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Ellory Monks

Co-Founder of @TheAtlas4Cities. Yes: infrastructure, cities, environment. Also: USMC, real food, women engineers, Rice University. No thanks: running.

Created: Monday, April 19, 2021 | Updated: Monday, April 19, 2021

We recently welcomed Erik Caldwell to The Atlas as our Director of Data Strategy. Erik joins us from the City of San Diego where he served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer among other leading roles for the city. 

During this time, Erik guided San Diego’s renowned efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and explored how technology, renewable energy, mobility, climate resilience and creative financing can come together to create a more sustainable city.

His experience implementing innovative public service solutions makes Erik a valuable addition to The Atlas. As Director of Data Strategy, he will apply his experience to set the vision for the data products offered by The Atlas.

From Advisor to Director

Back in 2019, The Atlas co-founders assembled a City Advisory Team of local government leaders to ensure The Atlas grew into a trusted community where city staff could share, learn and build relationships.

As a San Diego based company, The Atlas sought out advice from local government leaders in our hometown. Erik became a trusted advisor in the early days of The Atlas. He provided invaluable feedback on the gaps within the state and local government market and how The Atlas could best fill those gaps to serve local government officials and staff. 

“When I first heard about The Atlas I remember thinking the world is long overdue for this type of platform,” said Erik. “When I worked for local government, anytime I needed to launch a new program or initiative the first thing I did was check in with other jurisdictions to see how they approached the problem. That wasn’t always easy before The Atlas, but was something you needed to do. When taking a solution to our elected leaders for approval they would always ask, who else has done this, are we the first?”

Headshot of Erik Caldwell
Erik Caldwell joins The Atlas as Director of Community.

Bringing Efficiency to Local Government

In his new role as Director of Data Strategy, Erik will lead the rollout of market intelligence data collected through The Atlas. This data predicts the behavior of state and local government markets, purchase intents in key cities and geographic regions, and priorities of local governments.

“From pumping water, to paving roads, to policing the streets, cities innovate best when they are sharing ideas with each other. This unique process of innovation currently isn’t efficient,” said Erik.  “The Atlas is foundational to solving all problems in local government and speeding up the innovation cycle.” 

Since leaving the public sector, Erik now has the opportunity to support cities as they work to improve communities around the nation, while also helping The Atlas continue to grow and thrive. 

“Good ideas spread faster driving positive change at a faster pace,” he remarked. “Conversely, failed implementations are highlighted and repeated less frequently leading to better outcomes. This role The Atlas plays is leading to better governance.”

‘Making the World a Better Place’

The Atlas’s free case study database seeks to make interactions between cities and vendors more enjoyable and productive.

“A lot of the content on The Atlas is focused on innovation and solving government problems in new ways. I love that,” said Erik. “When I started my career, you had to attend a conference or sift through magazines to find new approaches cities were taking to solve problems. Now we have The Atlas.”

Serving local government leaders is at the heart of The Atlas’s mission. We work everyday to build a platform that makes it easier for cities to connect with one another and share best practices.

“I love local government leaders; they are my people,” said Erik. “Some of the smartest and most driven people I know have chosen to forgo riches in pursuit of making the world a better place. That kind of spirit is infectious and I still get inspired by it.” 

We can’t wait to see how Erik’s innovative approaches will continue to shape The Atlas into the best version of itself. We quite literally could not have gotten this far without him and are endlessly grateful for his guidance and leadership.


Erik Caldwell is one of two very important additions to The Atlas leadership team. Clarence Wittwer also joined last week as our Director of Community. Read his blog post here.

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