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Staff Spotlight: Alex Ziko, Customer Success Manager

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In the Staff Spotlight series, we highlight the experience, expertise, and interests of a member of the Rapid Insight team.  In this entry, we focus on Alex Ziko, who has been with Rapid Insight for four years. Alex was initially hired as a Data Analyst and now also works as Rapid Insight’s Customer Success Manager.

Background and Education

Alex grew up in Portland, Maine, a beautiful seacoast city and frequent host location for the Rapid Insight User Conference. After graduating from high school, Alex attended Green Mountain College in Vermont, where he earned a B.S. in Adventure Recreation. He later earned an M.B.A. with a concentration in Energy Systems and Sustainability at Franklin Pierce University. 

Alex built a broad base of work and life experience prior to starting his position with Rapid Insight. He worked in environmental education, drove a Snow Cat in Crested Butte, served as an EMT in Vermont, and coordinated specialty food and wine for Rosemont Market and Bakery and Trader Joe’s.

Directly prior to starting his position at Rapid Insight, Alex worked as a guide at a wilderness therapy organization for troubled teens. In the five years Alex worked in this role, he led group backpacking and canoeing trips in the White Mountains. After his time guiding he transitioned to teaching English classes on campus for the teen residents of the program.

CanoeingAlex had an underlying interest in data that stemmed from his graduate studies in economics. At Franklin Pierce, Alex learned to apply quantitative data analysis to issues like sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He found that he enjoyed the practice of measuring and analyzing information to make improvements for the future. Thus, when a data analyst position opened up with Rapid Insight, Alex applied and was hired.

Thankfully, transitioning to his new role with Rapid Insight didn’t require a move away from the natural environment Alex had grown to love, since the Rapid Insight offices are located in Conway, New Hampshire, right in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest.

The Perks of Working at Rapid Insight

One of the key features Alex enjoys about his position is the opportunity to work with a wide variety of users on a range of different data problems within diverse information systems. No two support calls are the same. The variety and diversity of calls means the job is a constant process of gaining and applying new skills. This makes the work consistently fresh and interesting.

The personal relationships that develop as a result of working closely with customers also make the work meaningful for Alex. “I didn’t think that working in a world of numbers and figures and offering remote support to other data professionals would grow to a point where it isn’t out of the ordinary for me to have a conversation with a customer about how their small child is doing, or how they are doing personally since they moved to a new city.” 

Data Specialties and Expertise

As the Customer Success Manager, Alex finds himself working in all three of Rapid Insight’s data software platforms on a regular basis: Construct for data prep, Predict for predictive modeling, and Bridge for data sharing and collaboration.

Alex’s support work often entails assisting users with Construct data prep jobs to ensure they result in solid reporting data. Reviewing predictive models, particularly those with higher education applications, and advising on areas to strengthen those models is another frequent area of focus. Additionally, instructing users on how best to use the software for real-time business data reporting is a common task.

Ziko

Alex also plays a major role in onboarding new users of the software. One of the major advantages of Rapid Insight’s products is the free, unlimited training and support that comes along with them. If you sign on as a new user of the software, it’s likely you’ll be working directly with Alex to build your skillset and ensure you are meeting your benchmarks for success.

Favorite Data Projects

In addition to assisting customers with their data projects, Alex works on a range of other initiatives for Rapid Insight.

Among his recent favorites are the Deep Dive webinars he co-hosted with analyst Lily Brennan on the Transpose and Reverse Transpose nodes in Construct. Deep Dives are monthly live tutorial sessions in Rapid Insight’s software, hosted by the analyst support team. Alex noted that he enjoyed this project because “we could really take the time to break down and explain two nodes that are complex by their nature.”

Additionally, Alex was able to work with KML files last year. This gave him the opportunity to experiment with outputting to Google Maps. Alex enjoys incorporating new file types and scripting languages into his work. He is currently building on his syntax skills in SQL, Powershell, and Python.

Alex also recently used Construct to examine the metadata of a text message thread he shares with several friends. He ran a number of analyses like message length, send time, and even sentiment analysis to see what he could learn about each of his friends’ messaging preferences and personalities. He wrote a blog post about what he learned from the experience, which you can read here.

Outside of Work

Alex enjoys the outdoors, which makes North Conway a perfect place to live. Whether hiking the White Mountains, paddling in one of the valley’s many rivers and lakes, or running a path through the National Forest, Alex likes to stay active outside.

Film is another area of interest for Alex. Among his favorite movies are The Social Network for its dialogue and direction; and Skyfall, Blade Runner 2049, and Sicario for their cinematography.

Alex and his wife enjoy spending time together, with friends, and with their golden retriever, Olaf.

HikingTo connect with Alex and the rest of the Rapid Insight support team, email support@rapidinsight.com or call 888-585-6511.

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