Not long after Elder Research’s start, I was introduced at a missions conference to a kind and brave man who lived near a huge trash dump in a very poor land, and ministered to families who survived by scavenging for anything that was still edible or had some residual value. My kids were young and numerous - just like those in the slides - and I wept hard as it hit me - I was that dad! I knew those fathers would do anything they could to provide for and protect their families, no matter the hardship. And I too, fed my family from what I could find of value in other peoples’ data. By God’s grace, I was a much more wealthy and fortunate version, so the encounter drove home a deeper desire to use my gifts -- and the blessing of living in a free country with huge opportunity -- to help others.
Trash scavenging is probably the least glamorous analogy possible for this exploding field that has come to be called Data Science! Indeed, solving hard problems to find great value for clients using fascinating science is so fun it doesn’t seem like work at all! It’s hard to believe we’re now in our 21st year, and continuing to steadily grow -- doubling in size each 3 years. The greatest advantage to running my own company is the freedom to pick my team. And the colleagues I have are phenomenal - they’re filled with skill and character and love for others, and they make it a joy to come to work. We almost always are able to delight our clients - many of whom have come back to us many times over many years due to our joint success and the ease of working with bright people who listen and respond. Sometimes, the problems have been previously intractable; always, the work has been excellent, and the issues and findings honestly communicated.
And in our 21st year, there’s a lot to look forward to. We opened an office in Raleigh, NC, to join those in Charlottesville, Washington, and Baltimore areas. Our unparalleled experience in data science has allowed us to encapsulate some of our hard-earned knowledge in software accelerators that further improve our efficacy. Our throughput abilities in text mining are accelerating quickly, and our size is allowing some team members to be more specialized. And, we continue to have fun doing excellent work and caring for each other and our clients who have put their trust in us and our abilities. It’s a fantastic time to be a scavenger … I mean, Data Scientist!