A Word from the General Chair
With a history that dates back to the tumultuous American Wild West, when it served as a cornerstone for the gold rush in the surrounding Rocky Mountains, today Denver, the capital of Colorado, marries its reputation as a popular outdoor adventure spot with a booming food and music scene, and is also home to the core industries of healthcare and financial services.
We invite you to join us in Denver, April 26-28, 2020, to travel back in time to the frontier days of American history, while also looking ahead as we celebrate and explore the latest research and achievements in analytics at the 2020 INFORMS Business Analytics Conference.
Attendees will experience a full conference schedule featuring more than 150 presentations and panels by leading analytics professionals from around the world, as well as the opportunity to enjoy all that the incredible city of Denver has to offer.
We hope to see you in Denver in 2020!
Zahir Balaporia, CAP
Optimization Solutions Partner
Joining the FICO team in 2015, Zahir helps clients design solutions for their advanced analytics needs, with a focus on optimization, analytics deployment and change management. He brings 20 years of experience in manufacturing, transportation, logistics and IT, having recently led the advanced analytics team within a $4B company. His work was profiled in the book Only Humans Need Apply – Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Tom Davenport and Julia Kirby. Zahir has a BS in Computer Engineering, an MS in Industrial Engineering, and an MS in System Dynamics.
Nathaniel D. Bastian
Senior Data Scientist and AI Engineer
DoD Joint Artificial Intelligence Center
Dr. Bastian serves as Senior Data Scientist and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engineer at the Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. He provides technical advisement for AI research, design conceptualization, prototyping, systems architecture, product development, and software deployment, leading to the operationalization of AI-enabled products and technologies to solve novel, complex problems that span the DoD. Dr. Bastian previously served as Operations Research Scientist and Assistant Professor at the Army Cyber Institute (ACI) at the U.S. Military Academy, where he led cyber research efforts within the Intelligent Cyber-Systems and Analytics Research Laboratory. Prior to the ACI, Dr. Bastian served as Analytics Officer in the Health Services Division at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, leading the development and maintenance of complex databases, business intelligence tools, algorithms and data engineering processes to support Army Medical Department Officer manpower analysis and planning. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the Pennsylvania State University, M.Eng. degree in Industrial Engineering from Penn State, M.S. degree in Econometrics and Operations Research from Maastricht University, and B.S. degree in Engineering Management (electrical engineering) with honors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Analytics, Strategy & Execution
Tudor Bodea is an independent advisor who covers strategy and execution in intense analytics-informed environments. Tudor focuses on the Transportation/Logistics and Hospitality industries. Prior to assuming an advisory role, Tudor was a director of Revenue Optimization Innovation in the Distribution and Revenue Management Strategy Department at the InterContinental Hotels Group in Atlanta, GA. In that role, Tudor was responsible for the identification and exploitation of revenue/profit opportunities using research techniques from such study areas as operations research, economics and psychology. Tudor has published scientific papers in such journals as Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Transportation Research and Transportation. He is the co-author of the books Segmentation, Revenue Management and Pricing Analytics and Pricing Segmentation and Analytics. Tudor earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology with an emphasis on choice modeling, transportation systems, logistics and statistics. He holds an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.S. and B.S. in Transportation Systems from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Alan Briggs, CAP
Alan Briggs has a wide breadth of experience researching, teaching, and implementing machine learning, data science, and advanced analytics solutions. After nearly ten years in engineering at UPS, Mr. Briggs completed a master’s degree in logistics engineering from North Carolina State University. Building on his graduate work in metaheuristic optimization, he transitioned out of the commercial world and began working as a government contractor in the greater Washington DC area. With experience at several well-regarded analytics consultancies, Mr. Briggs has worked on dozens of analytics projects during every phase of the process, from business and analytic problem framing, to data management, methodology selection, model building, all the way through to deployment and life-cycle management. He has built and led teams of software engineers and data scientists working on complex, high-impact problems. Additionally, Mr. Briggs has worked for several software vendors, providing technical assistance and leadership to sales organizations.
Outside of the office, Mr. Briggs has contributed thought leadership in a number of different ways. He has taught analytics sessions, workshops, and courses through various professional organizations, as well as multiple colleges and universities. He has published a book chapter on the practice of analytics, and developed numerous blog posts, white papers, and conference presentations. He is actively involved in the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS), where he is president-elect of the 2,500 person Analytics Society, and has held several leadership and advisory positions. Mr. Briggs has also earned the Certified Analytics Professional designation, an ANSI certified professional certification for proficiency in Operations Research, Advanced Analytics, and Data Science.
