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Ed Kelly

Ed Kelly, Chief Data Officer, State of Texas, Texas Department of Information Resources

What has been your path to power? 

My path to success, not power, has been paved by the people that I have had the privilege to work with throughout my career in public service. Without their support, encouragement, and collaboration, the chief data office and my personal and professional achievements would not have been realized. Having the opportunity to work with supportive and engaged leadership as well as a team that strives for excellence every day makes the job easier and enjoyable. The Office of Chief Data Officer and our agency are in the business of helping customers be successful, solving challenges and providing value every day. I cannot think of a better testament and measure of our accomplishments.   

What are your key areas of focus for data and analytics in 2022?

In the last Texas legislative session, a bill was passed that required Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education to designate a data management officer (DMO). These DMOs are to develop their individual data management programs and collaborate with the Office of the Chief Data Officer to establish best practices and standards that will ultimately benefit everyone. Other 2022 efforts include expanding the utilization of our open data portal for publication of high value datasets and our closed data portal for data sharing. Lastly, we are developing an enterprise data literacy program to provide foundational education for our data community customers. 

Tell us what leadership means to you in the context of your role as a senior data leader.

Being a leader means being consistent and being willing to accept the challenges that are presented to us. Consistency, particularly in managing a team or working with customers, is critical to establishing trust and ultimately respect. The adage that respect is earned and not given by title or position is very true. As a leader you must also be a good listener. This, coupled with consistent and measured responses, allows team members and customers to be comfortable in sharing their thoughts and ideas knowing that that your response, or reaction, will be consistent with their overall expectations. 

And what about the skills of your data teams and of your business stakeholders? How are you developing data literacy across the company/organization?

Texas operates as a decentralized government model. Often, we do not have full visibility to all state agencies and institutions of higher education’s data teams and skills. Across the enterprise it is recognized that data skill sets are a significant challenge to acquire and retain given that the private sector can offer far more lucrative financial packages for these types of experienced individuals. 


We have worked in the past with state leadership to add new data-related job classifications that helped agencies hire new talent. Overall, some agencies have very well-established data talent and other are still building their teams. This year our office has established a goal to develop and launch an enterprise data literacy program. We are currently collaborating with 38 agency and higher education “content contributors” to develop our first set of core educational, on-demand courses along with an individual skills assessment, check-your-knowledge tests, and a corresponding certification process. Data Literacy Foundations is the first set of modules to be developed, including topics such as the history of data management, data governance, data quality, data ethics, privacy and security, as well as five other courses.

Ed Kelly
Ed Kelly
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2022 (USA)