BlackLocus is building cloud-based analytics tools to optimize and automate pricing, assortment and product info.
We are an Innovation Lab operating within The Home Depot, solving unique and interesting problems with software and analytics.

About

We are a team of engineers, analysts, and data scientists collaborating to discover and solve hard problems.
We are a small team and everyone's voice matters!
We're never bored! We encourage everyone to make use of 10% research time.
Since we were acquired by The Home Depot, we have access to all sorts of exciting new problem spaces to innovate within and data to play with.

BlackLocus is an Innovation Lab operating within The Home Depot.

Our engineers and scientists use disruptive techniques to analyze massive amounts of data that online retailers use for everything from price optimization to revenue management. By applying machine learning and revenue management techniques, the BlackLocus platform enables intelligent retail software to identify opportunities for competitive advantage. The work we do has a direct, measurable impact on a $100 billion company.

BlackLocus was a venture-funded startup, founded by Carnegie Mellon alumni with a passion for creative deployment of new technology. We were acquired by The Home Depot in December of 2012.

Team

We love meeting new people that mesh well with our culture. To see where you might fit in, view our open positions.

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    Xingchu Liu

    General Manager

    Xingchu seeks ways to optimize things using an analytical approach. With over 10 years of research and consulting experience in revenue/pricing optimization, supply chain management, business intelligence solution, and digital marketing, he has a proven record of consistently delivering 5-15% profit lift dollars to a variety of businesses. Xingchu received two undergraduate degrees in Automation and Business Administration, one master’s degree in Control Engineering from Tsinghua University, and earned his PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Texas A&M University. He holds a number of patents and applications in pricing and analytics field.

    "Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office, 1899
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    Dave Ruback

    Director of Engineering

    Dave is a retail and startup junkie. He has spent his career in the retail space helping make sense out of the dollars and cents. Dave has worked on both sides of the retail technology table: leading an IT team for an apparel retailer and working in product management for a SaaS based internet marketing company. Before Dave started working in retail he attended The University of Virginia, where he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering.

    When Dave isn’t innovating for The Home Depot, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 kids, building custom furniture, and watching any of his favorite New York sports teams.

    "Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?" - Steve Jobs
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    Kim Carlson

    Senior Manager Customer Success

    Customer Success Guru, Support Community Manager and Technology Evangelist are the many hats that Kim wears. With a talent for quickly mastering technology and explaining how it works to the masses, she is dedicated to the success and support of both internal and external customers alike. Kim has worked for a major airline and software companies big and small, however, one thing remains the same: her ability to connect the dots for both customer and company. Kim has a music degree from the University of Wisconsin, which makes her a ringer on karaoke night. She is also a fan of all things Trek – from Star Trek to Trek bikes. When she is not riding her bike, her next favorite thing is helping customers to live long and prosper.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein
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    Alex Robinson

    Director of Product Management

    Alex believes well-designed and executed products can improve people’s everyday lives and make businesses run better. He currently shares this passion with an amazing team of product and UX minded folks at BlackLocus. For over 10 years, Alex has cultivated a diverse range of experiences as both a UX designer and product manager. He holds a BA in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of graphic design from Centro Studi in Rome Italy.

    When he can find waves – easier said then done in Austin, TX – Alex can be found out in the ocean on a surfboard.

    "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra
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    Joe Nipko

    Head of Data Science

    Joe is an experienced executive and operations research professional with proven and extended know-how in developing and deploying advanced analytical solutions. With more than 18 years of industry experience leading, designing and deploying science-based decision support systems across a variety of industries, he helps companies drive top- and bottom-line growth through objective mathematical models. He comes to BlackLocus after a role as Chief Scientist at a leading B2B pricing firm, and as Principle Data Scientist for AI solutions at EY. He holds a PhD in Physics from Colorado State University, has authored more than 20 research papers and has 3 patents.

    Outside the office, Joe is a tennis enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and plays Texas Hold’em poker. He also enjoys playing bass and guitar in an 80’s, 90’s and 00’s cover band.

