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The Intelligent Ecosystem Collaborative, the next phase of Connected Nashville, is a virtual symposium to bring together key stakeholders to discuss partnerships around grant-funded projects that address Metro Government’s challenges, support policy aims, and serve needs of the community with data science and technology-based innovations.

This engagement will position Metro to attract grants with the support of university partners who can help push the work forward. Initially we will leverage our partnership with the Vanderbilt CIVIC research center, with whom Metro has collaborated on initiatives such as TransitHub, which was partly funded by the National Science Foundation. In the future we expect to expand the conversation to other universities and non-governmental organizations.

Event Sessions

Who should attend: 

All Metro and Vanderbilt stakeholders participating in subsequent breakout sessions 


1. Opening statement- 5 minutes (Abhishek Dubey, CS Vanderbilt and Keith Durbin, Metro CIO)

  • Goal of the event
  • How to get the most out of the event
  • Examples of existing collaborations

2. Understanding the Metro perspective and Mayoral priorities- 10 minutes (Kristin Wilson, Metro Chief of Operations and Performance)

3. The CIVIC initiative and the importance of the smart and connected community research to Vanderbilt- 5 minutes (Philippe Fauchet, Vanderbilt Dean of Engineering)

4. On the Horizon: New Opportunities for Collaborative Innovation- 5 minutes (Padma Raghavan, Vice Provost of Research)

5. Opportunities and Impact of Collaboration at Scale – The MoveVU perspective (5 minutes) (Eric Kopstain, Vice Chancellor for Administration)

6. The smart and connected community vision of the National Science Foundation- 5 minutes (Jonathan Sprinkle, ex program manager NSF and current professor of CS at Vanderbilt)

7. Session Breakouts- 10 minutes (Colleen Herndon, Metro ITS GIS & Data Insights Division Manager)

  • Expectations
  • Preparation

8. Q & A- 15 minutes

Continued focus on Metro’s mobility and transportation growth, including:

  • Traffic mitigation and safety
  • Transportation carbon reduction and air quality
  • Multimodal integration
  • AI and public transit
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Mobility and transportation planning

Faculty Leads: 

Metro Participants: 

  • Brad Freeze, Nashville Department of Transportation, Chief Engineer
  • Dan Freudberg, WeGo Public Transit, Deputy COO for Operations Systems
  • Marty Sewell, Nashville Department of Transportation & Multimodal Infrastructure (NDOT), Planning Manager
  • Abdelghani Barre, Metro Social Services, Director of Strategic Planning and Research

Past Projects: 

Cooperation and information sharing among Metro agencies, academia, local businesses, community serving organizations and residents, particularly those most marginalized, to support:

  • Modernized transit for access and equity across the community
  • Fairness in government decision-making
  • Equitable education and attainment opportunities
  • Broadband equity and digital inclusion
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

Faculty Leads: 

Metro Participants

  • Cynthia Croom, Metropolitan Action Commission, Executive Director
  • Mark Eatherly, Metro Human Relations Commission, Director of Special Projects
  • Pearl Amanfu, Metro Information Technology Services, Executive Project Manager
  • Dr. Garrett Harper, Metropolitan Social Services, Senior Analyst
  • Sneh Pravinkumar Patel, Finance (Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), Research Analyst

Past Projects: 

Social awareness, outreach and services: Cross-agency collaboration and a community engagement approach to support a safe, happy, and culturally vibrant city – a city that is proactively equipped to equitably respond to emergency situations and disasters through the responsible use of data and technology while also respecting persons of all socio-economic status, race, religion, etc. in daily public safety interactions, and maintaining personal privacy through transparency and openness of data and decision making.

Focus Areas:

  • Public safety solutions
  • Emergency services
  • Disaster response
  • Community engagement
  • Social services

Faculty Leads: 

Metro Participants: 

  • Carlos Lara, Commander, Metro Nashville Police Department
  • Kelly Cantrell, Lieutenant, Metro Nashville Police Department
  • John Buntin, Director of Policy/ Community Safety, Office of Mayor John Cooper, Metro Nashville-Davidson County
  • Chief Will Swann, Fire Chief, Metro 
  • Kelly Napier, Nashville Fire Department, Captain, Data Services-  Division presenting on behalf of Chief Swann
  • Stephen Martini, Director, Department of Emergency Communications
  • William Bessette - Metro Social Services, Social and Economic Research Associate

Past Projects: 

Use of actionable insights and smart systems to monitor and manage resource efficiency in new and existing buildings, monitor environmental quality, mitigate public health crises, and detect and address environmental variables for sustainability, resilience, and positive public health outcomes.

Focus areas:

  • Resilience and reliability in electricity, buildings, water infrastructure
  • Residential and commercial energy audits and management
  • Electric fleet
  • Stormwater infrastructure for flood mitigation

Faculty Leads: 

Metro Participants: 

  • Scott Potter, Water and Sewer, Director
  • Laurel Creech, General Services, Assistant Director Sustainability
  • Kendra Abkowitz, Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer, Office of Mayor John Cooper, Metro Nashville-Davidson County
  • Greg Claxton, Planning Dept, Manager, Advanced Planning & Research Division
  • Lawrence Hutchison, Fire Department, Fire Marshal
  • Dr. Garrett Harper, Metropolitan Social Services, Senior Analyst

Past Projects: 



  • Build connections that give us the advantage when it comes to grant opportunities
  • Confirm our shared priority areas
  • Explore grant opportunities
  • Create space for collaboration
  • Establish communication channels with the right people who can take action within Metro departments and Universities 


  • Access to researchers who have experience with using technology to address similar challenges to those that Metro faces
  • The ability to take advantage of grant opportunities with the support of university partners with the resources to develop successful proposals for funding


  • Access to a network of stakeholders who can identify real, existing challenges
  • Opportunity to build long-term partnerships to enhance opportunities to pursue grants and enable quicker, more nimble movement on funding opportunities


  • Confirm your interest in participating
  • Begin thinking about problems that your department has identified that can be solved using technology and data
  • Identify someone from your department who can speak specifically about your department, your work and the services you provide and identified challenges that can potentially be solved through innovative technology and analysis


The Vanderbilt CIVIC (City Innovation through the Vanderbilt Initiative for Infrastructure Connectivity) research center is a multidisciplinary group that works with communities and cities to develop smart and connected technological solutions with an emphasis on equitable social and policy impact that address the challenges faced by Nashville. This center is an extension of the earlier VISOR center, established in 2016 as a partnership between Metro Government and Vanderbilt University, who collaborated on several projects addressing the challenges of public transit, public emergency systems and public transportation.

connected nashville


Past Events