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ATXelerator announces 7th Consecutive Cohort of Future-focused Policy Leaders

Updated: Jan 25


AUSTIN, TX – For the seventh consecutive year, the ATXelerator will field a class of 25 talented Austinites from districts across the city to learn about Austin city government and the value of future-focused policy to plan for the city’s long-term future success.


“I am extremely impressed with the quality class our board and alumni were able to recruit for the 2024 ATXelerator class,” said ATXelerator founder and executive director Ward Tisdale. “With backgrounds in technology, law, government, nonprofits and real estate, among other professions, this cohort represents council districts from all parts of the city and brings a lot of excitement and expertise to the table.”


The ATXelerator class starts January 5, 2024 with opening weekend activities including:


  • An Esther’s Follies performance

  • History of Austin by Michael Barnes of the Austin American Statesman

  • Media panel on current council affairs

  • Scooter Tour of mixed-use development in the UT West Campus area

  • Red Line tour led by Capital Metro

  • Future of Austin Demographic Presentation by the Austin City Demographer’s Office

  • City Council Panel Discussion with Council Members Vanessa Fuentes & Zo Qadri

  • City Government Overview by Austin Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo

  • Mayor Kirk Watson


January 10 marks the first of 10 weekly Wednesday evening sessions taught by experts in the fields of transportation, land use, utilities, economic development, homelessness, diversity and social equity, campaigning and a variety of other issues intended to prepare future candidates and city board and commission members. The ATXelerator has a closing Saturday of class project presentations on homelessness, affordability and mobility in April. Following the class projects, class members engage in a pitch-style competition before an expert panel of judges and a public event for contest finalists.


When this cohort concludes its class in April, the ATXelerator will have an alumni base of more than 175 Austinites, including more than 30 current or former city board and commission members, three council candidates and District 2 City Councilmember Vanessa  Fuentes serving on the city council. 


The ATXelerator, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2017, is the only elected office candidate recruitment engine in Austin. It is designed to identify, mentor and promote the next generation of future-focused leaders interested in public service. The 25 individuals selected for the Class of 2024 have a standout dedication and commitment to the future success of Austin and to serving our community through public service.


The 2024 class includes:


District 1

  • Brianna Evans

  • Valerie Figlin, Meta

  • Caroline Gorman, Leon Cosgrove Jimenez, LLP

  • Manveena Singh, Dell Technologies

  • Brian Wheat, TLC


District 2

  • Steven Apodaca, TSG Consulting


District 3

  • Chloe Chiang, Chloe Chiang Real Estate

  • Michael Cowles, U.S. Department of Justice

  • Liani Lye, Open Austin


District 4

  • Maria Brown-Spence, Hearts2Heal

  • Jules Mandel, Disruptor Collaborative

  • Andre Shavers, Cadence Bank

  • Jonathan Thompson, Sunsational Solutions


District 7

  • Ramsey Bissex, City of Austin

  • Andrew Griffin, Make ATXhome


District 8

  • Peter Breton, Capital Metro

  • Luis Osta Lugo, Valencian Digital

  • Maria Yuan, FUSE Corps


District 9

  • Alexander Cantwell, Cartograph Ventures

  • Bobby Joe Dale, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

  • Caitlin Gary, Capital Growth Real Estate

  • Chris Merron, Apple

  • Jen Weaver, Vivid Development

  • Philip Wiley, IBM (ret’d)


District 10

  • Elizabeth Adams, Urbanspace Real Estate

  • Christian Tschoepe, Zendesk


About the ATXelerator

The mission of the ATXelerator is to identify and prepare future-focused leaders for public service and educate the community about solutions that will improve Austin's quality of life for generations to come. The program aims to encourage citizens to pursue and prepare for elected office and board/commission service through a technology accelerator model. For more information, please visit www.atxelerator.org.

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