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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    Jason Key

    Director of Engineering

    Jason has over 20 years of experience leading teams in software engineering and data analytics. He works with his teams to understand strategic business goals, optimize processes and define and implement technology solutions to achieve measurable business value. Prior to BlackLocus, Jason led the Downstream Distribution Systems team at The Home Depot and before that the Supply Chain Data & Analytics team. Jason grew up in Chapel Hill and graduated from the University of North Carolina, and he remains a huge college basketball fan.
    Outside of work, Jason enjoys traveling with his family, running, live music, and trying not to wreck on his mountain bike in the woods.

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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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    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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    Miles Drew

    Engineering 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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    Crandall Chow

    Senior 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

    Technical Support Manager

    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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    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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    Travis Bordovsky

    Senior 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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    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 made it her goal to find happiness at work, for herself and for others. After growing a startup in Seattle, she decided she needed some sunshine 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. Jordan loves to travel, read a good book, pick up her ’67 Mustang from the shop (and then take it right back), and spend her time on the “hiking” trails in Austin with her dogs.

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

    Principal 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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    Purnendu Kaul

    Lead Data Scientist
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    Matt Salazar

    Business Intelligence Manager

    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

    Staff 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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    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

    Data Science Manager
    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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    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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    Nicholas Lynch

    Senior Product Data Analyst

    Nicholas was born in Austin, but raised in New Orleans. He graduated with a degree in Accounting and worked in Public Accounting. After taking some SQL courses, he decided to switch to data analytics and hasn’t looked back since. His interests include automation, gardening, snow skiing, reading, cooking, and traveling.

    “When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself” - Benjamin Franklin
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    Shamita Behl

    Senior Product Manager

    Shamita brings with her 18 years of experience driving business needs – in product and analytics. Prior to BlackLocus, she worked as a Product Management consultant for TJX companies, being a visionary for the Merchandising Platform modernization and Analytics projects. Shamita loves challenges and believes that effective communication and transparency are the keys to successful Product Management. Shamita has an MBA in Finance from UMASS Boston, is a certified SAFE Agilist and PSPO Product Owner.

    When she is not working, she is seen doing Theater or acting in front of Camera. She has acted in various Indian Plays, short films, and music videos. She is also passionate about Direction and Script Writing.

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    George Mazzeo

    Software Engineer

    George is originally from Long Island, New York. He came down to Austin in 2022 to trade in his lifestyle of pizza and bagels for tacos and bbq. George graduated from Bucknell as a CS Eng where he would call himself a math major with a really big calculator. Outside of work he’s usually slowly learning guitar, reading science and tech books or exploring Austin on his electric longboard. George is also a big Python fanboy and Italian hand speaking interpreter.

    "Remember Kids the Only Difference Between Screwing Around and Science Is Writing It Down" - Adam Savage
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    Brittany Celaa

    Senior Manager, Product Management
    Brittany has been with The Home Depot since 2014 and spent a majority of her career in Supply Chain Product Management and Pro Merchandising Operations. She has a passion for problem solving and teamwork which led her to BlackLocus where she can build innovative technology with awesome people.
    Brittany grew up in Lakeland, Florida and graduated from the University of South Florida with a BS in Industrial Engineering. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoys spending time with friends and family, good food, red wine, hiking, travel, planning & Pinterest.
    "If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely" -Roald Dahl
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    Naresh Nagarajan

    Senior Principal Software Engineer

    Naresh was born and raised in Tamilnadu, India and holds a Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology. He brings with him years of Supply Chain experience and has worked in various companies.
    After his laptop is closed, he enjoys learning about Disney princesses and fairy tale stories from his kids, and listening to his spouse singing.

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    Devin Orr

    Data Scientist

    Devin was born and raised in Cleveland,Ohio. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in Economics in 2014. Devin made a career transition from consumer product sales to engineering after overcoming a crippling fear of math and programming. Devin is passionate about using data to solve problems, as well as creating simplicity out of complexity.