Aaron Burciaga, CAP
Aaron Burciaga is a Data Scientist, AI Engineer, author and Advisor. As a seasoned technology and business leader in both startup and enterprise settings, he has focused his career on delivering efficiency and value through automation, data science, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, quantum computing, and emerging concepts and innovative technologies. His development and implementation of programs and initiatives have enhanced multi-billion dollar programs and operational efficiencies across industries in commercial, federal, and defense.
Aaron’s roles have included CEO DataPrime, CTO at Analytics2Go, Vice President Data Science and AI at Booz Allen Hamilton, Global Analytics Platform Lead at Accenture, and Senior Research Scientist at Elder Research. Before turning his attention to commercial and public sectors, Aaron was a Marine Corps officer and Iraq war veteran and was the head operations research analyst and director of an operations analysis activity at the Pentagon, supporting the Marine Corps Headquarters. He is currently a Marine Reservist, where he supports the Chief Information Officer at Headquarters Marine Corps-Pentagon as Lead Data Technologist.
Aaron is a Forbes contributor, frequently invited keynote and speaker, and Certified Analytics Professional (CAP). Aaron received his M.S. Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School and his B.S. from the US Naval Academy.
Senior Manager, Advanced Analytics
Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts
Dayana Cope leads the Advanced Analytics group at Walt Disney World. Her team focuses on providing analytical insight to solve operational challenges at the Disney Theme Parks and Resorts. Throughout her career, Dayana has spearheaded the inception and advancement of analytics efforts within global corporations in various industries. She obtained a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Central Florida with a focus in the area of Supply Chain Management and Simulation Modeling and Analysis. She currently serves as the INFORMS Roundtable representative for Disney.
People Insights Senior Manager
Rob Dees is currently a data and decision science senior manager for the People Insights team at Dell Technologies. The People Insights team provides people analytics to support people decisions by the CHRO and Human Resources Leadership Team at Dell. This includes strategy consulting, decision support, data science, dashboard building, and management of the HR data lake. Rob’s specific area of technical expertise is in decision analysis, and he enjoys helping people make better personal decisions as well as helping organizations make better personnel decisions.
Prior to Dell, Rob spent 20 years in the US Army, where he spent the first 8 years of his career as an Army Infantry officer and the last 12 years as an Operations Research Systems Analysis (ORSA) officer. While an ORSA officer, Rob focused on people analytics through decision science, most notably winning the Barchi Prize from the Military Operations Research Society (MORS) as the creator of the WholeSoldier talent management system. Additionally, he developed a similar system for the Mayo Clinic called WholeSurgeon. Rob spent 3 years as an assistant professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at West Point and has published articles in the INFORMS Decision Analysis Journal. Rob holds a BS in Engineering Management from West Point, a MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Texas A&M, and a MS in Risk Analysis and Decision Making from the University of Texas at Austin.
Manager, Data Science & Research Group, Employee Success Strategy & Analytics (ESSA) Team
Dr. Genetha Anne Gray manages the Data Science & Research group of the Employee Success Strategy & Analytics (ESSA) team at Salesforce. ESSA focuses on optimizing the employee experience through the use of data, and Genetha and her team study problems related to geographically dispersed teams, employee benefits and well-being, immersion of acquired companies, and pay equity. Previously, she was an analytics research scientist at Intel Corporation where she worked on both engineering and people analytics applications including modeling the changing representation of women in the workforce. Prior to joining Intel, Genetha spent 12 years as a member of the technical staff at Sandia National Labs in Livermore, CA. There, she worked on problems related to the electrical and mechanical engineering of systems, the storage of nuclear waste, groundwater remediation, cyber security, and energy including renewables integration and grid operations. She has a Ph.D. in Computational & Applied Mathematics from Rice University and is the co-author of numerous research publications including a text book on environmental modeling. Genetha also volunteers with groups working to improve mathematical modeling education and mentors women studying mathematics.
As Senior Advisor at Princeton Consultants, Dr. Higbie advises clients on optimization model formulation and solution architecture. Prior to Princeton Consultants Jon Served as Chief Science Officer for Revenue Analytics where he was responsible for company’s science and innovation efforts, including analytic product development. Before Revenue Analytics Dr. Higbie served as Chief Scientist for JDA Software and on the faculty of the College of Management at Georgia Tech.