    "Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple." - Woody Guthrie
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    Ray Holder

    Senior Technical Lead

    Ray has been writing code and hacking on embedded hardware devices for over a decade. He’s delivered high performance search solutions, continuous integration, content management, data normalization, and development platform tooling to a variety of companies including a health and wellness solutions provider, a top-tier video game publisher, a prominent public television broadcasting corporation, one of the world’s largest oncology care entities, and a Fortune 500 retailer.

    Ray attended Baylor University for his BS and MS in Computer Science. When he’s not building flying robot prototypes or Tesla coils, he’s probably releasing Open Source goodies, so check out his GitHub page over at github.com/rholder.

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    Chad Bayer

    Development Manager

    Chad is a lifelong learner of all the things, except writing introductions. He brings years of experience from various semiconductor and software companies around Texas. Chad has many interests including software development, automation, continuous improvement, team cohesion, and problem solving. He believes work and life can be fun and efficient and strives to make each day so. Chad really enjoys working at BlackLocus and looks forward to continue moving the needle here.

    In his free time, he enjoys researching whatever suits his mood, which usually involves medicine and technology. He also enjoys doing anything and everything with his lovely wife and two dogs.

    "Seek first to understand, and then be understood." - Stephen Covey
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    Megan Galloway

    Technical Lead and Senior Word Wizard

    Megan likes playing with words just as much as playing with code. She’s currently working on her MS in Computational Linguistics, because in a past life she wrote credit card software for a major bank and got really, really bored. When she’s not trying to take over the world, Megan likes playing tabletop RPGs and bass guitar.

    "Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic." - Lewis Carroll
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    Rees Dooley

    Senior Software Engineer

    Rees graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BS in Mathematics and began his career at Chesapeake Energy. After fleeing the energy industry he began python programming full time at Demand Media before landing at BlackLocus. He enjoys breaking things, fixing what he breaks and then discovering a clever solution to the whole issue.

    In his free time, Rees enjoys grand strategy games, ancient military history and weightlifting.

    "Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine." - Kurt Gödel
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    Li (Emma) Zhang

    Machine Learning Scientist

    Emma has developed open-source academic software for robot simulation and learned the magic of machine learning from controlling robots to perform grasping. She comes to BlackLocus to embrace the opportunity of writing “intelligent” software to solve real-world business problems. She received her undergraduate and master degrees from Northwestern Polytechnical University in China and earned her PhD degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.

    Knowledge-acquiring and problem-solving have been her important sources of fun in everyday life. When not exercising the brain, Emma enjoys hiking, kayaking in Zilker Park and snorkeling with sea turtles during vacation, or just having fun with her cat.

    "The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size." - Albert Einstein
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    Erin Waldrum

    Senior Business Intelligence Manager

    After years of focusing on making sure data was always available and quickly accessible, Erin joined BlackLocus to expand her data skill set to include a deeper capacity for analysis. She enjoys a challenge and believes that simplifying a problem is the first step to solving it. Erin loves her hometown of New Orleans, but has become too captivated with the Austin startup scene to move back. In addition to data, Erin’s passions include wine tasting, travel, and wiener dog races.

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    Kayla Reynolds

    Lead Data Scientist

    Kayla is a graduate of Rice University and has a MS in Statistics from UT. She likes to rout out new problems to analyze and solve and is excited to continue working in machine learning. She firmly believes that data is beautiful – so long as it’s not in a pie chart.

    Outside of the office, Kayla can be found out with her dog, at the nearest movie theater, or with her latest craft project.

    "An approximate answer to the right problem is worth a good deal more than an exact answer to an approximate problem." - John Tukey
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    Brent Knight

    Senior Software Engineer

    Brent spent 15 years at Apple, writing low-level system software. If you have a Mac or an iPhone, you’re running some of his code. Joining Apple was his escape route from Cornell’s Computer Science PhD program. Although he didn’t get a degree there, he does have a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Alberta, and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Victoria. He likes clever solutions and would someday like to work smarter rather than harder.