    Outside of work you will find Devin watching Browns Football or paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake.

    “Sucking at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something.” - Jake the Dog (Adventure Time)
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    Trey O'Connor

    Data Science Senior Manager

    Trey joined The Home Depot in 2020 to lead a data science team focused on price elasticity modeling and prescriptive price recommendations for product available in stores. Tempted by the dynamic world of online pricing and a software-development-environment, Trey leapt at the opportunity to join BlackLocus.

    Prior to THD, Trey worked for Revenue Analytics as a Principal Scientist, solving data science problems for clients and developing pricing software. Before that, he worked as a Manager for Sears leading a team optimizing prices for seasonal apparel. Trey holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago.

    Outside of work, Trey enjoys parenting (human and dog), exercising, and squirrel-suiting from the world’s tallest buildings (just kidding).

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    Rob Neu

    Senior Software Engineer

    Rob started tinkering with computers at a very young age. He has what Dilbert dubbed “the knack”; an intuition about all things mechanical and electrical. He worked as a computer technician while completing his BSc in Computer Engineering at Brigham Young University. After graduation he began his career in software engineering and then completed an MSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

    In his spare time he can be found spending time with his wife and doing all manner of DIY projects including soldering electronics, building computers, and woodworking. He also enjoys sci-fi, playing video games, skiing, snowboarding, running, commenting on Reddit, and finding good deals. If you’ve got a strange tech issue, he’ll get to the bottom of it.

    "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'" - Issac Asimov
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    Ryu Thao

    Staff Software Engineer

    Ryu is a Georgia native bringing software engineering experience from Supply Chain industries of The Home Depot and T-Mobile. He graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Ryu enjoys playing drums, guitar, and JRPGs in his spare time. He passionately researches the finer things in life: how to fight lawn weeds, and how to DIY home renovations.

    “What’s wrong with knowing what you know now and not knowing what you don’t know until later?” —Winnie the Pooh
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    Sebastian Guerra

    Lead Business Intelligence Analyst

    Sebastian is well versed in the world of Business Intelligence and brings with him a wealth of experience for everything business and data related. He has achieved a BS in Computer Information Systems and an MBA with a focus on Business Finance. He fancies himself an entrepreneur and has tried his hand starting a business or two. When he isn’t working, he enjoys riding bicycles and motorcycles (but not at the same time), watching movies, and spending time with his family.

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    Tim Canada

    Senior Product Manager
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    Janice Favors

    Data Quality Specialist
    Jan grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, and began her career in the home improvement industry at an early age.  Over 30 years of both retail and commercial sales experience, with a vast amount of product knowledge, make her uniquely qualified to contribute to the Data Quality team at BlackLocus. She is an avid hunter, a super cool mother and grandmother, and a dog mom!
    "Love your family, work super hard, and live your passion!" - Gary Vaynerchuk
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    Otto Rihtaric

    Data Quality Specialist

    A native of Long Island, NY, Otto graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology with a degree in Molecular Biology. He was a licensed securities broker in Houston before building a 25 year career in competitive intelligence and price management in the home improvement industry. Over the last decade, he was a Data Quality contractor working with BlackLocus before finally joining the team in 2022.

    As an owner-operator of the family run wedding venue, Otto’s fair-weather weekends are filled with events. He also has an unshakable enthusiasm for hockey and the NY Islanders. Outside of hockey, you can find him consumed with his three Cockerspaniels; Quinn, Poppy, and Phoebe.

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    Taronish Madeka

    Data Scientist

    Taronish was born on the bustling island nation of Singapore, but quickly found himself growing up in the curiously extensive suburbs of DFW. He attended Baylor University for his undergraduate studies and continued his graduate education at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    Taronish started his data science career at BlackBerry as part of a security engineering team that applied machine learning techniques to secure BlackBerry’s enterprise applications. He then pivoted into consulting for Credera, where he co-invented a competitive intelligence platform, built recommender systems for staffing companies, and served as an engineering resource for a large airliner.