Dr. Higbie is particularly known for his groundbreaking work in the hospitality and advertising industries.nHe has been recognized for his contributions to the science of group Revenue Management, real-time price management, and large-scale network optimization for companies such as ABC Television Network, The Coca-Cola Company, Ford Motor Company, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and Delta Air Lines.
Mani Janakiram has been with Intel for 19 years and has managed several strategic projects in factory operations, capacity planning, process control, analytics, strategy, supplier management, IOT, factory science and supply chain. His 25 years of experience includes Automotive and Aerospace industries. Prior to Intel, he worked at Honeywell and Motorola in operations, strategy, systems, analytics, manufacturing, research, planning, etc. He is located in Gilbert, AZ.
Mani has two patents and has published 75+ papers on supply chain, statistical modeling, capacity modeling, data mining, Lean Six Sigma, factory operations research and process control. Mani is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, school of Supply Chain/Business and is also a visiting lecturer at MIT’s Center for Transportation & Logistics. He is an accomplished speaker and also serves on several committees including, AZ Tech Council, ASU Network Value Chain, MIT CTL, Informs, APICS, CSMCP, etc. Mani holds a PhD in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Arizona State University and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. He is a recognized Six Sigma Master Black Belt and also an APICS certified supply chain professional (CSCP). Recently he was recognized by Drexel University and CIO.com as one of the Top 50 Analytics Executives.
Freeman Marvin, CAP
Executive Principal Analyst
Innovative Decisions, Inc.
Freeman Marvin has over 25 years of experience as a decision analyst, group facilitator, and process consultant in the Federal government sector. His expertise is in the integration and application of organization development, operations research, and electronic collaboration technologies. He has facilitated numerous decision conferences and electronic meetings, developed decision models using a variety of software, and taught courses on group decision support for traditional facilitators, managers, and analysts. Freeman is a Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) with The International Association of Facilitators. Freeman has worked as an operations research analyst for Rockwell International and Decision Science Consortium, and was a senior member of the technical staff for Northrop-Grumman TASC, a systems engineering and professional services company. He holds a Master in Public Policy degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Pelin Pekgün, Ph.D.
Darla Moore School Of Business, University Of South Carolina
Dr. Pelin Pekgün is an associate professor of management science in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include applications of management science and operations research in pricing and revenue management, supply chain management, marketing/operations interface and humanitarian logistics. Prior to joining academia, she led the operations research team in North America at JDA Software’s Pricing and Revenue Management Group, where she worked in various projects in retail, hospitality, passenger travel and other leisure industries. Her work with the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group on stay night price optimization was a finalist for the 2012 INFORMS Franz Edelman Award and the 2013 INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section Practice Award. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for Decision Sciences and INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics, the chair of the INFORMS Membership and Member Services Committee, a member of the INFORMS Franz Edelman Award committee, and a Board member for the INFORMS Practice Section. Dr. Pekgün holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in industrial and systems engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, and B.S. and M.S. degrees in industrial engineering from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.
Associate Dean, The Graduate College
Director, Analytics and Data Science Institute
Kennesaw State University
Dr. Priestley is the Associate Dean of The Graduate College and the Director of the Analytics and Data Science Institute at Kennesaw State University. In 2012, the SAS Institute recognized Dr. Priestley as the 2012 Distinguished Statistics Professor of the Year. She served as the 2012 and 2015 Co-Chair of the National Analytics Conference. Datanami recognized Dr. Priestley as one of the top 12 “Data Scientists to Watch in 2016.”
She architected the first Ph.D. Program in Data Science, which launched in February 2015.
Dr. Priestley has been a featured speaker at SAS Analytics, SAS Global Forum, Big Data Week, Technology Association of Georgia, Data Science ATL, The Atlanta Chief Data Officer Summit, The Atlanta CEO Council, Predictive Analytics World, INFORMS and dozens of corporate events addressing issues related to advanced analytics and the challenges and opportunities of “Big Data”. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Southern Data Science Conference and Flock Specialty Finance.
She has authored dozens of articles on Binary Classification, Risk Modeling, Sampling, Statistical Methodologies for Problem Solving and Applications of Big Data Analytics.
Prior to receiving a Ph.D. in Statistics, Dr. Priestley worked in the Financial Services industry for 11 years. Her positions included Vice President of Business Development for VISA EU in London, as well as for MasterCard US and an analytical consultant with Accenture’s strategic services group.
