At-Large Position 4

Technology & Innovation Task Force

Mayor Sylvester Turner and Council Member Amanda Edwards assembled the Mayor’s Technology & Innovation Task Force to undertake the important task of further cultivating an ecosystem of technology and innovation in Houston. Specifically, the principal charge to the Task Force was to make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council regarding what must be done to attract and retain technology and innovation startups and related businesses to Houston, to help spark long-term growth of Houston’s innovation economy.

The Technology & Innovation Task Force was representative of a cross-section of Houstonians from different industries, backgrounds and points-of-view - encouraging the creation of a diverse set of strategic recommendations for the development of the necessary infrastructure to attract and retain the innovators of tomorrow to Houston. The Task Force was comprised of nine (9) members and three (3) advisory committee members, representative of our local major academic institutions.  The members of the Task Force included: John Reale, Jr. (Station Houston); Jeff Reichman (January Advisors); Bill McKeon (Texas Medical Center); Lori Vetters (Houston Technology Center); Gina Luna (Luna Strategies); Dan Jacobs (NASA); Aziz Gilani (Mercury Fund); Paul Cannings (RPH Consulting); Yael Hochberg (Rice); Ken Jones (University of Houston) and Carol Lewis (Texas Southern University).  The Task Force was chaired by John Reale, Jr., and took efforts to review third party research, engage in meaningful dialogue, and participate in local and national site visits in order to arrive at its recommendations for how to build a more robust ecosystem for technology and innovation in Houston.

More on the History of the Formation of the Technology & Innovation Task Force
During the FY 2017 budgetary cycle, the City of Houston faced a $160M deficit and relied heavily on austerity measures to address the shortfall.  In an effort to embrace a sustainable approach to addressing the economic needs of Houston, we sought to promote measures that may grow and strengthen our Houston economy as a whole.  Accordingly, Council Member Edwards put forth a budget amendment to cultivate technology and innovation in Houston through the creation of the Technology & Innovation Task Force.  The amendment passed in May, and the Mayor and Council Member Edwards are more than excited about the new and thoughtful recommendations that the Task Force will present in concert with its charge.