Jeremy Achin – keynote

Jeremy is a data scientist turned entrepreneur. As CEO of DataRobot, Jeremy sets the direction of the company, products, and the culture. He’s passionate about helping organizations become more efficient by deploying machine learning everywhere. Prior to DataRobot, he was Director of Research and Modeling at Travelers Insurance where he built predictive models for pricing, retention, conversion, elasticity, lifetime value, customer behavior, claims and much more. A true data science enthusiast, Jeremy spends his spare time building predictive models, usually on the data science competition platform Jeremy studied Math, Physics, Computer Science, and Statistics at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Susan Etlinger – Keynote

Susan Etlinger is an industry analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet company. She is a globally recognized expert in digital strategy, with a focus on artificial intelligence, big data, analytics and digital ethics. Susan conducts independent research and has authored a series of reports available for download.

Susan works with Global 2000 clients to evaluate emerging technologies and incorporate them into organizational culture and practice. She also works with technology vendors to refine product roadmaps and strategies based on her independent research. She was named one of the “Must Know” Top Writers in Technology by LinkedIn in 2016. Her TED talk, “What Do We Do With All This Big Data?” has been translated into 25 languages and has been viewed more than 1 million times.

Susan’s research is used in university curricula around the world. She is a frequent keynote speaker, and has been quoted in numerous media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, The New York Times and the BBC.

Susan is a published translator and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley.

Doug Ellis

Doug Ellis was co-founder of DecisionPoint in 1998 and has served as a Managing Partner since that time. His operational career was in the technology sector, prior to providing M&A advisory for the last 20 years. Ellis has been personally involved in successfully closing 50+ transactions in the software, telecommunications, and IT services sectors. Prior to founding DecisionPoint, Ellis was head of global M&A for Stanford Keene, a boutique M&A advisory firm for technology companies. Before that, he served in various management roles with AT&T and Lucent Technologies. Prior to that, Ellis was Director of Alliances for AMSCO Engineering Services, a healthcare BPO company that outsourced biomedical engineering departments in hospitals. Ellis received a BS in Business/Finance from Wake Forest University and his Cybersecurity Certification from Wake Forest’s MBA School.

Zwick Tang

Zhijun (Zwick) Tang currently serves as Director of Data Science at Red Ventures, where his team is responsible for the development and deployment of data science driven solutions for digital marketing and sales automation for Red Ventures and its partners in home services and healthcare market. Tang’s specialties include signal processing, data fusion, machine learning and intelligent systems. Prior to joining Red Ventures, Tang was a Technology Manager at the Corporate Research & Technology Center of Eaton Corporation. Tang received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University in 2005, and the M.S. and B.S. degrees in Electronics Engineering and Information Science from Zhejiang University in 2000 and 1997, respectively.

Daniel Janies, Ph.D.

In 2012, Daniel Janies joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as The Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics and Director of Bioinformatics Research. He is also the current co-interim director of the Charlotte Visualization Center. Dr. Janies received a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biology from the University of Michigan in 1988 and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Florida in 1995. Dr. Janies worked as a postdoctoral fellow (1996 -1999) and a principal investigator (2000-2002) at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City where he led a team that, using off-the-shelf PC components, built one of the world’s largest computing clusters in 2001. More recently, Dr. Janies was a tenured faculty member in the College of Medicine at the Ohio State University. Dr. Janies has served as a national principal investigator in the Tree of Life program of the National Science Foundation. Dr. Janies current awards include DoD sponsored work to develop visual analytic applications to understand the spread of pathogens. He has developed the theory and practice of mapping pathogen genetic data in concert with geography and host animals. His results are akin to weather maps for infectious diseases that allow public health scientists to visualize when and where pathogens jump from animals to humans and evolve to resist drugs. Dr. Janies has advised the White House, the Pentagon, the Interagency Risk Assessment Consortium, and testified to both Houses of Congress on emerging infectious diseases.

Jared Piedt

Jared Piedt is a Software Engineer on the data science team at Red Ventures, where he works on their automated machine learning and data management platforms. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2016 with a B.S. in Computer Information Systems.

David Crespi

David Crespi is a Data Scientist at Red Ventures, where he focuses on optimizing a customer’s journey and experience in the digital marketing space. David is passionate about generalizing data science software infrastructure to model many problems quickly at scale. David graduated from Wake Forest University in 2014 with degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science.

Avishkar Misra

Dr. Misra leads the Data Science & Analytics Practice in the Americas focusing on helping customers realize the promise of machine learning and artificial intelligence to grow their business. Over the last 15 years, he has worked in research, product development and sales, spanning a variety of domains including online retail, advertising, cloud computing, defense flight simulation & training, as well as medical research. You can learn more about his work and interests in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science from his blog at

Ryan Wesslen

Ryan Wesslen is a PhD candidate in Computing and Information Systems at UNC Charlotte. His research focuses on integrating computer science methods with social science research: the emerging field of computational social science. His publications center on social media and text analysis in a range of disciplines including visual analytics, communications, management, and psychology. He is affiliated with the Charlotte Visualization Center and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with past affiliations with UNC Charlotte’s Data Science Initiative and Project Mosaic. Previously, Ryan worked at Bank of America in a variety of roles analyzing, modeling and managing credit risk for auto, small business, credit card and derivative products. He also worked for Publicis Hawkeye, a specialized marketing agency, providing analytics and strategy solutions in digital and direct marketing for corporate clients. He holds a BA in Economics with highest honors from UNC Chapel Hill and master degrees in Economics (NYU), Financial Mathematics (NC State), and Data Science and Business Analytics (UNCC).

Samira Shaikh

Dr. Shaikh is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department in the College of Computing and Informatics at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte (UNCC). She has a joint appointment with the Department of Psychology as an Assistant Professor in Cognitive Science. She is also affiliate faculty member of the Data Science Initiative at UNCC and a National Consortium of Data Science Fellow. Her research expertise is in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science and Natural Language Processing. Her work has been funded by the Department of Defense, National Consortium of Data Science and the Charlotte Research Institute.