The University of Akron, College of Business Business Analytics - Innovation Summit

Analytics Everywhere

Friday, September 30, 2022

Quaker Station, The University of Akron

Registration Fee:

$75 Summit Only | $100 Workshop Only | $150 Summit & Workshop

UA Faculty/Staff/Students: FREE; Workshop - Subject to Availability*

No matter where you look, you are likely to find new ways that enterprises, small businesses, and NGOs are monetizing their data. They are using their data to streamline and improve operations. They are combining internal data with data from partners and third-party sources, using new techniques to curate, govern, and serve information and insights. They are driving sales, marketing, and other business functions. They are using analytics in grid management, quality control, new product development, human resources and talent management, fraud detection, new drug development, and clinical trials – the list is practically endless! They are creating simulations and digital twins that allow vastly more experimentation with products, production, and business models. They are providing additional services to their suppliers, distributors, and/or customers in the form of reports, visualizations, and AI-driven analyses that complement existing products and services. In two words, they are engaging in digital transformation.

Free parking, breakfast and boxed lunches are included with your registration*


7:00 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.

Registration, Breakfast, Networking

8:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Abdou Ayoub, Managing Director- Paragon Shift, Master of Ceremony
John Wiencek, Provost, The University of Akron
R.J. Nemer, Dean- College of Business, The University of Akron

8:30 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Transforming Self-Service Analytics at the Cleveland Clinic through Enablement
Mark Ruffing, Assistant Director in Enterprise Analytics- Cleveland Clinic

9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Tree-Outage Predictive Model
Nate Turner, Data Scientist- FirstEnergy Corp.

10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Coffee/Networking Break

10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Journey to a Smarter Supply Chain:
Using a Data Ecosystem to Create an End-to-End Supplier Lifecycle Evaluation
Sean Mancini, Director Digital Supply Chain Analytics- Signet Jewelers

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Keynote Session- Sports Analytics: A View from Both Sides
R.J. Nemer, Dean- College of Business, The University of Akron

Mike Conley, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President- Cleveland Cavaliers

Dr. William McHenry, Associate Professor, Management- UA College of Business
Susan Burton Lowry, President- SquareOne Consulting, Inc. & Senior Marketing Manager- Tradefull LLC

12:15 p.m. - 12:20 p.m.

Closing Remarks & Summary

12:20 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Networking Lunch (boxed lunches)

2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Workshops: See below for details.


Transforming Analytics at the Cleveland Clinic through Enablement
Mark Ruffing, Assistant Director in Enterprise Analytics, Cleveland Clinic

Mark Ruffing

Enterprise Analytics strives to empower self-service analytics across the Cleveland Clinic by providing appropriate access to trusted data and the capability to execute on analytic insights. We are building a culture of analytics through investment in our data, people, process, and technology. We inspire innovation, enhance distributed self-service capabilities, and mature data literacy to enable delivery of meaningful insights. Take a journey to discover how the Cleveland Clinic is addressing the need for Analytics Everywhere through enablement, including lessons learned and methods to optimize enablement programs. 

Mark proudly leads a team of business analysts in Enterprise Analytics who are focused on data and analytics enablement. Mark is the product owner for the Cleveland Clinic enterprise deployments of Power BI & Tableau and manages user enablement for the Data Governance platform. Since working at the Cleveland Clinic in 2001, Mark has served in a variety of roles including technical business analyst for the enterprise data warehouse and financial analyst. Mark has an MBA in Health Care Administration, bachelor degrees in MIS and Economics, and multiple technical certifications. Mark was also a member of inaugural class of CC Emerging Leaders and is passionate about the organizations mission to further educate those who serve as it relates to analytics.

Tree-Outage Predictive Model
Nate Turner, Data Scientist, FirstEnergy Corp.

While there is no substitute for experienced forestry professionals, mathematical models can be an effective complement, providing additional information to support tree maintenance decisions. Throughout 2021, FirstEnergy Corp. created a machine learning model to predict areas of distribution lines most susceptible to tree-caused outages. The goal is to improve reliability by effectively directing maintenance resources to areas that will provide the greatest value. This presentation will explain how predictions are made and how they are displayed using a GIS visualization tool in an easy to digest format. Results from pilot and A/B testing will be discussed.

Nate Turner

Nate Turner received his PhD in Physics from Washington State University in 2019. He joined FirstEnergy's Advanced Analytics group as a Data Scientist in November 2020. He has worked on data projects in an agile methodology for Safety, Asset Health, and Vegetation Management.




