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Deputy Director, Chief Data Officer Added to Information Systems Leadership

LITTLE ROCK-The Arkansas Department of Information Systems (DIS) announced the addition of Carder Hawkins and Dr. Richard Wang as deputy director and chief data officer (CDO) respectively. The announcement was made by DIS Director Yessica Jones, Monday, July 31, during an agency-wide employee meeting.

Hawkins comes to DIS from the Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) where he served almost five years as deputy commissioner Information Services. Prior to joining AID, he was employed by DIS as a project manager. 

“I feel very comfortable entering my new role as deputy director because I have a solid foundation of knowledge about DIS,” Hawkins said. Yessica has done a great job leading DIS through a time of transition. I look forward to working in partnership with her to keep the agency moving in the right direction.”

The deputy director oversees the fiscal division and will be responsible for ensuring agency compliance with all state and federal laws. The deputy director also oversees the enterprise architecture division which also includes the project management, quality management and human resources departments. Agency personnel responsible for legislative policy also report to the deputy director.

The deputy director’s position has been vacant since November 2016 when Jones was named acting director and subsequently the permanent director of DIS by Governor Asa Hutchinson due to the resignation of the previous director.

The position of CDO at DIS was created in conjunction with act 912 during the 2017 General Assembly. Wang comes into the role as the executive director of the Institute for Chief Data Officers at the University of Arkansas Little Rock and as director of the MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Program where he will continue to serve in addition to state CDO.

“We have to make different data from different systems talk to each other,” Wang said. “During my first 100 days as CDO, I want to create an Arkansas CDO forum so we can begin the discussion and exchange of ideas to achieve project outcomes beneficial to the people of Arkansas.”

Another central goal for Wang is the exploration of public/private partnerships whereby Arkansas can become a national example of an effective data-driven government to better address priority public needs. This approach would also create greater value for the taxpayer dollar through better allocation of existing data to meet the needs of Arkansans, Wang said.

The Department of Information Systems (DIS) is a cabinet level agency of Arkansas state government that provides information technology (IT) solutions to the public sector. DIS customers include state agencies, boards, commissions, city and county governmental entities, K-12 public schools, institutions of higher education, and the public safety community.

DIS is responsible for the security, disaster recovery and Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) functions for the state. Primary products and services provided by DIS include data center and hosting, voice (telephony), networking, professional services, storage and backup and operational services.

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