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D.C. Chooses Chief Data Officer to Serve as Interim Chief Technology Officer

Barney Krucoff, Washington, D.C.'s first-ever chief data officer and a longtime staffer, will become the city's interim chief technology officer starting Jan. 8.

The District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has announced a new temporary leader.

Barney Krucoff, the district’s first-ever chief data officer, will become its interim chief technology officer (CTO) starting on Jan. 8, OCTO’s executive assistant to the CTO confirmed.

His predecessor, outgoing CTO Archana Vemulapalli, will mark her last day in the post on Jan. 5 before departing for the private sector.

Krucoff served as OCTO’s geographic information officer from 2004 to 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile, before reprising that role for Maryland’s Department of Information Technology. He returned to DC as CDO in June 2016.

There, he led a team of 26 employees across the enterprise who previously worked together unofficially. The district, Krucoff said then in a statement, “plays above its weight, leading to lots of opportunity to build upon what the city has already done,” a reference to its potential in the world of data.

The then-CDO spent a good portion of the early months after his return to OCTO drafting a new data policy for D.C., one that defined data and established classifications for what data sets would be made public, kept internal, or subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

In an interview in October 2016, Krucoff described business intelligence as “sort of the Wild West within government,” and said one of his goals would be to “do for business intelligence what D.C. has done for geospatial and mapping” technologies.

Generally, he said then, that means making it more efficient for agencies to use technology, and eliminating redundancies in the business intelligence infrastructure.

Krucoff described himself as “sort of a tool provider, data provider, standards provider,” and said officials “want to see the data helping civic causes, helping people start businesses, even.”

Now, roughly 15 months later, the "provider" has ascended to lead OCTO on an interim basis.

Vemulapalli, who began as CTO in early 2016, had previously been CTO at the facility management company Pristine Environments. She wasted no time in making an impact, Deputy City Administrator Kevin Donahue said in a statement when her departure was announced. She guided the launch of SmarterDC, an interagency effort convening municipal, federal, educational and business partners to explore smart city technologies.

More recently, the district was announced as the lead East Coast city for the Startup in Residence (STiR) program, bringing tech entrepreneurs to work directly with government.

Theo Douglas is assistant managing editor for Industry Insider — California, and before that was a staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes covering municipal, county and state governments, business and breaking news. He has a Bachelor's degree in Newspaper Journalism and a Master's in History, both from California State University, Long Beach.