of Harvard's Graduate School of Design.
Head of Strategic Sales
Doug Hohulin works at Nokia in a business development and strategy role engaging with industry partners to drive the evolution of technology in 5G, Smart City, IoT and the Autonomous Vehicle/Connected Vehicle Ecosystem. He works with City and Transportation Planning and Road Operations Communities to prepare for AV/CV technology including responding to City and County AV/CV RFIs and Smart City RFI/Ps. He is on the KC Metro AV Task Force and participate in 5G Automotive Association WG5 Business Models and Go-To-Market Strategies. He is on the Kansas University Cyber-Security Board and blogs on LinkedIn.
City of Kansas City, MO
Dennis began AL-VITA LLC to offer technology based economic development consultancy for legacy and high growth companies, plus technology transfer services within research universities. He is currently consulting for the Alabama Power Company (APC) and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) to offer innovation strategies for revenue generation and statewide technology based growth. Including the use of new and existing fiber assets, smart cities initiatives, and emerging technologies. Prior to APC and EDPA, he provided business development services for the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Research Foundation. Dennis was a 32-year executive in broadcasting, 16 spent as President and General Manager of television stations in Birmingham, AL and Denver, CO.
Innovative Services Manager
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
Tyler Means serves as the Innovative Services Manager at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. In this unique role, Mr. Means focuses his efforts on creating true mobility management for customers through the advancement of new technologies, services and business models. He received his Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Kansas in 2009, and has worked for the Mid-America Regional Council and TranSystems prior to taking his current position. Throughout his career, Mr. Means has advocated for the utilization of new technology and innovative ideas to create customer-focused, integrated mobility solutions.
Luke is Managing Director of Strategy and Government Relations for OpenCities a Kansas City and Melbourne, Australia based government technology firm. Previously Luke served as the Senior Director of Government Relations at Code For America, an organization that helped build open-source technology while empowering residents to take an active role in their community to make government services simple, effective, and easy-to-use. Luke has 12 years of experience executing growth strategies for start-ups and Fortune 500 companies as well as serving on various nonprofit boards -- that work landed him on the Top Connectors list in the Kansas City education and entrepreneurship community. Luke is also a member of the advisory boards for KC Digital Drive and Neighborly, a San Francisco-based public finance start-up.
Deputy Director - Community Engagement
Local Investment Commission
Brent works at the Local Investment Commission in Kansas City. LINC is an organization which serves low-income communities in the Kansas City area primarily by considering schools as the centers of neighborhoods and communities. He has an extensive background in journalism including stints at The Associated Press, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Business Journal and The Budapest Business Journal. Brent is a graduate of Grinnell College and the London School of Economics. He is deeply involved in community issues including energy, libraries, and local and regional history.
Next Century Cities
Government Wireless Technology & Communications Association
With over 30 years of wireless experience, Alan Tilles is viewed as one of the “go-to” attorneys in the industry regarding spectrum utilization. From radio manufacturers, to frequency coordinators, public safety agencies, railroads and utilities, he is frequently called upon to create innovative answers to complex technological problems. Considering this background, cybersecurity work was a natural outgrowth of Alan’s expertise. As a member of the Shulman Rogers Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice, Alan helps companies implement data privacy policies, provides important assistance when breaches occur, and partners with the Firm’s litigation and government contracting teams on cyber litigation issues.
Manager, Product Marketing
Jeffrey Beeson, Manager, Product Marketing, Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) Jeff Beeson leads KCP&L’s product marketing team, overseeing marketing and communication for the company’s regulated and non-regulated products and services. In this role, he oversees marketing, outreach and communication for the KCP&L Clean Charge Network, a company initiative to promote and increase electric vehicle adoption in the Kansas City area. Prior to KCP&L, Jeff managed marketing and communication efforts for the Kansas City Board for Public Utilities and the University of Missouri.
Nick has spent his career working at the intersection of cities and technology. After founding MindMixer and mySidewalk, Nick now helps lead the Model Lab at Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company. The Model Lab is focused on helping cities improve the way they monitor and plan transportation and land use.
