Meet the SESUG 2021 Conference Team

We'd like to spotlight a few of the team members working to bring you the 2021 SESUG conference. These individuals have volunteered their time to ensure the SESUG 2021 virtual conference runs smoothly.

Conference Chairs Spotlight

Darryl Putnam - Charlotte, NC
Operations Chair
Darryl Putnam is a data and analytics focused professional with 10+ years of experience driving data-based solutions to solve business problems. Expert at blending data, information technology, and analytics with a touch curiosity into meaning insight and action.

Abbas Tavakoli - Columbia, SC
Academic Chair
Abbas Tavakoli currently works as a Professor with college of Nursing at the University of South Carolina. His job entails teaching, research, and service. He has taught Statistics courses for doctoral nursing students since 2004. He has taught graduate statistics courses for nursing students. He has served as a data manager, biostatistician, and research team member six previous NIH-funded R01 grants and many smaller grants. He has been involved in many manuscripts and scholarly works.

Section Chairs Spotlight

Melvin Alexander - Greensboro, NC
Co-Chair for Statistics and Data Analysis Section
Melvin Alexander is a Statistical Quality-Engineering Analytician from Greensboro, NC, specializing in Data Science, Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics, statistical modeling, and programming. He has presented numerous papers at JMP and SAS Users Group meetings and conferences. He has used SAS since 1976.

Jason Brinkley - Raleigh, NC
Co-Chair for e-Posters and Leadership/Team Building/Career Development Sections, SESUG President
I'm proud to be working with this year's SESUG conference as both a section chair as well as president. When I am not doing SESUG stuff or working with data for my employer I spend my down time as the parent of four very lively and loud children. Any tips on making efficient SAS code or getting teenagers to clean their room would be welcomed.

Lesa Caves - Durham, NC
Co-Chair for Tutorials, SESUG Treasurer
I am an Education Analyst at RTI International. I have been using SAS for more than 15 years. I hate horror movies but I love bad sci-fy movies. The cheesier the better!

Louise Hadden - Somerville, MA
Co-Chair for Planning and Administration Section
Louise Hadden has been using, and loving, SAS since the days of punch cards and computers the size of a not so tiny house. She spends most of her time in support of health policy analytics at Abt Associates Inc., and loves a good SAS reporting challenge. She is also the girl with the SAS tattoo!

Andrea Lewton - Raleigh, NC
Co-Chair for Know Your SAS®: Foundations and Know Your SAS®: Advanced Techniques Sections
Working in higher education, analyzing student and personnel data, fits my interests and skills. In addition to digging into data and making it presentable for others to use, I enjoy reading, traveling, and spending time outdoors with my family. SAS has given me the chance to explore and display data in a more efficient way, whether it is through Base SAS, SAS Studio, SAS EG, SAS VA, or SAS DI.

Barbara Okerson - Manteo, NC
Co-Chair for Know Your SAS®: Foundations and Know Your SAS®: Advanced Techniques Sections, SESUG Secretary
I love SAS as a graphic solution and am currently working as a contractor, including working for free for some organizations. In my spare time, I want to visit all 50 states - 44 down and 6 to go – and of all the Canadian provinces – only 2 to go. I also love history and spend time every year touring historic sites especially as relates to Colonial America. I volunteer for the Roanoke Island Historical Association and the National Park Service.

Merry Rabb - originally from Maryland but currently in Durham, NC
Co-Chair for Know Your SAS®: Foundations and Know Your SAS®: Advanced Techniques Sections
I have more years of experience using SAS than I care to admit, working mostly in a consulting environment. For the past ten years I've been at RTI International where my group focuses on program implementation and evaluation in the federal health care sector.

Ethan Ritchie - West Jefferson, NC
Co-Chair for Reporting and Graphics Section
As a statistics major at N.C. State, I was exposed to SAS in many different classes, but never more than using code that was already written and data that were already cleaned. That changed my senior year when I took a class devoted to learning the basics of SAS programming. I enjoyed the challenge of cleaning and transforming data, and I learned enough to earn my Base SAS Certification after completing the class.

Deanna (DeDe) Schreiber-Gregory - Bethesda, MD
Co-Chair for Education/Institutional Research and Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals Sections
DeDe Schreiber-Gregory is an Independent Consultant for Statistics, Research Methods, and Data Management in the private sector through Juxdapoze, LLC. She has presented as a contributed and invited speaker at over 50 local, regional, national, and global SAS user group conferences since 2011.

Kelly Smith - Charlotte, NC
Co-Chair for e-Posters Section
A senior research analyst at Central Piedmont Community College, Kelly uses SAS to identify opportunities to help students succeed through analysis of equity based momentum metrics In her off time, Kelly sings and looks forward to traveling again as life returns to a new normal.

Rachel Straney - Orlando, FL
Co-Chair for Education/Institutional Research and Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals Sections
Rachel Straney has been programming in SAS for over 15 years. She currently works at the University of Central Florida and is responsible for designing, developing and maintaining SAS programs that run on a SAS/IntrNet server. She holds her bachelor's and master's degrees in Statistics and loves cats.

Brian Varney - Kalamazoo, MI
Co-Chair for Leadership/Team Building/Career Development Section, SESUG Vice President
Brian started using SAS in 1990 and has not stopped since. His favorite projects involve using SAS and R to solve problems. He also loves the sport of Rugby. He used to play and helped start a high school club in his hometown. He is also involved with Foreign Links Around the Globe (on the board). In his spare time he also enjoys time with family, camping, reading, and soccer.

Richann Watson - Batavia, OH
Co-Chair for Planning and Administration Section and Tutorials
Richann Watson is an independent statistical programmer and CDISC consultant based in Ohio who loves to code and is very active in the SAS User Group community. When Richann is not busy coding or volunteering in the SAS User Group community, she is spending time with her husband and cute but psycho puppy, Loki, or doing some of her favorite crafts such as crocheting or sewing.

Nat Wooding - Richmond, VA
Co-Chair for Know Your SAS®: Foundations and Know Your SAS®: Advanced Techniques Sections
A semiretired environmental data analyst now counting students at a community college and a SAS user since the early 1970s. In my spare time I enjoy transcription of historical documents and getting out in nature.