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Michigan State University’s Master’s in Business Data Science and Analytics (MSBDSA) Program incorporates the professional knowledge of data science and analytics industry experts through the MSBDSA Industry Advisory Board. Comprised of industry thought leaders, the MSBDSA Industry Advisory Board members serve as ambassadors for the program to the broader community and as advisors to program leaders, faculty and students.

With an overall commitment to accelerating the digitization and deployment of data methodologies in business, Board members provide career insights and a real-world perspective to students, program improvement advice to faculty, and actively engage in philanthropic and scholarship support of the program and its students.

Meet the MSBDSA Advisory Board Members

Headshot of Nick Cross

Nick Cross

  • Director of Customer Analytics
    Consumers Energy

Nick Cross is the Director of Customer Analytics at Consumers Energy. Nicholas, originally an Electrical Engineer from Western Michigan University, has spent the last 6 years building out a robust Automation and Analytics team focused on data-driven solutions, waste elimination, and increasing customer experience for Consumers’ 3M+ customers. He has experience in Machine Learning, Speech Analytics, Prediction Analysis and various automation and visualization technologies.

Headshot of Advisory Board Member Jason Culp

Jason Culp

  • Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan
    Manager of the Data Analytics Department

Jason Culp is the manager of the Data Analytics Department at Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan. He has experience in developing and managing predictive modeling solutions for insurance use cases, in data visualization, and in leading the organization’s data governance initiatives. Jason also has prior experience in the PC Actuarial space, and has his FCAS and CPCU credentials.

Headshot of Heather Fitzgerald

Heather Fitzgerald

  • Head of Data & Business Intelligence
    Jackson National Life

Heather Fitzgerald is the Head of Data & Business Intelligence at Jackson National Life. She is a data visionary and analytics leader stemming from Chicago, Detroit & Silieon Valley with 20+ years in driving innovative global solutions and data-driven insights that create operational efficiencies, growth and success. She has deep expertise in business automation, data technology platforms, digital transformation, sales, marketing and storytelling. She leads world-class data-centric teams through full transformation by way of the usage of agile, SCRUM and SAFE methodologies.

Prior to joining Jackson, Heather was the Senior Vice President & Head of Global Strategy, Media & Analytics at various agencies throughout the Bay Area and worked directly with numerous global B2B & B2C tech firms.

Heather holds a BA in Economics from Michigan State University, and an MBA from the University of Detroit-Mercy. Her professional passions surround providing holistic data, measurement and insights to tie online and offline platforms together and to drive insight-driven storytelling. Additionally, she enjoys building teams to meet varied client & corporate needs, as well as mentoring junior staff.

Headshot of Wayne Gonzalez

Wayne Gonzalez

  • Data Scientist
    Ford Motor Company

Wayne Gonzalez, MBA, holds operational experience in both the financial and legal industries, in assition to sales operations experience at a cloud software company. He has held analytic roles in BI and finance, while playing a strategic role in sales operations.

Wayne has been trusted and relied upon by Senior VPs to perform analytical analyses tackling a wide range of business problems, consistently performing and delivering beyond customer expectations, building a cadre of trusting and collaborative relationships with major decision-makers along the way. He received his MBA from Michigan State University, and is currently pursuing an Applied Data Science degree.

Headshot of Alex Mannella

Alex Mannella

  • Managing Director
    Accenture Strategy

Alex Mannella is part of the Accenture Strategy leadership team with a heavy focus on analytics and data strategy. At Accenture Strategy, Alex operates at the intersection of business and technology bringing together capabilities in business, analytics, technology, operations and function strategy to help clients envision and execute industry specific forts that support enterprise wide transformation. Alex focuses on issues related to digital disruption, competitiveness, global operating models, talent and leadership models, Alex’s current key focus areas include him bringing over two decades of analytics experience to the strategy team at Accenture.

Prior to Accenture Alex was the Chief Analytics Officer at eLynx Technologies. As part of the eLynx team, Alex helped lead a group of Data Scientists, Engineers, and Oil and Gas experts focused on using sensor data to optimize well production and identify anomalies that can negatively impact production or lead to component failure. In addition, Alex worked closely with eLynx senior leadership to help with the strategic vision and with product development at eLynx Technologies.

Prior to joining eLynx Technologies, Alex was a founding member and Partner in PwC’s Information and Analytics practice. Alex proudly served clients for over 17 years as part of Diamond Management and Technology Consulting and then PwC after PwC acquired Diamond. Alex has helped clients in the telecommunications, gaming, financial services, tax preparation, airline, public sector, health care, consumer products, and pharmaceutical industries. Alex is an expert on the issues of customer value management (CVM), response modeling, database marketing, and data mining. He has extensive experience in developing response and segmentation algorithms for marketing organizations of varying sizes, database development, and the use of
artificial intelligence (Neural Nets and Genetic Algorithms) and time series techniques for data mining studies.

Alex is an active member of the American Statistical Association (Chicago Chapter) and the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing.

Headshot of Nick Ross

Nicholas Ross

  • Director of Data Science/Backend Engineering
    The Meta

Nicholas Ross is an experienced data science executive and academic leader who specializes in leveraging business, engineering, and data functions to optimize for better decision-making. His various roles have ranged from architecting and designing production ML/AI systems, to hiring, growing, and leading engineering and data science teams.

Currently, Dr. Ross leads the data science and backend engineering efforts at The Meta, an esports training platform used by millions of competitive gamers. Before joining The Meta, Dr. Ross was a Professor of Data Science at the University of San Francisco, where his research focused on how to effectively use data and data science techniques to answer business questions. During this time, he was also the Assistant Director of the University of San Francisco’s Data Institute, where he led and developed academic-industry partnerships to create a world-class masters of data science program. Under his leadership, the Data Institute placed hundreds of students into top data science positions in both the private and public sectors, with a job placement rate of over 90% within 3 months of graduation. Previously, he spearheaded data efforts at leading tech companies in the video and online game industry, from early-stage startups to multinational companies.