University of Kansas
Joe Colistra is an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Kansas, a licensed architect, and Director of KU’s Institute for Smart Cities. His research is focused on housing and building technology. He is currently working on smart housing prototypes that leverage emerging technologies such as data collection through networked devices. Joe is a member of the American Institute of Architects and serves on the Kansas AIA Board of Directors.
Plan IT Impact
City Administrator, Economic Developer,
Cities of Lakefield and Winthrop, MN
Mark has been working in the fiber to the home and telecommunications field for the past 20 years as city administrator and economic developer for the communities of Lakefield and Winthrop in Minnesota. Both communities worked with surrounding cities to build successful fiber to the home networks. Mark was also employed by Hiawatha Broadband Communications working with cities and community groups interested in building FTTH networks. He has served on the CK Blandin Foundation’s Telecommunications Strategy Board, the League of Minnesota Cities Telecommunications Advisory Committee and the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association Board of Directors. He currently serves as a member of the RS Fiber Cooperative Board of Directors. Mark retired from city government work at the end of 2017.
Mountain Connect & Great Lakes Connect
Jeffrey Gavlinski is currently Business Development Leader for the Foresite Group and CEO of Mountain Connect LLC, a company facilitating Mountain Connect and Great Lakes Broadband Development Conferences. He also serves as the Chair for Southwest Colorado Local Technology Planning Team, served as Board Treasure of Pagosa Community Development Corporation, and Business Advisor at the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College. Prior to the Foresite Group, Jeffrey served as Senior Director of Business Development at eX2 and Executive Consultant to Fujitsu Network Communications as well as owned and operated multiple startup companies focused on Telecommunications infrastructure strategic planning for Governments, Marketing/Advertising, and Economic Development feasibility planning. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Jeffrey served, in a consulting role, as Senior Business Architect for Infonet, a British Telecom Company, and had global responsibilities for systems product design and implementation. He also was Chief Architect for a global Siebel CRM implementation and principal director of an international infrastructure merger and acquisition over a two-year period in Europe. Jeffrey began his career in Software Development and is a business executive with multi sector experiences with Fortune 500 as well as startup, small, and medium sized companies.
The Enterprise Center
Ken Hays is President and CEO of The Enterprise Center, a non-profit entity tasked with establishing Chattanooga as the first mid-sized city with an Innovation District, leading the development of the Edney Innovation Center, and starting Chattanooga’s first digital equity initiative, Tech Goes Home. Mr. Hays helped Chattanooga become an original US Ignite Smart Gigabit Community, and has forged other national partnerships bringing attention and resources to Chattanooga’s Gig City status. Mr. Hays served as Assistant Chief of Protocol in the Carter White House; then as Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee. He returned to Tennessee in 1983 to become a partner in the development firm Leonard Kinsey & Associates, which evolved into Kinsey Probasco Hays. When Jon Kinsey was elected Mayor of Chattanooga in 1997, Mr. Hays served as Chief of Staff. During his tenure as President of River City Company, Mr. Hays was the coordinating developer of Chattanooga’s $120 million 21st Century Waterfront Plan, and helped revive the downtown residential market. Mr. Hays attended Auburn University and George Washington University, majoring in Public Affairs.
Technology Policy Institute
John B. Horrigan is Senior Fellow at the Technology Policy Institute, with a focus on technology adoption and digital inclusion. Horrigan is also a senior advisor to the Urban Libraries Council. He has held senior positions at the Pew Research Center. During the Obama Administration, Horrigan was part the leadership team at the Federal Communications Commission for the development of the National Broadband Plan (NBP). Horrigan has a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Texas at Austin and his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.
