Gardere Selected As Executive Director Of The Data Center
NEW ORLEANS – The Data Center announced today the appointment of Lamar M. Gardere to the role of executive director effective June 12.
The Board of Directors unanimously selected Gardere for the position, after a national search resulting in 30 candidates. Gardere will succeed Dr. Allison Plyer, who will continue working with The Data Center in a contract role as chief demographer.
“Mr. Gardere comes to us with tremendous experience, a drive for high impact, and a commitment to policies driven by equity,” says Reginald Harley, Board Chair. “I know the next chapter for The Data Center will be bright with Lamar at the helm. We can think of no better person to lead the cutting edge work of this organization going forward.”
Gardere joins The Data Center after six years with the City of New Orleans Office of Information Technology and Innovation, most recently as the chief information officer overseeing a 90-person, $13.5 million department. His experience in maintaining the city’s IT and data services and programs – including NOLA 311 and all major citizen-facing technology services – makes Gardere extremely well suited to lead The Data Center’s community-driven and neighborhood-oriented mission of democratizing data, Data Center reps said.
Gardere is also nationally recognized for the development of extensive data sharing resources now available through the City of New Orleans’ Open Data portal – work inspired, in large part, by The Data Center. He is well positioned to lead The Data Center’s ongoing efforts to transform local culture to one that embraces data as an intrinsic component of sound policy development, reps said.
Dr. Plyer has been with The Data Center since 2001. She has served as chief demographer for more than 10 years and four years in the concurrent role of executive director. Starting July 2017, Dr. Plyer will continue to author key publications on changing demographics for The Data Center, while she branches out to tackle new challenges. “I am excited to be part of The Data Center’s important work disseminating data about the changing demographics across the city’s 300-year history and related inequities over time,” she said. “We are pleased that the Surdna Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Entergy have already agreed to support this critical work to be released during the city’s Tricentennial in 2018. My main goal as I transition is to leave The Data Center well supported for a bright future.”
Gardere’s work at City Hall provides him with a solid understanding of the importance of rigorous and highly credible data analysis to enable decisionmakers to set priorities and develop strategies, Data Center reps said. His experience in data technology and background in software research and development make him uniquely qualified to enhance The Data Center’s ability to disseminate findings in new and innovative ways, reps said.