    In his spare time, Brent is trying to complete a double-major degree in Medicine and Russian Nuclear Submarines from Wikipedia. This is taking longer than expected. But with 3 kids there is never a dull moment!

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    Karlie Verkest

    Development Manager

    Karlie loves to code. She gets an endorphin high from writing beautiful code for software that meets a human need. What else is so mentally stimulating, creatively satisfying and instantly gratifying? With the myriad of electronic devices in a world of ubiquitous computing, she thinks it is now more important than ever to consider both the human and the hardware as critical parts of a system and optimize accordingly. The result should be a fast, reliable, simple and enjoyable product that solves the right problem. To that end, she enjoys front-end development as well as designing APIs and backend systems. Internationalization (or should that be internationalisation?) is one of her recent interests.

    When she’s not working or coding for fun, she’s either hanging out with the objectively cutest son the planet has ever accommodated or practicing belly dance.

    "It's not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing." - Terry Pratchett
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    Kate Lockhart

    Senior Product Manager

    With a degree in psychology combined with computer science, Kate has enjoyed the startup scene in Austin for the last five years. From mobile apps to video streaming, she found her way to BlackLocus to focus on Product Management. She truly believes in the lean philosophy of building and has found agile methodologies not only work well, but encourage a team spirit that can make a product shine.

    Her spare time is spent writing, learning Python and piano, and chasing two small children around taco shops and bouncy houses all over ATX.

    "Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future." - Seneca
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    Shela Xu

    Senior UX and Product Designer

    Shela has a passion for solving problems through design and an eagerness to make people’s lives easier. She loves all facets of design, whether it’s brainstorming with pen and paper, getting deep into the mind of a user, or whipping up HTML/CSS prototypes on the fly. Prior to working at BlackLocus, Shela had been writing HTML/CSS for over 10 years in some capacity, running her own online zine at 14.

    Outside of work you can find Shela at a music festival, trying a new restaurant, enjoying a bourbon cocktail, or making dessert… often with more bourbon.

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    Jordan Rule

    Senior Software Engineer

    Jordan spent years architecting risk management systems after receiving a bachelors in Computer Science from Rice University and a masters in Financial Mathematics from the University of Chicago. With encouragement to think even bigger, he has recently been engineering services with applications to data science and distributed systems. Jordan enjoys developing software that is fun to demonstrate and simple to explain.

    In his free time he is probably either looking for excuses to sample new foods or trying to keep up with the latest in independent music.

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    Lee Reynolds

    Business Intelligence Analyst

    Lee was born in Austin, raised in Austin, and is currently living in, you guessed it, Austin. He ran away for four years to pursue a BA in Finance from Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) but was pulled home after graduation to work for an oil and gas intelligence firm. He joined BlackLocus to gain experience using big data applications and for the assortment of free cookies. Lee’s second home is located in MySQL.

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    Mario Blanco

    Senior Software Engineer

    Mario was born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica. After high school in Costa Rica, he moved to Des Moines, IA, to live with his sisters. While in Iowa, he taught himself English, earned an internship at Pioneer HiBred, a DuPont company and graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Management Information Systems. His internship and studies at ISU lead him to love all things UI/UX. Mario moved to Austin in 2006 to further his career at IBM and then Vignette. He is a skilled software engineer and thrives in BlackLocus’ collaborative team environment.

    When Mario is not working, he enjoys playing with his two young girls and cooking delicious food for the family. And if there’s time after all that, you will find him on the golf course or soccer field.

    "If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with them... the people who give you their food give you their heart." - Cesar Chavez
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    Karen Lewis

    Software Engineer

    Karen is a determined individual who took a non-traditional path into software engineering. While working in the hospitality industry as a reservations coordinator, she wondered if her innate ability to solve puzzles and the fun she had building a computer would serve her in a career where she thought she would excel. She had the opportunity to study CS fundamentals on her own while living in Japan during 2013-2014, and after completing MakerSquare, an intense, immersive software engineering program, she emerged as a full stack JavaScript butterfly -er- developer.

