APDU President’s Letter Inviting Members to the Annual Conference

Dear colleagues,

The 2021 Association of Public Data Users Annual Conference, “Public Data: Making Sense of the New Normal,” is only a few weeks away! Hopefully, you are making plans to attend, July 26-29. While we wish we could be together in person, we are confident that you will find this year’s virtual conference to be very relevant, addressing many issues important to public data users.

High ranking federal officials, such as the directors of the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Institute of Education Sciences, are headlining one of the week’s plenary sessions, while Hansi Lo Wang, National Correspondent at NPR, is moderating another plenary session on diversity, equity, and inclusion in public data. In addition, attendees will hear from experts in the field regarding innovations in linked administrative data and trends in collaborative data sharing. The conference will also provide ample opportunities for data users to network and exchange information informally.

The complete schedule is posted on the APDU home page. Please register and encourage your colleagues to do the same. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the APDU staff at info@apdu.org.

We hope to see you there!


Mary Jo Hoeksema

2021-2022 APDU President

May 12 Workshop Notes: Discussion and Concerns

On May 12, the Association of Public Data Users and the Massive Data Institute at Georgetown University held a town hall session on Solving Data “Differences” – Assessing the Use Cases. 

For the panel, Amy O’Hara, Research Professor at the Massive Data Institute, joined Connie Citro, Former Director of the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), Joe Salvo, Former Director of the NYC Department of City Planning, and Chris Dick, Founder of Demographic Analytics Advisors. The panel discussed implications of new methods employed in the 2020 Census – above all, the Disclosure Avoidance System (DAS) and differential privacy – on common use cases of census data. With an interactive format including breakout room discussions, the panel solicited questions and concerns from the audience on use cases including urban/rural, housing, workforce, health, and justice issues. The panel and attendees engaged in a fruitful conversation about the implications of these changes and what users would like to see given the need to balance privacy and utility for different data categories and use cases. 

During this event facilitators invited attendees to breakout rooms to discuss concerns related to the quality of decennial census data being released this year. There were two main themes identified in those discussions, along with an assortment of other concerns.

Balancing Privacy and Utility

First, participants are concerned with balancing the privacy and utility of data. For example, the Census Bureau’s new privacy mechanism, known as the Disclosure Avoidance System (DAS), uses a process known as differential privacy to limit identification of individuals using granular data. There are currently no tools available that explain these changes in layman’s terms, leading to a lack of clarity among data users on fundamental questions such as whether new data from the Census Bureau will be comparable to non-DAS data. 

In particular, there is concern about whether data on smaller populations (and smaller sample sizes), such as American Indians, will be fit for use. Researchers wanting to conduct analyses of housing structure by race, for example, are uncertain if the data will be accurate for all groups. These concerns extend beyond the 2020 census planned releases.  Participants were confused and concerned with how the population base from the 2020 census will affect the American Community Survey and population estimates.  

Further, with the Disclosure Avoidance System and differential privacy there may be inconsistent household and population data, as person and household records will not be processed simultaneously and therefore not linked. This will prevent meaningful measures of persons-per-household. There are concerns related to the levels of noise in the data, and how that will affect the ability of local governments to serve their communities.

Census data has a wide variety of use cases, and nearly all discussions of the DAS have focused on the Redistricting File to be published Summer 2021.  Participants question how all the use cases for the Demographic and Housing Characteristics File will be handled, and whether there will need to be different versions of datasets to fit different use cases or some other work-around. 

It is important that the Census Bureau finds a way to communicate differential privacy to laypeople through educational trainings and tools.  They must work with community groups to share information and build grassroots understanding. Using story maps like On the Map or GIS visualizations may be able to supplement these trainings, showing how current statistics are affected by these developments.

