Big Data and Analytics Committee Event

February 4, 2016

Keynote Speaker
Robbin Imel
Senior Manager
Walmart Technology

Robbin Imel is a senior manager in Walmart Technology and leads teams of data and business intelligence (BI) architects; extract, transform and load (ETL) specialists; and data analysts driving Walmart's Wireless Activation Retail and Revenue Reconciliation Platforms. Imel joined Walmart via acquisition. She was the director of database architecture and development for Simplexity when it unexpectedly hit Chapter 7 bankruptcy. With Walmart's support, she and a core leadership team joined as associates, reformed the technology team, and re-launched the activation platform across the retail chain, all within a few months. The team transitioned smoothly, delivered quickly, and the wireless team was ultimately awarded Project of the Year by Walmart Technology.

Imel's passion is harnessing the power of data to predict and influence behavior and align strategic initiatives with emerging trends and market changes. Walmart Technology has provided Imel with a unique experience in exploring the nexus of product development, technology and consumer at a large scale.

Prior to Walmart, from 2006 to 2014 Imel was the director of database architecture and development at Simplexity where she spearheaded the development of a revenue recognition and reconciliation platform for wireless re-sellers as well as provided product catalog services powering thousands of retailers in the mobile wireless sector.

From 2003 to 2006, Imel was a senior manager for American Systems Corporation, where she developed the on-line transaction processing (OLTP) and on-line analytical processing (OLAP) systems powering the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division's automated investigative platform. Prior to 2003, Imel worked as a database development consultant, labor researcher and financial analyst in the non-profit sector. Imel studied politics at Oberlin College and has a master's degree in political science from The Johns Hopkins University.

Ali Eskandarian
Dean and Professor of Physics
The George Washington University Virginia Science and Technology Campus

Dr. Ali Eskandarian, a theoretical physicist, is the dean of the George Washington Virginia Science and Technology Campus (GW VSTC), as well as dually appointed as dean of the College of Professional Studies. Eskandarian began his career at GW in 2002 as an associate dean and one of the founding members of the team that launched GW's College of Professional Studies (CPS).

Thereafter, he served as the senior associate dean for strategic initiatives and research at CPS where he led the design and development of several innovative certificates and master's degree programs. In addition to his role as dean, he also holds faculty appointments as professor at CPS and in the Department of Physics. He combines solid grounding in academics with significant administrative and entrepreneurial experience.

Since taking on the role as dean at the VSTC, Eskandarian has become actively engaged with key community stakeholders in Loudoun County, as well as those throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. He serves on the Loudoun Chamber Board of Directors and the Loudoun CEO Cabinet. He actively participates with the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia and is expanding partnerships with Virginia's Community College System. He has also been the co-chair of NVTC's Big Data and Analytics Committee since 2014.

Prior to his arrival at GW, Eskandarian worked at James Madison University (JMU), the National Research Council, and held a number of positions in private industry. At JMU he held the Distinguished Oliver Professorship in the integrated science and technology department, as well as the Computer Science Department, where he also held the title of Virginia Eminent Scholar.

In the mid-1990s, Dr. Eskandarian was the study director for the "Reusable Launch Vehicles: Technology Development and Test Program" study at the National Research Council, which led to important recommendations regarding the future technological options and the nation's space policy. He subsequently served as an advisor to the Army Research Laboratory's Technology Assessment Board. Earlier in the 1990s, Eskandarian joined the aerospace industry and worked on the scientific satellites developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for several space missions.

Eskandarian's current research interests at GW are focused on the foundations of quantum theory, quantum computing/information, and astrophysics. He has been a founding member of groups in quantum computing and astrophysics, and currently serves as co-director of the Center for Quantum Computing, Information, Logic, and Topology.

Brian Brinkmann
Vice President of Product Management
Logi Analytics

Brian has more than 15 years of analytics and business intelligence (BI) software experience. Prior to joining Logi Analytics, he held senior product strategy, management and marketing positions with MicroStrategy, creating BI applications for marquee customers such as Nike and Franklin Templeton. Brinkmann holds an MBA and a master's in engineering management from Northwestern University, as well as a bachelor's in electrical engineering from the University of Dayton.

