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Maryland Picks Experienced, Familiar Hands for Senior IT Roles

Natalie Evans Harris, the state’s new chief data officer, brings nonprofit and public-sector experience to the job. Jason Silva leaves the Department of Transportation to become the deputy chief technology officer of platform services.

Downtown Annapolis, Md., is seen in an aerial view, with the statehouse in the background.
The state of Maryland has filled two key IT positions with experienced technology hands, elevating one new hire from another department.
Natalie Evans Harris
Natalie Evans Harris

Photo Credit: Maryland Department of IT

Natalie Evans Harris is the Terrapin State’s new chief data officer. She took office Wednesday and will oversee data services for the state’s executive branch agencies, and lead the creation and adoption of a strategic data architecture. The new CDO brings plenty of experience in creating solutions “that have advanced responsible data usage across the public sector,” the state said in an emailed press release.

Most recently, Harris was the founding executive director of the Black Wealth Data Center. There she led teams in launching a data platform that illuminates racial wealth disparities in the U.S., with the goal of helping deepen policymakers’ and the public’s understanding of the issue and efforts to address it.

Harris’ background also includes serving as a senior policy adviser to the Biden and Obama administrations, and as a member of the direct policy and planning staff for the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. She also was executive vice president of external engagement at the Data Foundation, a nonprofit that uses data to inform public policymaking decisions.

“Natalie is a proven leader who will advance the state’s data modernization efforts, from platform and governance strategies to preparing our data to realize the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning,” state Secretary of IT Katie Olson Savage said in a statement.

State officials looked within before naming Jason Silva the new deputy chief technology officer of platform services. Silva is a familiar face, coming over from the Department of Transportation where he had served simultaneously for nearly a year as deputy CIO and chief data officer. There, he handled a variety of enterprise platform modernizations. Silva has more than 25 years’ private-sector IT experience, particularly in infrastructure as a service and platform as a service.

“With Jason’s extensive experience in state and private sectors, [the Department of Information Technology] DoIT will launch a platform services group, developing and defining the state’s enterprise platform strategy for supporting cyber-managed services, collaboration tools, identity and access management, payments, and more across the agencies we serve,” Savage said, also in a statement.