(US & Canada) VIDEO | We Work with Data Throughout the Commonwealth — Commonwealth of Virginia CDO

Ken Pfeil, Chief Data Officer at Commonwealth of Virginia, speaks with Adita Karkera, Chief Data Officer of Government and Public Services at Deloitte, in a video interview about his professional journey, responsibilities as an office, collaboration with agencies, data management, and prioritization of resources.

Having a long history with computers, Pfeil’s professional journey started with consumer electronics. Eventually, with the initiation of selling computers in the consumer space, he learned the hardware and software aspects to repair them.

Pfeil recalls his first job with Dell and how he branched out to be a technical architect for Merrill Lynch. He spent 20 years in the information security sector and was a Chief Security Officer at Pioneer Investments and MFS Investments before joining his current office.

Moving forward, Pfeil states that both his office and his position have been codified in Virginia Law since 2019. The agency was officially formed as of July 2021 and he reports to Secretary of Administration Lyn McDermid. He further mentions providing data and data services and working with 100 agencies and 103 localities across the Commonwealth.

When asked about the responsibilities as an office, Pfeil shares that the agency works in partnership to provide governance standards as mandated by Virginia law. This happens through a three-tiered hierarchy, he continues, wherein first comes the Virginia Data Advisory Commission.

This commission consists of members of the House and Senate. Next is the executive data board represented by nine voting members who are heads of agencies having large-scale operations that enable the proliferation of best standards across the Commonwealth.

Then, there is a data governance council that further enforces and recommends government standards, and under that is the informal data storage group. Here, everyone gets to learn their collective responsibilities when handling, using, and owning data.

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Ken Pfeil, Commonwealth of Virginia Chief Data Officer

Moving forward, Pfeil discusses a mandate issued by the Virginia Data Advisory Committee to commission a survey of all agencies to assess their maturity in data management. To address that, the Data Maturity Management Assessment (DMMA) was created and out of 63 solicited agencies, 53 responded to the survey.

Elaborating on the survey details, Pfeil maintains that questions were asked about culture, technology, operations, how the data is handled, and what is the most important data. The survey helped agencies that are not as well off but their mission is as important as other agencies.

Adding on, Pfeil refers to the governor’s objective to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family, and the focus lies in the strategic objectives underneath that.

When asked about the prioritization of resources, he affirms that certain objectives need to be met within a time frame. As an instance, he refers to Operation Bold Blue Line in which the agency facilitated data collection transfer and dashboard analytics within 13 localities to lower violent crime.

Furthermore, he mentions another of the governor’s objectives called Partnership for Petersburg to uplift the community. In conclusion, Pfeil says that the agency has been fortunate to have top-down support from the organizational leadership.

CDO Magazine appreciates Ken Pfeil for sharing his insights and data success stories with our global community.

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