    She can talk for a while about Japan, Myst, and James Bond theme songs.

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    Rick Lakin

    Senior Data Scientist

    Rick graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Mathematics and an MS in Statistics. He spent the first three years of his career building price optimization models for a number of clients. He likes coming up with solutions that the end user can understand and appreciate.

    Outside of work, Rick is probably thinking about traveling or the next meal.

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    Tako Vermeulen

    Business Intelligence Analyst

    Data, prices and cookies: things Tako dreams about.

    After getting his MS in Economics in the Netherlands, he has worked for many years as a senior economist at the Dutch Competition Authority. He then decided to move to Austin, TX, with his wife to start a cookie company (stroopwafels!) and work for BlackLocus. He has always combined rigorous data analyses with critical economic thinking to make the best decision and make our customers happy!

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    Blake Gilstrap

    Software Engineer

    Raised in a tiny West Texas town you’ve never heard of, Blake had plenty of time to tinker with computers. His pursuit of knowledge about the subject led him to study Computer Science at UT Austin and has stayed in the city ever since. A gamer at heart in the truest sense, board games, video games and a variety of sports all fall under his purview. Other hobbies include weightlifting, poorly singing karaoke and keeping up with the latest Dota 2 tournaments.

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    Harrison Wright

    Software Engineer

    Harrison grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science. Originally an engineering major, Harrison fell in love with programming during his first CS course. After graduating, he moved to Austin to put his passion for problem solving and building great software to work.

    Away from the computer, Harrison enjoys spending time with his wife and their two cats, playing hockey, seeing live music, and traveling. And he’s kind of obsessed with Umphrey’s McGee.

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    Jose Luis Preciado Arreola

    Senior Data Scientist

    Jose Luis was born in Obregon, Mexico, lived there until age 18, and then became a nomad for 13 years going to Monterrey, Purdue, Stanford, Mexico City, back home, College Station and finally Austin, where he expects to find a steady water and food supply he can stick to until he gets old (if that ever happens).

    On his journeys Jose Luis got Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees in Industrial Engineering/Management Science from Monterrey Tech, Stanford and Texas A&M. He has worked a variety of modeling and consulting jobs within and also a bit outside the IE/MS umbrella, including manufacturing system simulation, performance metrics optimization and tollway feasibility/pricing. He has also worked on theoretical research for convex regression.

    Outside of number crunching Jose Luis can be found wine tasting, practicing yoga, meditating, working out at the gym or doing a variety of outdoor stuff. He also follows boxing quite closely.

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    Alan An

    Product Manager

    In Houston, Texas, born and raised, playing with computers is where Alan spent most of his days. He moved to Austin in 2008 to pursue a EE degree from the University of Texas where he fell in love with the city. Alan started his career at a little company called Bazaarvoice before joining BlackLocus to tackle bigger and more complex problems.

    When not at work, you can find Alan traveling around the world, trying out the latest restaurants and cocktail bars, or at a Longhorn football game.

    "Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it, and live the phrase ‘sky’s the limit.'" - Biggie Smalls
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    Wang Rao

    Software Engineer

    Wang was born and raised in China and graduated from college in Chinese Literature and Marketing Communication. She later became a big fan of programming and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in only 2.5 years at the University of Texas at Austin. Wang and her (fellow Longhorn) husband made Austin their second hometown.

    Outside of work, Wang enjoys playing piano and cello, traveling, and doing everything with her cat, Summer. She has traveled to many places around the world, though her favorite was her 2016 African safari trip to Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The experience of falling asleep around hippos snoring is amazing! She hopes she can return to this nature of wildlife again in future!

    "Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you is as important as being talented or working hard."
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    Ruhul Alam

    Code Whisperer

    Due to being easily startled by loud noises, sudden movements, or direct eye contact, he tends to spend most of the time hiding in the bushes. Sorry, that’s the bio for the neighbor’s cat. Ruhul came to Austin to attend the University of Texas not knowing what to pursue in life. Having always had a deep interest in computers, he thought maybe learning more about these boxes connected across a world wide network might lead to a future career. Now after 1C years in the field, he thinks he might be onto something.

