This blog is written by one of 15 individuals attending the South By Southwest Conference in Austin with the intention to bring back ideas and to reimagine Richland County.
Before our team left for Austin, TX Cameron Haring shared an article that explained how a Congressman from Ohio partnered with venture capitalists to take them out of their natural habitat (Silicon Valley) and bring them to the Midwest. Something magical happened on that trip.
The venture capitalists fell in love with the Midwest. The space we have, the affordable housing and the overall nice people we tend to produce here.
Reading this article made me want to get Mansfield on the list for Congressman Ryan’s next bus trip. Maybe we can make an industry out of this, like a safari trip for big-city dwellers? But I’m getting ahead of myself.
My first session of the day was called “Big and Small: How Makers Are Rebuilding America’s Cities” and Ryan was center stage. The panel spoke about the importance of makers in legacy cities and the inherent diversity in this group.
Chamber President, Jodie Perry asked the question, “What were your takeaways from your bus trip and how does Mansfield get in on Round 2?”
Ryan responded, “I’m impressed with the Foundation to get people thinking differently and send people to SXSW to see what’s going on and bring that back that’s really important to bring it all back. To me, that’s the most exciting thing happening.”
“You turn on the TV and say ‘What is happening with our country? And then you go to Mansfield... and you say, ‘There’s some serious stuff going on that’s real and how do we throw gas on it?’" he continued.
After the session, Jodie, myself and Maura Teynor spoke with Congressman Ryan about #SXSW419, and he expressed excitement and willingness to be helpful with the project, and hopefully we will see a bus load of investors and interested parties riding through town someday.
Stay tuned and follow the progress via #SXSW419. And watch for more blogs at richlandsource.com/rising_from_rust/sxsw.