LOCAL NEWS

Mayor forms Innovation Advisory Council to address city’s crises

Aug 3, 2018, 7:39 AM

Many have asked where Seattle’s largest companies and the business community have been as the city faces multiple crises. Apparently, they’ve been talking with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

“Working together, we have to seize the opportunity to address our shared challenges in new and innovative ways,” Mayor Durkan said. “Seattle and the surrounding Puget Sound region have the most innovative companies, right here in our own backyard. Bringing them together to address our pressing affordability crises will help us find and implement long-lasting, positive change that will help to improve our city.”

Durkan signed an executive order Thursday, establishing the Innovation Advisory Council that will tackle Seattle’s affordability and homelessness crises. The group is comprised of the area’s largest companies. It will develop policy recommendations to counter Seattle’s woes using data and technology.

The new council was announced at Zillow Group’s Seattle office.

Initial members of the innovative council feature the city’s tech elite: Aman Bhutani, President for Brand Expedia Group; Andrew Beers, Chief Technology Officer for Tableau; Trish Millines Dziko, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Technology Access Foundation; Tonya Peck, Senior VP and General Manager for Artefact Group.

RELATED: Is history to blame for Seattle’s affordability problem?

“I am excited to see this group come together and look forward to rolling up our sleeves, setting aside any differences, and getting to work,” Expedia’s Aman Bhutani said. “…. The Seattle tech community has the attention of the world. At Expedia Group, our purpose is to bring the world within reach and we think we can make some significant contributions to the Innovation Advisory Council.”

Durkan’s office notes there are initial commitments to the new council from Amazon, Artefact Group, Expedia Group, Flying Fish, Microsoft, Tableau, Technology Access Foundation, Washington Technology Industry Association, and Zillow Group.

The group’s first meeting is expected to be no later than Sept. 21.

According to Durkan’s order:

The IAC shall include representation by community members and businesses with an expertise in technology solutions, transportation and mobility, logistics, project management, engineering, data analytics and/or software development. The IAC shall have co-chairs, all of whom shall be designated by the Mayor prior to the first convening of the group. The IAC shall include representation of a wide array of community members and businesses from across the city, as well as participation by under-represented businesses and community members including women, immigrants, refugees, people of color and the LGBTQ community.

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Mayor forms Innovation Advisory Council to address city’s crises