• 8:30am

    Registration, Coffee, & Networking

  • 9am

    Welcome and Introductions

  • 9:15am

    Keynote Speakers

    • Operationalizing Evolutionary AI

      Risto Miikkulainen, Cognizant Technology Solutions and The University of Texas at Austin

      While most current AI applications are based on modeling and prediction, techniques such as evolutionary computation can extend AI to problems that require creativity. These techniques can discover engineering solutions that are more complex, perform better, and have a lower cost than existing solutions. I will review pioneering applications of such evolutionary AI in web design, neural network design, marketing, and life sciences, and discuss how such AI can be industrialized—in particular by estimating confidence in the solutions, and by exploring alternatives and tradeoffs between solutions, thereby making it possible to trust Evolutionary AI.

    • A Practical Approach to Designing, Building and Implementing Intelligence and BI-based Systems

      John K. Thompson, CSL Behring

      Drawing on his 30 years of experience in – building analytics software, leading teams in delivering advanced analytics solutions and in building and managing high performance analytics teams, Thompson’s keynote will cover how to:

      1. Design and staff high performing teams either as a production line or as a group of artisans
      2. Define and build robust analytics processes that drive results in the real world
      3. Move from robust analytical processes to integrating analytical models and processes into operational production processes

      Please bring your questions and ideas to the session.  John is interested in hearing your views and discussing all topics related to analytics.

  • 10:30am

    Bringing Analytics to Life

    Naveed Asem, Donnelley Financial Solutions

    What does software engineering, data engineering, and analytics all have in common?  They all work together to operationalize analytics that either provide actionable insights or automate complex processes for an organization and its customers.  In this session, we will examine how these various disciplines come together to bring these analytics to life.  We will discuss typical use cases, architecture patterns, and analytics processes used by a mature analytic organization in operationalizing machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies.

  • 11am


  • 11:15am

    Innovative Applications Panel: Current State and Evolution of Innovative Applications

    Kristina Chambers, TTX 

    Adam McElhinney, Paylocity

    Rainer Dronzek, The AnyLogic Company

    In this panel we explore the current state of innovative applications of AI and how they have evolved over the past couple of years. Of the applications that were considered innovative two years ago, have any of them become mainstream? For example, the use of computer vision in automation. What promised capabilities did not rise to the level of expectations? What is innovative right now? What will the prospect look over the next couple of years? Where should industries be investing in the space of AI?

  • 12noon

    Lunch Break

  • 1pm


  • 1:30pm

    Talent & Skills

    Unicorn Hunting: How to Hire & Retain Data Science Talent

    Linda Burtch, Burtch Works

    Now that we’re well on our way to the fourth industrial revolution, how can your team find and retain data science talent to harness your data for a competitive advantage? This talk will share salary and demographic data that is crucial to hiring strategy, as well as our research on what motivates these professionals to change jobs, which is key to addressing retention efforts. Plus, key hiring trends that are shaping the quantitative market.

  • 2pm

    Panel Discussion: How Do We Navigate the AI Journey from Concept to Outcomes?

    Amit Prasad, Coyote Logistics

    Ravi Subramanyan, The Weir Group PLC

    Aaron Burciaga, DataPrime

    What is the typical journey for taking an AI solution from prototype through deployment to delivering on business outcomes?  

    • How do we ensure we are asking the right questions to address the business problem?
    • How do you determine the right AI approach & tools to solve the problem? 
    • How do we overcome the challenges associated with operationalization and adoption of the new solution? 
    • Once implemented, how do we know that it is actually working and generating value?

    In this panel explore these various phases of an AI journey from concept to outcomes.

  • 2:45pm


  • 3pm

    Integrating AI and Simulation Modeling

    Rainer Drozek, The AnyLogic Company

    Simulation modeling has historically been a key strategic and tactical planning method in the analytics space, typically used by operations research and industrial engineering professionals. Today, AI developers are discovering that simulation modeling can be a powerful and risk-free training and testing environment for machine learning algorithms. This integration of simulation and AI applies to a wide range of business applications, such as manufacturing, logistics, supply chain, urban transportation, business processes, healthcare and asset management. Through background information and live examples, attendees will be introduced to the concepts and approaches for integrating AI and simulation modeling.

  • 3:30pm

    Innovative AI for eCommerce Fulfillment

    Kristen Daihes, Opex Analytics

    There is a shared comradery among manufacturers as they talk about the challenges associated with fulfillment within the eCommerce channel.  Customers like Amazon drop orders that often provide little similarity to the forecasts they provide.  This session will share a case study of how one CPG player is using AI in an innovative way for volatile order prediction and response in eCommerce, and the scalability of this solution into other channels with volatile demand patterns.

  • 4pm

    Wrap Up

  • 4:30pm

    Event Ends


Chief Data and Analytics Officer & Senior Vice President Donnelly Financial Solutions (DFIN)

Naveed Asem

Chief Data and Analytics Officer & Senior Vice President
Donnelly Financial Solutions (DFIN)

Naveed Asem is the Chief Data and Analytics Officer and Senior Vice President at Donnelley Financial Solutions (DFIN), a $1.2 billion company that provides software and services to support clients with regulatory reporting, filing, and compliance functions globally.

