Can you share with us what attracted you to a career in analytics?
I actually stumbled into my career when I was still in high school. At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I was going to continue my education. Fortunately, my dad nudged me to apply for an internship with the Oregon Lottery’s Research Department. He thought it would be a good experience and hopefully give me a clue about what to pursue after graduation. All I knew then was that I was good with numbers – I never thought it would turn into a career. Fast-forward nearly 15 years and I’m as hooked as I’ve ever been. I find there’s so much variety with the analytics field that it’s hard to get bored. There’s always a new project, different ways to look at data, and new analytics tools to explore.
You have been attending the PASS Business Analytics Conference since 2014. What do you see as the most significant changes in the data industry over the last few years, as seen at the conference, or through your work? And what advice would you give to fellow data professionals who are looking to stay ahead of those changes?
I’d say the most significant changes I’ve observed have been the advancement in analytics and visualization tools, as well as the ease of implementing solutions in-house. Today’s tools are quite robust and don’t necessarily require an extensive background in programming to produce professional outputs.
Considering the speed at which the industry is changing, I don’t think you can really stay ahead. With that being said, I think developing solutions that can be nimble with change will give organizations the best opportunity to grow with the inevitable advancements, rather than trying to play catch-up.
Congratulations on your accepted speaking session this year! What are the top two things that attendees can look forward to learning at your session?
The session is a case study about the implementation of the Oregon Lottery’s in-house business intelligence (BI) solution using Microsoft’s Power BI tools. My colleague, Paul Westerman (Sr. Market Research Analyst, Oregon Lottery), will be presenting with me. Not only will attendees be able to get a peek at samples of our outputs, but they will also learn about the importance of flexibility in platforms and points of access, as well as how to treat BI as a program rather than a project.
What are three interesting facts that people may not know about you?
1. I’ve been a golf junkie since I was a toddler and currently hold a 5 handicap.
2. My good friend and I used to have our own photography business. We shot a lot of weddings, which was why we ultimately gave it up.
3. I’m a self-taught guitar player and have a collection of music memorabilia. My collection includes over 1000 albums, several gold-plated records, and a guitar signed by Eric Clapton.
This is a picture of my wife and me at a “Parent’s Night Out” auction for our kids’ school. It was a western theme, but I didn’t get the memo.