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We are an Innovation Lab operating within The Home Depot, finding competitive edges with software and analytics

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Who We Are & What We Do

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We Are

A polyglot team combining science with engineering, lean and experimental, and autonomous from the big orange mothership.

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We Are

Engineers, analysts and scientists, looking for high leverage problems and attacking them with the freedom to take risks.

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We Are

A small team with little hierarchy so everyone has an opportunity to make an impact.

We were a successful startup before we were acquired by The Home Depot, but our culture hasn't changed. And now that we no longer have to support a sales team or maintain multiple customer applications, we get to focus all of our research, analytics and engineering effort on solving hard problems, with no other distractions.

Located in the heart of downtown Austin with garage parking provided, our light-filled office features a kitchen stocked with healthy snacks from Whole Foods and an automated espresso maker that does everything but drink it for you.

Meet The Team

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Xingchu Liu General Manager
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office, 1899

Xingchu seeks ways to optimize things using analytical approach. With over 10 years of research and consulting experience in revenue/pricing optimization, supply chain management, business intelligence solution, and digital marketing, he has a proven record of consistently delivering 5-15% profit lift dollars to a variety of businesses. Xingchu received two undergraduate degrees in Automation and Business Administration, one master’s degree in Control Engineering from Tsinghua University, and earned his PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Texas A&M University. He holds a number of patents and applications in pricing and analytics field.

Schell Schell
Schell Carpenter Vice President, Engineering
“I don’t need to work out; I only use my body to carry my head around.”

Schell brings over 15 years of experience in software development and operations, with roles in technical leadership at a number of successful venture-backed startups around Austin, as well as a 5-year stint at Apple. She was a National Merit Scholar at UT Austin before leaving school early after discovering that college life wasn’t as portrayed in the movie Real Genius.

Outside work, she can be found hanging out with her two kids, listening to punk rock, or doing volunteer work towards reproductive justice.

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Dave Ruback Sr. Manager, Product and Program Management
"Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?" - Steve Jobs

Dave is a retail and startup junkie. He has spent his 9 year career in the retail space helping make sense out of the dollars and cents. Dave has worked on both sides of the retail technology table: Leading an IT team for an apparel retailer and working in product management for a SaaS based internet marketing company. Before Dave started working in retail he attended The University of Virginia, where he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering.

When Dave isn't innovating for The Home Depot, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 kids, building custom furniture, and watching any of his favorite New York sports teams.

Kellie Kellie
Kellie O’Malley Operations & Talent Acquisition Manager
"Well done is better than well said" - Benjamin Franklin

Kellie is passionate about making an impact, solving problems and building world-class teams. Starting with Trilogy in 1998, Kellie has worked with a number of start-ups, including Lombardi, MessageOne, and Vast. Her roles are broad, and she has worn multiple hats from Sales Operations, to Special Project Manager, to Director of Human Resources. Addicted to the entrepreneurial nature of start-ups, she continues to be spoiled by working with the best and the brightest. At BlackLocus, she has yet to be a serious threat at ping pong.

Kim Kim
Kim Carlson Sr. Manager Customer Success
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." — Albert Einstein

Customer Success Guru, Support Community Manager, and Technology Evangelist, are the many hats that Kim wears. With a talent for quickly mastering technology and explaining how it works to the masses, she is dedicated to the success and support of both internal and external customers alike. Kim has worked for a major airline and software companies big and small, however, one thing remains the same, her ability to connect the dots for both customer and company. Kim has a music degree from the University of Wisconsin which makes her a ringer on karaoke night. She is also a fan of all things Trek - from Star Trek to Trek bikes. When she is not riding her bike, her next favorite thing is helping customers to live long and prosper.

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Pavan Mallapragada Principal Scientist
"Big data is anything that is crash excel." - @devopsborat

Pavan is the Principal Scientist in Machine Learning at BlackLocus. When not playing ping pong at work, he enjoys finding and solving challenging big data and machine learning problems. He has been developing machine learning algorithms and systems for over 10 years, and enjoys coding as much as working with modeling and theory. He obtained his PhD in machine learning from Michigan State University. Prior to joining BlackLocus, he was a postdoctoral associate at the Center for Biological & Computational Learning at MIT.

