Austin Forum


THURSDAY, June 8, 2017 | Galvanize | 6:15pm


Stephen Elkins
CIO, City of Austin

Ben Guhin
Sr. Advisor, City of Austin

Karla Taylor
Chief of Staff for Transportation, City of Austin

119 Nueces St.
Downtown Austin

5:45pm Doors and Bar
6:15pm Presentation, Q&A
7:30pm Reception

Parking information:
$5 after 5pm: Discounted Parking at Galvanize courtesy of LAZ Parking.

How can technology help leaders and other decision makers improve smart city planning in Austin? Which smart projects are already underway and which should we pursue to help make Austin more affordable, more accessible, and more mobile-friendly?

The term ‘smart city’ refers to the usage of data, technology, and analytics to help make better decisions that improve the lives of residents (and visitors) through more effective operations of services and infrastructure. A smart city can improve civic health, mobility, safety, learning opportunities, environments, energy and water utilization, and more by measuring these things, analyzing conditions and usage, and making decisions that improve outcomes. A simple example is automated traffic signal timing to improve traffic flow and decrease congestion. A more advanced examples is monitoring healthcare facilities visits, school nurse visits, and even social media to determine the spread of a flu virus and whether there is likely to be an epidemic, and where antiviral drugs should be made readily available. A smart city will enable measurement and analysis of data in all aspects of a city, and will automate some decisions while helping leaders and other decision makers improve their decisions such that civic life and health is better for all.

Austin is in the early days of its evolution as a smart city, but efforts are accelerating. There are initial ‘smart projects’ under way public safety, energy utilization, affordable housing, transportation, and more.The City of Austin is finalizing a smart city strategic plan in May 20187 that will guide future efforts to deploy more smart services and infrastructure that improves lives and saves money, resources, and time. Come learn about the current Austin smart city efforts, strategic plan, and potential future projects that will address civic issues and improve the quality of life in Austin for all… and learn how to be part of the solutions!


 Stephen Elkins Austin Forum

Stephen Elkins

Ben Guhin Austin Forum

Ben Guhin

Karla Taylor Austin Forum

Karla Taylor

Speakers TBD
Stephen Elkins serves as Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of Austin, Communications and Technology Management department, (CTM). As CIO, he oversees the Department’s use of information technology to improve performance and manage risk across the City’s overall organization. Stephen leads the Department’s enterprise architecture, information systems, information technology governance, and information resources management programs in collaboration with all organizational components of the Department.

Stephen came to the City of Austin with over 17 years of senior management experience in the semiconductor industry. His career includes managing global service operations and leading a global technical training center. In his earlier days at the City, he served as the Manager for the Project Management Office. He was then appointed as Director of the Small, Minority Business Resources department, prior to this appointment as CIO.

Stephen holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelors of Science in Electronic Engineering Technology. He is also a certified Project Management Professional and a member of the Project Management Institute.
More on Stephen

Ben Guhin is the Senior Advisor for Design and Technology at the City of Austin, having joined us on February 22, 2016. He advises the Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Information Officer on how to start a program to bring more designers, developers, and innovation leaders into city government. Previously, he served as a Senior Fellow for UX Design at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and as an interaction designer for education, retail, and entertainment clients including Kaplan, Lowes, and HBO GO.
More on Ben

Karla Taylor is the transportation department’s chief of staff at the City of Austin. She manages strategic policy development, intergovernmental relations, communications, federal and state legislation, and emerging projects and programs. She played a key role in the recent US DOT Smart City national grant competition and the Rocky Mountain Institute partnership.

Karla has 25 years’ experience in the public and private sectors, having worked for elected officials at the city, county, and state levels. In addition to the City of Austin, she has worked for the City of Houston and for Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineering and Continental Airlines.
More on Karla

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