SXSW 2019: State and Local Gov Tech Programming Guide

With the tech, media and entertainment world descending upon Austin, Texas, for the annual mega-conference, there are a number of panels, installations and speakers of interest to those in the public sector.

by / March 5, 2019
(David Kidd)

SXSW can be overwhelming, as anyone who has attended can attest.

Government Technology will be onsite this year in Austin, Texas, covering the mega-conference as it pertains to ways that state and local governments use and react to technology.

In preparation, we’ve put together a list of highlights for public-sector attendees, with a special emphasis, of course, on technology. These highlights range from a series of conversations about America’s future with notable elected officials to an installation aimed at promoting Michigan to startup companies and investors.

A list of the highlights can be found below.

How to Bring Public Safety Into the 21st Century
When: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., March 8
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown Salon B
Who: Seattle Police Department Chief Strategy Officer Chris Fisher; retired Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier; Fortune magazine Editor Polina Marinova; and Mark43 co-founder Matthew Polega.
What: Law enforcement, like many other segments of governmental service, has an increasingly pressing need to modernize the tech it uses to do its job. This panel will discuss related topics such as barriers to adoption for cloud software, artificial intelligence and data sharing between agencies — ultimately taking a broader look at how tech can help with the future of public safety.
More Info: Click here

#WeDC House
When: 3 p.m. to 12 a.m., March 9 
Where: Banger’s, 79 Rainey St.
What: The #WeDC House is back at SXSW again in service of its mission to “promote Washington, D.C., as the capital of inclusive innovation.” As with the Michigan House, the goal here is to offer programming and other features that help to strength both the private and public tech ecosystems in the nation’s capital.
More Info: Click here

Out for the Count: How to Repair the Broken 2020 Census
When: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., March 9
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon A
Who: Mesa, Ariz., Mayor John Giles; Mitchel Herckis of Route Fifty; Denice Ross of Georgetown University; and Jeff Meisel of the Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.
What: With the Census primed (as always) to affect critical governance items such as how many seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, a host of local government leaders and experts will be on hand to discuss the major challenges facing cities seeking to count all their residents. Essentially, this will be a chance to hear experts in the space talk about what to expect from the Census and how everyone can help.
More Info: Click here

Public/Private Collabs and the Future of Mobility
When: 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., March 9
Where: The Refinery, 612 Brazos St.
Who: Will Foss of Derq; Maven smart cities chief Alex Keros; Ann Arbor SPARK CEO Paul Krutko; and Michigan Department of Transportation Senior Project Manager for Connected and Automated Vehicles Michele Mueller.
What: This is a panel aimed at unpacking real examples of how Michigan has forged public-private partnerships to create future-facing mobility work, the sort that is likely to be part and parcel for state and local governments as transportation technologies continue to develop.
More Info: Click here

Answering the Call: Tech for Public Purpose
When: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., March 9
Where: Courtyard Marriott, Rio Grande Ballroom, 300 E. 4th St.
Who: Ash Carter, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Horacio Rozanski, Booz Allen Hamilton CEO.
What: The former secretary of defense and the current CEO of Booz Allen Hamilton will be in conversation for an hour, discussing how technologists can contribute more to society. Transitioning from the private to public sector is likely to be a main topic of conversation here, as will government’s increasing need to entice tech talent to do so.
More Info: Click here

Michigan House
When: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., March 8; 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., March 9-10
Where: The Refinery, 612 Brazos St.
What: Billed as “the Great Lake State’s experimental embassy to SXSW,” this installation was first established at the conference in 2015 as a way for the state to promote itself to business, government, entrepreneurs and anyone else who happens to stop by for its programming. It’s made possible by a host of different partners, and, perhaps fittingly, it features a host of varied programming.
More Info: Click here or click here

