Data Science Under Water: How Predictive Analytics Boosts the Customer Experience at the Georgia Aquarium
For the Georgia Aquarium, which TIME magazine recently named "one of the most instagrammed places in America," the customer experience is as mission critical as the right water temperature for the thousands of marine animals who live there. "Our mission is to be the world's most magical aquarium experience," says Beach Clark, who transitioned from his VP of IT role to become the aquarium's data science guru. "What's exciting about predictive analytics it is how we're finding more and more things you can do to make sure your customers have a better experience." Today, the aquarium uses predictive models to help modulate crowd sizes and set admission pricing, and mines social media apps such as TripAdvisor to continually fine-tune its customer focus. In this presentation, Beach will talk about the technological and cultural challenges of turning data science into a vital part of the business model.
Vice President of Data Science and Data Acquisition Technology, Georgia Aquarium As the Vice President of Data Science and Data Acquisition Technology, Beach M. Clark, Jr. oversees multiple data science and predictive analytics initiatives for Georgia Aquarium, including revenue optimization, attendance forecasting, crowd management and guest feedback analysis . Clark is an Atlanta native, having graduated from North Springs High School before earning his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va. After working for several years in the hospitality industry as a manager of hotel and restaurant properties, Clark returned to Georgia State University to earn his Master’s degree in accounting. Upon completing his degree, Clark took a position with Andersen Consulting where he began his career in information technology. Clark worked with clients in a number of industries including healthcare, telecommunications, technology, finance and manufacturing. He has also specialized in the implementation of advanced technology solutions. The Home Depot recruited Clark in 1991 to design and implement their network architecture. Over the next 12 years at The Home Depot, Clark managed a number of functions in networking, application development and technical support. Since joining the team at Georgia Aquarium in July of 2004, Clark has enjoyed the opportunity to work with multiple organizations and has had extended responsibility over several areas within information technology and marketing, including Georgia Aquarium’s web site and databases. Clark has three sons, Beach III (Trip), Tyler and Hagen. He and his wife Cheryl live in Smyrna, a suburb of Atlanta.
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