CityLaunch offers over a dozen sessions featuring leading experts in topics like big data, small cell technology, clean tech, shared mobility, broadband, and more. Panels are geared toward all aspects of envisioning and implementing smart city principles and best practices. From new mobility to digital adoption and transformation, from digital equity to citizen engagement you’ll leave CityLaunch with an actionable roadmap for immediate deployment in your organization. whether you’re new to smart cities or you’re well on your way to becoming a connected community, CityLaunch will help get you to the next level.

CityLaunch 2019 - Schedule of Events

Sunday, March 10, 2019

3:00 PMRegistration Opens
4:00 PMVIP Reception
Open to invited guests only
5:00 PMWelcome Reception
Join Exhibitors and Sponsors in a fun networking reception. Open to all conference attendees.

Monday, March 11, 2019

7:30 AMRegistration, Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors
8:30 AMOpening Plenary Session- Welcome from Hosts
Jim Madaffer, Chairman, Connected Communities Collaborative
Nishal Mohan, President, mohuman
Kamran Saddique, Co-Executive Director, City Innovate
8:35 AMWelcome to San Diego
Kevin Faulconer, Mayor of San Diego, California (invited)
8:40 AMKeynote: From Smart Cities to Cities that Dream
Peter Hirshberg, Principal, Maker City Project | Founder & Chairman, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts | Former Apple Executive
9:00 AMPlenary Panel 1: The Timeline for Digital Adoption
A diverse group of leaders will discuss national perspectives on the drivers of digital adoption and the future of smart and connected communities from the federal government to nonprofits to technology providers.

Moderator: Ben Levine, Executive Director, Metrolab Network

Michal Ziv-El, AAAS Science and Technology Fellow, Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate, National Science Foundation
Deb Socia, Executive Director, Next Century Cities
Hardik Bhatt, Leader, Smart Cities & Mobility Business, Amazon Web Services, Former Chief Digital Officer and State CIO of Illinois
10:00 AMNetworking Break with Exhibitors
10:30 AMPlenary Panel 2: Digital Transformation for Citizen Impact
This panel will explore the different perspectives and approaches underway to transform cities into smart and connected communities with advanced networking, data, IoT and AI that serve cities and their citizens.

Moderator: Amardeep Prashad, Director of Partnerships, City and County of San Francisco

Jay Nath, Former CIO of San Francisco, Co-Executive Director, City Innovate
Lea Deesing, Assistant City Manager, City of Riverside, Former Chief Innovation Officer
Michael Sherwood, Director of Technology and Innovation, City of Las Vegas
11:45 AMPlenary Panel 3: Smart City Strategic Roadmaps
This panel will explore the benefits of creating and the challenges of implementing city strategic roadmaps and plans.

Moderator: Scott Chadwick, City Manager, City of Carlsbad

Dennis Gakunga, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Chula Vista
Bob Bennett, Chief Innovation Officer, Kansas City, Missouri
Tracy Colunga, Innovation Team Director, City of Long Beach
12:45 PMLunch with Keynote: Impacts of Smart and Connected Transportation
Ryan Snyder, Principal, Active Transportation, Transpo Group
2:00 PMBreakout Sessions: Elements of a Smart and Connected Community Strategic Plan
What Governments Need to Know About Creating Smart and Connected Community Roadmaps

Governments need roadmaps! This panel and discussion will explore the realities and practical steps for creating smart and connected roadmaps. It will address navigating inter-government coordination, best practices, budget, assets management and procurement, citizen engagement, and creating a sustainable plan.


Jim Madaffer
President and CEO, Madaffer Enterprises
Jeremy Ogul
Public Affairs Director, Madaffer Enterprises
Dennis Gakunga
Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Chula Vista
Bob Bennett
Chief Innovation Officer, Kansas City, Missouri
Tracy Colunga
Neighborhood Relations Officer, City of Long Beach
Mari Silbey
Director Communications, US Ignite
Scott Chadwick
Chief Operating Officer, City of Carlsbad
Promoting Digital Equity in Cities Through Citizen Engagement

This session will address creating a city roadmap that delivers digital equity through citizen engagement. It will explore the state of the digital divide, engagement challenges, tools, entrepreneurship, and partnerships for demographic specific engagement from city problem definition to implementation of a technology solution.


