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Transportation & Cities Conference: Civic Tech on the Rise


The Challenge Festival is presented by 1776 & Philips.

Many thanks to Cisco, Presenting Sponsor, and The DC Mayor’s Office, a Gold Sponsor of the Transportation & Cities Day during the Challenge Festival. Thanks also to Route Fifty, our Cities Day media sponsor.

Join 1776 and innovators from around the world to discuss how our transportation and cities are dramatically evolving. From technologies that will make cities hyperconnected and safe, to transportation innovations like bullet trains, autonomous vehicles, and much more, science fiction may become science fact for our communities in next ten years.

Our transportation and cities conference will feature a morning fireside chat.

9:00 AM Opening Remarks 

9:15 AM What Will a Smart City Look Like for the Have-nots?

Uber and Airbnb are often two of the most often-cited companies that are changing life in cities as we know it, but both largely serve luxury markets. Where will meaningful city innovation lie for those who do not enjoy the same tax bracket?

Panelists include:

Emily Badger, Urban Policy Reporter, Washington Post

Jennifer Bradley, Director, Center for Urban Innovation, Aspen Institute

Tegene Baharu, Director, D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer

Rose Broome, Founder, HandUp

Dan Kuenzie, Cofounder, Local Roots Farms

10:20 AM Fireside Chat – Julian Castro, HUD Secretary moderated by Kriston Capps

11:00 AM Front Door or Fig Leaf: Can City CIOs Help Build Smarter Cities?

City CIOs are a recent trend that promises great results for its communities. But is there meaningful value driven from this senior role, or ought a city’s innovations be more decentralized and organic?

Panelists include: 

Dan Hoffman, CIO, Montgomery County, Maryland

Satya Rhodes-Conway, Managing Director, Mayors Innovation Project

Nigel Jacob, Co-Chair, Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics

Jonathon Ende, Founder and CEO, SeamlessDocs

Susanne Seitinger, City Innovation Manager, Philips

David Zipper, Managing Director, 1776 Ventures

1:00 PM Will Our Robot Masters Be Kind To Us?

With major corporations focusing on perfecting autonomous cars and a new civilian application for drones appearing everyday, the question around a new, robot economy becomes a “when” not an “if.” Is this the natural progression of the internet of things…or a front-row seat for Skynet?

Panelists include:

Lisa Ellman, Counsel, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

Francis Vierboom, Propeller Aerobotics

Lilly Shoup, Policy Analyst, US DOT

John Verdi, Director of Privacy Initiatives, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

Moderator: Bill Lucia, Reporter, Route Fifty

Register now or buy your Challenge Festival-wide badge to attend more than just this thought provoking event.

Dress code: Startup friendly.

Location: Lansburgh Theatre – 450 7th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20005
Cross Streets: E Street NW & 7th Street NW

Parking: Garage Entrance on 8th Street between D and E Streets NW, Cost: $12/day
Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown (Red Line) at 7th and G Streets, 2 blocks from the Theatre.

There will be bus transportation from the Lansburgh Theatre to the Transportation & Cities  Gala.

On Thursday, May 14, Challenge Festival’s Energy & Sustainability day will also feature the Challenge Cup Cities & Transportation Semifinals followed by the Cities & Transportation Gala.


  • Emily Badger , Urban Policy Reporter , Washington Post

    Emily Badger is a writer in Washington, D.C., where she covers national urban policy for The Washington Post. She writes frequently about urban planning, housing, transportation, poverty and inequality—and why we can't talk about any of these topics without mentioning the others…

  • Jennifer Bradley , Founding Director, Center for Urban Innovation , Aspen Institute

    Jennifer Bradley is the founding director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute. The Center was created in 2015 to identify, connect, and support urban innovators – especially those working in or coming from underserved neighborhoods. Prior to joining…

  • Rose Broome , Cofounder & CEO , HandUp

    Rose is the co-founder and CEO of HandUp, a crowdfunding site for homeless people and neighbors in need. 100% of donations on go toward basics like food, medical care, and housing through partnering social service organizations. In 2014, HandUp…

  • John Verdi , Director of Privacy Initiatives , National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

    John Verdi is Director of Privacy Initiatives at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA, located within the US Department of Commerce, is the principal advisor to the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. Mr. Verdi’s work focuses…

  • Lisa Ellman , Counsel , McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

    Lisa Ellman is a Counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and serves as co-chair of the firm's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Practice Group. She is also a member of the firm's Public Policy and…

  • Francis Vierboom , Cofounder & Managing Director , Propeller Aerobotics

    Francis is cofounder and Managing Director at Propeller Aerobotics, a platform for drone data for construction companies and site managers. His career has taken him from drafting e-contracting legislation in Laos to software security in financial services to yurt living…

  • Jonathon Ende , Founder and CEO , SeamlessDocs

    Jonathon Ende, founder and CEO of SeamlessDocs is a serial entrepreneur with over 10 different startups of varying size and success under his belt. His latest endeavor is Bizodo, which is looking to disrupt the world of bringing small businesses…

  • Satya Rhodes-Conway , Managing Director , Mayors Innovation Project

    Satya Rhodes-Conway is the Managing Director of the Mayors Innovation Project and a senior associate at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS). She works with cities across the country to implement innovative policy that promotes environmental and economic sustainability and…

  • Kriston Capps , Staff Writer , CityLab

    Kriston Capps is a staff writer at CityLab. He writes about housing, architecture, design, and other factors that shape cities. Previously, he was a senior editor at Architect magazine.

  • Dan Hoffman , Chief Innovation Officer , Montgomery County, Maryland

    Dan Hoffman is the first Chief Innovation Officer for Montgomery County, Maryland, a position he has held since October 2012. He is responsible for creating and maintaining strategies and programs that generate innovative ideas in Montgomery County. The program he…