    Outside of work, Taronish enjoys playing soccer, board games, and traveling vast distances for delicious food.

    "When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too" - Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
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    Soleyana Alemu

    Senior Software Engineer

     Soleyana was born and raised in Ethiopia, where she pursued her bachelor’s degree in Information Systems at Bahir Dar Institute of Technology. She was so happy to be in the field of computer science as it is the field for innovation, and it supports creative work in many other fields, which is her motivation. She started working as a system developer at Instant Systems after she performed well in her internship with them prior to her graduation, after which she became a Full Stack Developer at Fidel IT Solutions. She has contributed to the tourism, health, and e-commerce sector by participating in different software development projects.

    Soleyana moved to the US in 2021 to pursue her MSc in computer science, and to achieve her dream in advancing her profession in the tech industry and in turn being an even greater contributor. Finally, she has found herself at BlackLocus, where innovative ideas turn into reality, and where positive and energetic-minded people thrive.

    She spends her spare time with family and friends. She loves walking, biking and reading books.

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    Taylor Smith

    Senior Product Manager
    Taylor launched her career in technology after attending Galvanize bootcamp in 2015. She started as an engineer at Allstate Insurance practicing extreme programming (test-driven development and pair programming). From there she worked as an engineer for McKesson Corporation, focusing her efforts on cybersecurity and software automation. It was at McKesson that she found her true calling of bridging the gap in communication between engineering and business teams, and managing the development of a product. She then transitioned into a Product Management role and went on to manage six products at McKesson. Most recently, she worked for Gruntwork, a startup, where her efforts in Customer Success and improving the company’s security posture helped drive product improvements.
    Taylor is passionate about building successful products that are easy to use and actually solve problems. Voted “Most Likely to Have Her Own Talkshow” in middle school, Taylor is a type-A extrovert that loves to talk to users and stakeholders on how products can continuously be improved.
    She currently lives outside Austin, Texas with her husband, dog, and two sons. When not working, she can be found with coffee in hand, and chasing her toddler around the house. She is passionate about interior design and often helps friends bring their home project ideas to life.
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    Evan Li

    Data Scientist

    Evan was born in the sprawling city of Chongqing in Southwest China. She studied music and mathematics at Franklin & Marshall College and obtained a M.S. in Analytics from the Institute of Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University.

    Evan started her career at Ernst & Young as a Data Science Consultant for the financial services industry. At EY, she worked closely with clients at all levels to translate ambiguous problems into clearly defined data problems. She built an early warning dashboard using sentiment analysis for the company’s ESG solution for investors, implemented data analytics scripts to support data migration activities for a Fortune 100 Mutual Company, and operationalized enterprise-wide controls automation strategy for a Fortune 100 Banking Institution.

    In her free time, Evan enjoys dancing, singing, and exploring world cuisine with friends around the city.

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    RJ Hill

    Staff DevOps Engineer

    RJ is originally from Staten Island, NY. He drove down to ATL in 2007, trading garlic knots and rice balls for cornbread and “hey y’all”. RJ has a BS in Physics and an MS in Computer Science – two pieces of paper which exist in a box… somewhere. Outside of work RJ can be found in the back yard with his 3 kiddos or in the garage working on his 1965 Mustang coupe or preparing for a powerlifting meet. RJ is also a big JS fanboy and, like George, fluent in Italian hand gestures.

    "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." - Richard P. Feynman
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    Jarett Smith

    Senior Data Engineer

    Jarett is a seasoned IT professional, spending time with public accounting firms EY & PwC, as well as a local logistics software company SMC3. He joined The Home Depot in 2018, leading the development of competitor analytical solutions for the Pricing team prior to making the move to BlackLocus. He holds bachelor’s degrees and a Master of Science from Georgia State University.

    Outside of work, Jarett enjoys time with his family (primarily the dogs), watching football and golf, as well as the many hobbies he has picked up.

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