Naveed joined DFIN in 2016 as the head of data and analytics. He now leads a growing team of data architects, engineers, and data scientists who are focused on creating business value from data through the use of modern data management technologies, analytics and machine learning. The team is not only responsible for the implementation of DFIN’s enterprise data warehouse and data lakes, but also managing everything from data ingestion and curation, to the delivery of reporting, and filing of artifacts with regulatory bodies in the U.S. and EU.

CEO DataPrime

Aaron Burciaga


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 at 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.

Founder & Managing Director Burtch Works

Linda Burtch

Founder & Managing Director
Burtch Works

Linda Burtch is the Founder and Managing Director of Burtch Works. She is an industry leader in quantitative recruiting, and began her career on the corporate side at Pepsi and Whirlpool before transitioning into recruiting and becoming a subject matter expert on the analytics and data science hiring market.

Linda is a frequent speaker on quantitative career topics, and has been an active member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association and INFORMS for years, including holding several board positions. She frequently shares her market insights at luncheons, conferences, corporate meetings, and webinars, and has maintained a popular blog on the quantitative hiring market for over 10 years. Over the past several years, Linda and Burtch Works have been repeatedly mentioned in the press, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The Chicago Tribune, InformationWeek, Analytics Magazine, and many more. Burtch Works has also been recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Recruiting Firms.

Burtch Works is a targeted recruiting firm whose quantitative specializations range from data science and predictive analytics to marketing research and data engineering, among many others. Burtch Works recruits for positions on both a contingency and retained basis with firms ranging from Fortune 50 corporations to growing startups and private equity firms. Additionally, Burtch Works recruiters maintain close relationships with quantitative professionals throughout their careers, working with early career through executive-level leadership professionals.

Director of Operations Strategy and Analytics TTX Company

Kristina Chambers

Director of Operations Strategy and Analytics
TTX Company

Kristina Chambers is the Director of Operations Strategy and Analytics at TTX Company in Chicago, Illinois. TTX is North America’s largest provider of railcars and rail related services.  She leads a data science and strategic planning team to design, develop and implement innovative solutions that optimize railcar maintenance and maximize operational and business efficiencies.

Prior to joining TTX in 2013, Kristina held senior leadership positions in Finance and Operations at General Electric across multiple business units in the U.S. and Europe over 12 years. She is fluent in German and worked in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich.

Kristina holds a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.  She is a board member of the Traffic Club of Chicago. 

Partner Opex Analytics

Kristen Daihes

Opex Analytics

Kristen Daihes is a Partner with Opex Analytics. For the last 3 years she has been helping companies reinvent themselves with AI (Artificial Intelligence) after spending more than 25 years as a supply chain practitioner in the CPG industry. Kristen is focused on enabling innovative solutions that connect groups at an enterprise level to enable improved decision-making and outcome-based action – particularly in the area of root cause analytics and risk management.

Throughout her career Kristen has been responsible for leading focused transformation programs to develop analytics capabilities and infrastructure enabling growth across enterprises. She often shares her experiences in education forums to highlight the possibilities for organizations to leverage analytics to drive efficiency and efficacy.

As Vice President of Global Supply Chain for SC Johnson, she had direct responsibility for planning in over 20 factories and hundreds of third-party manufacturers, as well as operations of over 100 warehouses globally. Prior to that, she led global supply chain strategy, supply chain sourcing and capacity activities to support Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars. She also held strategic planning, innovation, and engineering roles in Unilever and Procter & Gamble.

Kristen holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Sales Director - North America The AnyLogic Company

Rainer Dronzek

Sales Director – North America
The AnyLogic Company

Rainer Dronzek has held engineering and management positions in the aerospace, oil & gas and consulting industries. He began his analytics career on the Space Shuttle Program at the Kennedy Space Center, where he was first introduced to the art and science of simulation modeling. He has managed projects and standing teams providing modeling services, founded a simulation consulting firm, and has organized simulation events and conferences.

He is the Sales Director – North America for The AnyLogic Company and holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Bradley University.

Chief Data Science Officer & Vice President of Insights Paylocity

Adam McElhinney

Chief Data Science Officer & Vice President of Insights

Adam McElhinney is currently the Chief Data Science Officer and Vice President of Insights at Paylocity. Formerly, he was Head of Data Science at Uptake Technologies, where he led a team of 75 Data Scientists building cutting-edge industrial data analytics tools. Additionally, Adam is an Adjunct Professor in the Computer Science and Mathematics departments at Illinois Institute of Technology. Formerly, he was the Head of Business Analytics and the Head of Marketing Analytics at Enova Financial where he helped grow the company from a small startup to a publicly traded online lending leader that currently employs more than 1,000 associates in the Chicagoland area. Adam holds a Masters in Statistics from University of Illinois-Chicago and has undergraduate degrees in Mathematics, Economics and Political Science from Indiana University-Bloomington. Additionally, Adam has filed 18 patents for his research in machine learning, internet of things (IOT), software engineering and big data technology. Adam was recognized by the Illinois Technology Association as the 2018 Technologist of the Year.

