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Arkansas Appoints Robert McGough as Chief Data Officer

McGough, who replaces Josh McGee, has worked for two decades on the state’s technology programs, rising through the ranks. He will now focus on such tasks as improving data structure and security for Arkansas.

The front of the Arkansas state Capitol building on a sunny day.
Robert McGough, a 22-year veteran of technology efforts for Arkansas, has taken over as the state’s chief data officer.

His appointment this month caps a long progression through the Arkansas Division of Information Systems (DIS), where his jobs included technical writer, data architect, deputy chief data officer and, most recently, chief analytics officer. Among his accomplishments was growing the state’s data analytic capacity and using data to help improve policy operations, according to a statement.

His new job will bring a focus on policy and improving the state’s data structure, security and data use, according to the statement. Earlier this year, as part of a panel discussion about 21st century data management — and how to tell better stories via data — McGough talked about how to avoid confusion in data sets and being better data stewards.

“With his experience leading the ARData team and extensive data analytical knowledge, I have full confidence he will lead our state toward a data-driven and action-oriented approach that aligns perfectly with transformation’s core mission,” said Joseph K. Wood, secretary of the state’s Department of Transformation and Shared Services, in the statement. DIS is part of that department.

McGough serves on the Arkansas Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act executive committee, the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet and the interim executive committee of the Southern Regional Data Collaborative. He is a Ph.D. candidate in information science.

McGough replaces Josh McGee, a University of Arkansas professor who was appointed chief data officer in 2020.