Outside of work, Pavan enjoys hiking, playing guitar, watching movies, and searching for extraterrestrials with his telescope. He is trying to synchronize his trollability index with rest of the team.

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Anthony McClosky Product Manager
"Anthony enjoys learning, building, breaking things, and eventually fixing them."

Anthony enjoys learning and building. He has developed software as an academic, a consultant and as part of the engineering team at BlackLocus. The companies and organizations using his code include Baylor University, major healthcare providers and Fortune 500 retailers. Outside of software development you will usually find Anthony searching for good Texas BBQ or working out at CrossFit Austin.

Anthony holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Baylor University and is a thesis on Delay-Tolerant Networking away from holding an M.S. in Computer Science. (He decided building things outside of academia was more fun.) You can find his attempts at open source software at

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Cynthia Beal Manager, Data Intelligence

Cynthia knows the data collected by BlackLocus inside and out. She is responsible for creating and maintaining much of the reporting and analytics generated from our data. Prior to Blacklocus, she provided data management and analytics to the world of large non-profit organizations. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia. When she is not working, Cynthia enjoys live music, paddle boarding Lady Bird Lake and traveling.

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Megan Galloway Technical Lead and Sr. Word Wizard
"Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."

Megan likes playing with words just as much as playing with code. She's currently working on her M.S. in Computational Linguistics, because in a past life she wrote credit card software for a major bank and got really, really bored. When she's not trying to take over the world, Megan likes playing tabletop RPG's and bass guitar.

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Matt Fehrenbacher Technical Lead
"Matt came to BlackLocus to make software and chew bubblegum, and there's free gum in the kitchen, so he does both."

Matt graduated from University of Texas and began his professional career at a lovely startup called Lombardi. After some adventures in big business (IBM and the healthcare industry), he joined BlackLocus in its early days in Austin. He now enjoys keeping things running, speeding them up, and reducing the amount of effort that sort of thing takes.

In his spare time, he plays the piano. Is any time really spare? Isn't it all precious, I think so.

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Ray Holder Sr. Technical Lead

Ray has been writing code and hacking on embedded hardware devices for over a decade. He's delivered high performance search solutions, continuous integration, content management, data normalization, and development platform tooling to a variety of companies including a health and wellness solutions provider, a top-tier video game publisher, a prominent public television broadcasting corporation, one of the world’s largest oncology care entities, and a Fortune 500 retailer.

Ray attended Baylor University for his BS and MS in Computer Science. When he's not building flying robot prototypes or Tesla coils, he's probably releasing Open Source goodies, so check out his GitHub page over at

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Steve Wampler Sr. Software Engineer
"The future isn’t what it used to be." - Paul Valery

Steve’s written software from the day he and his dad built his first computer from a kit they bought while he was in high school. He loves working with people to solve problems while learning new things along the way. He’s written applications for computer aided design, oil and gas exploration, and high-frequency trading. He joined BlackLocus because what they’re doing is very cool. He loves working in different languages but is especially fond of English, Java, and Scala … but not necessarily in that order. Python and JavaScript are okay too. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech, but hasn’t done a wink of Mechanical Engineering from the day he graduated. Go figure.

When not working and loving his family, Steve is an avid photographer who loves taking photos of people.

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Chad Bayer Sr. Software Engineer
"Seek first to understand, and then be understood."

Chad is a lifelong learner of all the things, except writing introductions. He brings years of experience from various semiconductor and software companies around Texas. Chad has many interests including software development, automation, continuous improvement, team cohesion, and problem solving. He believes work and life can be fun and efficient and strives to make each day so. Chad really enjoys working at BlackLocus and looks forward to continue moving the needle here.

In his free time, he enjoys researching whatever suits his mood, which usually involves medicine and technology. He also enjoys doing anything and everything with his lovely wife and two dogs.

Jason Jason
Jason Dunkelberger Artisan Codecrafter

Jason likes to challenge the status quo, give second thoughts to pretty much anything. Architectural constructs tried and tried for 20 years? Too outdated for me (enterprise integration patterns). Model it in a well known storage solution? Yes you could (relational databases), but also ‘bash redis-server’. Technology that is the industry standard (XML)? It's time for a new standard. "Don't reinvent the wheel?" You can keep your stone disc; I'll roll on something better.