KC Social Innovation Center
Kari is the founding Executive Director of KC Social Innovation Center, a nonprofit impact agency born out of Think Big Partners, and a regional hub for human capital development in smart, digital cities, exploring the nexus of learning and work to advance human-centered design and the development of innovative, high-quality, inclusive education and workforce initiatives in the Kansas City region. Prior to KCSIC, Kari had a successful 20-year marketing career working with entrepreneurs and startups before jumping into ed-tech with a National Science Foundation grant working for Mozilla managing an experimental fund for next-generation educational pilots that use gigabit technology to illustrate the transformative power of high-speed, low latency Internet and cyber physical systems on learning and workforce development.
Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Project
Blair Levin serves as a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Project of the Brookings Institute, as the Executive Director of Gig.U: The Next Generation Network Innovation Project and as a consultant to the investment community, communications enterprises, and a local, state, and national governments on broadband policy. From 2009-2010, Mr. Levin oversaw the development of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler praised Mr. Levin’s work, noting, “no one’s done more to advance broadband expansion and competition through the vision of the National Broadband Plan and Gig.U.” From 1993-1997 Levin served as FCC Chief of Staff. Previously, Mr. Levin had practiced law in North Carolina, where he represented new communications ventures, as well as local governments.
Blake Miller is a serial entrepreneur with expertise in growth marketing and the Internet of Things. He currently serves as the CEO of Homebase.AI and is a partner at Think Big Partners. Blake joined Think Big in 2009 as the Director of the Accelerator, managing the accelerator program portfolio and internal technology operations for Think Big. At Think Big, Blake has championed several new initiatives that grew out of Think Big including; the Kansas City Smart Initiative which won a 2017 Edison Innovation Award and Homebase.AI a joint venture partnership between Think Big and Sunflower Development group.
Senior Consultant and Practice Lead
Susan Norris has held increasingly responsible positions in s Technology Management and Consulting over the past 25 years. Starting with a strong Program Management background, Ms. Norris led teams in charge of architectural strategy, data management, and R&D. Susan holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and has remained active in both civic and academic communities throughout her career. She is currently consulting on Smart City and Digital Inclusion initiatives, including Citizen Engagement and Roadmap definition.
Do Good Do Well, LLC
Tim Stock is the co-founder of scenarioDNA a consultancy that leverages the union of consumer anthropology and data science to advise global clients on cultural trends with a systems-thinking approach to innovation. He is the co-inventor of a patented methodology of Culture Mapping that analyzes patterns in culture using computational linguistics and machine learning to visualize trend narratives and forecasts. Clients include Campbell’s, IKEA, Nike, Hilton Worldwide and Honda. Tim is a frequent speaker on culture and innovation and has appeared in various publications such as The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Toronto Star and Quartz. Tim also teaches trend analysis and design strategy at Parsons the New School of Design.
National Technology Leader
Scott co-leads the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities program, promoting the development of cutting edge applications and the advance networks they run on. Prior to US Ignite he served as the Public Safety Technical Section Chief for Mid Atlantic events, as the Head of Technology for several national digital archives, as an Software Engineering leader at Emory University and University of Virginia.
Senior Management Analyst
Office of Performance Management, City of Kansas City, MO
Director, Smart Cities and Public Safety
As Research Director Smart Cities Strategies, Public Safety, Dr. Alison Brooks specializes in public safety related research for the global Smart Cities Strategies program at IDC. Dr. Brooks’ research focuses on the digital transformation of public safety within Smart Cities. Her research explores digital evidence management, intelligence-led policing, Real-time Crime Centers, advanced analytics and visualization, and mobile crime-fighting solutions.