AVP of Evolutionary AI Cognizant Technology Solutions Professor of Computer Science The University of Texas at Austin

Risto Miikkulainen

AVP of Evolutionary AI
Cognizant Technology Solutions

Professor of Computer Science
The University of Texas at Austin

Risto Miikkulainen is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin and Associate VP of Evolutionary AI at Cognizant. He received an M.S. in Engineering from Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University) in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA in 1990.  His current research focuses on methods and applications of neuroevolution, as well as neural network models of natural language processing and vision; he is an author of over 400 articles in these research areas. At Cognizant, and previously as CTO of Sentient Technologies, he is scaling up these approaches to real-world problems. Risto is an IEEE Fellow; his work on neuroevolution has recently been recognized with the Evolutionary Computation Pioneer Award of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, the Gabor Award of the International Neural Network Society, and Outstanding Paper of the Decade Award of the International Society for Artificial Life.

Vice President, Supply Chain & Data Science Coyote Logistics

Amit Prasad

Vice President, Supply Chain & Data Science
Coyote Logistics

Amit Prasad is the Vice President of Supply Chain & Data Science at Coyote Logistics in Chicago. Coyote is a leading global third-party logistics provider that creates flexible, integrated supply chain solutions for businesses to address their challenges through data-driven insights, industry expertise, tech solutions and a vast network of shippers and carriers. Amit leads the supply chain and data science group with a primary focus on supply chain consulting, engineering, research, data science and innovation. Under his leadership, the group is responsible for designing supply chain and operational solutions for Coyote’s customers and internal teams to meet and exceed their business objectives and operational goals. This group of research and data scientists works on introducing, piloting, prototyping and designing innovative predictive and prescriptive models using a combination of AI/machine learning, statistics, Operations Research and supply chain science for internal and external applications. The team develops end-to-end products from concepts to final outcomes.

As a head of the supply chain and data science group at Coyote, Amit contributes to and manages the company’s global growth strategy by leading and supporting the extension of both new and existing service offerings that Coyote may introduce to the market over the next five to ten years.

Before joining Coyote, Amit worked at Manhattan Associates where he designed and implemented various Transportation Management System (TMS) solutions for Fortune 100 retailers. He also worked as a Global Supply Chain Manager at Hewlett-Packard on its supply chain transformation initiative.

Amit holds a Master of Engineering in Supply Chain Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

Director of Digital Product Management - Big Data & Analytics The Weir Group PLC

Ravi Subramanyan

Director of Digital Product Management – Big Data & Analytics
The Weir Group PLC

Ravi Subramanyan is the Director of Digital Product Management – Big Data and Analytics for Weir Group PLC which is one of the world’s leading engineering businesses serving mining, infrastructure and oil and gas customers in more than 50 countries. In this capacity, Ravi is in charge of building an analytics platform that would consolidate a variety of Weir business data like IOT, ERP, Machine, Process, Engineering into one location where it can then be analysed to drive business outcomes in the areas such as Predictive Maintenance, Inventory Optimization and Smart Factory.

Prior to Weir, Ravi was a Senior Product Manager, Edge to Cloud Connectivity at General Electric, where he drove a unified Edge platform to enable asset and enterprise connectivity and analytics for Asset Operations in addition to leading research for cloud based alarm data analytics programs using agile methodologies. Ravi has 20 years industry experience in the B to B and B to C space having worked for companies such as Bosch and Motorola.

Ravi has a Masters in EE from University of Texas at Arlington an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of business. In his spare time, Ravi likes to sing in Indian music bands and also plays an Indian classical drum called Mirudangam. Ravi lives with his wife and two daughters in a north suburb of Chicago, IL.

Global Head, Advanced Analytics & Artificial Intelligence CSL Behring

John K. Thompson

Global Head, Advanced Analytics & Artificial Intelligence
CSL Behring

John K. Thompson is an international technology executive with over 30 years of experience in the information management, business intelligence and analytics fields. 

John is the Global Head of Advanced Analytics & Artificial Intelligence at CSL Behring, a global biopharmaceutical company.  Before CSL, John was an Executive Partner at Gartner, where he was a management consultant to market leading companies in the areas of digital transformation, data monetization and advanced analytics.  Prior to Gartner, John lead the advanced analytics business unit of the Dell Software Group.  John is also the co-author of Analytics: How to win with Intelligence, which debuted on Amazon as the #1 new book in Analytics in 2017. 

 Mr. Thompson’s technology expertise includes all aspects of advanced analytics and information management including – descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics, analytical applications, deep learning, cognitive computing, big data, data warehousing, business intelligence systems, and high performance computing.

One of John’s primary areas of focus and interest has been to create innovative technologies to increase the value derived by organizations around the world. John has built start-up organizations from the ground up and he has reengineered business units of Fortune 500 firms to reach their potential.  He has directly managed and run sales, marketing, consulting, support and product development organizations. He is a technology leader with expertise and experience spanning all operational areas with a focus on strategy, product innovation, growth and efficient execution. John is a management consultant who helps start-ups launch and grow rapidly and works with established companies to design, develop and launch new products and services.

Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Ferris State University and a MBA in Marketing from DePaul University.