The Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services announced Wednesday the appointment of Robert McGough as the state’s new chief data officer.
McGough, who has served as Arkansas’ deputy chief data officer since 2017, replaces Joshua McGee, a professor at the University of Arkansas and public policy researcher, who took over as data officer in 2020 while continuing his academic duties.
As chief data officer, McGough will concentrate on policy and lead the state’s efforts to improve data structure, security and data use, according to a press release from the Division of Information Systems, which is part of the Department of Transformation and Shared Services.
As deputy data chief, McGough worked to grow analytic capacity and communities of practice for the sharing, integrating and analyzing of data to support improved policy decisions and operations, the release read. McGough also has more than 20 years of experience in data management and analytics, supporting public sector entities across the state.
He contributes to efforts by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Governors Association, the Coleridge Initiative and other organizations to modernize the national data infrastructure through interoperable standards, secure data trusts and multistate data collaboratives, according to the agency.
McGough also currently 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.
“I am thrilled to have Robert serve as our next chief data officer,” Joseph K. Wood, the secretary of the Department of Transformation and Shared Services, said in the press release. “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.”