Founder / Editor at Large
Digi.City / Smart Cities Connect
Chelsea fosters collaboration between public and private sectors to create smarter cities and more connected communities. She is the Founder of Digi.City, Editor-At-Large for Smart Cities Connect and Co-Founder of Impact Hub Austin. Chelsea is a 2018 Marshall Memorial Fellow and a 2016 Eisenhower Fellow. Her work has been featured in local+national publications including Inc.com, Venture Beat and the Chicago Tribune. Chelsea is an Advisory Council Member of St Edwards’ University Business School, the Austin Technology Alliance and the Austin Forum. She is an Austin Under 40 Award recipient in Science & Technology (2015), a graduate of the Leadership Austin and has masters and bachelors degrees in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin
KC Digital Drive
Aaron Deacon is the founder and managing director of KC Digital Drive, a nonprofit civic organization with a mission to make Kansas City a digital leader and help cities adapt to disruptive technology change. He works with mayors, entrepreneurs and civic leaders in Kansas City and around the world to help build ecosystems that connect infrastructure, emerging technology and social impact. He combines a high-level strategic approach with boots-on-the-ground project implementation and management in smart cities, civic tech, digital inclusion, digital health, and education. He earned a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Dallas
Chief Strategy Officer
Michael is Chief Strategy Officer at Neighborly. Michael joined Neighborly from Standish Mellon Asset Management where he served as Chief Operating Officer of the $150 billion investment firm. Michael is co-founder of Our Katahdin, a community-based crowdsourcing platform revitalizing the Katahdin region economy in Northern Maine. Michael is a member of the Global Association of Risk Professionals and holds a Financial Risk Manager certification. He has a Masters in Financial Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. Michael has an M.S.F. from Northeastern University and a B.S. from the University of Maine, holds the CFA® designation.
Phil is president of Travois--a mission-driven consulting and financing firm focused on Indian Country. Travois has brought $1.3 billion in investment to American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities since 1995. Phil is also a candidate for Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.
Cable Communications Administrator
Montgomery County Office of Cable and Communication Services
Chief Knowledge Officer
Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County
Alan Howze is working to advance innovation, open government, and operational improvement as the Chief Knowledge Officer of the Unified Government. As CKO, Alan leads the Information Technology, 311 Call Center, Geospatial Services (GIS), and a Performance and Innovation team. His team brings together analytic and data management capabilities to deliver greater efficiencies and high-quality digital services. Prior to joining the Unified Government, Alan was a Fellow with the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Earlier in his career he worked for the US Congress and served as Political Director for Governor (now Senator) Mark Warner of Virginia. Alan studied Economics and Anthropology at James Madison University and received an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
New York Univeristy
Neil Kleiman has spent 20 years building a career at the intersection of policy, philanthropy, government and academia. He founded an urban issues think tank, established new university degree programs, and developed innovative and practical policy solutions for dozens of cities across the United States. He has also written and edited over thirty policy reports. Kleiman is a clinical professor at New York University with a joint appointment at the Wagner School of Public Service and the Center for Urban Science + Progress. He teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses on policy formation, urban innovation, and new approaches to managing technology and big data. He recently published a book with Stephen Goldsmith on urban governance reform entitled A New City O/S: The Power of Open, Collaborative and Distributed Governance on Brookings Institution press.
Smart City Media
Mike has spent the better part of his career working in the advertising and media industry as a senior executive with extensive experience and success in building businesses. He brings a diverse and sophisticated background in advertising, integrated marketing, media and, more specifically, out-of-home digital media. Mike is a leading force in helping build smart media solutions for cities of all sizes nationwide. This includes working with clients on identifying and capturing new revenue opportunities. His past work with City 24/7 includes launching the first interactive, digital smart city platform on the streets of NYC, and securing blue-chip IoT companies as ad partners. Most recently, Mike was instrumental in building Smart City Media's digital network in Kansas City which accelerated the company's growth to 20+ city contracts in only 2 years. Mike is recognized as a leader in the advertising industry having received the coveted President’s Award from global ad agency McCann Erickson for his contributions to the Coca-Cola business as well as his success in growing the international PepsiCo business for agency BBDO. Mike is a graduate of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Director, Community Broadband Networks
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) in Minneapolis. Mitchell is a leading national expert on community networks and Internet access. He also hosts podcasts, including Community Broadband Bits and Building Local Power. Within his capacity at ILSR, he also serves as the policy director for Next Century Cities, a national collaboration of mayors and CIOs seeking universal access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet connections.