Dr. Ross received his PhD from UCLA, his Masters from UC Davis, and his Bachelor of Science from UC Berkeley. He has published papers in a variety of journals as well as given talks in both academic and industry settings.

Headshot of Daniel Sementilli

Daniel Sementilli

  • Data Scientist
    NeoPollard Interactive

Daniel Sementilli is a Data Scientist at NeoPollard Interactive where he works closely with business leads to translate their challenges into analytical problems and implements data driven solutions. His projects at NeoPollard Interactive have included customer segmentation, customer churn models, forecasting financial impacts of potential new features, and lottery game prize structure optimization. In his spare time Dan enjoys gardening, wood working, and exploring the great outdoors.

Headshot of Rajnish Sinha

Rajnish Sinha

  • Principal Data Scientist
    Kellogg Company

Rajnish Sinha is a principal data scientist at Kellogg Company where solves traditional and novel business problems using AI/ML techniques. He is a hands-on contributor to Kellogg’s data eco-system. Prior to joining Kellogg Company, Rajnish spent over Nine years at Stryker Corporation where he led multiple high performing team(s) focused in the area of Data Analytics/Engineering/Science.

Headshot of Shanhari Sivagnanasundaram

Shanhari Sivagnanasundaram

  • Senior Director, Analytics, Manufacturing Infrastructure and Operations Data Systems
    Apple

Shanhari Sivagnanasundaram is an experienced operations leader with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer electronics industry. Skilled in Management of Analytics, Manufacturing Information Systems, Data Infrastructure, Product Quality, Capital Equipment, Business Process Improvement, and Electronics.

Carl Bell Headshot

Carl Bell

  • Data & Analytics Executive
    USAA

Carl Bell is a Data & Analytics Executive at USAA. He uses business intelligence, data science, and application development to enable growth and operations for multiple USAA Bank lines of business, to include Real Estate, Central Risk Governance, Compliance, and the Portfolio Management Office. He also leads Bank Privacy and Sensitive Data Management Functions.

Prior to joining USAA in 2012, Carl worked at GE, where he spent nearly seven years holding several leadership roles with increasing responsibility, including IT Director roles at GE Asset Management (acquired by State Street Global Advisors in 2016) and GE Healthcare. At GE Asset Management, Carl created teams to drive strategy, data, and technology solutions for investor information services, sales, and marketing for the over $100B Institutional asset manager of pension plans, endowments, foundations, and sub-advisory relationships. He digitized investor reporting in response to heightened transparency and compliance demand post the 2008 financial crisis. At GE Healthcare, Carl led Global Applications Maintenance and Support teams responsible for IT operations which also included large systems services, third-party vendor effectiveness, business intelligence, incident reporting, training, process engineering, and production support for GE Transportation.

Before GE, Carl worked at United Technologies – Pratt & Whitney, where he initiated the development of the a Data Warehouse to reduce internal data risks for the company’s military engines business.

Carl is a former Air Force Master Sergeant who served in various leadership roles across Europe and the U.S., managing Combat Arms Training & Maintenance and Security Forces functions, to include Operations & Training for the Lackland Air Force Base firing range complex, and Operations at the Air Force Security Forces Academy.

Carl holds a master’s degree in Computer Resources & Information Management and a Masters of Business Administration from Webster University, and a bachelor’s degree in Education from Wayland Baptist University. Carl also holds an Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) designation from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Carl and his family live in San Antonio, Texas.

Jordan Martz Headshot

Jordan Martz

  • Qlink
    Principal Solutions Architect

Jordan is a Strategic, Executive Partner with extensive experience in Solution, DataOps, AI, Analytics systems architecture with track record building account strategies, account penetration / expansion, and aligning advanced analytics use cases from on-prem and to cloud architectures. From a career standpoint and as a practioner, Jordan Martz helps businesses transition from applications that suit silioed behavioral or business items, to broader metrics from data and analytics. Further distilling this, the understanding of human process gives the drive to help business increase profitability through analytics

Junior Board Members

Jonah Hohner headshot

Jonah Hohner

  • Analytics Consultant
    Plante Moran

Jonah works at the intersection of business and data combining his technical skills with strong business acumen to great effect, generating actionable insights from data. His main areas of focus are spatial analytics and data visualization. He has worked on analytics projects across various industries, including state and local government, education, financial services, manufacturing and distribution, and health care. When not working, Jonah enjoys staying active and spending time outdoors with his family.

Vamsi Adibhatla smiling in front of a computer sitting at an office desk

Vamsi Adibhatla

  • Senior Data Scientist
    Spotify

Vamsi is a sports enthusiast which enabled him to get into the field of numbers/data. Fascinated by the sport outcomes primarily driven by numbers, he has taken up a journey of 6+ Years to date in the retail, transportation, internet, and consulting space. Some of the organizations include OLA cabs(India’s Biggest Cab Aggregator), Walmart Labs, Overstock, Spotify(present role). Having worked at a growing startup(OLA) for 3 years, he had the chance to work on these aspects: supply-demand optimization, incentive/financial planning, customer/user retention & reactivation, churn analysis, marketing ROI, overall business growth; primarily driven by data and insights. At Walmart Labs, Overstock, Vamsi implemented machine learning techniques and designed experiments to predict user purchase patterns and improved customer funnel conversion on the web pages driving business KPIs of interest. In the present role, he primarily generates forecasts for customer service & analytics teams significantly contributing towards future planning.