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Day for Data


September 9, 2022 from 8:30am — 3:00pm
Graduate Life Center Multipurpose Room

This page displays information about our Day for Data held on September 9, 2022. Thank you to all who participated in this inaugural event. Stay tuned for information about 2023!

We are excited to announce the first annual Day for Data, a brand-new conference at Virginia Tech that will connect students and industry professionals in a practical exploration of the modern applications of big data and data analytics in the corporate setting!

The conference will feature engaging keynote speakers, opportunities for networking and recruitment, and insights into how leading companies utilize data analytics every day to drive key business decisions. This event is free thanks to the generous contributions of our sponsors.


  • Breakfast and Registration — 8:30am - 8:45am
    • Sponsored by Deloitte

  • Opening Keynote — 9:00am - 9:45am
    • Building the Digital Railroad of the Future: How AI is Transforming Norfolk Southern
    • Mabby Amouie, Chief Data Scientist for Norfolk Southern
    • With a 200+ year history rich in American tradition, American freight railroads are digitally transforming themselves through the power of AI. From improved on-time performance, to failure prevention and driving sustainable business solutions for the supply chain, Norfolk Southern is harnessing AI across all facets of the business.

  • Networking Break — 9:45am - 10:05am
    • Sponsored by Guidehouse

  • Presentation — 10:05am - 10:40am
    • Optimizing Fleets: Entrepreneurial Adventures in a $9 Billion Market
    • Sam Hampton, Co-Founder of Vizalogix
    • Sam Hampton co-founded the company Vizalogix, which takes on asset data and creates solutions for customers within productivity, AI (predictive maintenance), and remote visual support. He will share how a manual, infrequent, and time-consuming process was upended by the creation of a productivity algorithm that served as the launchpad for tremendous business potential.

  • Networking Break — 10:40am - 11:00am
    • Sponsored by SLKone

  • Presentation — 11:00am - 11:30am
    • Data Analytics, Automation, and AI in the Public Sector
    • Ranyah Salous, Associate Director of Advanced Analytics & Intelligent Automation for Guidehouse
    • Ranyah Salous will be discussing various capabilities that are high in demand in consulting and how data plays a significant role in supporting those capabilities in the industry. The presentation will include real world examples of how Guidehouse uses Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation to support government agencies in the Public Sector. Lastly, she will dive into the importance of establishing a Data Analytics Center of Excellence to provide the proper controls and support needed for enterprise and user adoption.

  • Presentation — 11:30am - 12:00pm
    • Leveraging an Agent-Based Simulation Platform to Solve Today's Toughest Problems
    • Eric Christensen, Technical Lead for FutureScape at Deloitte
    • In circumstances where data is scarce or the overlap in state space with existing data is small, it may be hard to rely on machine learning to make predictions. With agent-based simulations, we deconstruct problems to their fundamental elements and define logic to emulate empirical processes. We can quantitatively explore outcomes of decisions for circumstances that have never happened before, uncover emergent behavior, and answer “What if?” questions. In this talk, we will discuss our developments for using agent-based models to change long range transportation planning from qualitative and focused on single metrics to rapid, agile, and focused on creating sustainable, equitable, and affordable transportation systems.

  • Lunch and Networking — 12:00pm - 1:00pm
    • Sponsored by Norfolk Southern

  • Networking Break — 1:45pm - 2:00pm
    • Sponsored by Ennoble First

  • Closing Keynote — 2:00pm - 2:45pm
    • Meet Iris, a Digital Concierge for Dallas Fort Worth Airport Powered by IBM Watson and Soul Machines
    • Richard Darden, Distinguished Engineer and Digital Human Evangelist for IBM Expert Labs
    • Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW) had a problem. Casual travelers were starting to fly again, but were unfamiliar with the procedures and restrictions and DFW could not hire or recruit enough volunteer staff to answer their questions about flights and amenities in the terminal. They asked IBM for help. Dick Darden, Distinguished Engineer in IBM Expert Labs proposed a novel answer. What if we create an autonomously animated, emotionally responsive, humanistic avatar that could interact with travelers and answer their questions? Come hear the story of how Iris was created, the amazing technology behind her, and the lessons learned in putting her live into production at Gates B14 and B42 in DFW Airport. Iris will even make a guest appearance to help tell her story in her own words. We look forward to sharing the future of human machine interaction and how it is all powered by data.

