When New Economy platforms collide with regulatory systems, you gotta call Matt Curtis. A former right hand to the immediate past two Austin mayors, Matt has decades of experience working on municipal initiatives and best practices in a rapidly-changing city. Most recently, Matt served as Head of Global Affairs and Public Policy for HomeAway and Expedia where he collaborated with government officials and community leaders around the world to create best practices and broadly beneficial regulatory and compliance policies for short-term rentals.
In 2017 he formed Smart City Policy Group with other former policy makers to bridge the divide between the innovation economy and local government. From short-term rentals to ride-hailing apps, people are working and traveling in fundamentally new ways, and local and state governments are struggling to adapt regulations. Smart City Policy Group works closely with both corporate and community leaders to collaborate on systems that deliver the broadest benefit to all stakeholders.
Matt has served on the United States Conference of Mayors Business Council, the National League of Cities Corporate Council, the Sharing Economy Advisory Network, the Travel Technology Association board and the Vacation Rental Management Association board.
Matt also is a trained facilitator with 15 years of experience helping to connect and resolve potentially conflicting interests.
Smart City Policy Group is the culmination of Matt’s experience, skills and passion.
Locally – In Austin and Central Texas
Matt Curtis is close to a native Austinite – he’s lived in the area since he was 8 years old.
Today, Matt, his wife Christie and their daughter, are very active in the community. Matt and Christie believe volunteerism is a family affair – so, they engage their daughter in many civic activities. Together Matt and Christie have served on multiple boards including Meals on Wheels, Leadership Austin, Communities in Schools and Austin Pets Alive. Recently, Matt and Christie served as chairs for annual fundraisers including Food for Thought, the Red Cross and Leadership Austin’s annual fundraiser, Best Party Ever.
Matt was named Austinite of the Year by AU40, and served on the finance committee for the 2020 mobility bond.
Jamie Michel is a seasoned policy advocate consulting with vacation rental stakeholders, policy makers, travel leaders and real estate groups on related issues facing communities today.
Jamie owned a small restaurant before managing a mid-sized property management company and championed the creation of a statewide vacation rental industry coalition called VIA Oregon. A licensed realtor since 1995, Jamie has a passion for real property rights and assisting City, County and State officials to craft policy solutions based on best practices. Jamie has experience in campaign project management and uses her background and experience to achieve stakeholder engagement.
Jamie has been the chairwoman of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging (ORLA) Central Oregon Coast Hospitality Alliance committee, serves on the Government Affairs Committee at the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) and a multitude of other destination management organization (DMO) boards and government affairs groups.
When she’s not advocating you can find Jamie and her dog Remy kayaking on the spectacular waterways in Oregon.
Jeff Coffee served as City Councilmember and City Administrator in Buda, Texas, an immediate neighbor to Austin, and a small community experiencing extremely rapid growth. Jeff adeptly navigated Buda through the financial, political and policy challenges of a community in transition.
During his service in Buda, the Elgin City Council recruited Jeff to serve as City Manager. Elgin was a historically rural community experiencing the pressures of growth in Central Texas. Under Jeff’s leadership, the City of Elgin rose to a position of regional prominence though proactively protecting the character of the community while planning and preparing for growth. Elgin transitioned from an agriculture-based economy to a City vying to be the terminus of the Austin transit authority service area and a community experiencing successful economic growth and thoughtful land-use changes.
In addition to his political and public policy experience, Jeff holds a BA in Political Science from UCLA, a JD from the University of Houston, is licensed to practice law in the Texas and manages a vacation rental property and event venue on his ancestorial homestead. His vacation rental industry and legal background coupled with his local government political, public policy and management experience makes Jeff uniquely situated to guide Smart City Policy Group clients through the ever evolving regulatory landscape.
Mr. Royce R. Dennis is an Austin, TX entrepreneur and has led business practices for over twenty years. Royce has envisioned technology-infused techniques that are innovative and SMART-tested. One of his business pursuits, Vision Body Texas supports the vision of Smart City Policy Group. Royce is the President and CEO of Vision Body Texas. Vision Body Texas uses EMS technology that shapes and strengthens the body by reducing a 3-hour workout into 30 minutes. He also serves as Head Track and Field Coach at Huston-Tillotson University. His program encompasses Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field.
Royce has engaged in strategic fundraising, soliciting over 400k in annual donations to support capital projects and student support grants. Royce has worked with nonprofit organizations and maintains a directory of community business partners and community builders.
Royce serves as a consultant for Smart City Policy Group, dedicated to the promotion
and counsel for potential partners and stakeholders.
A sixth generation Austinite, Lily Zamarripa-Saenz, follows in the footsteps of a long line of family members who have made a difference in the city she loves and calls home. She has worked on local campaigns, most recently the Austin Mayoral campaign. Much of her background includes partnering with non-profit organizations in hopes to improve communities throughout the Austin Metropolitan Area. Always met with a smile on her face, Lily enjoys connecting with individuals one on one to meet client needs.