Nishal Mohan
President, mohuman
Deb Socia
Executive Director, Next Century Cities
Melanie Nutter
Principal, Nutter Consulting
Santiago Garces
Pittsburgh Department of Innovation
Debra Lam
Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive innovation for Georgia Tech
Mike Contreras
General Manager of Public Sector, Topcoder
Daniel Kunin
Chair, Flint Smart City Initiative & Founder, Swiftlet Technology
Case Studies in Next Gen Smart City Technology Acquisition and Deployment

Smart and Connected Cities and Regions need long term technology solutions with quality partners. This session will address assets management, technology identification, procurement, government innovation, legal considerations, cybersecurity and sustainable financing using the future of mobility as a case study.


Jay Nath
Executive Director, City Innovate
Leah Wiggs
Program Director, City Innovate
Keith B. Jones
Managing Partner and Owner, Ace Parking
STIR Startups
3:00 PMNetworking Break with Exhibitors
3:30 PMContinuation of Breakout Sessions 1, 2 and 3: Elements of a Smart and Connected Community Strategic Plan
4:30 PMVendor Expo
6:00 PMCity Launch Pitches and Awards
CityLaunch will host a sponsored dinner with invigorating PechaKucha style talks from city government and technology provider teams. Awards will be presented to the best in class city projects and presentations.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

7:30 AMBreakfast with Exhibitors
8:30 AMPlenary Session
8:35 AMSpecial Announcements
City of San Diego Startup In Residence Program
Leah Rowell Wiggs, Program Director, Startup In Residence at City Innovate
Erik Caldwell, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, City of San Diego
STIR San Diego Startups (TBD)

Connected Communities Collaborative Launch and Purpose
Jim Madaffer, Chairman, Connected Communities Collaborative
9:00 AMPlenary Panel 4: The Holy Grail of Smart Cities: Digital Equity through Citizen Engagement and Entrepreneurship
The nations digital equity leaders will discuss national perspectives on digital equity and the digital divide ranging from access to broadband to inclusive citizen engagement and technology adoption, to entrepreneurship and economic development with governments.

Moderator: Nishal Mohan, President, mohuman

Debra Lam, Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation, Georgia Tech
Rondella Hawkins, Telecommunications and Regulatory Officer, City of Austin
Chandra Ward, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Social, Cultural, and Justice Studies, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Melissa Medina, Congressional App Challenge
10:00 AMNetworking Break with Exhibitors
10:30 AMPlenary Panel 5: Smart and Connected Megaregions
This panel will explore the evolution from smart city to smart regional approaches for digital transformation and economic development. Our case study will feature a megaregional initiative with leaders who will share their efforts, successes, challenges and lessons learned in creating a smart region.

Moderator: Rhonda Binda, Co-Founder, Venture Smarter and Executive Director, Smart Regions Initiative

Jason Anderson, President and CEO, Cleantech San Diego
Gary Halbert, City Manager, City of Chula Vista
David Graham, Chief Innovation Office, City of Carlsbad
Steph Stoppenhagen, Director of Business Development for Connected Communities, Black & Veatch
11:30 AMKeynote: Keeping It Real - The Future of Smart Cities and Regions
11:50 AMClosing Remarks, CityLaunch 2020, and Adjourn
12:00 PMBox Lunch for Field Trip Attendees
12:30 PMNext Generation City Technology Fieldtrips (potential)

Do you have a question about the program?

