Who Are America's City Chief Data Officers?

By Data-Smart City Solutions • December 7, 2020

As the use of data is growing in government, the need for data leadership is increasing in tandem. This data leadership takes very different forms in different governments, featuring a range of titles, organizational locations, and responsibilities. In an effort to bring some clarity to this field, we have compiled this preliminary list of executive-level data positions across the country. Please contact us to add or revise your city’s information.

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Boston

Name: Stefanie Costa-Leabo
Title: Chief Data Officer
Appointed: March 2019
Organizational Location: Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), reporting to the Chief Information Officer
Responsibilities:  Boston's CDO leads the Citywide Analytics Team, working across the city to expand the use of analytics and visualization to improve city governance. 
Sample Initiatives:

  • CityScore is an initiative to aggregate key performance metrics into one number that shows how the city is doing.

  • The Knight Foundation-funded Open Data to Open Knowledge is a Boston DoIT partnership with the Public Library to turn Boston's open data collection into a resource that the public can more easily access. 

  • Building Intelligence is a tool to help firefighters access building hazard data en route to emergencies.

Website: https://www.boston.gov/departments/analytics-team
Open Data Sitehttps://data.boston.gov/
Performance Measurement Sitehttps://www.boston.gov/finance/boston-about-results and https://www.boston.gov/cityscore
GitHub: https://github.com/CityOfBoston 

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Charlotte

Name: Rebecca Hefner
Title: Data & Analytics Director 
Appointed: July 2017
Organizational Location: Office of Data & Analytics, an initiative of the City Manager’s Office, reports to Assistant City Manager
Responsibilities: The City of Charlotte is are putting its data to work – to meet strategic goals, solve challenging problems, build a more effective government, and improve outcomes for the people who live and work in the community. The Data & Analytics Director is charged to champion, coordinate, and facilitate the use of data and evidence as a shared strategic resource, in support of city strategy, operational problem-solving, and a collaborative and innovative citywide business model.
Sample Initiatives:

  • Vision Zero – identify areas most impacted by traffic collisions (High-Injury Network and Communities of Concern); create crash profiles by combining information about the collision, the people involved, the contributing factors, and the context of the roadway and surrounding environment into one model; match profiles with evidence-based countermeasures.

  • Quality of Life Explorer – mcmap.org/qol - Charlotte’s neighborhood indicators project – an online dashboard with over 80 variables depicting the social, housing, economic, environmental and safety conditions across 462 neighborhood areas in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County

  • OpEx Academy – charlottenc.gov/opex - Charlotte’s robust, peer-led training program to help City staff discover the value of data, what it means, and how to put it to work to find collaborative and creative solutions. OpEx Academy offers courses in a wide range of topics including data analysis and data management, problem-solving and decision-making with data, process improvement, and data visualization and storytelling.

  • Work with the Behavioral Insights Team to improve compliance with Charlotte’s bulky item regulations.

Open Data Site: http://data.charlottenc.gov/

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Chicago

Name: Nicholas Lucius 
Title: Chief Data Officer
Appointed: December 2019
Organizational Location: Department of Innovation and Technology, reporting to the Chief Information Officer
Responsibilities: Chicago’s CDO oversees the city’s open data portal, advanced analytics team, and data and business intelligence teams. The CDO also leads Chicago’s strategic use of data to improve operational efficiency and residents’ quality-of-life.
Sample Initiatives

  • OpenGrid: OpenGrid, designed by Schenk’s team and a host of local partners, serves as a geographic information system that presents a unified view of city data, past and present, across a map of Chicago. OpenGrid gives residents the ability to visualize and understand city data to a level far beyond the current data portal, greatly enhancing transparency efforts between the city and public. As on open-source technology, OpenGrid is also a model for cities across the country to replicate as an alternative to standard data portals.

  • SmartData Platform: Chicago’s SmartData Platform, currently in development, is the country’s first municipal open-source predictive analytics platform that will analyze millions of lines of data in real time to help leaders make smarter, faster decisions to help address and prevent problems before they develop. The platform is a winning project for the 2013 Mayors Challenge, a Bloomberg Philanthropies competition to develop solutions to major urban challenges.

