The Director’s Chair: September 2019

A man in a gray suit and red tie stands beside a brown wooden podium, in front of the US and Arkansas flag.

THIS MONTH I want to use this space to thank everyone who contributed to our first Data Science Workshop, held at UA Little Rock’s EIT Building on September 19th.

Bill Y. presenting at the NWA IT Apprenticeship Accelerator in early September.

For months prior to the event, our planning committee members gave their valuable time to articulate the right agenda and to create the energy and message that resulted in more than 100 attendees.

Our keynote speakers, Dr. Karl D. Schubert and Dr. Stephen R. Addison, spoke to what is possible for Arkansas when we work together in a spirit of collaboration and sharing. Dr. Schubert’s theme was “Data Science: Many Dimensions, Many Domains, Many Needs,” and Dr. Addison’s presentation was entitled “Arkansas: Outreach and Workforce Development in Data Science.” Thank you both for your vision and your eloquence.

Many thanks too to the members of our corporate panel, which was moderated by Dr. Jeff D. Standridge. Panel members included Uday Akkaraju, CEO, Bond AI, Little Rock; Michael Guerriero, President and CEO, CUSI, Jonesboro; James Palazzi, Manufacturing and IS Analyst, Albemarle, Magnolia; Ben Moyer, Director of Research & Development, Hytrol, Jonesboro; and Kenley Money, Director of Information Systems Architecture, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, Little Rock. Stressing the growing statewide corporate need for talent in the areas of data and computer science, the panel emphasized the importance of working closely not only with the colleges and universities, but also with K through 12 students.

I also want to thank Dr. Lawrence E. Whitman, Dean of Engineering & Information Technology at UA Little Rock, for hosting the event, and Dr. Suzanne Mitchell, Executive Director, Arkansas STEM Coalition. for co-sponsoring the event with ACDS. Finally, thank you to the faculty members and students who attended and participated actively in the breakout discussion groups.

Thanks to you all, we have ample input for planning our next workshop, which is scheduled for Thursday, November 14th, at the University of Central Arkansas. We’ll be announcing the agenda for that event in the coming weeks.

Bill Yoder,

Executive Director