With the need to balance privacy and data quality in mind, what are some compromises that were acceptable to attendees? The practice of “binning” data may be an option – for example, releasing three-group race data rather than four. For race and Hispanic origin, some attendees indicated that summary race data was usable, but that keeping block level data available is essential. Block level data in general has been helpful for cross-walking between tracts, which supports infrastructure planning. Some participants felt that detailed age data may be more important than race data.  For some, it would be preferable to forfeit highly-detailed tables to preserving publications for more geographies. Data accuracy was favored over granularity by many participants (though without consensus over which statistics to roll-up or suppress).

Data Categories and Use Cases

Attendees had various concerns related to specific data categories and use cases. With regard to urban and rural geographies, it is helpful to minimize constraints on data. Attendees were concerned about definition changes that may be implemented, such as the change of the definition for metropolitan statistical areas and how this will affect funding allocations and metropolitan planning organizations. In addition, it is unclear how the differences in data collection and other characteristics between rural and urban areas would cause disproportional errors in imputation.

Group quarters also present unique challenges and opportunities for the census. As many group quarters are businesses or government facilities, extensive administrative data are often available on these facilities, and can play a role in producing more accurate group quarters population counts.

Data Collection

Large-scale changes have occurred in recent decennial censuses in the way the Census Bureau collects data, such as internet response and greater use of administrative data. Users are interested in more information about changes from prior decades and how those changes affected data quality. For example, it would be helpful to have a step-by-step guide to changes found in a single location that explains planned changes to the 2020 census and changes imposed on the Census Bureau due to COVID-19.

The decennial changes unrelated to differential privacy that attendees were monitoring. Housing and housing stock changes and internet self-response (especially in areas with poor internet connections such as rural areas or impoverished inner cities) will impact data in ways that are yet to be determined. Also, during pandemic lockdowns, people moved to unexpected places, exacerbating the typical springtime “snowbird effect.” Finally, there are concerns about duplication of entries due to non-ID submissions. 

APDU Board Member: Why I Attend the APDU Annual Conference

By: Michelle Riordan-Nold, Executive Director, CT Data Collaborative

At times it seems as if I never leave my seat as I jump from zoom call to a Teams meeting then back on Zoom or into GoToMeeting. During these past 12 months of working virtually during Covid-19, with meetings and webinars seemingly endless and exhausting at times, the APDU conference is the one event I did not miss last summer and look forward to virtually attending again this summer.

Since 2015, I have attended the annual APDU data conference each year. When a conference ends, I want to walk away with ideas I could implement at my organization – informed about new public data or a research methodology— energizing me to innovate and provide the public we serve with new ways to access and use data. The APDU conference has never let me down which is why I return each year. At APDU, I have found that I will:

1) learn about a new federal policy or hear updates about federal policies that will impact public data

2) hear about techniques or methods of improving administrative data

3) discover datatset I didn’t know existed

To give you an idea of the breadth and depth of data discussions that take place at the conference, I went through my conference notes and pulled out information that I had found useful from previous years.

Working at the local level, I am most familiar with state public data and the APDU conference is the only opportunity I have to hear directly from Federal government employees of the statistical agencies. The conference provides access to an audience with extensive data expertise such that the presentations are informative but with a broad audience from across the nation the Q&A provides additional learning and insights.

Federal policies around data:

  • Differential Privacy – perspectives on the new methodology from both the Census Bureau and statisticians working outside government
  • Foundations for Evidence Based Policy Making Act passed in November 2017
  • Consolidation of the statistical agencies into Commerce Department

New techniques of linking data:

  • Commodity flow data – linking Census Bureau of Transportation statistics

New data:

Michelle Riordan-Nold, a member of the APDU Board and Executive Director of the CTData Collaborative. The Connecticut Data Collaborative was created to advance effective planning and decision-making through the use of open and accessible data.  CT Data serves a lead role in convening data users and producers and facilitating conversations that bring together key data entities to advance a common agenda around data development, access, standards, and use.  CT Data also seeks to increase data literacy, build data capacity, and enable the government and organizations across the state to use data effectively in evaluation and advocacy that impacts social lives.