    When not whispering sweet nothings to a computer, he enjoys food, drinks, music, biking, and travel. With a bit of danger thrown into all of them for good measure.

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    Xingyu Pan

    Senior Data Scientist

    Xingyu holds a graduate degree of Statistics and a PhD in Education and Psychology from University of Michigan. She came to BlackLocus after years of building computer models for human cognition (or their cognitive biases). She believes that a well-formed problem ranks higher on importance than any solution. Although she acknowledges that coming up a solution is more enjoyable than forming the problem.

    Outside work, Xingyu is an outdoor fanatic and a dance enthusiast. She also enjoys running, playing fetch, or doing anything with her dog.

    "My colleagues, they study artificial intelligence; me, I study natural stupidity." - Amos Tversky
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    Miles Drew

    Business Intelligence Analyst

    Miles grew up in the Atlanta area without much issue. He pushes to deliver material solutions that improve decision modeling. He graduated from the College of Charleston with a BS in Economics, and was somehow able to convince his future wife to move back home (like literally in the house Miles grew up in) after school. He has spent time in the financial, medical, and retail industries, where he discovered his love for predictive analytics and crashing Office applications.

    His spare time is spent with his family, music, and movies. When he isn’t trying to vacuum all information from the old books on his shelves, he’s probably got a metal album cranked up to 11.

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    Alexandra Hubbard

    Lead Quality Assurance Engineer

    Alex has not yet figured out what she wants to do with her life but every day she finds ways to make it more interesting. She spent many years working in the fields of biochemistry and biotechnology before trading in her lab coat for a computer and start-up life. When she’s not learning all the things that tech has to offer, you can find her standing on her head in yoga class, searching for the best curry in Austin and traveling the world.

    “Wear sunscreen.” - Mary Schmich
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    Juba Borgohain

    Software Engineer

    Juba is in Austin because he doesn’t want to be boring anymore. He was previously working on a digital interviewing platform. He likes to spend time with his family.

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    Crandall Chow

    Senior Software Engineer

    Born and raised in Honolulu, Crandall eventually left the sunny islands for rainy Seattle and earned a BS in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. He has since collected over 25 years’ worth of good experience (and a few bad habits) from his professional gigs in Rochester (Minnesota), Boston, and Austin. His pursuit of clever solutions and intuitive designs keeps him interested in both server-side and front-end projects. When it comes to “holy wars”, Crandall’s on Team Emacs, tabs, Playstation, HP RPN, matte screens, clicky keyboards, and no designated hitter.

    In his free time, you can often find Crandall on a bike, tinkering with a bike, or rooting for various college and pro sports teams.

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    Richard Goodly

    Business Intelligence Analyst

    After graduating from Indiana University with a Dual BS in Criminology & Communications, Richard lived in Indianapolis working at a Corn Factory. On a whim, Richard made the move to Austin in late-2015. While sleeping on a couch and working as a barista at a local coffee shop, he decided to make a career move and take one of the many Computer Science Bootcamps offered in town. He’s been applying his data superpowers at BlackLocus ever since.

    When he’s not knee-deep in data, Richard is occupying his time with video games, movies, writing, music and general arts and crafts.

    "Give out some love and you'll find peace sublime." - Marvin Gaye
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    Jeff Breitenstein

    Senior Product Manager

    Jeff grew up in the foothills of the Adirondack mountains before graduating from Penn State and moving to Seattle with his husband. There, he tirelessly restored a 1917 bungalow and spent over a decade at Amazon.com working in a variety of roles, from web design and product management to buying and supply chain. After 22 years, and finally admitting that Seattle is really (really) rainy, they moved to Austin where Jeff continued working in tech at Bazaarvoice, BigCommerce – and now, to continue the alliteration, BlackLocus. An admitted ecommerce geek, when not wrangling GitHub tickets Jeff can be found in the garden honing his skills as an aspiring nurseryman, relishing new restaurants, and delighting in well-crafted puns.

