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Commerce Department Launches Private Sector Data Brain Trust

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker // J. Scott Applewhite/AP

In the latest example of a federal agency dipping into the private sector pool for its technological needs, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker revealed Wednesday the 19 members who will make up the department's newly created Data Advisory Council.

Member of the council hail from some of the nation's leading tech companies -- from IBM’s chief information strategist, Steve Adler, and LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue, to Amazon Web Services’ general manager, CJ Moses, and Google’s director of open sources in engineering, Christopher DiBona. 

Each member will serve two terms, and will be responsible for helping to revamp the council’s data initiatives, with an end goal of making the information easier for the public to access and use, according to a Commerce Department press release.

Department officials say the agency's data could influence more than $3 trillion of investments.

“As ‘America’s Data Agency,’ we are working to unleash more of the Commerce Department’s data to strengthen our nation’s economic growth,” Pritzker said in the release.

The advisory council is expected to advise Pritzker and other senior agency officials on data management and public-private partnerships. The council will also be tasked with helping the department wade through pertinent policy issues and popular open data standards.

Many of the council’s members have prior experience in government, having previously worked for entities such as NASA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the FBI.

One of the members is Joy Bonaguro, San Francisco’s first chief data officer.

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