APDU Board Member Amy O’Hara Reacts to CNSTAT Principles and Practices Release

By Amy O’Hara, Research Professor in the Massive Data Institute and Executive Director of the Federal Statistical Research Data Center at the McCourt School for Public Policy

Like a booster shot of sanity, the Committee for National Statistics (CNSTAT) recently released the seventh edition of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency.  This book is full of good ideas, organized around five principles. Five?! The earlier editions of the purple book only had four!  Yes, CNSTAT has added Continual Improvement and Innovation, a reminder that the best methods of the 1980s are not necessarily the best methods for the 2020s. If you need reminded of the other four principles, see below.

The other four principles are Relevance, Credibility, Trust, and Independence.  The public servants at our nation’s statistical agencies live by these things.  They maintain the highest standards in their numbers and publications despite political and budgetary headwinds.  Their independence gives us reliable economic indicators, national reporting on crime, and Wonder-ful public health data.  The newest principle comes at a great time, with the ongoing implementation of the Evidence Act and ambitious Action Plan in the Federal Data Strategy.

But wait, there’s more.  Principles and Practices describes ten practices for federal statistical agencies that protect public data users.  These include authority and procedures to protect independence (especially important since our mortality and population numbers were in jeopardy due to political interference), focusing on quality, meeting users’ needs, and being open about limitations of data produced.

This book is required reading even if you are not a federal statistical agency.  This book is an incredible resource, it lists all the stat agencies, and has an appendix of pertinent legislation and regulations.  Principle 2 is all about you, data user.  Understanding what the federal statistical system aspires to can make you a more informed consumer of its data products.

Download this book, and attend their public webinar TODAY April 21, 2021 at 3pmET!

2021 APDU Data Viz Awards: Call for Visualizations

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is pleased to announce the 2021 Data Viz Awards. After a hiatus due to pandemic disruptions, we are again soliciting creative and meaningful graphic designs that use publicly-available data (for example, data from the Census Bureau or Bureau of Labor Statistics) to convey a compelling point or story.

APDU is particularly interested data visualizations relevant to issues of 2021, such as:

  • Public health and COVID-19
  • Racial equity
  • Public engagement

About the Award

APDU started the Data Viz Awards in response to our members’ growing need to communicate their data and research to a variety of audiences using graphic technologies and cutting-edge techniques. APDU hopes to engage data users and help them understand and share data for analysis and decision making.

Nominees selected by an impartial expert committee from each category (listed below) will be invited to share their visualizations  on the first day of the  2021 APDU Annual Conference: July 26, 2021, held virtually through Whova. Conference attendees will then vote on winners from each category using the Whova platform.

Winners in the “Researchers & Students” category will also receive a free APDU membership for 2021.

What We’re Looking For

APDU will select creative and compelling images in four categories:

  • State/Local government, including independent and quasi-independent agencies;
  • Federal government, including independent and quasi-independent agencies;
  • Private firms, which can include consultancies, advocacy groups, or any other private firms using public data; and
  • Researchers/Students, which can include any visuals published or formally presented by researchers or students in higher education, think tanks, research organizations, nonprofits, or similar.

Submissions must have been created after January 1, 2021.  All visualizations nominated for presentation at the Annual Conference will be eligible for the award provided that nominees register for the conference.

Deadline: Friday, May 28, 2021

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APDU Workshop Series: Making the Best of the 2020 Census

Virtual Workshop

Town Halls: April 14 and May 12, 2021

Trainings: June 16, August 18, and September 15, 2021

Office Hours: Biweekly beginning June 9, 2021

Price: Free

Register Here

Accurate statistics about 2020 will rely on much more than the decennial census data collection. Developing reliable data will require an understanding of challenges resulting from the pandemic, combined with greater use of non-traditional sources like administrative records. The solutions to these problems will impact how data is gathered going forward for a variety of purposes: education, housing, economic development, public health, and more.