Dr. Priestley received a Ph.D. from Georgia State, an MBA from The Pennsylvania State University, where she was president of the graduate student body, and a BS from Georgia Tech. She holds two SAS Certifications – Base Programming and Statistical Business Analyst.
Nancy’s journey in Revenue Management and Pricing began over 20 years ago spanning a diverse cross section of industries including hotel, rental car, airline, cargo, retail, transportation, and b2b contracts. Her career includes user training, change management, system design, and system implementation. Implementation design focused on creating long-term strategies to support blending the needs of business, technical, and analytic teams, while ensuring long-term sustainable and maintainable systems. Nancy received an MS in Operations Research from Stanford and a BS in Applied Mathematics from University of North Texas.
The MITRE Corporation
Les Servi is Chief Scientist at The MITRE Corporation. At MITRE he contributed to a diversity of areas including the Cyber Operations Research and Heath Analytics and runs a Decision Analytics Group. In addition he was a technical advisor to some government programs to help select, monitor, and/or make recommendations to redirect recipients of government funding. He started the new Social Media Analysis subdivision of INFORMS, helped start the Telecommunication subdivision and is currently the Boston INFORMS chair. He is a member of the Board of Directors of MORS (Military Operations Research Society). He is a former member of two Defense Science Board task forces, a former member of the Board of Directors of INFORMS for 6 years, a former chair of the Applied Probability subdivision and the Telecommunication subdivision and is a Fellow of INFORMS. He has been an editor of Operations Research, Management Science, and INFORMS Journal on Computing. He previously worked at Bell Laboratories and GTE (now Verizon) Laboratories pursuing telecommunication research, served as a visiting scientist at Harvard University and MIT, and worked at MIT Lincoln Lab in the areas of military communication and ISR. He has an extensive publication record with five papers having more than 20 citations and was awarded 10 patents as a result of his operations research analysis. He earned an Sc.B and Sc.M. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University and an M.S. and Ph. D. from Harvard University.
Brian Sperling is a Director with Guidehouse, LLC and the lead for our U.S. Army business in Huntsville, AL. Brian also serves as a senior subject-matter specialist to advanced analytics programs across the Department of Defense (DoD).
Brian started his military career as an attack helicopter pilot and then transitioned in Operations Research. He served as the Operations Analysis Branch Chief at the Combat Readiness Center, Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at USMA, Operations Analysis Branch Chief in the U.S. Army Pacific, Military Director of the Center for Army Analysis, and the Deputy Director of the Resource and Analysis Directorate (J8) in Central Command. Brian has led projects across multiple domains with a focus on improving decision-making processes for senior leaders to achieve their strategy, refining organizational processes to sustainably enhance effectiveness and efficiency, and establishing effective performance management systems to drive continuous improvement.
Brian holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master of Science (MS) degree in Operations Analysis, and a Master of Science (MS) degree in Strategic Studies. He is also a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
Erick is an independent analytics consultant for Wikalytics, LLC. He earned a B.S. degree in Operations Research and Mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Operations Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology. For over 25 years, he has helped his clients within various industries including freight transportation, logistics, heavy equipment manufacturing, oil and gas, retail and agribusiness to make better, data-driven decisions and to achieve improved resultant outcomes. Prior to founding Wikalytics, Dr. Wikum served as an internal and external analytics consultant for the U.S. Air Force, Norfolk Southern, Schneider, IBM and Tata Consultancy Services. Erick is very active within INFORMS and currently serves as president of the 2,500-member Analytics Society and as an Associate Editor of the INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics.
Jim Williams (Chair)
Sr. Principal Consultant, Xpress Optimization
Jim Williams is a Sr. Principal Consultant with FICO’s Xpress Optimization team. He has 37 years of experience as an analytics consultant and supply chain manager. His role is to help organizations understand the potential of applying optimization and advanced analytic methods to help solve tough business problems in short order. This can take form as diagnosing opportunities to help solve their problems, demonstrating capabilities with their data, and framing up training and/or development efforts. Prior to FICO, Jim led the Advanced Analytics team at Land O’Lakes, solving supply chain challenges in planning, sourcing, manufacturing and distribution.
Jim has been a member of TIMS and INFORMS since 1983, and a Roundtable representative since 2006. He has served on the INFORMS Membership Committee, the Analytics Maturity Model Committee, the Meetings Committee, the Analytics Conference Advisory Committee, chair of the Analytics Certification Board, and president of the Analytics Society. He served as general chair for the 2013 Analytics Conference.
