Nate Silver

Nate Silver has become today’s leading statistician through his innovative analyses of political polling. He first gained national attention during the 2008 presidential election, when he correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the presidential winner in 49 states. In 2012, he called 50 of 50 states.

Today, Nate is pioneering the new field of data journalism with his award-winning website FiveThirtyEight. Recently relaunched in partnership with ESPN, FiveThirtyEight will allow Nate to explore a wider range of areas than he covered at the New York Times, including politics, sports, science, and more. Nate’s approach to data-driven, probabilistic thinking is one of the great ideas of our time, and we at the Leigh Bureau look forward eagerly to seeing it transform more and more fields.

In addition to his work on FiveThirtyEight, Nate will appear on ESPN as an on-air commentator.

In a sense, Nate is returning to his roots: before he came to politics, he established his credentials as an analyst of baseball statistics. He developed a widely acclaimed system called PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm), which predicts player performance, career development, and seasonal winners and losers. He is the author of a series of books on baseball statistics, which include Mind Game, Baseball Between the Numbers, and It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over.

His book, The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t, is a New York Times bestseller. Data-based predictions underpin a growing sector of critical fields, from political polling and hurricane watches to the stock market and even the war on terror. That means it’s important to ask — what kind of predictions can we trust? What methods do the most reliable forecasters use? What sorts of things can be predicted — and what can’t? Nate takes us on a tour of modern prediction science, uncovering a surprising connection among humility, uncertainty and good results. It’s an essential read for anyone interested in how data can be used to understand the future.

Nate has written for ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Slate, New York Sun, and The New York Times. His work has been reported in such publications as The New York Times, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, and Vanity Fair.

He has been honored by a series of accolades. Most recently, Fast Company named Nate No. 1 of the100 Most Creative People in Business 2013 and Creativitymagazine listed him in its Creativity 50 2013. He has also appeared in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2009 and Rolling Stone’s 100 Agents of Change. won Best Political Coverage in the 2008 Weblog Awards.

Chris Beorkrem

Chris Beorkrem is an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He currently serves as a coordinator for the Digital Arts Center ( in the College of Arts + Architecture. He also serves as coordinator of the DesComp Dual Masters Degree in Architecture and Computer Science. He received his B. Arch from Iowa State University and his Masters of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. He teaches studios and workshops in computational design and fabrication in the School of Architecture. His research has focused on the pursuit of computationally augmented construction processes driven by materials constraints and systems. The second edition of his book, “Material Strategies in Digital Fabrication” is due out in 2017. The book discusses methods designers have employed over the last decade which advocate for more responsible uses of technology.

Atif Mohammad

Atif has more than twenty-one (21) years’ experience of Software Engineering, professional Business Systems Analysis, Business Intelligence, Design & application development and staff management for diversified business and educational organizations using IT and Agile Project Management techniques. Atif is currently involved in Big Data Architecture and Data Science Management for several clients as a Principle Data Science Consultant.

Joel Lieser

Joel Lieser is a big data evangelist, creative engineer, solution architect, and founder of L2Bedford. Joel has specialized in providing AWS-hosted solutions to advanced analytics teams since 2010, empowering a diverse collection of companies to manage their data assets in search of insights that impact both customers and the bottom-line.

Joel leads teams to become data-driven, bringing more than than twenty years of experience in data warehouse engineering and analytics to bear. He transforms the way to think about managing data and demystifies the tools and processes used to build cost-effective, scalable cloud-hosted pipelines, distributed data management solutions, and self-service analytics delivery.

At companies such as Netflix, Nike, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and GrubHub, Joel has recommended a simple philosophy: loosely couple simple and maintainable open-source components to take maximum advantage of the unique benefits afforded by pay-as-you-go, cloud-hosted compute and storage.

Robin Blom

Robin Blom is a graduate director and assistant professor of journalism at Ball State University where he teaches media analytics, data journalism, communication theory, and media law and ethics. Robin also serves as a faculty co-advisor of Cardinal Metrics, a student-run media analytics agency.