Sales Director - Connected Communities
Black & Veatch
Paul Pishal is the Sales Director for Connected Communities in the Telecommunication Group. Paul is responsible for business development, strategic partnerships and client engagements for the expanding markets of fiber and wireless networks for municipal and private broadband. His focus includes Public-Private Partnerships. Paul brings more than two decades of experience managing business development, product marketing and corporate strategy for technology companies in the telecommunications, electronics and business consulting industries.
Co-Founder, Managing Partner
Think Big Partners
Tim Sylvester is multi-award winning entrepreneur and electrical & computer engineer. With more than a decade of experience in construction trades, and having participated in two R&D projects for the National Science Foundation, Tim’s work with Integrated Roadways has been featured in numerous regional and national publications and other media, including CNN and the Wall Street Journal.
John began his career as a high school teacher and research scientist and is currently a serial entrepreneur being involved with several companies including Lumen Touch, iNTouch Consulting, Intouch Solutions, iNTouch Genomics, Blue Apple Trends, Ascend Books, Tier3 Construction, KC Hopps Restaurants and Creative Restaurant Concepts. He sits on the boards of various businesses and philanthropic organizations and is very involved with the mentoring and educational change. As CEO of Lumen Touch, he is again building a successful company that aims to take education to all children including under-privileged children around the world. He is completely committed to improving the wellbeing of students while driving customer loyalty and as such oversees the installation of products with clients to ensure the expectations of all parties are exceeded.
Kansas City Public Schools
Twelve plus years experience in public and higher education. Worked on DOL sponsored workforce development grant (MO Health WINS). Experienced in coordinating research and evaluation projects from start finish; design information-collection methodologies such as surveys; analyze and draw valid conclusions regarding the results and effectiveness of projects or programs.
Chief Innovation Officer
City of Kansas City, MO
Bob Bennett became the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, in January 2016 after a 25-year career in the US Army. He leads the Smart City initiatives, a suite of projects including: data analysis, Public Wi-Fi, digital kiosk installation, and smart lighting programs in the city’s downtown core. Kansas City’s initiatives earned an Edison Award (Gold) for “Collective Disruption” and civic innovation in 2017, and Bob was named one of GovTech’s 25 Dreamers, Doers and Drivers in 2018. He is currently working on plans to extend Smart City infrastructure throughout the 318 miles of KCMO with an emphasis on Digital Inclusion and partnering with Avis on deployment of the first fully Connected Vehicle Fleet in a municipality.
University of North Carolina Charlotte
Tianca is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and a Fellow with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. Her research focuses on strategies to foster economic and social opportunity through digital inclusion. Tianca is a former NTEN|Google Fiber Digital Inclusion Fellow and has served in several community roles to promote digital inclusion awareness and local programming.
Director, Center for Business and Information Technologies (CBIT)
Informatics Research Institute (IRI) University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Matt is an Executive in Residence for the Informatics Research Institute at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he is Director of the Center for Business & Information Technologies and also functions as Innovation Managing Director for the NSF sponsored Center for Visual and Decision Informatics. He also serves as Technical Lead for the City of Lafayette’s participation in the US Ignite-sponsored Smart Gigabit Cities initiative.
Consultant and Community Health Strategist
KC Digital Drive
John helps provide leadership for the KC Digital Drive Health Innovation Team with initiatives in learning, collaboration, and program management for in-community digital health strategies. His full-time role in the Kansas City area is as Vice President with the digital health firm Heart to Heart Network. His professional background covers both small-scale and large-scale community initiatives across the globe with commercial entities, non-profits, and governments. This includes nearly 15 years with electronic health leader Cerner Corporation where John was instrumental in establishing the company’s presence, strategy, relationships, and branding in multiple world markets as a population health solution.
