Our Team

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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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    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 master’s 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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    Herb Watkins

    Director of Engineering

    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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    Sandy Donlon

    Director of Data Science

    Sandy is a seasoned Data Science leader with a passion for building advanced analytics teams and driving scalable solutions that deliver significant business value. Prior to BlackLocus, she led the Data Science team at Bazaarvoice helping the world’s largest brands and retailers improve their online experience and drive revenue by providing actionable insights from over 1B monthly consumers’ voice and shopping behavior data. Sandy received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in mathematics & Statistics from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has over 25 years of experience in software development, consulting and digital marketing.

    Outside of work, Sandy spends her time watching movies (all the movies), traveling with her family and spoiling her Australian Shepherd Ralph.

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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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    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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    Li (Emma) Zhang

    Staff Data 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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    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

    Engineering 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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    Jordan Rule

    Senior Software Engineer

    Jordan has been architecting distributed systems with applications in financial modeling for years after receiving a bachelor’s in Computer Science from Rice University and master’s in Mathematics from the University of Chicago.  He is always excited about bringing lessons from the open source machine learning community to applications in proprietary data. 

    Outside of work you may find him flitting between interests such as climate change, contemporary music, and online gaming.

    "If you care about something you have to protect it – If you're lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it." - John Irving
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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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    Tako Vermeulen

    Software Engineer

    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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    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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    Xingyu Pan

    Lead 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

    Senior Business Intelligence Manager

    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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    Juba Borgohain

    Senior 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

    Technical Lead

    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

    Software Engineer

    After graduating from Indiana University with a Dual BS in Criminology and 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

    Product Management Senior 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 Manager

    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

    Senior 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 Science Manager

    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

    Lead 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 Operations Research 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

    Senior 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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    Elisse Jean-Pierre

    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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    Xi Wang

    Software Engineer

    Xi graduated from Xi’an Jiaotong University with a degree in Computer Science and then completed her master’s 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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    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 degree and professional doctorate in Chemical Engineering and is co-founder of Days of Code.

    “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” - Nelson Mandela
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    Will Schievelbein

    Senior 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.

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    Joel Rosinbum

    Senior Software Engineer

    Joel graduated from the University of Portland in 2004 with a Degree in Computer Science and Math. in 2012 he moved from the Northwest to Austin, TX to continue his software engineering career and be able to train outside year round. One of Joel’s favorite things is to find simple solutions to hard problems.

    When not at the office Joel is probably out training in his quest to represent the US at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo in the sport of paratriathlon.

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    Brig Brednich

    Engineering Manager

    Brig has shown himself to not be great at writing bios but he does have an elite level command of Madonna lyrics. As he said on his first day:
    “Just try to understand (understand)
    I’ve given all I can
    ’Cause you got the best of me
    Feels like I’m going to lose my mind
    You just keep on pushing my love
    Over the borderline
    Feels like I’m going to lose my mind
    You just keep on pushing my love
    Over the borderline.” – Madonna

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    Marc Gfeller

    Technical Lead

    Marc graduated from the University Of Texas at Austin in 1995 with a BS in Computer Science.

    Since then he has been designing and developing scalable software solutions in diverse industries such as aerospace, accounting, telecommunications, finance, and online marketing.

    Outside the office, when not chasing his three kids around, Marc enjoys traveling, listening to music, and playing guitar.

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    Tim Trentham

    Engineering Manager

    Tim likes solving problems whether that means debugging code or helping teams get incrementally better at delivering software. Since receiving an MA in Experimental Psychology and getting into software via market research, he has worked in Austin for various industries including health care, event planning, mobile asset management and the venture that many who’ve been coding for this long have tried, a .com startup.

    Outside of work, he spends most of his time with his wife and three kids. He’d like to spend more time on his bike and maybe one day he’ll start playing drums again instead of his steering wheel.

    "Never underestimate how much assistance, how much satisfaction, how much comfort, how much soul and transcendence there might be in a well-made taco and a cold bottle of beer." - Tom Robbins
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    Travis Bordovsky

    Software Engineer

    Travis earned a B.S. in Engineering Technology from Texas A&M in 2016 and accidentally wound up in software soon after. He can turn any amount of caffeine into some amount of legible code and a breezy disposition.

    Outside of work, Travis enjoys long walks on the beach, short walks to the fridge, chili-cheese takoyaki, and golden retrievers. He frequents Lake Travis, Lucy’s Fried Chicken, Soccerzone Lakeline, and Lord of the Rings trivia events the world over, but mostly he just naps a lot.

