Chris Pariso

Ridgefield, Connecticut, United States

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University of New Haven

As a project manager and technical coordinator, my primary focus is on quality and integrity, both of the data in our database, and of the employees that put it there. For the data, I want to ensure what we have is clean, correct, and in strict adherence to our encoding guidelines. For our staff, which numbers over 100, I closely monitor current performance (speed and quality), as well as make projections on what our future performance may be.

As a manager, I consider it my job to make everyone else’s job easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. If I can build, change, implement, or automate something to make people’s jobs a bit more streamlined, I’m all for it. From this, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve our process, and smooth out any parts of it that slow people down, or simply annoy them. Because hey, nobody should be annoyed at work, right?


I'm a project manager, technical coordinator, and all around jack of all data trades at the University of New Haven's Center for Analytics. This basically means copious amounts of data analysis and exploration, building custom databases and front-ends, a bit of programming, a bit of math, some data visualization, and of course, a whole lot of Alteryx. While the majority of my professional and educational work has been focused on criminal justice, transnational crime, and the like, what I actually do with the data - and more importantly, how I use Alteryx - is more universal.

Beyond data cleaning and blending, ensuring data quality fill a good amount of my time, as does exploring the data to find new insights. I use Alteryx to run dozens of QA checks on our database, seeking out any encoding errors that have occurred, and sending the responsible data entry person a message when one is found (via email or Slack, typically). Math and datetime calculations, text mining, and geospatial analysis are all used in these checks.

Calculating internal performance metrics, both for speed and quality, as well as future projections are another part of my job. Using Alteryx, I can combine hundreds of thousands of database timestamps with schedule and timeclock data from our scheduling software, to create accurate, hour-by-hour projections of how much work will get done by each team, as well as individual performance scores for each of the 100+ student employees we have. This allows our supervisors to better manage their teams, and helps us see deficiencies in our process before they become a problem. It also allows us to identify the standout employees that are performing exceptionally well, and should be recognized as such, as well as the people that are struggling in a particular area, and might need some extra help. Incidentally, this has also helped us identify (thankfully rare) instances of fraudulent behavior, where timeclock hours were being falsified.

Prior to entering this life of wielding Alteryx like the Hammer of Thor to bring order to data, I actually used to be a baker and pastry chef. Straight out of high school, I went to culinary school, and spent the following 10+ years working in restaurants and bakeries. While I still have a deep passion for baking, and for food in general, I could never shake the feeling that I could be doing more with my life, and more for society in general. I ended up going back to school, first for Criminal Justice/Crime Analysis and Mathematics for my undergrad, then Investigations/White Collar Crime for my masters. In January 2018, I plan to begin the doctoral program at the University of New Haven, where my research will be focused on a new approach to assessing criminal organizations. It’s an odd change going from wedding cakes to drug cartels, but it’s one that gives me a unique set of experiences to draw from.