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Ex-Chief Data Officer Mark Headd is leaving Philadelphia

"Philly is to civic technology what Nashville is to country music so I'll be back there often, but it will no doubt be bittersweet," he wrote.

Mark Headd is heading to Syracuse. (Photo by Flickr user Interop Events, used under a Creative Commons license)

Mark Headd, the city’s first Chief Data Officer is leaving Philadelphia to be closer to family in Syracuse, N.Y., he announced on social media Wednesday.

A fixture of the local civic tech circuit before he joined the Nutter administration in 2012, Headd resigned from city government after a conflict over property-tax data. He now works as a technical evangelist for San Francisco-based government software firm Accela, for whom he works remotely.

He said it was an “incredibly difficult decision” to leave the city.

“Philly is to civic technology what Nashville is to country music so I’ll be back there often, but it will no doubt be bittersweet,” he wrote in a Google+ post.

He’ll always have a desk with his name on it, though.

“…I have a feeling that Philly will pull me back into its orbit pretty regularly,” he wrote in an email to Philly. “I refuse to give up my membership at [coworking space] Indy Hall.”

Below, find the full text of his announcement on social media:

Made the incredibly difficult decision recently to move my family back to our hometown of Syracuse, NY.

My wife and I left here over 17 years ago and moved to the Mid-Atlantic region. We have family and friends throughout Maryland, Delaware and SE Pennsylvania and we loved every minute of living there.

The pull of family is strong – strong enough to pull us away from Philadelphia which was the center of my professional life for the past several years, where my wife has worked at one of the best hospitals for children in the nation for more than a dozen years and where my first (and only) daughter was born.

My Dad passed away years ago, but my wife’s died very recently and our families have grown to need us increasingly over the years. The distance has been hard.

I’ll miss living and working in Philadelphia. The technology and civic hacking communities there are unlike any others in the nation. Philly is to civic technology what Nashville is to country music so I’ll be back there often, but it will no doubt be bittersweet.

Some of the smartest and most dedicated people I have ever worked with live and work in Philly, and I’ll miss them a lot. I’ll miss going to Indy Hall, Devnuts and the city’s other great maker spaces and working shoulder to shoulder with so many awesome people. I’ll miss the vibrancy of the city and passion of so many to make it better. It’s a special place.

I’m honored to have been able to work for the City of Philadelphia, and I hope to apply the lessons I learned there in future professional endeavors.

So long for now. Hope to be back in Philly for a visit soon.

Companies: City of Philadelphia

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