    "Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." - Julia Child
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    Megan Ducote

    Technical Operations Manager

    Megan made the move to Austin, TX, in 2006 to attend school at the University of Texas, where she graduated with a degree in Management Information Systems and discovered her passion for finding creative solutions to new problems through tech. She fell in love with the city and has continued working in the Austin tech scene since.

    Always ready for a new adventure, Megan strives to travel the world as much as possible. When not exploring new countries, she can be found spending time outdoors with her dog, Stella, enjoying a glass of wine with friends, or trying out that latest new restaurant in Austin.

    "Today me will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie" - Cookie Monster
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    Karin Peterson

    Business Intelligence Analyst

    Karin hails from the Windy City, where she developed a passion for data while huddled in front of her computer avoiding Chicago winters. Prior to joining BlackLocus, she earned an MS in Economics and Policy Analysis from DePaul University and worked in consulting for five years. Outside of work, you can typically find her at a local park with her dog or devouring a breakfast taco.

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    Lauren Chen

    Senior Product Manager

    Lauren, bringing in-depth experience as a technical consultant, appreciates great product design and architecture. Working as a team with a common goal to deliver true value to the user is where she does her happy dance though. She graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Zoology. Her love for animals persists to this day as she volunteers on the behavior team for APA!, training pooches to become Canine Good Citizens. Any time she has left goes to hanging with her hubby and two fur babies, as well as volleyball and being a fan of college sports, especially Texas. HOOK ‘EM!

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    Sarah Cox

    Manager, Business Operations

    Sarah has been connecting people and getting things done in the Austin tech startup scene since 2007. A coworking and agency veteran, she’s passionate about building great places to work and making order out of chaos. She digs operational excellence and fostering healthy working communities. In her spare time, she enjoys trivia, board games, personal finance, and bowling.

    "All the things!" - Allie Brosh
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    Nicole Holm

    Software Engineer

    Nicole graduated from MIT in 2011 with a BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. She spent 6 years in cybersecurity catching bad guys with data before joining BlackLocus. She is passionate about problem solving – big problems, new problems, weird problems, really anything where she gets a chance to use creativity, math, engineering, denial, anger, bargaining…

    Outside of work you can find Nicole running around lakes, snowboarding, playing piano, reading, playing with her spazzy cats, and traveling.

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    Paul Cronin

    Senior Data Scientist

    Paul was raised on chicken wings in Buffalo, NY, but has spent most of this decade in Austin. He is a graduate of Penn State and has MS degrees in economics and operations research from the University at Buffalo. He is also completing his PhD in Information, Risk, and Operations Management at the University of Texas at Austin. He enjoys using quantitative techniques to solve challenging problems and has worked in a number of industries including retail, healthcare, banking, and government.

    Paul spends his spare time with his wife and their crazy golden doodle, cooking, trying new restaurants in town, and attempting to golf.

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    Tian Lan

    Senior Data Scientist

    With strong interests in numbers and mathematical models, Tian joined the statistics program at University of Texas at Austin and finished his Master’s degree in 2013. Before joining BlackLocus, he spent four years building pricing models for B2B clients to provide pricing guidance during negotiation cycles. Tian believes that it is the data scientist’s duty to excavate useful information from vast amounts of data to help people make wise decisions.

    Outside of work, Tian enjoys spending time with his family and his 90-lb chocolate Labrador. Tian also enjoys sports, food, traveling and landscape photography. Some of his photos are posted on https://500px.com/tianlan.

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    Bahadir Aral

    Principal Data Scientist

    Bahadir has been helping his customers to solve business problems in pricing, revenue management, optimization, simulation, inventory management, forecasting, machine learning and many other advanced analytics areas since 2007. He is customer-focused and truly believes “the better answers to today’s problems are better than the best answers to yesterday’s problems”. He follows developments in technology closely to understand how he can use it to help his clients and coworkers to be more productive. He enjoys reading and exercising.