Georgia Huffman works on the creation of policy, as well as policy research and advocacy, with a focus on issues surrounding the new innovation economy. As a member of the Smart City Policy Team, she has been involved in the creation of economic impact, housing, and cost of compliance research.
Sandhya Raghavan is currently a student majoring in International Relations and Global Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. At Smart City Policy Group, Sandhya works on advocacy, policy research and policy creation related to issues facing cities and the new innovation economy. She has previously worked as an intern at the Texas Legislature. She is interested in the intersection of business and public policy and hopes to learn more at Smart City Policy Group.
Kendall Madden works on advocacy, policy research, and policy creation related to issues facing cities and the new innovation economy. As part of the Smart City Policy Team, she has dived into economic impact, housing, and cost of compliance research. In the past, she has done research for the University of Texas at Austin and was a student assistant for OnRamps.
Jennifer Hosterman comes to us with breadth and depth in public service in local, state and national government. Jennifer was first elected to the Pleasanton City Council in 2002, followed by serving eight years as the Mayor of this city – population 72,000. In that time, she served on many boards and commissions related to transportation, housing, energy, water issues, air quality, and more. She co-Chaired the Mayors Water Council for the United States Conference of Mayors, and worked on the Mayors’ behalf to update and streamline the Environmental Protection Agency’s framework for addressing combined sewer overflow regulations. She was appointed to serve on the Local Government Advisory Committee to the EPA by Secretary Lisa Jackson, and later by Bob Perciasepe and Gina McCarthy.
Following public service, Jennifer worked as a consultant/advocate for water companies looking to partner with cities to update their water policy and infrastructure. She is a tough negotiator who has proven ability to move the ball forward at all levels of government.
Jennifer has a degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco, and a Juris Doctorate from the John F. Kennedy University School of Law. She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognition for her work.
Jennifer is married to Mike Hosterman, a personal injury attorney in Pleasanton. They have three daughters and sons-in-law who are all in careers benefiting people and the environment. Jennifer loves to read, cook, and run. She is a long time student of mycology, because any life form that has its own kingdom is worthy of study. She is also a Master Falconer, and hunts rabbits with her Harris’ hawk.
Jonathan M. Orloff is the founder and president of Capitol Partners, Inc. Mr. Orloff began his career on Capitol Hill, serving first as professional staff to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopolies and later to the full Senate Judiciary Committee.
He also worked as legislative assistant and senior staffer to the late Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, where he was primarily responsible for appropriations legislation.
Mr. Orloff served in Sen. Kennedy’s 1980 White House bid as coordinator for New England issues and as statewide campaign manager for North Carolina. In 1986, Mr. Orloff joined Cassidy and Associates as its fourth principal. He was critical in the firm’s expansion and development for the next ten years. He founded Capitol Partners, Inc. in 1999.
Mr. Orloff is also the founder of the American Shipbuilding Suppliers Association (ASSA), a domestic industry lobby which works with the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, and Congress itself to fulfill the federal government’s naval supply needs.
Throughout his career in public affairs, Mr. Orloff has been active in national Democratic politics. He served on the National Finance Council of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and on the board of the Fund for a Democratic Majority.
Mr. Orloff received a B.A. from Georgetown University in 1977 and a J.D. from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University in 1983. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Don Pitts is the Founder of Sound Music Cities, which finds practical solutions to sound issues and grows music economies for entertainment cities across the country. Before that, he spent 30 years working in the music and entertainment industry, notably as head of the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department’s Music and Entertainment Division. There, he spearheaded the regulatory reform effort and developed a new way of understanding sound and noise ordinances. This resulted in the reduction of music complaints 70% during his tenure, and his nickname, “The Sound Whisperer.”
When it comes to the music industry, this Nashville-born Austinite has done it all, including managing bands and venues, handling entertainment relations for Gibson Guitar, co-founding the North American Music Cities Summit, and working in the public sector. This unique background informs Don’s ability to balance the needs of the music industry with those of the community; his policies and recommendations support musicians and venues, as well as businesses and residents.
After just one conversation with Don, it will become evident that he has a special combination of political know-how, street-smarts and active listening skills—three crucial parts of connecting the dots in a large music ecosystem project. He always brings a fresh, unbiased perspective and listens for patterns and themes unique to the city. Above all else, Don works alongside clients as a partner, digging deep into the foundational issues that make or break a sound music economy. Driven by the belief that venues and neighborhoods can and should coexist, he’ll give a clear and actionable path forward.
When he’s not advising cities on music-related business or devoting his time to enhancing the quality of the Austin music(ian) experience, Don is adding to his collection of rare and vintage western shirts.