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

Cultivating Your Intelligent Data Ecosystem

Friday, September 29, 2023

Quaker Station, The University of Akron (130 E. Mill Street, Akron, Ohio)
Registration has closed for the event.

Check out sponsorship opportunities below.

The Sixth Annual Business Analytics Innovation Summit focuses on the importance of cultivating an intelligent data ecosystem that enables organizations to leverage their data for strategic and operational decision making. Such an ecosystem is the foundation for becoming data-driven, an ongoing process that includes data governance, data architecture, data integration, and data analytics. Our presenters already have multiple years of experience in this field; they have been selected to illustrate how an ecosystem comes together, and what are the next steps firms and organizations are taking to realize analytics.

  • Laura Kish and George Marino of Goodyear take a deep dive into the process of implementing cloud data warehouse software at Goodyear.
  • Cal Al-Dhubaib of Pandata focuses on lessons learned from real-world implementation of Artificial Intelligence based models.
  • Justin Barr of Clear Process Solutions and Sue Dupont of Westfield Insurance lead a panel discussion about proactive data management to achieve and maintain data quality.
  • Our keynote speaker, Alan Jacobson, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at Alteryx, will share his perspective and some short case studies about standing up effective analytics solutions.

The Summit includes ample networking opportunities with your peers, leading data analytics professionals, The University of Akron faculty, and students from the Business Analytics and Information Systems programs. All net proceeds from this event will go to support student scholarships to attend the Summit and to study in relevant University of Akron programs.


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

Registration, Breakfast, & Networking

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


Abdou Ayoub, Paragon Shift & Susan Lowry, Square-One Consulting – Master of Ceremony
Gary Miller, President, The University of Akron
James Thomson, Associate Dean, College of Business, The University of Akron

8:15 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Data Warehouse Modernization at Goodyear

Laura Kish & George Marino, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

9:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Acing the Last Mile of AI

Cal Al-Dhubaib, Pandata

9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Coffee & Networking Break

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

Using Proactive Data Management Techniques for Significant Improvements in Data Quality and Analytics Outcomes

Justin Barr, Clear Process Solutions & Sue Dupont, Westfield Insurance

Moderators: Bill McHenry & Susan Lowry

11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Lunch Break

11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Keynote: How Analytics Can Change Your World

Alan Jacobson, Alteryx

12:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks & Summary

1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Workshops (Python, Alteryx, & Tableau), College of Business, The University of Akron


KEYNOTE: How Analytics Can Change Your World

Alan Jacobson, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, Alteryx

For hundreds of years analytics have been impacting the world, and that is only accelerating now. In this talk we'll look at what modern organizations are doing to harness analytics, the impact it is having on the performance of these organizations. Finally, we'll quickly dive into examples of both how to leverage the right analytic methods as well as real-world analytic transformation examples

Alan Jacobson

Alan Jacobson

Alan Jacobson is the chief data and analytics officer (CDAO) of Alteryx, driving key data initiatives and accelerating digital business transformation for the Alteryx global customer base. As CDAO, Jacobson leads the company's data science practice as a best-in-class example of how a company can get maximum leverage out of its data and the insights it contains. He is responsible for data management and governance, product and internal data, and use of the Alteryx Platform to drive continued growth.

Prior to joining Alteryx, Alan held a variety of leadership roles at Ford Motor Company across engineering, marketing, sales, and new business development; most recently leading a team of data scientists to drive digital transformation across the enterprise. As an Alteryx evangelist at Ford, Alan spent many years leveraging the Alteryx Platform across the company and witnessed first-hand the impact a culture of analytics can have on the bottom line and what it takes to succeed as a data-driven enterprise. Alan will extend his role as an evangelist to customers, helping data workers and business leaders alike foster a culture of analytics and deepen their investments in digital transformation strategies.

Alan was recognized as a top leader in the global automotive industry as an Automotive Hall of Fame Leadership & Excellence award winner and an Outstanding Engineer of the Year by the Engineering Society of Detroit and works with the National Academy of Engineering and other organizations as an advisor on data science topics. Alan holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and received a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

The Data Warehouse Modernization Journey at Goodyear

Laura Kish, Global Analytics IT Director, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
George Marino, Data Architect, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Hear how Goodyear replaced their outdated and costly on-premises legacy data warehouse solution with Snowflake, a leading cloud data warehousing platform.
As an additional part of their application modernization journey, they also migrated Informatica, their current ETL tool, to the cloud.

Laura and George will share their experience in the research, planning and evaluation processes for both technology and implementation partners, as well as the iterative learning process they applied across the regional waves they rolled out throughout the 14-month implementation.

Laura Kish

Laura Kish

Laura Kish is currently the Global Analytics IT Director at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Laura has held several positions within Finance and IT over the last 15+ years.

Prior to Goodyear, Laura worked at Ernst & Young LLP for 5 years as a financial and IT auditor. A member of Leadership Akron Class 39, she also participates on the CITA planning committee.

Laura holds a Bachelor of Science and Business Administration in Accounting and Management of Business Technology and holds a Master of Business Administration from Pennsylvania State University in 2011.

George Marino

George Marino

George Marino is a Data Architect at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company with over 15 years of data warehouse and analytics experience working in various roles in data transformation, business intelligence, and data modeling.

He recently led the architecture workstream for the Data Warehouse Modernization project, including designing and building the cloud infrastructure, database, and security components for the new platform.

George holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management from The University of Akron.