  • Food Inspection Analytics: Schenk’s Department of Innovation and Technology team and the Department of Public Health partnered with an Allstate Insurance pro-bono team to develop an analytics-based procedure to enhance food inspections processes. By doing this, Chicago was able to discover critical violations, on average, seven days earlier than with the traditional inspection procedure. 

Websitehttp://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/doit.html
Open Data Sitehttp://opengrid.io/ and https://data.cityofchicago.org/
Performance Measurement Sitehttp://www.cityofchicago.org/performance
GitHub: https://github.com/Chicago

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Denver

Name: Paul Kresser
Title: Chief Data Officer
Appointed: March 2019
Organizational Location: Technology Services Department, reports to Chief Information Officer
Responsibilities: Kresser leads the Data and Information Security team, which focuses on transforming public access to data, and helps inform data-driven policies and strategies for the city.
Sample Initiatives:

  • The city's open data portal, Denver Open Data Catalog

  • The Situational Awareness Tool, which "compiles and displays data to help manage situations faster and allow for better-informed decision-making."

  • Data protection initiatives through the inventory, classification, and mapping of city data. 

Website: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/technology-services.html
Open Data Site: https://www.denvergov.org/opendata
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Detroit

Name: Kat Hartman
Title: Director, Data Strategy & Analytics
Appointed: April 2020
Organizational Location: Department of Innovation and Technology 
Responsibilities: Hartman leads the city's Data Strategy team, which focuses on transforming public access to data, informs data-driven policies, and creates new ways for residents to engage with the city leadership.
Sample Initiatives:

Website: https://detroitmi.gov/departments/department-innovation-and-technology  
Open Data Site: https://data.detroitmi.gov/
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Kansas City, MO

Name: TBD
Title: Chief Data Officer
Appointed: 
Organizational Location: Office of Performance Measurement
Responsibilities: Kansas City’s Chief Data Officer oversees the city’s open data and performance efforts.
Sample Initiatives:

  • OPM spearheaded a comprehensive rewrite of the quarterly Citizen Survey, better aligning questions with department activities and analyzing data to fully leverage the results.

  • KC Streetcar: Smart city corridor with IoT technology, transportation and local service information for residents and visitors, and free WiFi for public use, all built around a new streetcar line.

  • Roche created a data inventory, logging all of the data possessed by each department and thereby allowing the city to prioritize data releases based on key priorities and what can be automated.

Open Data Sitehttps://data.kcmo.org/
Performance Measurement Site: https://kcstat.kcmo.org/
GitHub: https://github.com/kcmo

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Los Angeles

Name: TBD
Title: Chief Data Officer
Appointed
Organizational Location
Responsibilities: The CDO works with city departments to collect and analyze data, and leads operations for the city's new open-data portal.
Sample Initiatives:  

  • GeoHub: The map-based portal serves as a foundation to do the work of making smarter cities: It pulls data from many different places and weaves together various perspectives to create the most compelling maps and apps.

  • CleanStat: CleanStat is the nation’s most comprehensive street cleanliness assessment that provides quarterly, block-by-block data to identify trends in street cleanliness. As part of Mayor Eric Garcetti's Clean Streets initiative, the City's Bureau of Sanitation travels over 22,000 miles and gives each block a cleanliness score from 1-3. Using the GeoHub, users can type in their address to learn more about how their streets scored.

  • Vision Zero: Vision Zero data links demographics, the built environment, and health outcomes, serving as a tool to inform transportation safety planning and policy in Los Angeles.

  • Mayor’s Dashboard: A dynamic performance tool used to improve delivery of quality customer services to every resident in Los Angeles and produce the most livable, prosperous, well run and safe city that Angelenos deserve.

Website: https://www.lamayor.org/DataLA
Open Data Sitehttps://data.lacity.org/ and http://geohub.lacity.org/
Performance Measurement Sitehttps://performance.lacity.org/

GitHub: https://github.com/cityoflosangeles

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Louisville

Name: Zain Casey
Title: Senior Data Analyst
Appointed: May 2020
Organizational Location: Louisville Metro Government
Responsibilities: Louisville’s Senior Data Analyst is working to use data to improve government performance and transparency, with responsibility for open data, citywide data strategy, and fostering data-driven decision-making.
Sample Initiatives: 

  • LouieStat: Performance management initiative that tracks city progress on 21 city goals and convenes department heads in forums to discuss progress.