Register today for this series of town hall events and trainings. During this workshop series you will learn more about the quality of the data that state and local leaders rely on and how you can improve and supplement it.

Town Hall #1: April 14, 2021 (3:00 – 4:00 PM ET)
2020 Census was “Different” – A Rundown of Issues



  • Amy O’Hara, Research Professor, Massive Data Institute, Georgetown University
  • danah boyd, Principal Investigator, Microsoft Research & Founder, Data & Society

With the COVID-19 pandemic, political interference, and disclosure avoidance concerns, this census was deeply impacted. Amy and danah will discuss what happened with the census, where we are now, what researchers are hearing from the Census Bureau, the updated timeline, and what the Census Bureau can still fix.

Town Hall #2: May 12, 2021 (3:00 – 4:30 PM ET)
Solving Data “Differences” – Assessing the Use Cases




  • Amy O’Hara, Research Professor, Massive Data Institute, Georgetown University
  • Connie Citro, Former Director, Committee on National Statistics
  • Joe Salvo, Former Director, NYC Department of City Planning
  • Chris Dick, Founder, Demographic Analytics Advisors

In this town hall, we will solicit your concerns and questions about upcoming census products – specifically about urban/rural, housing, workforce, health, and justice use cases. We will discuss data sources and methods for these different use cases. Since 2020 census products are delayed, we will discuss alternative data sources that may support population measurement.

Training #1: June 16, 2021 (1:00 – 3:30 PM ET)
Addressing the Census – Why Address Data is Crucial and How to Use It

In the first of a series of trainings focused on preparing data users to use the 2020 census data, we will begin by familiarizing the group with types of address data to lead to a high-quality census enumeration, help to validate the census publications that come out, and potentially how to mount a Count Question Resolution challenge. In this session, we will review coverage and classification issues, how to evaluate data sources and tools to assess your data.

Training #2: August 18, 2021 (1:00 – 3:30 PM ET)
Age Bins – Where to Find More Data

In our second training, we will discuss the importance of obtaining accurate data on different age categories. The Census Bureau has released demonstration data on their disclosure avoidance system; however, age bins have not been a component. Accurate age bins are critical for urban planning, public health, social research, and funding, and we know that the census has traditionally undercounted very young children and overcounted the elderly. We will discuss how possible imprecision in published census results may affect the age distribution and consider how age bins can be smoothed. We will also explore other datasets that can be used to understand key population subgroups.

Training #3: September 15, 2021 (1:00 – 3:30 PM ET)
Beyond COVID – Identifying Public Health Data to Prevent Disaster

Whether it’s a global pandemic or an overdose crisis in your community, we want to empower you with the tools and resources to identify patterns and be prepared to respond. This training will go over the new administration’s Executive Order, which datasets can drive insights around health, highlighting differences between statistical and tactical data. We will also discuss measuring migration and service utilization. With these tools, we are hoping to prepare our attendees to identify the best data and methods to deal with future public health crises or natural disasters.

Office Hours

The 2020 Decennial Census faces a number of potentially significant impacts to data quality for a variety of stakeholders with varying levels of data expertise. The Association for Public Data Users and the Massive Data Institute at Georgetown University are partnering up to facilitate Office Hours for census stakeholders. These virtual meetings are dedicated spaces to speak with a team of experts to answer questions related to census data quality. Please click on the links next to the expert you would like to schedule office hours with to be directed to a customizable calendar invite link. You can also send your questions or topic ideas to mdi-research@georgetown.edu, and we’ll be sure to find the answer or find an expert who knows the answer. All persons interested are welcome to attend. 