Acing the Last Mile of AI

Cal Al-Dhubaib, CEO & AI Strategist, Pandata

Despite the pace of advancement, organizations still struggle to achieve ROI with AI projects. With the explosion of generative AI applications, and mounting examples of model 'hallucination', it's never been more important to build confidence in AI-enabled decisions. This is particularly true in high-risk settings, where more robust and transparent models are needed. In most cases, it's the last mile of deploying AI into workflows where many projects fail.

Cal will share lessons learned from real-world AI implementations designed to deliver better outcomes including:

  • Designing secondary explainer models into workflows that empower decision-makers
  • Deployment of model monitoring systems to manage risk, bias, and drift
  • Testing the robustness of models, especially in applications that touch unstructured data
  • Optimizing for both model performance and the resulting human action and impact / ROI

Cal Al-Dhubaib

Cal Al-Dhubaib

Cal Al-Dhubaib is a data scientist, entrepreneur, and innovator in responsible artificial intelligence, specializing in high-risk sectors such as healthcare, energy, and defense.

He is the founder and CEO of Pandata, a consulting company that helps organizations design and develop AI-driven solutions for complex business challenges, with an emphasis on responsible AI. Pandata clients include globally recognized organizations including the Cleveland Clinic, Progressive Insurance, University Hospitals, and Parker Hannifin.

Cal frequently speaks on topics including AI ethics, change management, data literacy, and the unique challenges of implementing AI solutions in high-risk industries.

Cal holds a Bachelor of Science in Data Science from Case Western University and has also received recognition among Crain's Cleveland Notable Immigrant Leaders, Notable Entrepreneurs, and most recently, Notable Technology Executives.

PANEL: Using Proactive Data Management Techniques for Significant Improvements in Data Quality and Analytics Outcomes

Justin Barr, Partner/Founder, Clear Process Solutions

Now more than ever, efforts spent in proactive data management and cleansing has proven to be a critical component in just about any business analytics effort needed to provide meaningful and valid insights. Justin will share a preemptive approach towards mitigating the myriad of risks and fallout when 'bad data happens' to a system. He will go beyond the surface to share a deeper exploration of the key elements required for a truly effective and simple strategy that can be applied to people, processes, and technology to achieve consistent and trusted data needed across the enterprise.

Sue Dupont, Data Architecture Leader at Westfield Insurance

Sue will share lessons learned from the evolution of the process during the implementation of a home-grown rules-based Quality Management Module (QMM) between source systems and an Enterprise Data Hub to ensure required data quality for downstream Financial Reporting system processing.

Justin Barr

Justin Barr

As the founder of Clear Process Solutions, Justin strives to help his clients align their business goals and objectives with actionable digital transformation roadmaps.

Justin advocates the use of digital transformation platforms, processes, and methodologies, rather than relying solely on programmers or code. This approach helps businesses achieve essential objectives such as increasing top line revenue and generating bottom-line savings.

Clear Process Solutions works with global organizations including Carhartt, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Evoqua Water, HDT Global and Kichler Lighting.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University, as well as an Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems from The University of Akron.

Sue DuPont

Sue DuPont

Sue is currently the IT Data Architecture Leader at Westfield Insurance. The majority of her experience has been on Data Warehousing/Business Intelligence solution delivery projects.

Sue started out as a mainframe programmer, worked as a Data Modeler and as a DBA, and has 20+ years of experience as a Project Manager.

In 2020 she became a Scrum Master leading agile teams.

Sue holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Illinois State University and has worked in a wide variety of industries including Hospital Supply, Lumber, Pet Food, Tires, Transportation, Energy, ATMs, and P&C Insurance.


A Hands-on Alteryx Tutorial

This tutorial will provide a Hands-on Lab experience that will allow attendees to participate on their laptops and experience firsthand the Alteryx drag-and-drop approach to ETL and analytics. Users will tackle data integration, prep/blend/qa before connecting multiple data sources and performing summary analysis, geospatial analysis and creating a predictive model. Users will then prepare multiple different outputs including a connection to Tableau for enhanced visual analytics.

Tableau: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

This tutorial will guide users through an activity where we take our trusted data sources and create Data Visualizations using Tableau. As we build the dashboards in Tableau Desktop, we'll discuss visualization best practices, calculations, accessibility, mapping and sharing/deployment options. By the end of this workshop participants will have a visualization they can share on Tableau Public or in a professional portfolio.

A Hands-on Introduction to Python Programming

This tutorial introduces Python programming for data analytics. It covers Python language, Jupyter environment, and common extension packages such as numpy and pandas for data analytics through combination of lectures and hands-on labs. It will first use Jupyter Notebook as the environment to learn basic Python operations and then briefly introduce Python programming principles including variable types, data structures, decision and loop controls, and functions. The workshop will then focus on the use of numpy and pandas packages for data analytics. It will show how to load and explore the package contents, how to operate and visualize arrays in numpy and time series in pandas, and how to load custom data files into data frames, and how to explore and visualize data in a data frame.

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 Alan Bedingfield, or 330-972-5879

Current Sponsors

Premier Sponsor

Centric, Scaled Vision & Workday

Gold Sponsor

Avaap–innovation, solutions, outcome. Paragon Shift

Blue Sponsor

Agile Talent Management Inc., Applied Industrial Technologies, Audio Technica, FirstComm, Goodyear, LeafHome, Snowflake, Sterling Consultants, Taft, The J.M. Smucker Co., TransImpact , Westfield

Additional support and tech gifts for students provided by Dell and Microsoft

Dell Technologies and Microsoft

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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