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Chief Data Officer
Ken Pfeil

Data Governance

Overview and History

Data governance is exercising the appropriate authority and control over a data asset to ensure its integrity, quality, security, and availability to all qualified users. Proper governance offers many benefits including increased awareness of data holdings, improved organizational efficiency and productivity, more citizen-centered services, and better informed decision-making and evidence-based policymaking resulting in actionable intelligence. Governance increases the value of Commonwealth data assets by guiding and enabling its evolution from information to intelligence while promoting data discovery, exploration, integration, and sharing through the implementation of enterprise standards, policies, guidelines, and best practices.

On January 7, 2020, Governor Northam signed Executive Order 48 that established a data governance framework making Virginia a leader in data-driven policy, evidence-based decision-making, and outcome-based performance management. The primary goal of the framework is to help the Commonwealth be more responsive and make better, evidence-based decisions grounded in the data it collects and manages. The data governance framework includes the Virginia Data Advisory Commission, Executive Data Board, Data Governance Council, and Data Stewards Group.

During the 2021 General Assembly Special Session I, Senate Bill 1365 was passed that solidifed Virginia's data governance framework and through § 2.2-203.2:4. the Office of Data Governance and Analytics (ODGA) was created within the Office of the Secretary of Administration. The ODGA is directed by the Chief Data Officer of the Commonwealth and is charged with overseeing general data governance in the Commonwealth, as well as developing and managing the Commonwealth Data Trust. 

Executive Level

Executive Data Board

Strategic Level

Data Governance Council

Tactical Level

Agency Data Officers

Data Management Technical Team

Data Domain Managers/Experts

Business/Program Management

Geospatial Information Officers

Information System Security Officers

Information System Security Managers

Operational Level

Data Stewards

Data Scientists, Architects, Engineers, Analysts, and Consumers

Commonwealth of Virginia Data Governance History





  • State Council for Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and the Virginia Department of Education (DOE) staff worked with the Office of the Attorney General to develop a model data-sharing agreement
  • SCHEV, DOE, the governor's office, and VITA worked to develop the SLDS proposal to the United states education department. This was funded in 2010.


  • Work began on developing VLDS, which was funded by the 2009 Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program of the United States Department of Education under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


  • Secretarial Committee on Data Sharing: Formed by the Secretaries of Technology and Health and Human Resources to explore opportunities and constraints for an enterprise data sharing.


  • The enterprise information architecture technology strategic plan was created. This was Virginia’s first strategic plan for data governance.
  • Data Exchange Standards for Interoperability: Approved by the CIO of the Commonwealth with more than 130 data exchange standards promoting interoperability and data sharing in a compliant, standardized manner. This would not be built until 2013. 
  • The Commonwealth Auditor of Public Accounts (APA) put language into the 2012 budget appropriation act stating that the Secretary of Technology would work with all cabinet secretaries and their agencies to standardize citizen data.
  • VLDS Project Launched as a partnership between the Governor's office and Virginia’s education, workforce, and information technology agencies to optimize Virginia’s data collection, reporting, and analytic capabilities beyond current capacities.
  • Secretary of Health and Human Resources and Secretary of Technology Secretarial Committee on Data Sharing Committee Report and Recommendations was published.
  • Version 1 of the VLDS Book of Data Governance published.
  • Legislation passed required SCHEV to publish wage data for graduates, matched with data from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC).



  • Governor’s Datathon: Created to promote the use of open data and data analytics for solutions aligned with the Governor’s Policy Priorities; four events with teams representing state agencies, local governments, universities, and private industry.
  • Data Stewards Group: Formed to support agency engagement and implementation of the Commonwealth EIA Strategy; Executive, Functional (Business), and Technical Groups.
  • Commonwealth Data Internship Program: Implemented by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency to pair interns from state universities with state agencies to perform advanced analytics on “real-world” problems.
  • Commonwealth Open Data Portal: Launched to provide Virginians with a one-stop shop for the Commonwealth’s open data.



  • ED 7: Issued by Governor McAuliffe to promote greater utility and accessibility of data assets maintained by state agencies; recommendations covered open data, data sharing, ethical use, and economic development.
  • 2016 Datathon hosted by the Library of Virginia: Workforce Innovation.
  • Virginia Department of Education received funding for VLDS from US education department.


  • Governor’s Datathon to address the Opioid Crisis.
  • Governor’s Data Summit.
  • DCJS proposal to the DOJ TIPS grant for the opioid pilot project (later became FAACT).
  • Version 2.0 VLDS Book of Data Governance.
  • Admin responsibility for VLDS transferred State council of higher education. This was in the 2017 Acts of Assembly.
  • Privacy act change: allowed SCHEV to match data records with the federal government or its agents to obtain wage information of graduates outside of Virginia.


  • Senate Bill 580: Amended the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act (§ 2.2-3800 et seq.)  to facilitate data sharing among state agencies and between the Commonwealth and political subdivisions; establishes Chief Data Officer of the Commonwealth.
  • Virginia’s First CDO Appointed: Carlos Rivero.
  • The Opioid Pilot Project (FAACT) began/started for the Commonwealth of Virginia in Winchester.
  • CDO partnered with the Governor’s Chief Workforce Advisor to develop the Workforce Referral Portal.
  • DSAAC Data Sharing Analytics Advisory Committee was formed.
  • Administration of VLDS was codified as a Duty of the State Council.