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    Michael Plunkett

    Software Engineer

    Michael enjoys working with complex systems and solving problems that help to make life easier for other people. He was able to pursue these interests after getting a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin and MA in Biology from the University of North Texas while working in a computational genomics laboratory. Since graduating he has worked at BNSF Railways on operations applications and Upswing on software to help make college education a more equitable experience.

    Outside of work you can find Michael running around Lady Bird Lake, at the closest place with a squat rack, or backpacking around whichever national park that has most recently caught his eye. He also enjoys reading about science, history, fiction, culture, and what the intersection of all those fields say about society as a whole.

    "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.' " - Martin Luther King, Jr.
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    Jordan Brown

    Senior Recruiter

    Jordan has a passion for people, puppies, and pasta covered in cheese. Since getting her degree in psychology from Western Washington University, she has been exploring ways to help others find happiness. She loves finding out what makes people tick, and connecting them with their dream career. After growing a startup in Seattle, she decided she needed some more sun in her life after years of living in the dark. She moved to Austin in 2019 and is happy to have found a Seahawks bar at which she can cheer on her home team, without getting rained on.

    "I’m just ’bout that action, boss." - Marshawn Lynch
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    Oscar Valles

    Business Intelligence Manager

    Oscar started his professional career as a tax auditor. Soon after, his skills and interest landed him in a role in analytics. He has loved this field ever since.

    Outside of work, Oscar loves spending time with his wife and two daughters by taking hiking and camping trips to national parks with the aim of visiting all continental United States. He enjoys reading books on varied topics such as psychology, anthropology and coming of age.

    "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." - Jesus Christ
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    Christina Sam

    Business Intelligence Analyst
    “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” - Dr. Seuss
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    Anirudh Srinath

    Business Support Analyst

    After stumbling on a House of Cards Netflix study and inspired by movies like Moneyball, Anirudh understands the power of data and the value it brings to a business. To challenge himself to move out of his comfort zone, he came to the US a couple of years back to do his master’s in Information Systems. He also interned with the Dallas Cowboys during his final semester which paved the way for him to work at BlackLocus. While he learned a lot with the Cowboys, he sadly did not get any Cowboys Merchandise for free.

    When he’s not working, Anirudh is watching sports, reading books and trying to audition as a batsman for some teams in the Austin Cricket League.

    "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle - when the sun comes up, you'd better be running." - Christopher McDougall
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    Mara Altman

    Associate Product Manager

    Mara moved to Texas from Florida in 2015. An alum of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics, she studied Spanish and Arabic in college and these days she’s teaching herself American Sign Language.

    Mara is a big fan of sunshine, turmeric tea, and weighted blankets. Outside of work you can find her at the gym (reluctantly), or at home (enthusiastically) cooking up some plant-based meals.

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    Mallory Hill

    User Experience Product Designer

    Uncertain of how to combine a love of the arts and the analytical into a career, Mallory graduated with her BHA in Arts and Technology from UTD. Initially dabbling in animation, web design and film, she finally decided to pursue a career in User Experience Research and Design in 2015 and went on to earn her MS in Information Studies from UT.

    Mallory believes that, at its simplest, UX is a way of figuring out how the world works and making it better – it perfectly combines art and analytics to facilitate the solving of difficult problems with imaginative solutions.

    In her free time, Mallory is taking care of her four pets, reading, streaming sci-fi, horror and action shows/movies, and attending art events around Austin.

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    Carl Keef

    Hiking and backpacking in the Colorado mountains are where you will find Carl on his down time – enjoying the scenery and rejuvenating. Professionally his passion is in Network Administration and Technology Consulting. Carl’s experience spans over 25 years. Born and raised in Houston, TX, he moved to Austin in 2002. Opening an IT Consulting business in 2004, he found his niche in helping small-to-medium organizations establish themselves technologically and flourish. Carl was key to aiding several surrounding Austin area city governments as they transitioned to the latest available technology. In 2016 he joined Austin Energy as their Senior Storage Area Network Administrator, a vital part of the City of Austin’s elite system operations team.

    Carl’s wife Kristine and his three children are his support system at home and often join him in his quest to complete all 58 Colorado mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet (known as “14ers” locally).

    "Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it." - Greg Anderson
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    Karlee Darnell

    User Experience Product Designer

    Karlee was born and raised in Texas and graduated from Texas State University with a degree in communication design where she decided to pursue user experience design. She believes conceptual thinking and problem solving can be applied to the most complex problems and to the simplest of issues. “Good design helps everyone, and I think that’s why I was so attracted to it,” she says.

