The first state CDO, Andrew Laing, left his station for the private sector in September. Kristin McClure, a data scientist with about 20 years of experience, recently filled this increasingly critical position.
Vermont gained a new chief data officer in Kristin McClure, who took over the role more than a week ago.
State CIO John Quinn made the announcement today in a press release. McClure replaced Andrew Laing, who departed from Vermont in September to become director of information analysis and technology for Lantana Consulting Group. Laing was Vermont’s first CDO and assumed the position in 2017.
“I’m excited to appoint Kristin to the chief data officer role,” Quinn said in the release. “Her background and approach to solving problems make her a great fit for the [Agency of Digital Services (ADS)] team. I expect that we will see great things from her and her team over the course of this year.”
McClure, who has a master’s degree in data science from Johns Hopkins, has been involved in data-driven decision-making in the private sector for about 20 years. She came to ADS from multinational corporation Capgemini, where she managed data science and artificial intelligence in Burlington, Vt. At Capgemini, she put into place “automated contract reconciliation to identify areas of financial and operational improvement” among other accomplishments, according to the release.
She also worked for GlobalFoundries and IBM. According to her LinkedIn page, she held seven different positions at IBM, ranging from supply chain analyst to senior manager of enterprise IT and data analytics, over the course of almost 15 years.
McClure told Government Technology that her ability to manage and lead complex teams will serve her well in Vermont, as the CDO job is “really about how we bring the agencies together and work to improve our data initiatives and data results.” She came to the public sector because she was compelled by how her love of data science can help fulfill the government’s mission.
“We have this wealth of data all around us in different shapes and forms, but how do we translate that into something that’s meaningful, something of value, something that we can gain insight from to help make better decisions, [and] help improve the quality of life for individuals or the quality of life for a community,” McClure said.
A recent headcount by Government Technology showed that the majority of states now have a CDO. Tyler Kleykamp, former Connecticut CDO and founder of the State Chief Data Officers Network, said the state CDO role will likely become more prominent, given that state leaders continue to want quick answers to important questions.
McClure was able to put the importance of the CDO into perspective. Since she entered the field, the audience for data science has changed. People in general are beginning to grasp how their beliefs and convictions may not outweigh the data that's out there.
“We’re a lot more aware of our data and connected to it, and I think it’s the literacy of data that has grown rapidly over the years — and the ability to frame decisions in the manner of ‘All right, what’s the data to support that?’” McClure said.