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.
Georgia is known for her enthusiasm to execute decisive public policy initiatives, including her work to pass Direct Access bill H.B. 29, a proposal that had vexed policymakers for nearly thirty years. Georgia accomplished this through a positive strategy of new, innovative, tactics.
Georgia serves as Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Smart City Policy Group, a government and public solutions firm working to help bridge the divide between cities and states and the innovative economy.
At Smart City Policy Group, she focuses on policy solutions for some of the biggest challenges facing cities, including; new regulations on land-use, micro-mobility, air taxis, short-term rentals, transit solutions, urban re-development and more.
Prior to joining the team, Georgia served in Public Policy roles with Ensign Services and the Texas Physical Therapy Association where she worked on a variety of state legislation including her work to pass a previously challenging bill on Direct Access, H.B. 29 – which allows patients direct access to treatment by a Physical Therapist.
Georgia served in the U.S. House of Representative House Democratic Caucus, and in the office of U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett where she aided press and media operations, monitored policy efforts and supported constituent service and outreach efforts.
Through her roles, Georgia is consistently described as, “an enthusiastic problem solver”. At Smart City Policy Group she is helping to solve policy challenges for cities and states as they address the innovative economy.
Jeff 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.
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.
Bob Lander was the President and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau for 15 years until July of 2016. Prior to coming to Austin, Bob served as the Executive Vice President for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau and spent more than 15 years in the hotel industry with experience as Vice President Sales and Marketing, General Manager, and other related positions for companies such as Ramada Hotels, Stouffer Hotels and Resorts and Renaissance Hotels.
Bob is active in several industry related organizations. He was a board member of the Austin Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), Professional Conference Management Association (PCMA), and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). He served on the Board of Directors of the United States Travel Association and their Policy Council. Lander is the immediate past Chairman of the Destination Marketing Association where he served on the board for several years. Last year he was recognized with the Spirit of Hospitality Award by the Austin hospitality community for his efforts in advancing Austin into worldwide prominence as a destination.
Bob has worked closely over the years with federal, state and local governments in recognizing and developing the cultural and economic benefits of tourism.
Bob continues to serve on the Board of Directors of Destination Marketing Association International, is an Executive Consultant with Searchwide, Inc., the most prominent executive search firm in the hospitality industry, and also with MDS London, a creative marketing agency specializing in travel and entertainment brands. Lander is also excited to continue his work in helping to develop the relationships with new economy companies, communities and stakeholders with the Smart City Policy Group.
Bob splits his time between Austin and Traverse City, Michigan. He holds a B.A. Degree in Business Administration from Sam Houston State University. He is originally from Waco, Texas and is married with two grown sons.
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.