Meet Our Census Data Experts:

Biweekly Open Office Hours:

Amy O’Hara: General Questions, Administrative Records, Data Linkage

Every other Wednesday at 5pm (June 9, 23; July 7, 21; August 4, 18; September 1)


One-on-One Office Hours:

Claire Bowen: Data Privacy, Differential Privacy

Schedule with Claire 

Chris Dick: Population Estimates, Administrative Data, Data Use in State and Local Government

Schedule with Chris

Ron Prevost: Administrative Records, Population Estimates, Data Privacy

Schedule with Ron

Data Is vs. Data Are: Settling the Debate

By Bernie Langer, APDU Board Member

There are many debates in the world of public data. Privacy vs. accuracy. Survey data vs. administrative data. CSV vs. XLS. But if you really want to see data nerds fight, ask them whether they say “data is” or “data are”. Is the word “data” singular or plural?

“Good data is important to good decision-making” or “Good data are important to good decision-making”?

This came up on Twitter recently, when NPR reporter/Census superfan Hansi Lo Wang tweeted: “…The 2020 census redistricting data, needed to redraw voting maps, is now expected by Sept. 30…” In his next tweet, he wrote: “(Sorry for 1st tweet’s typo: *data are)”.

It may seem trivial, but it’s important, and not for the reason you expect.

The argument for “data are” is thus: “Data” is derived from the Latin word datum, meaning, “that which is given.” In Latin, datum is a singular neuter noun. My high school Latin teacher made sure I never forget The Neuter Law: all neuter nouns (in the nominative and accusative cases) always end in -a. Therefor, the plural form of datum is data. Data is plural. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Furthermore, we know data to be a collection of individual values (observations, survey responses, etc.). A census never has only one respondent (unless it’s a very sad census). The concept is inherently plural.

The argument for “data is” is simple: “Data are” sounds ridiculous.

Okay, there are some more nuanced arguments for “data is.” We’re speaking English, not Latin. Language evolves. “Data” in common usage is an uncountable noun, like “water.” The ocean is full of water, but no one says, “Water are wet.”

But that’s secondary. What’s more important is: “Data are” sounds ridiculous.

As data professionals, we need to communicate with the rest of the world in a clear and accessible way. We want others to embrace the power of data, knowing that data can be useful to them. No one needs to be special to use data.

Insisting on treating data as a plural noun can be alienating. (Pro tip: Correcting someone’s grammar in any circumstance is alienating.) We don’t want anyone to think they’re not good enough to use data. Even if it’s not off-putting, it’s distracting. The general public doesn’t expect to hear “data are,” and when they do hear it, they’ll momentarily dwell on it, and not the substance of what was left in your sentence.

Of course, this isn’t just about grammar and the word “data.” It’s about not gatekeeping, and communicating complex (but understandable) concepts to the public on their terms. When non-experts understand data, data professionals become more valuable, not less.

And if your conscience cannot permit you to use data in a singular form (old habits die hard), then at the very least, when someone else does, bite your tongue.

A common refrain is “The plural of anecdote is not data.” Let’s reinforce that by not using data as a plural.

This blog post represents the views of its author and does not represent the view of APDU or the Board of Directors.

2021 APDU Conference Call for Proposals

Public Data: Making Sense of the New Normal

APDU is welcoming proposals on “making sense of the new normal” using public data. With economic, public health, and governance challenges arising from COVID-19 and political polarization, trustworthy public data is vital to open and honest policy debates. APDU is interested in proposals regarding:

  • Novel uses of public data to understand the shifting American landscape;
  • Ways that researchers and advocates are ensuring that public data is accurate and equitable;
  • How public data can help restore trust in institutions;
  • How to rebuild trust in public data; or
  • Other related and relevant topics.

Proposals can be for a single presentation or panel, whether based on a particular project, data practice, or formal paper. You may submit ideas for a single presentation or a full panel (three presenters, plus a moderator). However, it is possible that we will accept portions of panel submissions to combine with other presenters. Submissions will be evaluated on the quality of work, relevance to APDU Conference attendees, uniqueness of topic and presenter, and thematic fit.

EXTENDED Deadline: March 26, 2021

Please submit your proposal using the Survey Monkey collection window below.  Proposals will need to be submitted by members of APDU, and all presenters in a panel must register for the conference (full conference registration comes with a free APDU membership).  Proposers will be notified of our decision by mid-April.