Journey to a Smarter Supply Chain: Using a Data Ecosystem to Create an End-to-End Supplier Lifecycle Evaluation
Sean Mancini, Director Digital Supply Chain Analytics, Signet Jewelers

Sean Mancini

As the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry, Signet Jewelers operates approximately 2,800 stores primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, Banter by Piercing Pagoda, Diamonds Direct,, Rocksbox, Peoples Jewellers, H.Samuel and Ernest Jones. Like many companies over the past year, Signet has experienced challenges with supply chain disruptions resulting from the pandemic aftermath and Ukraine conflict. These challenges provided Signet with an opportunity to rethink how it manages its vendor supply chain relationships. Sean Mancini will discuss Signet's approach and use of a “data ecosystem” to evaluate vendors through end-to-end functions spanning the vendor-product lifecycle. He will describe the tools and analytical methods used and provide key insights gained during the journey.

Sean Mancini is the Director of Supply Chain Analytics at Signet Jewelers. With 17 years of experience in the delivery of data aggregation and visualized analytics, mid to large-scale project management, and end-to-end assessment and implementation related to process improvement Sean has helped more than 75 companies overcome their analytic and business challenges while consulting at Deloitte, Ernst &s; Young, Clearsulting, and through his business roles at Charles Schwab and The Cleveland Clinic. Sean holds a bachelor's degree in Finance from Kent State University. Sean grew up in Northeast Ohio and currently lives there with his wife and their two sons.


Sports Analytics: A View from Both Sides

In this session R.J. Nemer and Mike Conley will share their perspectives as consumers and producers of the data that is now the lifeblood of any professional sports organization.

Sports Talent Negotiations: The Role of Analytics
R.J. Nemer, Dean, The University of Akron College of Business

R.J. Nemer, Dean-College of Business, The University of Akron

How do sports teams (and by extension, any large organization), determine the "value" of a player when negotiating a contract? In most cases, teams can tap into an extraordinary amount of information that they generate themselves or get from other sources to shape their view of the player. In this talk, Dean R.J. Nemer will provide an intimate view of how the process actually works and the role that analytics really plays.

Robert J. (R.J.) Nemer was appointed as the dean of The University of Akron (UA) College of Business, effective Jan. 31, 2022. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The University of Akron in 1990, Nemer graduated from UA's School of Law in 1995. He worked as an estate tax attorney before founding a professional sports agency in 1998, which he grew into one of the largest independently owned golf management and marketing agencies in the world. Nemer sold the firm to William Morris Endeavor/IMG in 2015 and assumed global leadership of the company's IMG Golf brand.

He most recently served as chief marketing officer for MAI Capital Management in Cleveland, where he was responsible for establishing and building a comprehensive marketing platform, while overseeing and scaling new business development, communications and public relations.

Nemer is a long-time active member of the community, having served on the boards of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. Currently, he serves on the executive board of the Northern Ohio Section of the PGA of America, and is a newly appointed board member for the First Tee of Akron and the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the 50 Club of Cleveland and routinely co-chairs and participates in numerous charitable and philanthropic endeavors locally and nationally.

Getting Real About Real-Time Data & Analytics
Mike Conley, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President, Cleveland Cavaliers

Mike Conley

In his talk, Mike Conley will discuss how omnipresent data has helped the Cavs to adopt a data-first mindset and drive digital transformation. He will dive into the data and cloud architecture that drives the organization. He will discuss a number of use cases, including real-time dashboarding, and following and predicting fan behavior in real time.

Mike Conley is a member of the Rock Entertainment Group executive team and the Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which includes the Cleveland Monsters (AHL), Cleveland Charge (NBAGL) and Cavs Legion Gaming Club (NBA2K). Conley oversees all the information technology, business intelligence, data governance, emerging technology and digital operations for the franchise. Most recently, Conley led the technology ideation and application for the Transformation of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, a major renovation project to transform the nearly 26-year-old venue. With nearly a quarter of a century of experience in media, digital and technology-related positions, Conley's leadership has helped set a solid business foundation from which the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Monsters, Cleveland Charge, Cavs Legion GC and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse have flourished into one of the most successfully-operated and technology-driven sports and entertainment teams in the country.


Power BI Desktop & Artificial Intelligence

Macauley Kloetzly, Microsoft Learning Consultant

Microsoft Power BI enables everyone at every level of your organization to make confident decisions using analytics. Once you get started with Power BI Desktop, you can go from data to insight to action with hundreds of data visualizations, built-in AI capabilities, tight Excel integration, and prebuilt and custom data connectors to develop rich and interactive reports to share with colleagues. With the no-code artificial intelligence (AI) experiences in Microsoft Power BI, users can easily leverage highly interactive and intelligent visuals to detect patterns in their data, ask questions of their data and discover new insights that can empower every individual and every team in their decision-making.

  1. Understand the building blocks of Power BI Desktop
  2. Explore the data prep capabilities of Power Query
  3. Write formulas and model your data
  4. Begin visualizing data and formatting a report
  5. Connect to a sample Power BI dataset
  6. Explore how to make confident decisions using artificial intelligence capabilities
  7. Create a report with the Power BI service

Building Lakehouse with Azure Synapse Analytics

Hope Foley, Microsoft Cloud Solution Architect

In this session you will learn how to setup a full data lake house architecture, from soup to nuts. You will build out the components in Azure using automated scripts, including metadata driven pipelines to saturate your data lake. You will also build out tables and connect Power BI to them to utilize the data.

