Our Team

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    Dong Ouyang

    General Manager

    Dong was previously Senior Director of product management and data science at Best Buy where he created an enterprise center of excellence for analytics and data science. Dong also led product management at McDonald’s and software development at Motorola. Additionally, he founded myDaVinci, an eCommerce startup, and Unload, a warehouse automation company. Dong earned his MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a MS of Computer Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

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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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    Meredith Webb

    Director of Product

    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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    Ray Holder

    Senior Principal Software Engineer

    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

    Principal Software Engineer

    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

    Principal 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

    Staff 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

    Staff 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

    Staff 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

    Senior 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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    Wang Rao

    Senior 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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    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

    Staff 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

    Principal 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

    Associate 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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    Megan Ducote

    Product 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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    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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    Nicole Holm

    Staff 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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    Bahadir Aral

    Distinguished 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

    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

    Senior 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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    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

    Senior 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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    Joel Rosinbum

    Staff 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

    Principal Software Engineer

    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

    HR Manager

    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

    Technical Support 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

    Product Support Specialist
    “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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    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

    Network Administrator

    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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    Colin Jennings

    Staff 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

    Lead 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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    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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    Madhavi Dadi

    Senior Data Engineer

    Madhavi likes to be a multi-tasker, with the ability to have high focus on all tasks at hand. Madhavi loves to see and make things grow – be it her huge variety of palms at home, her two boys or her ever growing circle of well wishers!

    With interests in gardening, weight training and coding, Madhavi is usually seen on the go managing something or the other…

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    Andrew Berglund

    Software Engineer

    Andrew grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York and followed his job to Austin in 2018. He started building computers and hosting LAN parties in highschool and pursued that interest to a career in IT and software development. After 12 years in the healthcare and tolling industries he’s still not tired of helping folks solve their problems and is always looking for a new challenge.

    Outside of work he can be found enjoying Austin’s food and music, playing PC games, improving his cooking skills, and enjoying the great outdoors.

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    Roger Brown

    Engineering Manager

    Roger graduated with a Radio, TV, & Film degree because he thought he was going to be the next greatest director to make blockbuster movies… but he quickly abandoned that idea when he realized he enjoyed watching films more than making them. Instead, technology and people have been his passion for the last 20 years.

    In his free time, Roger likes to play drums, see live music, play video games, and spend time on the beach with his wife and two kids.

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    Balin Larson

    Manager of Product Management

    Balin is not named after the hobbit Balin, but rather Sir Balin, “The Knight with Two Swords” from the Arthurian Legend. Equally but maybe less nerdy, Balin loves the intersection of product, data science, and startups. Especially, when those things promote social good. Previously he has spent the last 7 years as one of the first employees at Seattle based startup, Snap! Raise, leading product management, data, and engineering teams.

    In his free time Balin loves quality time spent outdoors with his family and dogs, soccer, and road-biking.

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    Lance Sander

    Senior Business Intelligence Analyst

    Lance has over 18 years of experience with SQL and data wrangling combined with analytical knowledge in the events, healthcare, and gaming industries. He has a BS in Math from The University of Texas and has passed two actuary exams.

    Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his lovely wife. He also loves to cook, read, camp, and is always looking for an opportunity to make hollandaise sauce.
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    Amir Rafati

    Lead Data Scientist
    Amir was born and raised in Shiraz, Iran. A city known for its poets, literature and gardens. Throughout his early years in school he always had a false belief that he could never be good at math, but a teacher in 8th grade changed his life forever. He decided to pursue engineering later when he went to university and eventually moved to the U.S. to get his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology.
    Since then Amir has worked in many different industries including digital storage, manufacturing and IoT. He enjoys thinking out of the box and coming up with new innovate ideas to break complex problems into smaller solvable pieces.
    In his spare time he enjoys travelling, listening to music, cooking and working out.
    "Going in one more round when you don’t think you can. That’s what makes all the difference in your life." - Rocky IV
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    Maggie Swift

    Senior Business Intelligence Analyst

    Maggie is her name and data is her game. Maggie loves a challenge and continuous learning is a foundational piece of her life. Needless to say, she loves all things problem solving. Maggie previously worked for Home Depot’s Services organization in Atlanta but decided the tech side of the business and Austin’s landscape was more her style.

    Maggie attended University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business but has been rooting for the Bulldogs since she could talk. Outside of work you can find her trying new foods, reading a book, or cutting a rug to some live music.

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    Mirella G. Smartt

    Lead UX Product Designer

    With over 16 years of experience in delivering impactful customer-centric solutions in the e-commerce/retail industry, Mirella believes that working iteratively without losing sight of the whole customer journey is integral in creating a cohesive and consistent user experience. She likes to bring the best of both worlds into her design process – balancing between standing up for the voice of her customers and keeping in mind her stakeholder’s business goals. Building strong and collaborative relationships within crossfunctional teams is her passion as well as mentoring and coaching UX designers just starting out.

    When she is not problem-solving complex workflows into simple and userfriendly experiences, she loves to spend time engaging in nerdy conversations with her software engineer husband, her two intensely dedicated gamer boys, and her brilliant and incredibly imaginative foodie-in-the making daughter in Austin, TX .

    “Only when diverse perspectives are included, respected, and valued can we start to get a full picture of the world.” - Brené Brown
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    Stephanie Piland

    Senior Manager, Product & Program Operations

    Stephanie was born and raised near the North Carolina coast and spent undergrad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go ‘Heels!). An operations and change management wonk, Stephanie is naturally curious about how systems and processes can be made lean, profitable, and productive. She’s grabbed on tightly to a career assembling and coaching teams through periods of rapid growth, and is moth-to-the-flame when it is time to scale.
    Find her around Austin banging on a Brazilian drum, eating at the new restaurant, camping, or playing super-auntie to a small herd of miniature-adults.

    “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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