  • The Opioid Pilot Project became FAACT and expanded to the Roanoke Valley.
  • ITRM Policies, Guidelines, and Standards.
  • DSAAC Report Submitted to the Governor and General Assembly.
  • CDIP leveraged to engage students in data analytics projects.
  • Library of Virginia hosts 2019 Datathon: Equity in Education.


January 2020

March 2020

June 2020

  •  launched for state employees.

August 2020

  •  was launched.

September 2020 

  • Virginia’s  joins the team.

October 2020

  • The Office of the Chief Data Officer manages its first  in collaboration with the Library of Virginia.


Feb 2021

  •   was launched.

April 2021

  •  added to the Office of the Chief Data Officer.

July 2021

September 2021

  •  was launched.

October 2021


Virginia Data Advisory Commission

The Virginia Data Advisory Commission (the Commission) is established as an advisory commission in the executive branch of state government. The Commission shall advise the Office of Data Governance and Analytics (the Office), established pursuant to § 2.2-203.2:4, on issues related to data sharing, including open data, data analytics, and data governance. The Commission shall (i) set, plan, and prioritize data sharing performance goals for the Commonwealth, (ii) review agency accomplishments, and (iii) recommend solutions that will establish the Commonwealth as a national leader in data-driven policy, evidence-based decision making, and outcome-based performance management. The responsibilities of the commission include:

  • Study, report, and make recommendations to the Governor on all areas of data governance, quality, sharing, analytics, reporting, intelligence, and performance management
  • Advise and assist the Office of Data Governance and Analytics to set, plan, prioritize, and review data and outcome performance goals and objectives to improve operational efficiency, increase delivery of customer-centered services, and promote better outcomes for constituents
  • Make recommendations to the Governor on performance goals and objectives requiring engagement from organizations across state government
  • Cooperate with local governments and governmental agencies

Learn more about the Data Sharing and Analytics Advisory Committee that worked with the Office of Data Governance and Analytics to develop a permanent data sharing and analytics governance structure for the Commonwealth. The Advisory Committee’s “Data Sharing and Analytics Governance Structure for the Commonwealth of Virginia” recommended establishing a Virginia Data Advisory Commission, Executive Data Board, Data Governance Council, and Data Stewards Group.

Read the 2021 VDAC annual report.

Virginia Data Advisory Commission Members

Senate Members

  • George L. Barker, 39th District of Virginia
  • Emmett W. Hanger, 24th District of Virginia
  • Adam P Ebbin, 30th District of Virginia

House of Delegate Members

  • Cliff E. Hayes, 77th District of Virginia
  • Jeffrey Campbell, 6th District of Virginia
  • Danica Roem, 13th District of Virginia

Secretariat Members

  • Ken Pfeil, Virginia Chief Data Officer
  • Lyn McDermid, Secretary of Administration
  • John Littel, Secretary of Health and Human Resources
  • Robert "Bob" Mosier, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security
  • Stephen Cummings, Secretary of Finance
  • Kay Coles James, Secretary of the Commonwealth
  • Matt Lohr, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Travis Voyles, Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources
  • Caren Merrick, Secretary of Commerce and Trade
  • Aimee Rogstad Guidera, Secretary of Education
  • Craig Crenshaw, Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs
  • Shep Miller III, Secretary of Transportation
  • Angela Sailor, Chief Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion Officer
  • Karl Hade, Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia
  • George "Bryan" Slater, Secretary of Labor

Regional Representatives

  • Bryant Hood, Danville City Councilman
  • Mary Beth Dunkenberger, Virginia Tech, Institute for Policy and Governance
  • Bridget Giles, Director of Special Programs, Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium
  • Carrie Gaston, Capital One
  • Tyler Schenck, Director of Innovation and Information Services for Winchester City, Virginia
  • Zaki Barzinji, Aspen Digital
  • Arlyn Burgess, Chief of Staff for University of Virginia School of Data Science

Virginia Data Advisory Commission Meeting Minutes

October 2021 VDAC Meeting Minutes

Executive Data Board

The Executive Data Board is chaired by the Chief Data Officer who also selects its membership. The Executive Data Board membership consists of executive leadership, or their designees, from executive branch agencies engaged in data sharing and analytics projects. The Board has the following responsibilities:

  • Translate the Commonwealth’s data-driven policy goals and objectives to agency performance targets
  • Allocate appropriate agency resources to support data governance, sharing, and analytics initiatives
  • Provide to the Virginia Data Commission any reports on the Board’s recommendations and work as required by the Commission

Data Governance Council

The members of the Data Governance Council are selected by the Executive Data Board. The Council, however, consists of employees of the state agencies represented on the Executive Data Board. The Data Governance Council is chaired by the Commonwealth of Virginia Chief Data Officer (or designee) and has the following responsibilities:

  • Liaise between state agency operations and the Chief Data Officer
  • Advise the Chief Data Officer on technology, policy, and governance strategies
  • Administer data governance policies, standards, and best practices as set by the Executive Data Board
  • Oversee data sharing and analytics projects
  • Review open data assets
  • Govern the Commonwealth Data Trust
  • Report progress, compliance, and performance to the Executive Data Board

Data Stewards Group

The objectives of the Data Stewards Group are to:

  • Promote and facilitate the secure and appropriate sharing and use of data assets in support of data-driven policymaking, evidence-based decision-making, research, and analysis
  • Maximize the value and utility of Commonwealth data-related investments and assets
  • Promote increased sharing of data between state agencies and localities to provide tangible operational improvements to assist state agencies and localities in fulfilling their respective missions in a coordinated, cost-effective manner
  • Provide public access to data assets, where lawful and appropriate, to enhance research, innovation, and insight