In our new series, we talk to our experts about how to navigate what’s next in their industries or fields.
Tim Hoolihan is Local Service Offering Lead of Data & Analytics for our Cleveland team. He works to help our clients solve problems with a focus on leveraging the data available to them. This involves data strategy, organization, visualization, machine learning, statistics, and artificial intelligence. In his free time, Tim likes to run, read, watch movies and explore new technology.
What’s your story?
I started my career in software development, centered around data warehousing and forecasting in the utility industry. I found myself building consulting teams, but also with a growing interest in statistics, machine learning and other areas of data science. I went to the product space and built a team focused on advanced deep learning, in particular around natural language processing. However, I missed certain aspects of consulting. When I was approached by Centric’s Cleveland Business Unit, it was a chance to put all the right pieces together and build a Data practice in Northeast Ohio.
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received?
After a project I was on working with another developer that was transitioning to the platform from an older language, I had the nicest note from him. He said he didn’t think he could make the switch and was considering retiring early. He credited my patience with his questions to his decision to stick it out. As I told him, he deserved the credit for the time he put in to retrain, not me. But the feedback stuck with me, and I try to keep the lesson of it.
Why did you decide to become part of your field?
I enjoy software development, mathematics, and I am always interested in learning new things. Software development (and later Data Science) was a natural fit.
How are you guiding clients right now?
Northeast Ohio has a lot of companies in insurance, medical, manufacturing and other fields that handle large volumes of complex data. It’s my role to help guide a strategy for that, align it to the right teams and ensure we deliver.
What, in your opinion, do companies need the most help with right now?
The technology landscape has been changing so rapidly and shows no signs of slowing down. In addition, the business climate is very focused on short-term returns, as opposed to long-term investments. I think companies need help taking a broader look at their strategy in order to create the foundations which will support continued integrations and emerging technologies such as AI.
What do you think they should be thinking about next?
It’s difficult to apply any one strategy that would work equally across industries. That said, I think almost any company today would do well to be focused on a strategy for data, and making a great work environment (real or virtual) for your team.
What are you looking forward to in your industry?
As the technology evolves, our team members are even more empowered to focus on the core of the problem and not how it’s implemented. As that happens, we find ourselves talking to leaders about their goals and visions to delight their stakeholders and customers. Those are the best conversations to have. People take pride in the organization they have built, and it’s a great feeling to help them drive towards new goals.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and why?
Japan, hands down. It’s a dream of mine to travel there one day. I’ve recently been watching “Street Food: Asia” on Netflix, and I’d love to visit all the places featured, but Japan would top my list. And as a video game fan who still has the original Nintendo I bought as a kid, it would be great to see the birthplace of so many of the games in my collection.