3 Reasons why #ELGL was the most fun local gov has had in ages

3 Reasons Why #ELGL17 Was the Most Fun Local Gov Has Had in Ages

Just a few months ago, my team and I were introduced to Kirsten Wyatt, Executive Director of ELGL. After a few emails back and forth, we knew the ELGL community was one ViewPoint had to be a part of. In no time, we found ourselves sharing content with each others’ subscribers and even planning a joint podcast featuring Dan Ralley of Upper Arlington, OH (another conference attendee!) on Customer Service & ePermitting.

Fast forward a few weeks, and we started hearing about #ELGL17, their annual conference for local government employees. We jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the event and to give back to ELGL for all of their efforts helping us feel welcomed in their community.

As #ELGL17 was looming, I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself (or ViewPoint) into. This wasn’t your average govtech conference. I was about to be in the heart of downtown Detroit with a room full of local govies, all by myself. I’m an outgoing person but I had no idea what to expect because I had never worked in local government.

ELGL proved me so wrong. From Happy Hour on day one to the rooftop party at the very end, ELGL is out to prove that local government is not only energized to lead, they are doing so in a creative and spunky way. Their commitment to unifying, educating, and engaging local government employees and vendors—fostering real, active partnerships—shows this forward-thinking mindset. This isn’t what you see at a typical association conference.

What was so great about #ELGL17? Let me tell you.

1. Detroit is Definitely the Comeback City

Every preconceived notion that I may have had about Detroit was squashed the moment I set foot in their airport. It – along with downtown Detroit – are stunning! It’s a beautiful city with some of the most amazing architecture I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been quite a few places. From coffee shops and brunch spots to museums and speakeasies, all housed inside gorgeous buildings that haven’t changed since the 20s. Beauty aside, Detroit has quite a few incredible projects in the works as well.

On the first official day of the conference, I went on the Neighborhood Revitalization Tour led by Motor City Java House. It was an opportunity for Detroit to show off the local businesses and organizations working in the realm of food sustainability and community engagement. The three we visited were Artesian Farms, Good Cakes and Bakes, and Artist Village Detroit (a piece of which is pictured below).

I also had the pleasure of meeting Rick Cole, the City Manager of Santa Monica, CA who we interviewed earlier this year alongside Nigel Jacob.

Moving into the last day of the conference, I sat in on a morning session titled, “Healthy Food In Detroit: A Public-Private Partnership” and learned more about how the City of Detroit is partnering with private organizations to provide farm-fresh produce to the city. Not only that, but they’re expanding in a (really) big way, with plans to build their marketplaces out in different areas of Detroit that have seen better days.

I’m so excited to see what Detroit does next. I’m delighted that I had the opportunity to get to know the people and places behind making this city a better place for everyone.

2. ELGL Sponsors are Versatile

A week before the conference, I decided to collaborate with a few of our fellow sponsors to put together a handful of live stream Twitter chats on several topics important to local govies. I opened it up to everyone and these four companies raised their hands to join me in putting together what ended up being one of my favorite parts of the conference. Each one of the four companies that we partnered with had something to share with listeners about how to better utilize resources available to them but I’ll leave it to the experts to tell you more.

Angelica Wedell | Marketing Manager, National Research Center
“Taking Action on Public Opinion Data”

Matthew Crozier | CEO, Bang the Table
“Why You Should Engage Your Community and the Tools to Do So”

Ed Krafcik | Director, Strategic Partnerships & Business Development, Soofa
“How to Responsibly Deploy IoT in Public Spaces”

Reed Deucy-Gibbs | Co-founder & COO, NextRequest
“Improving Your Records Requests Process”

3. Local Govies are Way Cooler than Me

I’m not saying that I didn’t expect it. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect at all when it came to meeting 100+ innovative, forward-thinking local govies, but I was blown away. The people who came to this conference and those who make up the larger community of ELGL are different. They truly care about what happens in their communities and look to learn from other communities about how to make meaningful change. Whether they’re from the infamous #ELGLSconnie crew or made famous via one of Angela Wedell’s flattering selfies, this crew of forward-thinking and innovative people will be the ones leading the charge for change across the country in the coming years.

To put it simply, I walked away from this conference with a few new good friends and a lot of hope for the future of local government.

ELGL is making big waves in an industry that needs spirited newcomers. Click To Tweet We’re proud and humbled to have been a part of the magic that happened that week in Detroit. We look forward to partnering with ELGL and their member communities and vendors for many years to come.

From a Detroit-lover and no-longer-lost local government techie, I’ll see you next year!

Read: ViewPoint Jumps to 13th on ELGL’s Top 50 Local Government Companies

Conferences, Government Innovation, ViewPoint Partners

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