  • Crowdsourcing initiatives to gain traffic information, data on internet connectivity speeds, and opinions on pedestrian safety.

  • Nudging initiative to improve parking ticket payment and code compliance.

Open Data Sitehttps://data.louisvilleky.gov/
Performance Measurement site: http://louiestat.louisvilleky.gov/
GitHub: https://github.com/LouisvilleMetro

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New York City

Name: Kelly Jin
Title: Chief Analytics Officer
Appointed: October 2018
Organizational Location: Mayor's Office of Data Analytics
Responsibilities: The Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics is led by the City’s Chief Analytics Officer. The CAO provides a citywide perspective on key Administration priorities and available data science resources, and regularly convenes agency analytics directors and staff to share best practices and standards for how a city leverages administrative, open, and private data to deliver value to the public.
Sample Initiatives:  

  • Protecting Affordable Apartments with Analytics: In 2015, MODA provided analytics support to the NYC Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force, helping to prioritize where inspectors searched for landlords creating unsafe living conditions in order to remove tenants from rent-regulated units. In 2016, MODA partnered with the New York City Commission on Human Rights to prioritize where “testers” search for landlords illegally discriminating against potential tenants using public assistance.

  • Universal Pre-Kindergarten: In 2014, MODA partnered with the Pre-Kindergarten for All team to assist with analysis for enrollment for the program rollout, targeting outreach efforts using City and industry data. With MODA’s assistance, New York City was successful in launching the program and on November 12, 2014 the Mayor announced that the City had succeeded in enrolling a total of 53,230 pre-K students for the 2014-2015 school year.

Website: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/analytics/index.page
Open Data Sitehttp://www.nyc.gov/html/datamine/html/home/home.shtml
Performance Measurement Sitehttps://data.cityofnewyork.us/report/pmmr
GitHub: https://github.com/moda-nyc

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Minneapolis

Name: Eero Kilkson
Title: IT Director, Data + Analytic Services
Appointed: August 2015
Organizational Location: City of Minneapolis Information Technology
Responsibilities
Sample Initiatives:  

  • The city of Minneapolis has used data to show housing discrimination among Black residents; based on this data, the Mayor moved to abolish single-family zoning within city limits.

  • Sensors at major intersections monitor traffic and provide data and statistical insights that help improve signal timing and reduce accidents, to encourage more walkers and bikers.

Website: http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/it/ 
Open Data Sitehttps://opendata.minneapolismn.gov/ 

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San Diego

Name: Andrell Bower
Title: Chief Data Officer
Appointed: October 2019
Organizational Location: Performance & Analytics Department, reports to Director of Performance and Analytics
Responsibilities: The CDO is responsible for implementing the city's new open data initiative called for by the Mayor's One San Diego Transition Advisory Committee.
Sample Initiatives: 

  • Deployed 3,200 IoT sensors for air, traffic, and pedestrian safety monitoring.

  • Open DSD: One of the first cities to release data on all of the city’s properties and code enforcement case activity.  

  • The Performance & Analytics Department teamed up with the Financial Management Department to launch the OpenGov Budget Visualization Tool, a visual and navigable presentation of the City's Fiscal Year 2016 Proposed Budget.

Website: http://www.sandiego.gov/pad/about/index.shtml
Open Data Sitehttps://data.sandiego.gov/
Performance Measurement Sitehttps://www.sandiego.gov/pad/programs/performancemanagement
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San Francisco

Name: TBD
Title: Chief Data Officer
Appointed
Organizational Location: Mayor's Office, reports to Mayor
Responsibilities: The CDO is working to standardize the city’s data policies across city departments and make the data more user-friendly and accessible. The Chief Data Officer also manages the Data Coordinators in each city department to develop and monitor data efforts, and aims to foster a data enabled policy environment in the pursuit towards increased use of data in decision-making.
Sample Initiatives: 

  • Data Academy that provides data analytics training to city employees.