  1. Build components in Azure with PowerShell scripts
  2. Build and run metadata driven pipeline to build data lake
  3. Build table/view in Synapse workspace
  4. Connect to table with Azure services

Hope Foley is a Data & AI Cloud Solution Architect for Microsoft in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is a former Microsoft SQL Server MVP, MCSA SQL Server 2012, and a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP: DBA (2005 & 2008)). She is a frequent technical speaker at user groups, SQLSaturdays, and other technical conferences.

R Programming Workshop: A Hands-on Tutorial

Dr. Liping Liu, Professor of Management and Information Systems at the University of Akron

This tutorial introduces R programming for data analytics in a hands-on/lecture format.

  1. Understand the basic elements of R programming, including how to create different types of data objects such as vectors, matrices, lists, and data frames and how to create custom functions
  2. Gain hands-on skills with the R interactive environment, including how to load the package and how to load structured data from data files, databases, and the web
  3. Gain hands-on experience on how to examine, summarize, and visualize data, how to perform and improve linear regression modeling, and how to transform data

Topics may include package installation, environment customization, interactive computing, data entry, data visualization, data integration (with databases, files, Internet, and other statistical tools), primitive and composite data objects, and how to use vectorized functions for vectors, apply() and sweep() for matrices, Map() and Reduce() for lists, Split() and Merge() for data frames. If time permits, it may also cover intermediate topics in data exploration, data transformation, and applications in data analytics.

Dr. Liping Liu is Professor of Management and Information Systems at the University of Akron. His research interests are in the areas of e-business, systems development, machine learning, uncertainty in artificial intelligence, and decision making. He has published three books on requirements modeling and belief functions. Dr. Liu has strong programming and teaching interests in data analytics and systems design, development, and integration. He has been studying Bayesian learning and artificial intelligence for 30 years and has developed a linear model-based inference system, He is currently teaching R Programming and Advanced Data Analytics courses for the graduate Data Analytics program at the University of Akron.

Company Sponsorships

Summit Sponsor: $10,000

  • Companies recognized as “Summit Sponsor” throughout the event, on event website and in all related media
  • 60-seconds video commercial spot to be played throughout event
  • Introduce Keynote Speaker
  • 3 Corporate Tables of 8 (per table)
  • 3 Vendor Display Tables
  • Large logo featured prominently throughout event
  • Company is verbally recognized throughout the event
  • Large logo included on emails sent to registrants

Premier Sponsor: $5,000

  • Sponsor a Session — prerecorded introduction of speaker and logo featured
  • Companies recognized as “Premier Sponsor” throughout the event, on event website and in all related media
  • 60-seconds video commercial spot to be played throughout event
  • 2 Corporate Tables of 8 (per table)
  • 2 Vendor Display Tables
  • Medium logo featured prominently throughout event and on social media
  • Company is verbally recognized throughout the event
  • Medium logo included on emails sent to registrants

Gold Sponsor: $2,500

  • 1 Corporate Table of 8 (per table)
  • 1 Vendor Display Table
  • Small logo featured throughout the event and social media
  • Company is verbally recognized throughout the event
  • Small logo included on emails sent to registrants

Blue Sponsor: $1,000

  • Unlimited Blue sponsorships available
  • 1 Corporate Table of 8 (per table)
  • Small logo featured throughout the event and social media
  • Company is verbally recognized throughout the event
  • Name included on the email sent to registrants

To become a sponsor, please visit the registration page and select your sponsorships or contact Lisa Sabol: or 330-972-8572

Current Sponsors

Summit Sponsor

Microsoft Logo

Premier Sponsor

Centric Logo, Paragon Shift Logo, and Sterling Consulting Company Logo

Gold Sponsor

Dell Technologies Logo

Blue Sponsor

Audio-Technica Logo, Goodyear Logo, Timken Logo, and the UA Department of Planning, Strategy &apm; Insights Logo

About CITA

The Center for Information Technologies and Analytics (CITA) is a multi–disciplinary Center within the College of Business. CITA was created in 2000 with the mission to teach students and develop faculty in the principles and practices of the related disciplines of Information Technology. CITA accomplishes its mission by providing scholarships, mentoring, internships & co-op opportunities to students in the information systems and business analytics disciplines, providing resources to conduct research to faculty, and conducting several outreach activities that promote IT and analytics among local companies.

CITA is made up of an advisory board of Information Technology leaders from the Northeast Ohio region and the College of Business faculty, staff and students. For further information, visit the Center for Information Technologies and Analytics (CITA) website.

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