About APDU

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is a national network that links users, producers, and disseminators of government statistical data. APDU members share a vital concern about the collection, dissemination, preservation, and interpretation of public data.  The conference will be held virtually on July 26-29, 2021, and brings together data users and data producers for conversations and presentations on a wide variety of data and statistical topics.

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2021 APDU President’s Message

Dear APDU members,

Happy New Year and thank you for either renewing or joining the Association of Public Data Users (APDU). I am honored to serve as the 2021 APDU President, and I look forward to working with you this year.

I am sure many of you are happy to turn the page on 2020 and are looking forward to more positive developments in 2021. There are many reasons to be hopeful; however, the pandemic continues to cast a cloud of uncertainty, which is forcing organizations, including APDU, to plan accordingly. As a result, our annual meeting will be held virtually again later this summer. Fortunately, the success of the 2020 meeting portends a repeat performance! I urge you to stay tuned as details emerge in the coming months and to plan to attend the 2021 APDU annual meeting.

While working to ensure a high quality, well attended annual meeting is always the APDU President’s top priority, I have other goals that I hope the APDU staff and board, with support from its members, can achieve this year. These goals include:

  • Increasing APDU membership – I will be forming a working group comprised primarily of APDU board members to develop strategies for boosting APDU membership– particularly among data users outside of the DC metropolitan area. We may be contacting APDU members to help inform the working group’s deliberations.
  • Enhancing Training – Throughout 2021, the APDU board and staff will be identifying opportunities to offer expanded training and networking opportunities for our members outside of those offered in conjunction with the annual meeting. We hope to host in-person events later in the year when it is safe for us to gather once again.
  • Improving communication  I want to continue to build upon the progress that has been made in recent years to enhance the APDU newsletter and to improve the organization’s website. I am also going to be asking the APDU board members to post at least one blog during the year on a topic they choose and encouraging APDU members to consider serving as “guest bloggers” on issues of interest to them, too.

Once again, thank you for being an APDU member! Please feel free to contact the APDU staff or any board members if you have ideas, concerns, or need assistance. We want to ensure APDU is serving the needs of its members and the broader public data user community.

Warm regards,

Mary Jo Hoeksema

2020 APDU Candidate Statements

Candidate for President: Mary Jo Hoeksema

Since January 2004, Mary Jo Hoeksema has been the Director of Government Affairs for the Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers. In addition to representing PAA and APC, Ms. Hoeksema has co-directed The Census Project since 2008.  Prior to her position with PAA/APC, Ms. Hoeksema worked at the National Institutes of Health for approximately 10 years, as the Legislative Officer at the National Institute on Aging and as the Special Assistant to the Director of the NIH Office of Policy of Extramural Research Administration.  Ms. Hoeksema served as a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.  Ms. Hoeksema moved to Washington, DC from her home state of New Mexico to work at the Council for a Livable World as a 1990 Scoville Fellow.

Ms. Hoeksema has a Master of Public Administration from the George Washington University and is a former Presidential Management Fellow. She also has a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of New Mexico.

Candidate Statement

I was introduced to APDU shortly after arriving at the Population Association of America (PAA). I was immediately drawn to the organization given its mission and the fellowship that I found with its members. I discovered that the annual meeting was a unique opportunity to meet data users outside of academia–especially those from federal, state, and local governments–and learn firsthand what issues were affecting their access to timely and accurate data.

I have served on the APDU board, as a member and previously as Vice President, for approximately four years. During this time, I’ve been involved in several initiatives, including revising the organization’s strategic plan, advising APDU’s advocacy agenda, and co-chairing the annual meeting. These experiences, combined with my frequent interactions with APDU members, has given me insight into the organization’s strengths and challenges. If elected president, I would build upon the work APDU has initiated to:

  • Increase APDU’s membership, particularly among young professionals entering the field;
  • Enhance the organization’s visibility inside and outside of the data user community;
  • Improve APDU’s education and training opportunities;
  • Strengthen communication with APUD members; and,
  • Seek opportunities to collaborate with similar organizations to advance the interests of the diverse data users APDU represents.