Jason has been professionally writing horrendous code for about 5 years. He comes from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Computer Science. You can find some of his terrible personal projects on GitHub:

Rees Rees
Rees Dooley Software Engineer
"Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine." - Kurt Gödel

Rees graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BS in Mathematics and began his career at Chesapeake Energy. After fleeing the energy industry he began python programming full time at Demand Media before landing at Blacklocus. He enjoys breaking things, fixing what he breaks and then discovering a clever solution to the whole issue.

In his free time Rees enjoys grand strategy games, ancient military history and weightlifting.

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Henk Jan Wassenaar Manager, Data Analytics and Research
"If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

Henk Jan (HJ) has more than 10 years of research and consulting experience in demand modeling, vehicle incentive analysis and price optimization. HJ holds a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Delft University of Technology and a PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from University of Illinois at Chicago where he contributed to the development of Decision-Based Design. Originally from the Netherlands (Hup Oranje!), HJ enjoys spending his free time with his wife, dog, and friends.

Bo Bo
Bo Zhang Sr. Data Scientist
"If P=NP, everyone who could appreciate a symphony would be Mozart." - Scott Aaronson

Bo did her PhD at The University of Texas at Austin where she conducted research on large scale network optimization, demand shaping and pricing, and retail online competitions. In her previous job, she led designing optimization and simulation models for healthcare clients. She likes learning new technologies and solving hard problems.

When not working, she enjoys having outdoor fun, inventing new simple recipes, and recently sketching super hero figures (and cars trucks and things that go) with her four years old.

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John Ramey Data Scientist
"When discussing complex systems, like brains and other societies, it is easy to oversimplify: I call this Occam’s lobotomy." - I. J. Good

John is interested in developing data-driven automated systems that utilize statistical and machine-learning algorithms. He also writes a lot of R and Python code. You can find some of it at John holds a PhD in Statistics from Baylor University (Sic 'em, Bears). Prior to joining BlackLocus, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, running, hiking, and watching sports, notably college football.

Emma Emma
Li (Emma) Zhang Machine Learning Scientist
"The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size." - Albert Einstein

Emma has developed open-source academic software for robot simulation and learned the magic of machine learning from controlling robots to perform grasping. She comes to BlackLocus to embrace the opportunity of writing "intelligent" software to solve real-world business problems. She received her undergraduate and master degrees from Northwestern Polytechnical University in China and earned her Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.

Knowledge-acquiring and problem-solving have been her important sources of fun in everyday life. When not exercising the brain, Emma enjoys hiking, kayaking in Zilker Park and snorkeling with sea turtles during vacation, or just having fun with her cat.

Erin Erin
Erin Waldrum Data Quality Analyst

After years of focusing on making sure data was always available and quickly accessible, Erin joined BlackLocus to expand her data skill set to include a deeper capacity for analysis. She enjoys a challenge and believes that simplifying a problem is the first step to solving it. Erin loves her hometown of New Orleans, but has become too captivated with the Austin startup scene to move back. In addition to data, Erin's passions include wine tasting, travel, and wiener dog races.

Kayla Kayla
Kayla Schaefer Data Scientist
"An approximate answer to the right problem is worth a good deal more than an exact answer to an approximate problem." - John Tukey

Kayla is a recent graduate of Rice University and is currently finishing her M.S. in Statistics at UT. When not on coffee runs, she likes to rout out new problems to analyze and solve and is excited to be able to delve into machine learning. She firmly believes that data is beautiful.

Outside of the office, Kayla can be found out with her dog, at the nearest movie theater, or attempting to channel her grandmother's knitting abilities.

Pierce Pierce
Pierce Spitler Sr. Data Scientist

Pierce is interested in using data to derive insight. Prior to joining BlackLocus, he worked at The Home Depot’s main office creating space optimization algorithms and understanding as much of the company’s data as possible. After the acquisition of BlackLocus, it seemed like a natural fit to expand his capacity of advanced analytics. He holds a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and is pursuing a M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern.

When he is not at work you can find him watching or playing sports, going for runs, trying a new beer, and trying his hand at sports analytics.