Dennis Gakunga
City of Chula Vista

As the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chula Vista, Dennis leads the City’s Office of Sustainability and Smart City campaign. His responsibilities include managing the implementation of a wide range of sustainability programs and smart city initiatives. His previous experience includes serving as a department director and assistant director for multiple municipalities and public agencies in Texas and California. Dennis has also worked as a management consultant for Deloitte Consulting, IBM Business Consulting and PWC Consulting. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University and a B.S. in Information Systems and Management Sciences from the University of Texas, Arlington.

Tracy Colunga
City of Long Beach

Tracy Colunga has served as the City’s Neighborhood Relations Officer since 2015. Under her leadership, the City has garnered $3.1 million in federal, state, and private grants to work with residents to co-create human-centered solutions that improve safety and livability. She spearheaded the development of Safe Long Beach Violence Prevention Plan, the City’s Language Access Policy implementation and most recently My Brother’s Keeper Long Beach Local Action Plan implementation. In addition, she oversees the Long Beach Human Relations Commission and the Long Beach Gang Reduction and Intervention Program. She administered the U.S. Department of Justice Weed and Seed Grant for the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department from 2007 to 2012. She started her career with the City of Long Beach as the Early Childhood Education Coordinator in 2006.

Amardeep Prasad
Director of Partnerships, Office of Civic Innovation

Amardeep ‘Dee’ Prasad is dedicated to fostering civic innovation by empowering cross-sector partnerships. Before joining the team, Dee was an inaugural staff member with Fuse Corps, helping to launch and scale the nationally recognized civic fellowship program. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Notre Dame de Namur University and is an Alumni of Fresno State’s American Humanics Leadership Program. Follow @deebrar

Leah Wiggs
Program Director
Startup In Residence at City Innovate

Leah Wiggs – Bio Coming Soon

Scott Chadwick
City of Carlsbad

Chadwick has served as chief operating officer for the City of San Diego since 2013. During his tenure, Chadwick gained national recognition for using technology to improve service, increase transparency and boost community engagement. Chadwick has also won praise for accelerating the completion of major infrastructure improvements, including an ambitious five year goal to repair 1,000 miles of streets, which is on track to finish a year ahead of schedule.
He began his career at the City of San Diego as a labor relations officer, eventually working his way up to human resources director in 2009. Prior to joining the City of San Diego, Chadwick served in the United States Army and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University.

Bob Bennett
Chief Innovation Officer, Kansas City

Bob Bennett became the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, in January 2016 after a 25-year career in the US Army.
Bob’s role in the Mayor’s office is to find solutions to help the city run efficiently and effectively. He leads the Smart City initiatives, a suite of projects including: data analysis, Public Wi-Fi, digital kiosk installation, and smart lighting programs in the city’s downtown core.
Kansas City’s initiatives earned an Edison Award (Gold) for “Collective Disruption” and civic innovation in 2017. Bob is currently working on plans to extend Smart City infrastructure throughout the 318 miles of KCMO with an emphasis on Digital Inclusion and partnering with Avis on deployment of the first fully Connected Vehicle Fleet in a municipality. As a West Point grad with degrees ranging from systems engineering to public communications, Bob is a natural problem solver.

Almis Udrys
Office of the Mayor of San Diego

Almis Udrys was appointed by Mayor Faulconer to establish the City of San Diego’s new Performance & Analytics Department. Almis brings to the department over a decade of local as well as statewide policy and operational experience. He began his career evaluating and improving state government operations at the California State Auditor’s office and then continued as a health care policy consultant for the State Legislature. Almis then served as a key strategist to legislative leadership in negotiating a bi-partisan budget agreement with the Schwarzenegger Administration that included pension reform and a rainy day fund ballot initiative.
More recently, while serving in various advisory roles at the City, Almis has delivered results on issues including open data, water diversification, strategic planning, economic development, and infrastructure funding. Almis has been a guest lecturer and panelist and has a master’s degree in public policy from Pepperdine University, as well as a bachelor of arts degree with highest honors in international business and Spanish from Hillsdale College. He is certified as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.