If elected president I will always be open to hearing ideas and discussing issues with members.

Candidate for Vice President: Amy O’Hara, Research Professor, Georgetown University

Amy O’Hara is a Research Professor in the Massive Data Institute and Executive Director of the Federal Statistical Research Data Center at the McCourt School for Public Policy. She also leads the Administrative Data Research Initiative, improving secure, responsible data access for research and evaluation. Her research focuses on population measurement, data quality, and record linkage. O’Hara has published on topics including the measurement of income, longitudinal linkages to measure economic mobility, and the data infrastructure necessary to support government and academic research.

Prior to joining Georgetown, O’Hara was a senior executive at the U.S. Census Bureau where she founded their administrative data curation and research unit. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

Candidate Statement

Last year, I wanted to serve on the APDU board to improve data access and quality for members, researchers, and program administrators. This year has revealed the cracks in our measurement infrastructure and the dire need to explain and inform our decision makers.  2020 has been rough on everyone, but especially on institutions like CDC and the Census Bureau.  The impact of the pandemic continues to evolve in state and local governments, who face rising infection rates, battered economies, volatile budgets, and a great deal of uncertainty.  Data will not solve these problems, but none of these problems can be solved without data.

APDU can, and must, foster coordination between federal, state, and local data producers and data users.  For ADPU, I will work towards establishing standards and norms for secure and responsible data use.  Our community needs to incorporate broader views of where data comes from and what it is needed for; emphasize data utility when designing privacy protections; and increase social license.

Candidate At-Large Director: Bernie Langer, Senior Data Analyst, Center for Court Innovation

Bernie Langer’s expertise in public data comes from his previous work at PolicyMap. Mr. Langer has a deep and broad knowledge about federal statistical agencies and private data providers, as well as experience working with data and data users to solve problems. He worked with data from the Census Bureau, BLS, IRS, SSA, HUD, USDA, FDIC, FBI, FCC, FEMA, DOT, NCES, EPA, SBA, and CDC, just to name a few. Mr. Langer also led PolicyMap’s “Mapchats” webinar series, a forum for data providers and users to discuss their work.

Mr. Langer’s current work at the Center for Court Innovation deals with a very different type of data, regarding New York City’s criminal justice system. In his role as a senior data analyst, Mr. Langer works with the organization’s Supervised Release Program, a pre-trial alternative to bail.

Candidate Statement

I am excited to continue serving on the APDU Board of Directors. In my last term, I served on the conference committee, which put together APDU’s first ever virtual conference. The conference was a success, virtually bringing together people working in data from across the country at a crucial point during the 2020 Census and Covid crisis.

I find APDU’s conferences, webinars, and newsletters invaluable. As a board member, I would continue my commitment to maintaining the high quality of APDU’s services and events, finding additional ways for data providers and users to interact, and raising the profile of public data in society.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Michelle Riordan-Nold, Executive Director, Connecticut Data Collaborative

Michelle Riordan-Nold has served as Executive Director of the Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData) since 2014. In her current role, Ms. Riordan-Nold leads CTData, whose mission seeks to democratize access to public data and build data literacy skills to increase data informed decision making in Connecticut. CTData is also the designated Census State Data Center for Connecticut. In addition, the organization holds monthly public data literacy workshops; creates maps and other visualization tools for community organizations to access and use data; and is building an integrated data system in Hartford. In 2020, the organization was the winner of the CT Entrepreneurial Award in Education.

Prior to leading CTData, Ms. Riordan-Nold worked as a research analyst for the CT Economic Resource Center and before that for the Connecticut Legislature in the Program Review and Investigations Committee. Ms. Riordan-Nold has a Bachelor degree in Mathematics from Boston College and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.

