Damian Kostiuk lights up when he talks about data. And his brand of data evangelism is welcome and needed as components of DHS and agencies across the federal government drive the culture change toward data-driven decision making. Kostiuk is now the Deputy Chief Data Officer at U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services, where his Division directs projects in Business Intelligence, Automation (i.e. Process Robotics), and Machine Learning. Kostiuk’s work ensures that the immigration process is fair, goes smoothly, and is accessible to those millions trying to become American citizens.
He is working closely with CDO Beth Puchek (another Trailblazer awardee) to help set data sharing and data management policy through Memorandums of Understanding that lay out data usage, standards and limitations that will hopefully be used throughout DHS and beyond. They have been laying the groundwork for information sharing through these MOUs and as the groundwork for adopting and implementing various artificial intelligence tools, and advanced analytics.
Kostiuk’s job doesn’t get easier. To add more complexity to USCIS’ data management, the agency has data that is both for law enforcement purposes and non-law enforcement purposes, and each must remain separate. Kostiuk and his team have worked to include these parameters in MOUs so that when new projects arise, what used to take months now takes only weeks.
His ascension at USCIS is built on progressive responsibility managing and understanding data. He was the section chief for the SAVE program, USCIS’ fast, secure, and reliable online service that allows federal, state, and local benefit-granting agencies to verify a benefit applicant’s immigration status or naturalized/derived citizenship, and the Data Science Lead within the Office of Information Technology – Identity, Records, and National Security Delivery Division (IRNSDD) where he investigated and promoted advances in machine learning and data quality, and was the Product Owner for a new entity resolution service to support and optimize the E-Verify and SAVE programs.