MetroLab Network Welcomes New Executive Director, Kate Garman Burns

MetroLab Network
3 min readJan 18, 2022

The Board of Directors and staff of MetroLab Network Inc. are pleased to announce that Kate Garman Burns will join the Organization as Executive Director effective Monday, January 31, 2022.

MetroLab Network is an international network of local government-university collaboratives focused on advancing civic research and innovation to improve social services, mobility options, urban spaces, public health, and more.

Kate Garman Burns joins MetroLab Network from Cityfi, a consultancy firm focused on fostering innovation and new thinking in the urban environment. At Cityfi, Kate developed policy and frameworks around data governance, privacy, future of work, and the gig economy. She also served as a project manager and subject matter expert on Cityfi projects, including developing a five-city cohort program with budget office, public works, and innovation leaders on budget resiliency.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas and a Juris Doctor from the Kansas City School of Law at the University of Missouri. Prior to joining Cityfi, she served as the Technology Policy Advisor to Mayor Jenny Durkan at the City of Seattle. Before then, she was the Smart City Coordinator in the City of Seattle’s Department of Information Technology working across city departments on smart city efforts, focusing on data-informed policymaking to improve city performance and further innovation. Kate also worked as an Innovation Policy Advisor in the Office of Mayor Sly James in Kansas City, MO. Kate lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband, son, and Josie the dog.

With 14 years of experience spanning government, non-profit and policy consulting in diverse capacities, Kate brings aboard unique perspectives and skill sets that will pivot MetroLab Network into a dazzling and promising future.

Standing on the solid foundations that MetroLab Network’s previous Executive Director, Ben Levine, and Interim Executive Director, Kim Lucas, have built, we are confident that Kate will advance the Organization’s achievements by strengthening existing membership and partnerships, pursuing bold programming strategies, and seeking new fundraising pathways. Kate’s vision for Metrolab will focus on both strengthening the core work of the organization, and growing programming and expertise that will bring value to its membership. Metrolab is an exchange place of ideas and can lead efforts that will help grow capacity for local government, strengthen the talent pipeline, forecast civic research needs, and bring partnership opportunities for universities.

Kate’s appointment concludes a six-month national search process led by MetroLab Network’s Board Chair, Bill Fulton. He shared, “We are thrilled that Kate is coming on board as Executive Director of MetroLab Network. In her previous roles, she’s been a part of the broader MLN family, and we are looking forward to working with her to take the organization to the next level.”

As our Interim Executive Director, Kim Lucas transitions into her new role as Professor of the Practice in Public Policy and Economic Justice at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, they will continue to serve as Senior Advisor at MetroLab Network to facilitate a smooth transition for the new Executive Director while also providing expert support on specific programs and projects.

We look forward to a flourishing future for MetroLab Network under Kate’s leadership. Please join MetroLab Network’s staff and Board of Directors in welcoming Kate Garman Burns!



MetroLab Network

35+ city-university pairs bringing data, analytics & innovation to city gov’t thru research, development & deployment. Launched at #WHSmartCities 2015