Director, Connected Car Optimization, Innovation
Avis Budget Group
Kate Pope Hodel was program officer for the KCSourceLink founding grant. She then worked for KCSourceLink and SourceLink, helping build networks across Missouri and in communities nationwide. Currently Kate works on special projects, including the We Create Capital effort, KCInvestED, Whiteboard2Boardroom and research into job creation by early-stage firms. She is co-author of a new book, Beyond Collisions: How to Build Your Entrepreneurial Infrastructure. Previously, Kate was at the Kauffman Foundation and directed its efforts to develop a national reputation around entrepreneurship, working with organizations such as National Public Radio, the Entrepreneur of the Year awards and Young Entrepreneurs Organization.
Mid-America Regional Council
Jim Hubbell, AICP, completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Kansas. He is currently a Principal Transportation Planner for the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), the metropolitan planning organization for the bi-state Kansas City region. At MARC, Jim leads a talented team of transportation planning professionals to monitor and analyze transportation performance measures, and develop travel forecasts in support of regional planning. Outside of MARC, Jim serves on the Oversight Board for the Census Transportation Planning Products (CTPP) program as chair of the Training Subcommittee. Jim is also a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Urban Data and Information Systems Committee, ABJ30.
Technology & Curriculum Instructional Coach
Kansas City KS Public Schools
Julie has been with the Kansas City, KS Public Schools for 18 years. As a Technology & Curriculum Instructional Coach, Julie works with Administrators, Instructional Coaches and Teachers around the integration of technology into classroom instruction and the implementation of new teaching models leveraging the available technology. Julie is also driven to be a constant learner and advocate of education across Kansas City by engaging with many groups that are leading educational innovation.
Kansas City, Missouri Health Department
Dr. Sarah Martin is Deputy Director of the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department where she oversees the Department’s initiatives to influence the social and economic policies that shape health inequities. Dr. Martin received a Master of Public Policy, a Master of Public Health and a PhD in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. She was previously an Assistant Professor of Health Services Research at the University of Missouri, Kansas City’s Bloch School of Management, Research Coordinator at the University of California, San Francisco and a Policy Analyst for the County of Alameda, California.
Chief Environmental Officer
City of Kansas City, MO
Dennis Murphey is Chief Environmental Officer for Kansas City, Missouri, managing the Office of Environmental Quality and providing leadership to City departments on integrating climate protection and sustainability into all city operations. He serves the City Manager, Mayor, and City Council as primary advisor and source of information on environmental issues. He directed development of Kansas City’s Climate Protection Plan and oversees implementation to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals of 30% by 2020, city-wide and in municipal operations. He promotes regional partnerships between the public and private sectors to address environmental issues, including climate change, and to incorporate sustainability principles into decisions made and actions taken.
Teacher and Lead Designer
Art Smith is in his 20th year of teaching for the Liberty Public School District and is the lead designer of Liberty Academy's 21st century learning architecture and restructuring process. He holds an undergraduate degree in History and a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction, both from the University of Kansas. His work on project based learning and school redesign have been published in the National Middle School Journal, Kansas City Star, and Liberty Tribune. He's the creator of the UnSchool Challenge, Serving To Learn, and Project X frameworks and a member of the KC Rising Experiential Learning Taskforce. He's also the head men's soccer and tennis coach at Liberty North High School.
Lead Product Engineer
Bobby started his career as a data scientist and spent time working on big data projects and Google and Garmin. He then transitioned to software development where he led the development of a cloud analytics platform at Aunalytics from 2013-2014 and now leads the development of Xaqt's Urban Intelligence and Collaboration Platform, transforming how organizations and governments use their data.
Founder & CEO
Fiber Infrastructure Manager
City of Lincoln, NE
David Young is the Fiber Infrastructure and Right of Way Manager with the Public Works department for the City of Lincoln. Mr. Young’s recent project list includes the implementation the Lincoln Fiber to the Home initiative, 5G Small Cell deployment, Public Wi-Fi and Low Cost broadband development zones. Mr. Young was recently selected to represent the National League of Cities on the FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. He is currently leading the 2018 Bloomberg Foundation Mayor’s Challenge for Autonomous Shuttles. He can be contacted at email@example.com.