Jim received a MS degree in Forestry with Operations Research concentration, from the University of Minnesota. He also holds the Certified Analytics Professional credential.
University of Waterloo
Fatma Gzara is Associate Professor and co-founder of WANOPT, the Waterloo Analytics and Optimization Lab. She holds a Professional Engineering designation in Ontario, Canada. Her primary research interests are in large scale optimization and its applications. Her current research activities focus on data analytics, supply chain management, optimization under uncertainty, and network design for hazardous material transportation, distribution and airline operations. Recently, she is leading several industry collaborations on data analytics funded by federal and provincial grants. Some of her industry collaborators include Bombardier Inc., Navtech Inc., and Dematic Ltd, MedAvail Technologies Inc.. She published work on large scale optimization, optimization under uncertainty, network design and analysis, supply chain management, hazmat transportation, and airline operations planning. Her work appeared in the Journal of Global Optimization, Omega: The International Journal of Management Science, Networks, Computers and Industrial Engineering, and IIE Transactions, among others.
Professor Gzara received a Ph.D. in Management from the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering from Bilkent University (Ankara, Turkey) in 1995 and 1997, respectively. She was assistant professor at York University from 2006 to 2009. Prior to that, she held a postdoctoral position at the University of Alberta, School of Business.
Center for Policy Resarch
Mary “Emmy” Helander received her bachelor’s in CIS and math from the State University of New York at Potsdam, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in industrial engineering & operations research from Syracuse University and the State University of New York at Buffalo respectively. Mary was a Senior Researcher and Software Architect at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center. Mary returned to graduate study at Syracuse University so that she could redirect her skills in data and network science, problem solving, and IT to study societal issues through the pursuit of a Ph.D. in Social Sciences. Mary is interested in research that explores topics in public health and its intersection with emergency medical services; social inequity in health care, education and employment and how it effects the elderly; and social science research methodology.
Professor, Department Head
Industrial Engineering Department
University of Arkansas
Dr. Edward A. Pohl is Head of the Industrial Engineering Department, Professor and holder of the 21st Century Professorship of Engineering at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Pohl also serves as the Director of the Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics and former Co-Director of the emerging Institute for Advanced Data Analytics. Before coming to Arkansas, Dr. Pohl spent 21 years in the United States Air Force where he served in a variety of engineering, operations, analysis, and academic positions during his career. Dr. Pohl is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, a Fellow of the Society of Reliability Engineers, a Diplomate in the Society for Health Systems and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member of INFORMS, INCOSE, ASEM and ASQ. Dr. Pohl’s research interests are in risk, reliability, engineering optimization, supply chain risk analysis, healthcare logistics, decision making and quality. He has published more than 100 refereed articles and given more than 100 presentations at national and international conferences. Dr. Pohl is an Associate Editor for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Transaction on Reliability, the Journal of Risk and Reliability, and the Journal of Military Operations Research.
Dr. Nada Sanders is the Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. She is an internationally recognized thought leader and expert in forecasting and supply chain management. She is author of the books Big Data Driven Supply Chain Management (Pearson, 2014), Foundations of Sustainable Business (Wiley, 2014), as well as Supply Chain Management: A Global Perspective, 2nd edition (2017), and is co-author of the book Operations Management, in its 5th edition. She is highly published in leading scholarly journals, such as California Management Review, Journal of Operations Management, Journal of Business Logistics, and numerous others.
She is a Fellow of the Decision Sciences Institute, and has served on the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF), Decision Sciences Institute (DSI), and the Production Operations Management Society (POMS). She was co-founder and Associate Editor of Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting. Throughout her career Dr. Sanders has successfully held a range of leadership roles in both academic and professional organizations and has served on a number of executive boards. She has provided training and consulting to a range of Fortune 500 companies, and is a frequently called upon keynote speaker and expert witness.
Systems Engineer Senior Staff
Alan Taber is from Fort Worth where he is a member of the System Design and Requirements group at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. He has over 15 years of experience variety of increasingly responsible roles, including time in software project management, combat system engineering, and renewable energy. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford, a master’s in System Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, and an MBA from Rutgers-Camden in International Business. He participated in the 2008 INFORMS Professional Colloquium, is co-chair of the CAP Study Guide Committee and study guide editor, and has served as co-chair of the Analytics Conference Poster Session since 2012 and as the INFORMS Professional Colloquium (IPC) chair since 2015.