At TAS, we believe our success is driven as much by our people as our technology. Our “meet the team” series showcases some of the talent and expertise within our family. For this installment, we talked to our Principle Data Scientist, Hartwell Hooper.
I love playing the role of seasoned, warhorse professor. The times I can provide a bit of mentoring to a colleague are the most rewarding.
What is your role at TAS?
As TAS’ Principal Data Scientist, I help the organization in any project that requires advanced analytics.
By combining computer science, modeling, statistics, and geography, along with over 30 years (yikes!) of practical experience in corporate real estate research, I help our clients make sound, data-driven business decisions.
Often this involves complex manipulation and creative visualization of client data. Other times it involves playing the role of on-call consultant for our clients or the TAS’ sales team.
What does a typical day look like?
I get involved in pretty much any outside-the-box data analysis project that TAS comes across, so typical is hard to pin down, but I’m hands-to-keyboard, face-to-screen much of the day. The meetings and conference calls I get provide a nice way to break up the day. The most rewarding of those involve presenting research findings to clients. By showing retailers where they can expand or scale back their existing store networks, I’m contributing value to their brand.
What do you love about your role?
I’m a bit of a tech geek, so I really enjoy the technology aspects of the job. I’m always trying to push the limits of my capabilities with tools like SQL, R, Python, Tableau and Alteryx. Anytime I get to develop an application that integrates these tools, I’m probably working late simply because I lost track of time.
I also love playing the role of seasoned, warhorse professor. The times I can provide a bit of mentoring to a colleague are the most rewarding.
I also enjoy being part of a community of like-minded professionals in real estate research. Having sat in their seats, I can relate to the day-to-day challenges. Sometimes just by swapping war-stories with clients, I can provide insights from my own or other colleague’s experience.
Why did you choose to join TAS?
This was a very personal decision for me, and one made of desire, not necessity. I’ve worked with TAS co-founder Bill Dakai, in a number of different capacities for more than 20 years. After I retired from CVS Health in 2016, I didn’t need to work full time, but I wanted to work at TAS. Bill has given me the opportunity to continue doing what I love, and he’s found the right role for me to play in the company.
What do you think are the greatest challenges and opportunities in the retail sector?
Now is the time to get creative. Specialty retailers, big box, category killers, REITS, really everyone needs to rethink how they interact with customers, and rethink how they assess opportunity. Brick and mortar retailers need to work on their online presence and online retailers need to understand that customers still expect an opportunity to go to a store. Organizations making decisions with the right data have a much higher probability of getting it right. By integrating analytics that utilize datasets like mass mobile data, lifestyle segmentation and geosocial, organizations can make decisions with a much higher probability of getting it right.
To get a first-hand look into how Hartwell uses data and analytics to help our customers, check out his virtual presentation "C-store analytics: How can you unlock the potential of your loyalty data?"