  • Networking Reception (Offsite) — 3:00pm - 6:00pm
    • The Maroon Door, 418 N Main Street, Blacksburg, VA 24060


Who attends?

The Day for Data conference is an educationally enriching event featuring insights gleaned from real-world data analytics work. As such, this event will be beneficial for everyone, and everyone is invited to attend — students, alumni, faculty/staff, and corporate recruiters/sponsors.

Why attend?

Register to attend throughout the day and hear from executives presenting on topics within the field of data analytics. Get your questions answered during Q&A sessions and get the chance to connect with recruiters and employees of industry-leading companies.

What is the cost?

This event is free to our participants thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, listed below. A huge thank you to these companies for supporting and facilitating this event.

What is the dress code?

Business casual is required, business professional is encouraged.


Headshot of Mabby Amouie

Mabby Amouie

Senior Director of Analytics and Chief Data Scientist at Norfolk Southern

Mabby Amouie is the Senior Director Analytics and Chief Data Scientist. Mabby is responsible for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Science, and Data Engineering efforts at Norfolk Southern. Mabby joined NS 8 years ago. He works closely with various departments within NS to formulate and solve impactful business problems using AI and Machine Learning to bring human-like intelligence to processes in order to digitize the railroad, enhance safety, operations efficiency, and productivity. In his free time, he contributes to self-driving car open-source projects, and enjoys painting, playing music, and having quality time with his 6-year-old golden retriever – Rusty.

Headshot of Richard Darden

Richard Darden

Distinguished Engineer, IBM Expert Labs and Digital Human Evangelist

Richard (Dick) Darden is a Distinguished Engineer in IBM Expert Labs. He holds responsibility for all federal technical delivery and promotes the use of groundbreaking digital and humanistic avatar technology to significantly improve human-machine interaction. During his closing keynote, Dick will share how IBM’s Watson technology is being implemented at Fort Worth airport to create an AI-powered digital human concierge service.

Headshot of Ranyah Salous

Ranyah Salous

Associate Director of Advanced Analytics & Intelligent Automation at Guidehouse

Ranyah Salous is an Associate Director at Guidehouse LLP with the Advanced Analytics and Intelligent Automation team. In her time leading the Advanced Solutions Intelligent Automation practice, she has worked with clients across segments to establish an enterprise approach to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), including the establishment of strategic goals, program governance, change management, and continuing the evolution of automation technology. As a Technical Lead, COE Lead, Solutions Architect, Developer and Systems Analysts, Ms. Salous has provided value to organizations by leading efforts to automate manual tasks, increase process efficiencies, and free-up resources to work on higher-value initiatives. In addition to automation and application delivery, Ranyah has worked with agencies and firms to lead and establish the mission and vision for low-code solutions across the enterprise by standing up RPA and Data Analytics Centers of Excellence. Ms. Salous is an organized, effective leader, and communicator who stays on top of cutting-edge technology and best practices to provide strategic value in Digital Transformation.

Headshot of Eric Christensen

Eric Christensen

Technical Lead for FutureScape: Deloitte's Massive-Scale, Digital Twin Simulation Solution

Eric is the technical lead for FutureScape – Deloitte’s modeling and simulation platform for creating digital replicas of large systems. The FutureScape team has conceived, developed, and delivered solutions to high priority customer missions surrounding infrastructure, transportation, finance, and logistics. Eric is an eminent expert in distributed computing and machine learning. He received his PhD in physics from Virginia Tech in 2014. 

Headshot of Sam Hampton

Sam Hampton

Co-Founder of Vizalogix, Executive Advisory Board Chair

Aside from being the founder of Tethr It, Sam is an Enterprise Business Leader and Digital Transformation Strategist with significant experience working with SaaS, web, mobile, and app solutions for businesses. Since 2004, he has worked with big-name brands and organizations like Advance Auto Parts, Cox Communications, Carter Machinery, to establish robust operational frameworks and conceptualize business logistics. In his Co-Founder role, he is the voice behind the strategy and marketing for the company.


Headshot of Bradley Parcell

Bradley Parcell

Program Manager at NetApp

Headshot of Sarah Spicer

Sarah Spicer

Data Analyst at Capital One

Headshot of Mark Collins

Mark Collins

Consultant at Guidehouse Defense

Headshot of Nikos Harasty

Nikos Harasty

Consultant at Deloitte


We're grateful to our sponsors for not only making this event possible, but free for participants.

Still have questions about Day for Data? 
Reach out to us at or 540-231-4570.