Michigan officials attending SXSW in Austin



(The Center Square) – Michigan officials traveled to Austin, Texas to speak at the SXSW festival’s Midwest House.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II is featured on a Tuesday panel while Michigan Chief Mobility Officer Justine Johnson will discuss “The Future of Air Travel: Innovation From the Ground Up.”

It’s unclear if the Michigan Economic Development Corp. or taxpayers are funding the trip and how much the trip will cost. The Center Square has filed a records request seeking the total cost.

Chief Growth Officer Hillary Doe, who makes $180,000 annually, will also attend.

MEDC officials and state leaders will hold sessions ranging from innovation, technology, and economic opportunities. Several Michigan-based outdoor recreation companies like Carhartt and Wolverine Worldwide will also be highlighted.

The MEDC is playing host to a panel featuring Juan Atkins, the founding father of techno and West Michigan tech founder and CEO, beverage entrepreneur and popular local DJ Andrea “Dre” Wallace followed by a happy hour showcasing Detroit-style pizza and Michigan beer.

“Michigan is the birthplace of countless innovations that have changed the way we all live and move through the world, and we’re showcasing some of those makers and creations at SXSW, while highlighting the incredible places and opportunities our state offers to live, work and build a life,” Doe said in a statement. “No matter what you’re into, there’s something for everyone in Michigan. Michigan’s presence at SXSW helps us to speak directly to the talent that we know can thrive in the Great Lakes State, whether they’re building their own company or supporting the vast number of Michigan’s existing tech leaders of all sizes and across industries. Our message is: Let’s grow!”

Doe, Gilchrist, and Johnson traveled to Austin while 53 Michigan businesses will attend virtually.

The festival’s demographic data show 62% of attendees are between the ages of 26 and 45, with 67% having a household income of at least $100,000. The main industries for total attendance in 2023 were marketing and advertising, creative industries, and computer technology.

The panel aims to raise awareness of Michigan’s unique places.

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