    When she’s not in the office she spends her time visiting with her family, church, buying more plants, exercising, and cuddling with her two cats, Sage and Cilantro.

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    Meredith Webb

    Senior Manager, Program and Product Operations

    Meredith has 19 years of experience building products in both agency and SaaS environments across a number of verticals. She has a deep love of all things data and is passionate about driving process improvements, and enabling open communication across teams. She is a professional teller of truths, empowerer of teams, builder of process and she has big ideas.

    When she is not building teams or data sets, she enjoys being outside, gardening, and baking. She lives in South Austin with her husband, kids and two rescue dogs.

    "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." – Coco Chanel
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    Heather Keyton

    HR Manager

    Heather has been a strategic business partner and associate advocate for over 10 years. She is passionate about collaborating with others to identify and create ways to build great work environments. Heather is a member of the Junior League of Austin and enjoys volunteering in the community.

    In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, working out and traveling.

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    Colin Jennings

    Senior Data Engineer

    Colin earned a BS in Information Science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Particularly fascinated by his database theory and user experience classes, Colin pursued work in the latter but took a software quality assurance internship at a local start-up after graduation. Colin loved the fast-paced environment and the opportunities for new skill development, wearing multiple hats, from QA analyst, software engineer, to data architect, before eventually overseeing all technology teams. Following a year spent leading a distributed team of data engineers on a corporate EDW project in Australia, Colin found himself pining for work in his own city and landed at BlackLocus.

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    Alex Galenko

    Senior Data Scientist

    Alex was born in Siberia, Russia, with a “math and computer geek” syndrome and an apparent allergy to cold weather. It took him 20 long years to get to Austin, Texas, where he started his PhD program in 2003 (and discovered you can’t buy beer in US until you are 21!). Now Alex holds a PhD in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. He thinks his calling is to help build a better world through large-scale optimization models, turning chaos into controlled chaos. He has over decade of experience doing just that.

    Before joining BlackLocus, he worked in the nuclear safety, finance, and transportation asset management industries, building decision support tools of different types that affect hundred millions of people around the globe.

    Outside of work Alex enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. His hobbies include pickup soccer games at Zilker, practicing guitar and playing different computer games. From time to time he publishes his traveling pics to https://500px.com/agalenko.

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    Abhirami Baskaran

    Software Engineer

    Born and raised in Bangalore, India, Abhirami came to the United States for her graduate studies and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic institute with a master’s in Computer Science. She moved to Austin for her first job and realized solving data problems was her main interest. She has been learning and working on multiple data solutions since.

    When she is not on her laptop she is binging on popular whodunit shows/movies, painting away her afternoons and trying out new bakes.

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    Mike Smith

    Senior Manager, Data Science

    Since 2012, Mike has worked in a variety of industries helping his clients solve complex problems using statistical and econometric models. He is passionate about communicating data-driven solutions to non-technical audiences. He also is a dedicated team leader who derives a lot of joy from guiding his team members in their project work and seeing them develop and grow.

    Mike holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Boston College, where he focused on Industrial Organization (the study of how firms strategically compete and set prices), making BlackLocus pretty much a dream job. Prior to joining BlackLocus, Mike worked at USAA and Charles River Associates.

    Outside of work, you can find Mike spending time with family, planning his next vacation, learning as much as he can about wine, perfecting his barbecue skills, and trying to teach himself to play piano.

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    Stephanie Piland

    Communication and Product Operations Manager

    Stephanie was born and raised near the North Carolina coast and studied Biology and Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go ‘Heels!). Agnostic of the subject, Stephanie is passionate about contribution in and out of the office, particularly thinking about how systems and processes can be made lean, consistent, profitable, and productive. Between time spent in the northeast and her new home-sweet-home in Austin, she has 16 years of experience building and coaching teams through periods of growth and is engaged by work where she can creatively meet fresh challenges.

    When not peskily pitching new ways for friends to run their food festival or maximize their upcoming travel, Stephanie is camping, reading in her hammock, volunteering on boards, or annoying her neighbors with clumsy practice on some new Brazilian drum.

    "One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?" – Rachel Carson
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    Matt Salazar

    Senior Business Intelligence Analyst

    Matt has a storied history in behavioral analysis beginning with criminal behavior at the Austin Police Department, then to consumer behavior for the financial industry and finally attendee behavior for the conference and events industry. He has a passion for finding truth hidden in data. Matt is a longtime Austinite and received an Masters of Social Work and an MBA from The University of Texas. Outside of work Matt spends his time with one enduring wife, two brave children and two stupid dogs.

    "Courageous convictions will drag the dream into existence." - Neil Peart

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