Candidate Statement

I have been both an attendee and a presenter at the APDU conferences for the past five years. It is great to be a part of a community that is working on improving public access to data and sharing new ways to access and improve its use. I am always amazed at the initiatives happening at the federal level and leave each conference with new ideas and data to share with the community of data users we serve in Connecticut.

If elected, I would be interested in finding ways to increase the membership to include more state level data users. Federal data is critical to much of the work at the state level and I see an opportunity for sharing and increasing the knowledge of both state and federal data users to help improve the work at all levels of government.

I also see an important role of the APDU in staying connected and informed about the evolving Disclosure Avoidance Policy implementation. I believe this should be at the forefront of all data discussions and was encouraged by the attention it received during this year’s conference. The APDU plays an important role in guiding the data user community on how to use the data but can also advocate to make sure the data is provided in such a way that it can be used for informed decision making at all levels of government. I would encourage the APDU to take a more active role in advocating for transparency around the implementation.

If elected, I hope to provide a state level perspective and contribute to the growth of the organization by helping to broaden the membership to include a more diverse group of data users.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Daniel Quigg, CEO, Public Insight Corporation

Dan Quigg is a serial entrepreneur focusing primarily on software analytics. Dan has served as CEO of Public Insight Data Corporation (Public Insight) since 2012, a business intelligence company that transforms public data into actionable insights with solutions in career and workforce development, staffing and recruiting, and higher education benchmarking. Public Insight leverages industry and government data in its self-service business intelligence applications such as Insight for Work and Insight for Higher Education.

Over his career of over thirty years Dan has founded or led eight early stage businesses. Dan is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and winner of the Smart Business Rising Star Award. He successfully sold three businesses, two to public technology firms where he took a senior executive position. He has also served on the adjunct entrepreneurship faculty of Kent State University and has served on multiple corporate boards. Dan has also served as an advisor for micro-economic development in developing countries, primarily Rwanda and Peru. He currently is on the National Council of the Valparaiso University College of Business.

Dan received his B.S. from Valparaiso University in 1981 and his CPA in 1983.  He received his MBA from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management in May 2007.  Dan was the inaugural winner of the Weatherhead Executive MBA Leadership Award as nominated by his peers.

Candidate Statement

I have always had a passion for data and am a self-described “data junkie”. I founded Public Insight in 2012 because I saw an asset in public data that was dramatically underutilized. Public Insight was built around that very concept.

I have been involved with APDU since starting Public Insight. I and my company have benefitted greatly from the research, webinars, and conferences. However, I feel that there is a large, untapped audience in the private sector that utilize public data and are not being reached by APDU. I see it every day. Should you decide to accept my candidacy into APDU, I would advocate for outreach to the private sector. Given my startup experience, I can add a lot of value in how to reach and extend APDU’s reach into the private sector.

I would advocate for more online education and training to the private sector. In the labor market particularly, there is a hunger for more information due to pandemic-induced volatility. I see courses like what is currently being offered through the Labor Market Institute (LMI) as a vehicle to reach a broader audience with minimal investment and risk.

My impressions of APDU suggest it is moving more and more to policy and advocacy. My interest is not in these areas nor do I add any value. I am a user of public data and want to see its value disseminated. This is where I can add value and where the mission is aligned with Public Insight.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Lori Turk-Bicakci, Ph.D., Director, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health

Lori Turk-Bicakci, Ph.D., is Director for Kidsdata, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. She promotes data-based decision making and action to improve children’s health and well-being, and she contributes to the quality, relevance, and utility of the data and content on kidsdata.org.  She oversees the process of collecting, preparing, and releasing data from more than 35 federal and state data sources. Before joining the Foundation, Dr. Turk-Bicakci was a senior researcher at American Institutes for Research. She has extensive experience with data collection, analysis, and reporting for education, social services, and other research projects that support children’s long-term health and development. Prior to her work in research, Dr. Turk-Bicakci was a middle school social studies teacher.