North Dakota hires first chief data officer

Dorman Bazzell, who spent 30 years in the private sector, will oversee the state's enterprise information management and software development programs.

North Dakota has hired its first statewide chief data officer, the latest addition to an overhaul of the state’s information technology leadership. Dorman Bazzell, a business intelligence consultant from St. Louis, will join the state’s Information Technology Department later this month, North Dakota Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley announced Wednesday.

Bazzell is joining the North Dakota state government after more than 30 years of private-sector experience, including stints at HP’s business intelligence division, Capgemini and Hitachi Consulting. Since May 2017, he’s been a principal in the St. Louis office of Slalom Consulting, a business management consultancy.

As North Dakota’s new chief data officer, Bazzell will be in charge of the state’s enterprise information management and software development programs.

“Our goal is to lead the nation in innovation and a citizen-centric approach to government,” Riley said in a press release . “Dorman brings phenomenal technical, business and leadership acumen and will be a fantastic addition to Team ND as we work across state government to empower people, improve lives and inspire success.”


Bazzell’s hiring continues North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s overhaul of his government’s IT functions. In July, the state added Julie Cabinaw , a former senior product manager at Amazon, as its first “chief reinvention officer,” tasked with expanding partnerships between ITD and other agencies and transforming the agency’s focus from pure tech support to active technology development.

Riley also recently promoted Duane Schell, ITD’s longtime network services director, to the position of statewide chief technology officer. Bazzell’s position is the last of three new technology leadership jobs North Dakota created this year.

In adding Bazzell, North Dakota joins a steadily growing list of states to add a chief data officer, one of the newer titles in government IT organizational charts. Since Colorado became the first state to hire a data chief in 2010, 19 more states and the District of Columbia have followed. In July, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appointed Carlos Rivero , a former data official at the Federal Transit Authority, to serve as the commonwealth’s first chief data officer.

Bazzell’s first day with North Dakota will be Oct. 15.

Benjamin Freed

Written by Benjamin Freed

Benjamin Freed was the managing editor of StateScoop and EdScoop, covering cybersecurity issues affecting state and local governments across the country. He wrote extensively about ransomware, election security and the federal government’s role in assisting states and cities with information security.

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