Elvis Dieguez
Director of Analytics and Business Insights

Since 2014, Elvis Dieguez has been focused on building an innovative, world-class analytics and data science department that grafts the power of mathematical analysis from the physical sciences and engineering fields into every aspect of running CustomInk's business. CustomInk is a $300 million custom apparel and goods business that shipped more than 20 million units of custom product to more than half a million customers across the United States in 2015. CustomInk is both an e-commerce and manufacturing company with locations in Reno, Nevada; Dallas, Texas and Charlottesville, Virginia. Our headquarters is in Fairfax, Virginia and we have additional subsidiary businesses in Chicago (Pear) and Boston (Booster).

At CustomInk, Dieguez uses analytics to enable data-driven decisions instead of relying on gut feelings, intuition, or water witches. He firmly believes that the era of "gut feeling" business management is coming to an end and is being supplanted by mathematical quants well-versed in the language of data and analytics. His team's products are used across the business to increase profits, reduce cost, and optimize every aspect of the business. They support with and embed in every department of the business: e-commerce, marketing, merchandising and finance, among others. The focus of his team can be described as three-fold: data engineering, analytics and business intelligence.

Elvis' career to date has had three major phases. From 2002 - 2008 he worked in the defense industry for a variety of small defense contractors where he was an individual contributor specializing in physics-based modeling, developing fast and efficient signal processing algorithms; and as a program manager who was awarded two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants totaling almost $2 million that transitioned into Phase 2.

Although the work was interesting, Dieguez soon noticed that demand for individuals with technical backgrounds was increasing in "regular" business functions. So before the term 'analytics' had become popular, he began the second phase of his career in 2008 by joining Booz Allen Hamilton's Organization & Strategy (OS) consulting practice where he focused on helping clients solve interesting and unique strategic challenges using analytically-driven strategy based on statistical analysis, modeling and simulation, and business intelligence. From 2008 - 2012, Dieguez worked with a variety of commercial and government clients leading teams of consultants on strategy and analytics engagements. In 2012, Dieguez began the current phase of his career when he left consulting to work in the e-commerce space helping companies build innovative and well-functioning analytics and data science departments.

Dieguez received his master's degree in physics from the University of California at Berkeley;l a second master's degree in electrical engineering, signal processing and information theory from George Mason University; and a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Miami. He additionally spent time doing physics research at the University of Chicago and Princeton University. His day-to-day work notwithstanding, Dieguez has always considered himself to be a physicist in heart and practice - making decisions based on data while using mathematics as a tool to derive general principles of process and governance (with equal applicability) to run a business in ways similar to executing a physics experiment.

Thomas Mathew
Chief Product Officer

Thomas Mathew is the chief product officer at Zoomph, a B2B social media marketing growth hacking platform for discovering and generating value from "#NowData" brand insights. At Zoomph, he is perpetually looking to balance relevance, usability, simplicity, and fun.

He previously led product management at Clarabridge and has held technology leadership positions at Teradata, Ameritrade and Citigroup. Mathew holds an Master of Science in computational linguistics from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Technology in electronics engineering from Cochin University.

Mathew's after work obsession is squash (the sport, not the vegetable) and he's a member of Mensa International. Tweet him at @thomasamathew.

Curtis Smith
Senior Director, Platform Data Services

Curtis Smith has been instrumental in the creation and implementation of Neustar's Big Data strategic initiatives. Big Data at Neustar encompassed data warehousing and business intelligence, and over the last 5 years has included Neustar's foray into the Hadoop Eco-system.

Smith is responsible for the creation of both internal and external facing analytic solutions. He is known for his ability to architect and implement solutions to collect massive amounts of raw data and transform data into powerful insights and knowledge for Neustar's customers. He also is an evangelist for innovation through the use of Open Source software. Smith has more than 30 years of progressive software engineering experience with 25 years in the dynamic communications and telecommunications industry.

Joe Sporleder
Senior Director of Data and Analytics
Walmart Technology

Joel Sporleder is currently senior director of Data and Analytics in Walmart Technology. His team is focused on the engineering and support of Walmart's Big Data platforms and Analytics and Visualization tools. Sporleder has been a Walmart associate for 19 years with 16 years in Walmart Technology supporting several business areas in Walmart U.S., Sam's Club and Walmart International.