Robin earned degrees from the Hogeschool van Utrecht, The Netherlands (B.A., 2004), Point Park University (M.A., 2007), and Michigan State University (Ph.D., 2013). He also has been a reporter for several regional and national daily newspapers in The Netherlands. His research interests include news media perceptions, memory and cognition, misinformation, and journalism education. This has led to publications in a dozen edited books and scholarly journals, such as American Behavioral Scientist and Journalism and Mass Communication Educator.

Jake Finkelstein

Jake Finkelstein is the Founder & CEO of Method Savvy; a Durham, NC based full-service marketing agency that uses data-driven strategies to help growth-stage and enterprise organizations solve complex business problems. An accomplished brand marketer and demand generation specialist, Jake began his career in the music industry, most notably at Sony Music Entertainment where he helped to market artists including Modest Mouse, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Ben Folds Five. Jake also spent 8 years as the Vice President of Strategy for the Manhattan-based creative agency Universal Buzz where he lead advertising and lifestyle marketing campaigns for such well-known brands as Olympus, U.S. Cellular, Virgin and Disney.

Michael Scully

Michael Scully is the Chief Product Officer at Passport, Inc, where he brings together product, marketing, and design in order to reimagine transit and parking experiences. Passport is the leader in mobile payment and ticketing systems. Its services have been adopted by over 20 of the top 50 cities in North America and over 2,000 locations including Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Portland, and Miami. Passport is exploring new ways to use data to improve quality of life for end users and to advance smart city initiatives within these very familiar yet largely unevolved daily activities. Scully is also a founder at Crooked Chimney, a boutique marketing analytics agency focused on data-driven customer centricity. Its Marketing.SCIENCE platform helps businesses measure the impact of marketing activities in terms of customer lifetime value (CLV). Prior to Passport, Scully held leadership roles at Virgin Mobile, Nokia, 2ergo/SoundBite (now part of Genesys), and Skookum. Scully holds a BSBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from the Yale School of Management in both Marketing and Strategy.

Peter Darragh

Mikael Hagstroem

Mikael joined McKinsey in 2015, bringing more than a decade of senior leadership experience in driving value through big data and advanced analytics. He has practical expertise in helping companies in a wide range of industries harness high-performance analytics to reshape their business models, modernize their organizations, and unlock competitive advantage and growth. Mikael is passionate about enabling organizations to innovate, transform, and uncover new growth platforms by monetizing big data through the application of analytics. He has worked with industry leaders in many sectors. For example, he has supported some of the world’s largest banks in rethinking their business models and rising to the challenges of the digital era. Mikael is a sought-after thought leader and frequent speaker on digital transformation and innovation at major global forums. He serves as chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Data-Driven Development, on the executive committee of the United States Council for International Business, and on the board of the Atlantic Council. Prior to joining McKinsey, Mikael was executive vice president at SAS Institute, a global analytics software company, for 25 years. Over the last decade he led SAS in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific including more than 5,000 employees across 48 countries, overseeing a multibillion-dollar business.

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Dylan Savage

Dylan Savage is a recording artist for the Capstone Records label, a Bösendorfer Concert Artist, and a first place winner of the Rome Festival Orchestra Competition.

Savage’s CD, all rivers at once, has been critically acclaimed in the U.S. and U.K. He is coauthor of a piano pedagogy book that is the primary piano pedagogy text at over 40 universities in the U.S. and abroad. His interdisciplinary articles have been published nationally and internationally and his research has been the topic of feature programs on NBC and BPS television affiliates.

Savage teaches universal concepts and skills to businesses using music through his What’s Music Got To Do With It® consulting business. Past clients have included: State Farm, Lucent Technologies, Bank One, VF Corp., Colgate University, Indiana University International School of Business, Milco Corp., French Telecom, and others. Dr. Savage is a piano professor at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.