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Chief Data Officer
Ken Pfeil


History of the Virginia Datathon

Former Governor Terry McAuliffe announced in April 2014 the first Virginia Open Data Portal and in September 2014, the first Virginia Datathon was held during the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium (COVITS) in Richmond, Virginia leveraging data in the Open Data Portal. The event was a first of its kind among state governments across the country. Teams from across the state were challenged to create applications using state data to promote efficiency and transparency within state government. The teams presented their projects to a panel of expert judges and conference attendees who voted for the best team. The spirit of the event prevails today with participants engaging in the sandbox provided and leveraging technology, exercising creativity, and wielding data to develop transformative solutions addressing complex problems. 

The event is now produced by the Virginia Office of Data Governance and Analytics and still leverages the Virginia Open Data Portal but powered by new technology. Event participants include state agencies, students, localities, non-profits, and private sector employees.

A virtual kickoff will be held on April 12, 2024 when registered participants are briefed on this year's theme and provided with the datasets. Teams will have nearly a week to develop an innovative solution and presentation related to the proposed challenge. On April 19, 2024 everyone is invited to the Richmond ACCA Shriners Center where a panel of judges will review the team presentations and awards will be announced.

The event follows a simple formula: Anyone can join the event. In previous years, event participants have ranged from state agencies to high school and college students. We have even had private sector participation! 

Teams of 4-6 participants will be given Commonwealth data about the theme via the Virginia Open Data Portal. They then work for 1 week to create a solution based on the theme. The teams will present their solutions to a team of judges, who then grade the solutions based on the following criteria: 

  • Impact (as it relates to the theme) 35% 
  • Innovation 20% 
  • Feasibility 20% 
  • Completeness of Idea 15%
  • Presentation 10% 

Prizes are awarded for the following: 

  • 1st Place- Amazon Gift Card Prize 
  • 2nd Place- Amazon Gift Card Prize
  • 3rd Place- Amazon Gift Card Prize
  • People’s Choice­- Amazon Gift Card Prize 

Winners of the event and links to their solutions on YouTube will be posted in this section after the event.




Datathon Prizes

First Place: $500 for 1st place team participants!

Second Place: $350 for 2nd place team participants!

Third Place: $150 for 3rd place team participants!

People's Choice: $100 for people's choice participants!

Datathon Email List

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2024 Theme: Boosting the Virginia Workforce

In May of 2023, Governor Youngkin created a new agency for workforce development in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In August of 2023, Governor Youngkin also announced $2.3 million in workforce opportunity grants across the Commonwealth of Virginia, thus establishing workforce growth and development as a key priority of his administration.  

The 2024 Virginia Datathon aims to source the best and brightest minds across the Commonwealth to address workforce development. Participants in the event will use Commonwealth datasets to provide fresh, unique ideas to determine how Commonwealth leaders can develop and expand the workforce. Overall, the goal is to figure out how to help people find jobs and training that will make Virginia the best place to work, live, and raise a family. Participants are encouraged, but not required to, compare Virginia workforce development progress to other states.  

The theme, following the tradition of previous years, will remain open to encourage creativity and a variety of solutions from participants. Solutions can range from a variety of topics surrounding workforce, such as education, job availability, training, and more. The sky is the limit! 





2023 Virginia Datathon Speakers


Headshot of Ken Pfeil with the Commonwealth seal in the background

Ken Pfeil, Chief Data Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia

Ken is a security and finance industry veteran, formerly serving as VP and Managing Director of Data Protection and Governance at OneMain Financial. Prior to OneMain, he served as Chief Security Officer for TechDemocracy LLC, MFS Investments, and before served as CISO for Pioneer Global Asset Management SpA (Including Pioneer Investments and all operating subsidiaries in 26 countries).

Ken’s Information Technology and Security experience spans over three decades, with strategic, technical, and executive experience at companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Capital IQ, Miradiant Global Network, Avaya, and Merrill Lynch. Ken coauthored Microsoft's “Best Practices for Enterprise Security” white papers and participated on the Information Systems Security Association's International Privacy Advisory Board covering the initial implementation of GLBA. He reported on security risks and performed vulnerability analysis for Windows IT Pro Magazine’s “Security Administrator” publication for four years, and has been a contributing expert for Information Security, CIO and CSO Magazines, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the Ponemon Institute.