    He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Texas A&M University. He worked at Zilliant Inc. and SAS Institute Inc. before joining BlackLocus.

    "Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." - Dale Carnegie
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    Jake Westfall

    Data Scientist

    Jake is a former quantitative psychologist who left academia for greener pastures in 2017. He’s a big stats geek who can often be found hanging out on statistics web forums or tweeting about cool new R or Python packages. He’s particularly interested in mixed effects models and optimal experimental design. He’s also a teetotal vegan cyclist who likes climbing on rocks.

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    Tyler Sammann

    Software Engineer

    Tyler graduated from RPI with a Master’s in Computer Science, despite starting out as an Electronic Arts major with a focus in music. Many of those college years were spent trying to squeeze music, computer graphics, and programming together into wacky art projects. Afterwards, he moved to Austin and found a job as a full-stack software engineer. He worked on a wide array of projects and tools that help small businesses with their online marketing and reputation.

    When he’s not noodling around on a computer, he’s probably cooking with his wife, playing guitar in his prog metal band, or thinking about what kind of beer he wants to brew next (while drinking a beer… for inspiration).

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    Ryan Conklin

    Data Scientist

    After earning his BBA in Operations and Technology Management at the University of Wisconsin, Ryan started his career in the operations and supply chain field with leading manufacturers, 3M and DuPont. He realized that with relevant data and the power of computation, businesses can make informed decisions more quickly and scientifically. After all, humans cannot processes 100 million rows of data, but a computer can! He finds developing the problem and data structure in order to formulate effective solutions to be the most exciting part about data science. He believes that engaging with relevant and diverse stakeholders and sources leads to significantly better solutions. To challenge himself to master the analytics stack more effectively, Ryan joined the MS in Business Analytics program at UT and BlackLocus after graduation.

    Outside of work, you can find him trying a bouldering route, skiing, practicing his handles and 3 point shooting on the basketball court, or traveling to a new city to experience new foods, cultures, nature, and nightlife. He also enjoys reading about history, politics, economics, and fiction.

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    Elisse Jean-Pierre

    Associate Product Manager

    Elisse Jean-Pierre began her career in sales and marketing strategy, but discovered her passion for driving product strategy when she took on product management tasks for a sales product that lacked a product manager. Since then, she’s been on a mission to understand user and business problems to build products that solve them. She studied Business with a concentration in Marketing Analytics and Information Systems Management at Emory University.

    When she’s not building products at BlackLocus, you can find her dancing Samba, volunteering with underserved communities, or trying to recreate something she found on Pinterest.

    “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
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    Theresa White

    Operations Coordinator

    After earning a BA in Communication Studies from The University of Texas at San Antonio, Theresa started her operations career in tech at Capital Factory and then Honeywell. Theresa feels most fulfilled supporting a team of talented designers, developers, and creatives working on projects that inspire them. She also enjoys taking care of a beautiful office and making sure the space functions properly to suit the needs of the people in it.

    An Austin born native, she loves spending time downtown and trying new things in this ever changing landscape. On the weekend you can find her out at Zilker Park Hula Hooping, at Sephora buying makeup, or cuddling with her cats watching Netflix.

    "As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others." - Audrey Hepburn
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    Sean Villars

    Software Engineer

    Sean is originally from Houston, TX. In 2010 he moved to Austin to attend The University of Texas and never went back! He received a BS in Computer Science in 2015 and worked at Turnitin before accepting a position with BlackLocus. In his spare time he enjoys hanging out with his wife and otterhound, skateboarding, and playing video games.

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    Xi Wang

    Software Engineer

    Xi graduated from Xi’an Jiaotong University with a degree in Computer Science and then completed her masters at University of Virginia in the same field. She moved south soon after and is now a self-declared Austinite for life.

    Aside from building clever software and solving issues, she enjoys contemplating great scientific and philosophical questions while reading on a Sunday afternoon. If the weather outside is terrific, you might even catch her biking on the trails!

