The nonprofit U.S. Digital Response (USDR) has announced its new executive team.

The nonprofit connects pro-bono technologists with local governments responding to a crisis to help governments deliver critical services and infrastructure. Since its creation in March of last year, USDR has worked with more than 35 U.S. states and territories on more than 200 projects and recruited more than 5,000 volunteers.

“USDR was founded to help governments around the country help people face an unprecedented crisis,” said advisor and co-founder Jen Pahlka, who also served as the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer. “Volunteers started with PPE supply chains and scheduling software for COVID-19 testing centers, but soon moved on to help with unemployment benefits, election websites, vaccination logistics, and a wide variety of other projects where world-class tech and design support are needed … USDR has a lot of critical work ahead, and I’m delighted to see this stellar team commit to being there for our government partners for as long as it takes.”

The new leadership team includes:

  • “Alex Allain, who will oversee the development of technological tools, automation, and infrastructure at USDR. Alex most recently served as a Director of Engineering at Dropbox.
  • “Jessica Cole, who will oversee partnerships, marketing, and communications. Jessica was recently a fellow at the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub and formerly served as Head of Innovation and Economic Development for the City of Walnut Creek and as a Code for America Fellow.
  • “Jessica Watson, who will lead the people power of USDR from volunteer staffing and support to HR. Jessica is a product design leader who was most recently a Director of Product Design at Facebook.
  • “Raphael Lee, who will be overseeing USDR products and programs. Raph recently led product engineering, data science, infrastructure, IT, and security teams as VP of Engineering at Lob and Engineering Manager at Airbnb.
  • “Raylene Yung, who co-founded USDR in March 2020 with former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officers Cori Zarek, Jennifer Pahlka, and Ryan Panchadsaram, will remain as the organization’s CEO. Raylene was recently a fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub. Previously, she was an engineering and product executive at Stripe and Facebook.”

“Rapid, responsive and free technical support is critical for governments facing a crisis, whether it be overwhelmed unemployment systems, ensuring safe and accessible elections in a pandemic or the nascent vaccine distribution effort,” said Raylene Yung, USDR co-founder and CEO. “Each member [of the executive team] is an accomplished technologist who has come to USDR from successful careers in government and at some of the biggest and fastest growing tech companies in the world.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs