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Secretary’s Office

Meet the Team

Robert McGough
Chief Data Officer
Robert McGough was appointed as Chief Data Officer in March 2023. McGough has over 20 years of experience in data management and analytics, supporting public sector entities with the Division of Information Systems. He served as lead author on the Feasibility and Cost Study on the Development of a Statewide Data Warehouse Program and as the state’s technical liaison with the White House OMB for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

McGough holds an M.S. in Information Quality and has completed the UALR Institute for Chief Data Officers, the ASU Six Sigma Black Belt, and the Coleridge Initiative Applied Data Analytics programs, along with numerous credentials in data and analytics. He is currently an Information Science Ph.D. candidate conducting research to advance the field of longitudinal data analysis. He also serves on the Governor’s Technology Advisory Board and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) IT committee.

Heather Saco
Chief Enterprise Services Officer

Heather Saco serves as the Chief Enterprise Services Officer, with over seven years of public sector experience across various key areas, including environmental regulatory policy, emergency management, and digital transformation. In her role, Saco coordinates a whole-of-government approach to state operations, aiming to enhance service efficiency and digital service delivery across all public policy domains.

Saco holds a Master of Science from the University of Central Arkansas and has completed the Coleridge Initiative Applied Data Analytics training program. She leverages her diverse skills and experience to refine service delivery mechanisms and inform comprehensive strategies that drive innovation and efficiency across public services.

Carrie Anderson
Chief Policy Officer
Evidence-Based Policy

Jake Walker
Chief Research Officer
Evaluation and Research

Kristen Shryock
Chief Skills Strategy Officer
Skilled-Based Initiatives

Nishav Mainali
Data Analytics Manager
Data Analytics

Matthew Sparks
Technology Manager
Infrastructure and Technology

Leslie Taylor
Systems Administrator
Infrastructure and Technology

Jason Ashley
Systems Administrator
Infrastructure and Technology

Drake Glover
Systems Administrator
Infrastructure and Technology

Mark Kensington
Data Scientist
Data Analytics

Priyanka Bejugam
Data Scientist
Data Analytics

Veronika Gudipati
Data Scientist
Data Analytics

Clara Knox
Data Engineer
Data Analytics

Jamie LaFave
Skills Data Analyst
Skills-Based Initiatives

Candace Lewis
Program Manager
Program Management

Amy Hipskind
Project Manager
Program Management

Meenachi Vallinayagam
Data Architect
Data Architecture

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