Government Spotlight: Smart Columbus and its Impact on Future Policymaking

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Join us August 15 for Government Spotlight: Smart Columbus and its Impact on Future Policymaking. To learn more about the event itself, click here

Topic Experts

Michael Stevens 

Michael Stevens was recently appointed by Mayor Andrew J. Ginther to be the first Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Columbus. In this new role Mike is responsible for the Smart Columbus Initiative, which includes oversight of the $50 million Smart City grant awarded to the City and long term plans and partnerships needed to ensure Columbus is positioned for the future of smart technology and mobility.

Prior to returning to the City of Columbus, Mike served as President and CEO of Lake County Partners, a 501 (c) 3 economic development corporation that works to maintain economic vitality and quality of life in Lake County, Illinois. Mike was responsible for leading efforts to attract and retain jobs, stimulate capital investment, and pursue economic diversity.

From 2007 to 2012, Mike served as the Deputy Development Director for the City of Columbus responsible for the City’s Economic Development and Planning activities. Mike led the City’s Business Attraction and Retention programs; strategic land utilization; international initiatives; and promotion of public sector tools and programs available to help companies expand.

Mike has also worked for Cardinal Health, Inc in its Corporate Real Estate Group, with the City of Dublin as the Director of Economic Development, and for the City of Huron, Ohio as its Assistant Service Director.

Mike is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University where he received degrees from the Fisher College of Business and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

Dennis Hirsch

Dennis Hirsch, a nationally-recognized expert on privacy law and policy, is Professor of Law at the Michael E. Moritz College of Law where he directs the Program on Data and Governance. He is also Professor of Law at Capital University Law School. Professor Hirsch’s current research focuses on how to protect privacy in the era of cloud-based technologies such as big data analytics and smart cities.

Professor Hirsch will explore what the City of Columbus and U.S. Department of Transportation call, “the heart of Smart Columbus” the Integrated Data Exchange (IDE). IDE is a cloud-based platform that integrates data from multiple sources, including the planned smart city technologies, traditional transportation data, and data from other community partners, such as food pantries and medical service providers. As Smart Columbus and Smart Cities around the country start to develop and use IDE platforms, businesses and lawmakers that have not previously contemplated data privacy and its regulation will be drawn into these new discussions.

Mary Jo Hudson

As the former Insurance Commissioner for the State of Ohio, City Council Member, and her vast leadership roles in the insurance industry, Mary Jo Hudson brings with her wide-ranging regulatory experience and a deep understanding of the insurance industry.

A focus of Smart Columbus is the integration of autonomous vehicles into everyday transportation.   Many have said that autonomous vehicles will require the largest changes to the auto insurance industry since its inception, while industry officials believe a strict regulatory framework may stifle future innovation.

Hudson will provide an insider’s perspective how large state agencies craft a new regulatory framework, and what the future may hold for the auto insurance and related industries. Hudson is currently Of Counsel at the law firm Squire Patton Boggs and also serves on the Columbus Board of Education, where she is chair of the Audit Committee and former chair of the Finance Committee.

Ryan Houk 

Ryan Houk is the Manager of Smart City Program Management for AEP Ohio, which serves approximately 1.5 million customers in Ohio.  Ryan brings over a decade of utility industry experience, holding leadership positions ranging from business process improvement to strategic investment analysis and valuation.  In his current role, Ryan is responsible for the overall management, coordination and execution of Smart City initiatives within AEP Ohio.  AEP is working with Smart Columbus to invest in electrification and the future workforce of Ohio. A main priority of Smart Columbus is to increase charging infrastructure across the city, meaning that electrification will soon become a reality for the Columbus region and smart cities across the nation.

AEP is a leading partner in navigating this transition to electrification, helping to increase electric vehicle charging stations, and the creation of microgrids and smart lighting controls that save energy and increase public safety. Investing in the future of clean energy in Columbus brings with it an investment in jobs and economic development in the region. These investments in electrification and the Smart City plan allows for Columbus to continue current programs and introduce new energy technologies that will help the city operate more effectively and efficiently for years to come.

Ryan earned a dual bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Auditing & Control and Management Information Systems from Bowling Green State University and an MBA from The Ohio State University emphasizing in Corporate Strategy and Finance.

Moderator: Councilmember Shannon Hardin

Councilmember Shannon Hardin was appointed to Columbus City Council in 2014. Hardin currently serves as the Chair of the Public Service & Transportation Committee, the Small & Minority Business Development Committee, and the Neighborhoods Committee. In this position, he has laid the groundwork to promote equality in Columbus by leveling barriers to transportation, creating new opportunities for small businesses, and working to eliminate opportunity gaps for young men of color.

Councilmember Hardin believes that investing in our transportation infrastructure helps residents access jobs, education, and healthcare and was a driving force in the fight for Columbus to win the Smart Cities Challenge. Hardin continues to be an active supporter of Smart Columbus working closely with City Council, community partners, and the city of Columbus to achieve the goals and priorities of Smart Columbus in creating a more connected city.