    "No computer has been designed that is ever aware of what it’s doing; but most of the time, we aren’t either." - Marvin Minsky
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    Jacqui Cruz

    Senior Product & UX Designer

    Jacqui loves a good UX flip.

    After years working with startups and corporate clients in a variety of industries, Jacqui developed an arsenal of design skills and a trail of user flow makeovers. From discovery research all the way to HTML/CSS prototyping, Jacqui delivers delightful experiences that make the complicated simple.

    Outside of work, Jacqui enjoys experimenting with recipes, DIY projects, and exploring the latest restaurants.

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    Daisuke Yagi

    Data Scientist

    Daisuke was born and raised in Chiba, Japan, and earned B.S. from Sophia University. Then he came to Texas and worked on theoretical research about nonparametric regression during his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at Texas A&M University. Meanwhile, he also led the data analytics project for a manufacturing company. Daisuke aspires to use quantitative techniques to improve business performance.

    Outside of work, Daisuke enjoys bouldering, playing piano, violin, and singing at karaoke.

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    Mike Ortman

    Software Engineer

    Mike moved to Austin from Tennessee in 2011 after graduating from Tennessee Tech with a degree in Computer Engineering. Since then, he has worked in almost every corner of the software development industry including backend, middleware, frontend, site reliability, encryption, mobile, and machine learning.

    Mike spends his free time with his two dogs and cat, playing video games, going on road trips, and people-watching in coffee shops.

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    Muriel Grobler

    Data Scientist

    Muriel is a real world citizen: she was born and raised in South Africa, studied and worked in the Netherlands and now calls Austin home. With a background and industrial experience in chemical engineering she understands the importance of clear communication and proper stakeholder management at large organizations. When not working, you can find her tinkering around with a pet project or exploring Austin.

    Muriel holds a master’s and professional doctorate degrees in Chemical Engineering and is co-founder of Days of Code.

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    Herb Watkins

    Development Manager

    Herb has a music degree and taught middle school band. He began his transition to the tech world after realizing music analysis and teaching fifty pubescent humans at a time was perfect preparation for automating business processes and helping slightly less moody, adult humans grow and do their work. Once in, he became addicted to learning technology and working with smart, interested people. Twenty years into that tech detour and not much has changed. He’s still learning all the time and still loves working with good people.

    Outside of work, Herb and his wife are on an ever-changing journey to keep their daughter laughing and learning. In his minimal free time, Herb is involved in non-profit boards and can be found watching European soccer.

    “I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.” - James Baldwin
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    Will Schievelbein

    Data Scientist

    Will was an imaginative kid raised in Houston and wanted to be a wizard when he grew up. His dreams were crushed by the laws of physics, so he pursued the closest thing: a job in data science. He particularly likes sooth-saying with forecasting models or crystal balls of clairvoyance should he ever find one.

    Prior to BlackLocus, Will implemented revenue management software from PROS for both airlines and car rentals. He focused on innovation projects, and learned the theory and practicality of forecasting and optimization in business operations.

    Outside of work, Will journals his thoughts in a well-worn Moleskine notebook complete with sketches that probably resemble those made by a child. Will practices yoga and enjoys thinking over combinations on a chess board. His favorite book is The Goldfinch: he read it three times.

Culture

We're a team of smart, awesome individuals who enjoy working together.

Careers

Small Team, Big Company Benefits

  • Excellent work-life balance
  • Comprehensive benefit package starting day one including health, dental, vision, life, short- and long-term disability, and FSA/HSA
  • Competitive base and bonus package
  • Open and flexible PTO
  • 401(k) eligible for matching company contribution after one year
  • Employee Stock Purchase Program
  • Stocked kitchen with healthy snacks, tons of drinks, and an espresso maker
  • Lots of team events including weekly catered lunches, happy hours, and other fun outings
  • Located in the heart of downtown Austin with garage parking provided or commuter pass reimbursement
  • The Home Depot is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Open Positions