Brent Brent
Brent Knight Sr. Software Engineer

Brent spent 15 years at Apple, writing low-level system software. If you have a Mac or an iPhone, you’re running some of his code. Joining Apple was his escape route from Cornell’s Computer Science PhD program. Although he didn’t get a degree there, he does have a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Alberta, and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Victoria. He likes clever solutions and would someday like to work smarter rather than harder.

In his spare time, Brent is trying to complete a double-major degree in Medicine and Russian Nuclear Submarines from Wikipedia. This is taking longer than expected. But with 3 kids there is never a dull moment!

Karlie Karlie
Karlie Verkest Sr. Software Engineer
"It's not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing." - Terry Pratchet

Karlie loves to code. She gets an endorphin high from writing beautiful code for software that meets a human need. What else is so mentally stimulating, creatively satisfying and instantly gratifying? With the myriad of electronic devices in a world of ubiquitous computing, she thinks it is now more important than ever to consider both the human and the hardware as critical parts of a system and optimize accordingly. The result should be a fast, reliable, simple and enjoyable product that solves the right problem. To that end, she enjoys front-end development as well as designing APIs and backend systems. Internationalization (or should that be internationalisation?) is one of her recent interests.

When she's not working or coding for fun, she's either hanging out with the objectively cutest son the planet has ever accommodated or practicing belly dance.

Alex Alex
Alex Robinson Sr. Product Manager
You can observe a lot just by watching. — Yogi Berra

Alex is passionate about product design and believes well designed and executed products can improve people's everyday lives and make businesses run better. He has over 10 years in the software industry as both a UX designer and product manager. Alex holds a BA in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of graphic design from Centro Studi in Rome Italy.

When he can find waves—easier said then done in Austin, TX—Alex can be found out in the ocean on a surfboard.

Karlie Karlie
Kate Lockhart Product Manager
"Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. " — Seneca

With a degree in psychology combined with computer science, Kate has enjoyed the start up scene in Austin for the last five years. From mobile apps to video streaming, she found her way to BlackLocus to focus on Product Management. She truly believes in the lean philosophy of building and has found agile methodologies not only work well, but encourage a team spirit that can make a product shine.

Her spare time is spent writing, learning Python and piano, and chasing two small children around taco shops and bouncy houses all over ATX.

Interested in joining us? See our current openings!

BlackLocus History

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Our passion for data-driven decision-making led us to start BlackLocus.
BlackLocus releases a best-in-class version of its platform
BlackLocus raises $2.75M to ramp up sales and customer service
BlackLocus is acquired by Home Depot and becomes its Innovation Lab
BlackLocus wins Carnegie Mellon Business Plan Competition
BlackLocus wins $100K DFJ's Technology Prize at Rice BlackLocus raises $2.5M from Mercury Fund and Silverton Partners
The company moves its HQ to Austin, TX
BlackLocus wins Under The Radar competition CNET names BlackLocus best startup idea of 2011 INC Magazine names BlackLocus as top start-ups to watch in 2012
Founders get into Alphalab and receive $25K in funding
Tepper School of Business invests $20K BlackLocus wins the CMU practicum competition
Idea Foundry invests $50K
BlackLocus launches its first product BlackLocus acquires its first paying customer BlackLocus wins Plug&Play University Expo Competition
Three Carnegie Mellon students join forces to start a company

We wanted to:

  • Create the next version of business intelligence software for retailers
  • Mix internal data with public data
  • Turn large and complex data sets into simple and intuitive interfaces
  • Make it all actionable!
We started with an idea at Carnegie Mellon University. Now we are turning data into business-value for one of the largest retailers in the world.

Work Hard Play Hard

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Join Our Team

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Are you genuinely curious with a dedication to learning?

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Is your interest in a problem piqued when it’s novel and challenging?

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Do you like to jump in over your head and swim really fast?

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We want to hear from you!

start up culture, big company benefits

  • Competitive base and bonus package
  • Restricted Stock grants and Employee Stock Purchase Program
  • Very competitive Benefit Package
  • Open and Flexible PTO
  • 401(k) and after one year, eligible for matching company contribution
  • Stocked Kitchen with healthy snacks and a weekly catered lunch
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Located in the heart of downtown Austin

current openings