Guest Speakers


Debbie Cotton, Chief Information Officer, City of Phoenix

Debbie Cotton is the City of Phoenix, Chief Information Officer where she is responsible for the daily operation of the organizations technology and business systems. Ms. Cotton manages a staff of 175 employees and a budget of $37 million. Her current projects include upgrading the city’s telephone system, email system, big data platforms and implementing shared services delivery programs aimed at consolidating technology systems and streamlining services. Previously, Ms. Cotton served as the director of the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues, where she managed a staff of 240 employees and a budget of $47.5 million. She served as the city’s chief representative to the state’s tourism and hospitality industry. Ms. Cotton has also served as director of the Phoenix Public Transit Department. Her professional career includes more than 23 years of local government experience. In 2010, Ms. Cotton co-chaired the city’s Innovation and Efficiency Task Force, which has saved more than $40 million citywide to date through cost-cutting and service streamlining. Ms. Cotton began her professional career with Xerox Corporation where she worked with Fortune 500 corporations to implement technology solutions to improve business productivity. In addition, she worked with the Resolution Trust Corporation, as an IT professional. Chief among Ms. Cotton’s interests is a passion for public service. She believes that success in local government programs comes from staying citizen-focused, seeking innovative practices to save taxpayer dollars and motivating employees.

Kris Easton manages local market strategic relationships with Google Fiber and is the current Chair of the Google American Indian Network (GAIN). He is also a Trustee for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). His most pressing and impactful challenge is his role as a father of three young girls.


Sascha Meinrath is the founder and director of X-Lab, a future-focused technology policy and innovation project. He is described as a "community Internet pioneer" and an "entrepreneurial visionary." In 2008, Sascha founded the Open Technology Institute (OTI), and he has been an unapologetic advocate for consumers and a counterweight to the major telecom and wireless industry lobbies for over half-a-decade in Washington, DC. Meinrath also joined Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, to create Measurement Lab (M-Lab) –- a platform for researchers around the world to deploy Internet measurement tools and empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections. He coordinated the Open Source Wireless Coalition, dedicated to the development of open source, interoperable, low-cost wireless technologies, and hosts the annual International Summit for Community Wireless Networks (IS4CWN). Sascha is an Ashoka Fellow and was named to the “TIME Tech 40” in 2013 as one of the most influential figures in technology and the “Top 100” in Newsweek's Digital Power Index in 2012. Sascha’s work is a testament to his lifelong commitment to reducing poverty, racial inequality, and injustice.

Dr. Traci Morris, Director of the American Indian Policy Institute

Traci Morris, Ph.D., is the Director of the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University. Morris, a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, is co-editor of Native American Voices: A Reader, and co-author of the study New Media, Technology and Internet Use in Indian Country. In 2010, as a tribal telecommunication policy expert she served on the Consumer Affairs Commission for the FCC. Morris is also an entrepreneur and founded Homahota Consulting LLC, which provides business consultation services to organizations, Tribes, and governments, including Tribal governments.

Wellington "Duke" Reiter, FAIA, Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability

Wellington "Duke" Reiter, FAIA, is the Senior Advisor to the President of Arizona State University with particular focus on university/city integration. He also coordinates specific initiatives related to higher education, healthcare, and sustainability. Reiter has played numerous roles: community leader, academic administrator, faculty member, architect, urban designer, and public artist. Central to his diverse portfolio of experience has been the construction of mutually beneficial relationships between the institutions he has led and the cities in which they are located. Reiter is particularly interested in the economic, cultural, and sustainability of major US metro areas and the engagement of the top tier colleges and universities that are embedded within them. Mr. Reiter was a key player in the conceptualization and creation of the award-winning Downtown Phoenix Campus for ASU. Reiter is the past President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the former Dean of the College of Design at Arizona State University, and a long-time faculty member at MIT in the Department of Architecture. He is the Chair of the Urban Land Institute in Arizona and is a national Trustee of the organization. A monograph on Reiter’s work, Vessels and Fields, is available from Princeton Architectural Press.

Bob Worsley, Arizona State Senator

Bob Worsley is an Arizona State Senator representing District 25. He is Chair of the Transportation Committee and a member of the Judiciary and the Commerce & Workforce Development committees. He initiated, an online civic engagement program in conjunction with the Secretary of State, to encourage citizen participation in the legislative process by creating a convenient resource for people to learn about and track bills of interest going through the legislature. Participants in AZ Voices can offer online comments and suggestions for Arizona. Bob founded NZ Legacy in 2002, a land, mineral and energy development company, and developed a 27 megawatt biomass generating plant in Snowflake Arizona, providing a green source of electricity to 27,000 homes in the White Mountains. He founded SkyMall in 1989. Ten years after founding SkyMall, he was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst and Young.

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