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Illinois Recruits New Chief Data Officer from Federal Agency

Succeeding Kevin Harrison as chief data officer for the state of Illinois, Tammy Roust brings experience with team management, data analysis, cybersecurity policy, risk analysis, economics and software engineering.

Illinois state capitol building
Illinois state capitol building
A new chief data officer joined the ranks of the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology last week.

Tammy Roust, a former associate director and risk analyst for the U.S. Commodities Future Trading Commission, has filled the position vacated in 2018 by Kevin Harrison. She started Nov. 18, according to an email from an Illinois DoIT spokeswoman. Roust’s LinkedIn page shows that prior to her work with the federal government, she was a risk analyst at a French firm called Amundi Alternative Investments, a research associate at Santa Monica investment firm Wilshire Associates, and a senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She completed her doctorate in management information systems from Claremont Graduate University in 2008, and she achieved a certification in machine learning from Stanford University in April 2019.

Roust’s appointment comes a little more than a year after Illinois officially established its DoIT, and at a time when state technology officials are speaking out about the need for data officers. It was a topic of discussion at the annual NASCIO conference in October, where Kentucky CIO Chuck Grindle told Government Technology that a CDO was necessary for making the state’s 2,400 databases useful. At the NASCIO conference, Wisconsin CIO David Cagigal confirmed that his state is also looking to create a new data officer role, although he thought “chief analytics officer” was a more apt description, given the scope of what the person will have to produce.

Earlier this month, Georgetown University hosted the inaugural two-day meeting of the State Data Officer Network, a professional support network for sharing best practices and discussing data-related issues, among other topics.