Conversations About America’s Future
When: Various Times, March 9-10
Where: Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, 310 Willie Nelson Blvd.
Who: Former Gov. Bill Weld; former Gov. John Hickenlooper; former Gov. John Kasich; former U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Julian Castro; Gov. Jay Inslee; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy; Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
What: This is essentially a two-day series of conversations with prominent local government leaders, former and current governors and senators. While a significant number of the participants have previously had or are currently nurturing presidential aspirations, they also largely have long track records of doing the actual daily government leadership work. For those interested in how government uses technology (a group that obviously includes us), the highlights here are likely to be South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and current Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
More Info: Click here

The City Hall Blueprint for Running the Country
When: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., March 10
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon C
Who: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Miami Mayor Francis Suarez; Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; and CityLab Editor Nicole Flatow.
What: Mayors are the government executives on the literal frontlines of dealing with everyday people, and with the American population steadily migrating toward the country’s largest cities, their role in shaping the nation’s way forward is more prominent than ever before. This panel will look at how successfully running a city could translate to the federal government.
More Info: Click here

How Technology Can Balance Urban/Rural Development
When: 11 a.m. to12 p.m., March 10
Where: Palm Door on Sixth, 508 E. 6th St.
Who: Mihai Bilauca of the Limerick City and County Council; Nikos Chatzoudis of the European Commission; Boston Digital Equity Advocate Anne Schwieger; and Cris Turner of Dell.
What: The continued spread of high-speed Internet infrastructure means that technologists can now work just as easily from many rural locales as they can from within cities. This panel looks at what can be done via technology for more equitable development of urban and rural spaces.
More Info: Click here

Transforming Cities Through Citizens
When: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., March 10
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon A
Who: Detroit Chief of Services and Infrastructure Arthur Jemison; Cities of Service Executive Director Myung Lee; San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo; and Dalila Wilson-Scott of Comcast.
What: The idea of public-private-nonprofit partnerships is one that has become increasingly relevant as cities work to tap the resources and talent already present in their cities. This panel will feature representatives from each of those sectors talking about how such work can help improve communities.
More Info: Click here

Input Local. Output Global. City Innovation Mayoral Meetup
When: 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., March 10
Where: Fairmont Poppy, 101 Red River
Who: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Stockton, Calif., Mayor Michael Tubbs
What: There’s a new wave of innovative young mayors entering city halls across the country, and while the two notable attendees to this meet-up may be on opposite coasts, they’re united in their embrace of innovative work to address major civic challenges.
More Info: Click here

Adopting Online Courts in Utah’s Legal System
When: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., March 11
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown Salon A
Who: Utah Director of Court Services Kim Allard; CIO for the National Center for State Courts Paul Embley; Utah Supreme Court Justice Constandinos Himonas; and manager at Pew Charitable Trusts Amber Ivey.
What: Last year, Utah became the first state in the country to build an online tool that residents could use to manage small claims cases, potentially negating the need to hire a lawyer or go to court for many, and in the process reducing the burden on its courts. Leaders from this initiative will discuss the project, its challenges and the tech involved.
More Info: Click here

Fighting Homelessness with Ethical Technology
When: 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., March 11
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown Room 400 - 402
Who: Miracle Messages CEO Kevin Adler; Meredith Hitchcock of Promise; Austin CIO Kerry O’Connor; and Riverside, Calif., Assistant to the Mayor Luke Villalobos.
What: This panel will focus on using tech to combat homelessness, specifically how ethical considerations factor into things like product design and software development.
More Info: Click here

The Future of ____
When: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., March 11
Where: Galvanize, 119 Nueces St. and Idean Officer, 713 E. 6th St.
What: This is as diverse a slate of programming as any about how to use tech to solve community challenges, featuring a wide range of experts from the public and private sectors.
More Info: Click here

Zack Quaintance Assistant News Editor

Zack Quaintance is the assistant news editor for Government Technology. His background includes writing for daily newspapers across the country and developing content for a software company in Austin, Texas. He is now based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached via email.

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