The Virginia Tech College of Science has named three-time Hokie alumnus Tom Woteki as director of its new Department of Statistics data analysis and applied statistics Master of Arts program in Northern Virginia. 

The data analysis and applied statistics master’s degree was created to help meet an overwhelming demand for data scientists in the Northern Virginia-Washington, D.C., region. Virginia Tech’s planned 1 million-square-foot Innovation Campus in Alexandria — a key element in Northern Virginia’s winning bid for a new Amazon headquarters — will be built to address this critical need.

Woteki will also be a professor of practice of statistics. He will be located in the Virginia Tech Research Center building in Arlington. He most recently was chief data scientist and senior vice president of MAXIMUS Inc., and has held senior analytically related positions with Cisco Systems Inc., Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, the American Red Cross, and Merck & Co. He also held a leadership position in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.

He earned three degrees from Virginia Tech: bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Department of Mathematics in, respectively, 1968 and 1972, and a Ph.D. in statistics in 1974.

“Tom’s academic credentials combined with his impressive corporate background will help Virginia Tech tailor this program to best fit the needs of companies and government agencies,” said Sally C. Morton, dean of the College of Science and a professor of statistics. “We know that successful companies and government agencies need personnel with the analytic skills to leverage their data assets for evidence-based decision making and for delivering better business and mission outcomes.”

The Master of Arts in data analysis and applied statistics program will provide working professionals in the Washington, D.C., region with advanced skills in analytics, statistics, and data science. Students will learn a firm foundation in statistical methods, augmented with a variety of analytically oriented courses from a wide variety of elective disciplines, all offered in partnership with many different departments across campus.

“Tom has deep expertise in statistics and data science combined with significant senior corporate experience in Northern Virginia,” said Ron Fricker, head of the Department of Statistics. “Under his leadership, our program will be structured to meet critical workforce needs in the Commonwealth of Virginia and particularly in the Washington metropolitan area.”

Woteki began his career in academia as an assistant professor at the University of Texas San Antonio and then Princeton University, where he served in the statistics department and pursued a research program in mathematical statistics.

Among his other career highlights is a three-year stint from 1978 to 1981 as chief statistician for a division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, where he developed statistically valid national sample surveys of energy consumption, surveys that had never been done before. This followed the infamous 1973-74 oil embargo.

Later, Woteki was the chief architect and leader of software engineering of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system. He also served seven years as chief information officer for the American Red Cross, where he was responsible for modernizing its systems for processing blood donations.

“I have over 30 years of experience in statistics and data science, information technology strategy, development and management, large-scale systems development, and information technology consulting,” Woteki said. “My experience includes major accomplishments delivering innovative solutions and driving business value and transformational business operations through analytics and information technology. I intend to apply my collaborative and analytical approach to solving important business problems to the design and delivery of this exciting program.”

An active member of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Woteki served as chairman of its 2017 and 2018 Capital Data Summit and chaired its 2016 Big Data Committee’s workforce development group. He also is a member of the Virginia Tech College of Science Dean’s Roundtable Advisory Board.