  • Adopt a Drain mobile application that allows residents to claim drains that they will clean before floods in the city.   

  • Navigation Center that consolidates a number of city resources and gathers data from a number of departments in order to benefit homeless residents.

  • San Francisco’s Stat Starter Kit enables other city departments to continuously improve services through establishing key performance metrics, data feeds and dashboards, and regular management and meeting processes.  The project was led by the City Performance Unit of the Controller’s Office in collaboration with the CDO.

Website: http://datasf.org/
Open Data Sitehttps://data.sfgov.org/
Performance Measurement Sitehttp://sfcontroller.org/san-francisco-performance-program
GitHub: https://github.com/DataSF

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San Jose

Name: Christine Keung
Title: acting Chief Data Officer
Appointed: August 2020
Organizational Location: Reports to Deputy City Manager, Office of Civic Innovation and Digital Strategy
Responsibilities: The San José Data Analytics Team (DAT), located within the City Manager’s Office, works with city departments to gain key operational insights, improve operational efficiency, and support excellent, data-driven public service delivery. 
Sample Initiatives:

Website: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?nid=5188
Open Data Sitehttps://data.sanjoseca.gov/home   
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Seattle

Name: Richard Todd
Title: Data Analytics Lead
Appointed: June 2017
Organizational Location: Citywide Innovation and Performance Team
Responsibilities: Lead Data Analytics work of the Mayor’s Office and City Budget Office Innovation & Performance team; use data science and experimental methods to improve city services, machine learning projects, resident communications, and new department-level performance systems.
Sample Initiatives:

  • Seattle was one of the earliest US cities to publish and share open data, while engaging the community about privacy concerns. -The city has used GIS mapping to locate and promote small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Innovation and Performance team worked with the city's Department of Elementary and Early Learning to develop key management indicators, align these measures to financial information, and develop venues to review, improve, and act on data.

Website: https://www.seattle.gov/innovation-performance
Open Data Sitehttps://data.seattle.gov/   
Performance Measurement Site: https://www.seattle.gov/innovation-and-performance/performance-hub

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Syracuse

Name: Nicolas Diaz Amigo
Title: Chief Innovation and Data Officer
Appointed: September 2020
Organizational Location: Innovation Team (i-Team) reporting to Mayor Stephanie Miner
Responsibilities: Responsible for analyzing the city's data to help make recommendations for doing more efficient and effective work.
Sample Initiatives:

  • DataCuse open data portal and Open Data Policy developed with Sunlight Foundation up for public comment.

  • Syracuse Business Portal developed with Code for America.

  • Infrastructure work: Piloting sensors on water mains, working with Data Science for Social Good to develop predictive model for water mains, piloting street monitoring system SQUID to assess quality of city roads.

Website: http://www.innovatesyracuse.com/
Open Data Sitehttp://data.syrgov.net/   
GitHub: https://github.com/CityofSyracuse

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Washington, D.C.

Name: Barney Krucoff
Title: Chief Data Officer
Appointed: June 2016
Organizational Location: Office of the Chief Technology Officer, reports to Chief Technology Officer
Responsibilities: DC’s CDO is responsible for the data collection, business analysis, data governance, and data standards of DC’s city government.
Sample Initiatives: 

  • The Lab @ DC conducts low-cost, randomized evaluations in order to monitor the success of programs.

  • Using lidar technology to map the city’s trees.

  • Government performance initiatives include Track DC, which provides performance information on all District agencies, and Grade DC, which reports on resident grading of 15 District agencies, and enables residents to provide continuous input. 

  • DC’s Open Data Catalog is a tool that provides residents with access to city operational data.

Website: http://octo.dc.gov/
Open Data Sitehttp://opendata.dc.gov/
Performance Measurement Sitehttp://dc.gov/trackdc
GitHub: https://github.com/DCgov

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Some profile information was drawn from Jane Wiseman’s paper for Data-Smart, “Lessons From Leading CDOs: A Framework for Better Civic Analytics.” This list was originally published on 11/7/2015 and has been updated with additional information.