Sherman Luk

On the 4th floor of SF City Hall overlooking the stunning rotunda.

Sherman Luk
Project Manager
Controller’s Office
City and County of San Francisco, California


San Francisco’s chief data officer and controller’s office needed continuous professional development for its analysts, but found that using outside trainers and educators was costly and took a long time, given the city’s stringent contracting process.


The city decided to leverage its internal talent pool and offer training in-house via short, two-hour micro-workshops, so that analysts and managers wouldn’t have to wait for training by going through city vendors. All they had to do was to sign up for a Data Academy class, show up, and learn.

The experimental in-house training program was so well-received by city employees that the Data Academy now has long waiting lists and offers just-in-time, on-demand analytics training at least a few times a month.

The first workshops were done on Excel and Tableau, but the program has expanded to offer more advanced-level courses in analysis, data management, data visualization, information design, and process improvement.

Sherman, who runs the program, says over the past three years some 2,000 have participated in the workshops developed by staff in the Controller’s Office and the DataSF Team, who also serve as teachers for the courses.

“When we have something we think could be useful in analytical work, we put out a two-hour class quickly to test it,” Sherman says. At the end of the workshop, attendees are given a survey, so the city knows immediately if a class will be useful.

Sherman’s Background

Born in Hong Kong, immigrated to U.S. and attended high school in Brooklyn, NY.  BS in aerospace engineering from MIT (’87), MS in management science from Stanford (‘92), and Masters in city planning from UC Berkeley (‘97). Married with two teenage daughters. Current hobby is mixing classic cocktails, which goes hand-in-hand with another favorite past-time—listening to classic jazz. Favorite cocktail: classic Negroni (equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth– stirred, not shaken).

Startling Fact

Has fun telling people he’s a rocket scientist because he studied aerospace engineering.

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