TechNet's annual State Policy Conference was a tremendous success. Thank you to the more than 50 TechNet members and industry representatives who made the trip out to Napa Valley for three days of policy discussions, strategy meetings, and networking on our sector's most pressing issues.
The conference began on Wednesday with an intimate welcome reception at the Westin Verasa over wine generously donated by Silicon Valley Bank. During dinner at The Wine Thief, John Doherty and Andrea Deveau welcomed the more than 20 state policymakers who traveled from as far as Boston and Florida to participate in tech's preeminent state policy event. John was honored for his tremendous service to TechNet over the past three years, and the group officially welcomed Andrea as the new vice president for state policy and politics.
The policy portion of the conference kicked off Thursday morning with a "Rising Stars" breakfast featuring three of the most talented young state policymakers in the nation. These policymakers - Assemblymember Marc Berman (CA), Senator Scott Wiener (CA), and Representative Diego Bernal (TX) - have already demonstrated their dedication to the innovation economy and will surely be top technology champions in the years to come.
Following breakfast, the group dove into policy discussions on how emerging technological innovations are impacting the way Americans live and work and the policy implications of these transformations.
The first panel of this segment explored the future of work with Senator Anthony Cannella (CA), House Speaker Crisanta Duran (CO), and Senator Karen Spilka (MA). Then, in a discussion led by Steve Allan of Silicon Valley Bank and Tom Lue of Google, Senator Ben Allen (CA), Assemblymember Evan Low (CA), and Senator Diane Savino (NY) shared what states should be doing to encourage the development and deployment of frontier tech, like driverless cars, drones, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.
The lunch portion of the conference featured an inspiring keynote address by Lt. Governor-elect of Washington Cyrus Habib. Focusing on the need to develop an economy of inclusion, Habib spoke passionately about equipping all students with the skills needed to succeed in the modern economy. Following the conference, the Lt. Governor reached out to TechNet to express his gratitude and his determination to work with us to advance our shared priorities.
The afternoon sessions on Thursday examined what tomorrow's smart cities will look like, the technology driving these developments, and the policies needed to deploy next generation infrastructure.
Kristie DeIuliis of DNV-GL asked conference attendees to reimagine our energy future with a presentation on emerging consumer-oriented business models. Building off of this presentation, Andy Schwartz of SolarCity, Norman Levine of Direct Energy, Erin Grizard of Bloom Energy, and Bonnie Garcia of ecoATM explored how states can combat climate change, increase consumer choice, and drive innovation in energy markets with Assemblymembers Marc Berman (CA) and Autumn Burke (CA).
Following that presentation, the discussion turned toward an exploration of next generation transportation systems with Senator Cathleen Galgiani (CA), Senator Scott Wiener (CA), Senator Jeff Brandes (FL), Anne Smart of ChargePoint, Timothy Burr of Lyft, Juanita Martinez of General Motors, and Eric Reedof Verizon.
The final panel of the day tied the previous discussions together and explored how states can utilize technological innovations to deliver services more effectively and efficiently to their residents. Assemblymember Ash Kalra (CA), Senator Jeff Klein (NY), Representative Giovanni Capriglione (TX), John Stephenson of Amazon Web Services, Jeff Stewart of AT&T, and Peter Zalkind of Microsoft discussed the barriers to driving innovation in state procurement and potential solutions.
While Thursday set the bar high, the group hit the ground running on Friday with a tech caucus breakfast. Massachusetts Tech Hub Caucus Co-Chair Karen Spilka, Representative Giovanni Capriglione (TX), Representative Diego Bernal (TX) and Gina Frisby, Legislative Director for California Legislative Technology & Innovation Caucus Co-Chair Evan Low, shared their experiences and lessons learned from establishing tech caucuses in their states.
Following the tech caucus breakfast, Representative James Grant (FL), Deputy Commissioner of Academics Penny Schwinn from the Texas Education Agency, and Sarah Silverman of Whiteboard Advisors discussed how innovative schools are leveraging the power of technology to measure student performance and improve student outcomes.
The conference wrapped up with a strategy session on issues related to inclusion and diversity. TechNet has taken a leadership position on these issues, and we welcomed Senator Jeff Clemens (FL), Representative Diego Bernal (TX), and Michelle Wright Conn of Cisco to conclude the conference with a discussion about how to promote and sustain the values that have made tech the nation's most innovative sector.
Thank you to our generous State Policy Conference sponsors: AT&T, Cisco, Comcast NBCUniversal, National Instruments, Direct Energy, EcoATM, General Motors, Google, Oracle, Recurrent Energy, Verizon, Amazon Web Services, Bloom Energy, ChargePoint, KP Public Affairs, Lyft, PayPal, SolarCity, and Silicon Valley Bank.
Save the date for next year's State Policy Conference, December 6-8!