2024 Data Rebel Award Winners

Last Updated: April 18, 2024

Starburst launched its second annual Data Rebel Awards at Data Universe today. These awards celebrate industry experts and leaders that embody the spirit of a true “Data Rebel” – those that dare to push the boundaries of what’s possible to shape the future of data.

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2024 Data Rebel Awards and congratulate them for their exceptional leadership and contributions to data, analytics, and AI innovation.

This year’s award winners are the following:

Data Rebel of the Year: Shen Wang, Principal Data Engineer at AssuranceIQ

Shen Wang is recognized as the Data Rebel of the Year for challenging conventional norms and driving transformative initiatives in the data and analytics domain. Leading Assurance’s migration to Starburst Galaxy from Starburst Enterprise, Shen orchestrated a strategic shift towards a consumption-based model, unlocking newfound efficiencies and cost optimizations. The impact of the deployment has not only enhanced data accessibility and insights but also streamlined machine learning (ML) model training processes, enabling real-time decision-making and driving Assurance’s mission to improve customers’ financial wellness.

EMEA Data Rebel of the Year: Florian Caringi, Team Lead of the Data Platform at Groupe BPCE

Florian Caringi embodies a relentless pursuit of innovation in the data realm. Managing the operations of the data platform at BPCE, an investment bank part of the Natixis Group, Florian maintains a constant vigilance, always testing new technologies to avoid becoming stagnant and to ensure future-proof solutions. With the necessary courage to make and stand by his choices, Florian combines instinct with technical expertise to drive progress. He fearlessly challenges existing systems, believing in a future that is not only better performing but also less restrictive; he is a true champion for the open-source community. Beyond his daily job responsibilities, Florian’s commitment to advancing the field of data is remarkable, whether it’s through education or community projects, earning him the prestigious “Data Rebel” award.

Change Maker of the Year: Joseph Bonanno, Managing Director and Global Head of Data, Digital, and Innovation for Securities Services at Citigroup

Joseph Bonanno, Managing Director and Global Head of Data, Digital, and Innovation for Securities Services at Citi, is the recipient of the Change Maker of the Year Award for his transformative initiatives. Under Joseph’s leadership, Citi implemented Starburst across their Hybrid Cloud solution, spanning over 100 markets and managing around 25 trillion dollars of Assets Under Custody and Administration. This has enabled enhanced efficiency and innovation across the organization.

Data Virtualization Solution of the Year: Hicham Guelai, Data Architect at GEODIS

Hicham Guelai is the winner of the Data Virtualization Solution of the Year award for his outstanding leadership in simplifying data layer accessibility and enhancing multi-source, multi-technology data crossing capabilities within the GEODIS ecosystem. By implementing Starburst as the primary tool for building reports and federating data from the data layer and data warehouse, Hicham and his team achieved significant improvements in performance, security, and stability. Additionally, Hicham successfully increased user adoption and engagement on the data layer platform, leading to the removal of Impala environments for data consumption and the creation of new use cases within GEODIS.

Data Mesh of the Year: Christoph Spohr, Product Owner Group Data Mesh at Volkswagen

Christoph Spohr and his team have won the Data Mesh of the Year Award. This is intended to award their exceptional implementation of a true data mesh architecture within the Volkswagen Group. Christoph’s team built an open lakehouse architecture with Iceberg and Delta Parquet as its foundation, Enterprise Trino for query federation as well as data product creation, and attribute-based access controls for data governance. As a result, they have successfully connected different data ecosystems into a data mesh. This integration includes one petabyte of data across traditional data warehouses, S3-based storage both in the cloud and on-prem, and a cloud-based data lakehouse.

Data Product of the Year: Adam Mendez, Head of Data Engineering and Architecture and the Data Platform Team at Resilience

Adam Mendez is the deserving recipient of the Data Product of the Year award for his unwavering commitment towards eliminating inefficiencies within data processing at Resilience through data products. Initially intended for R&D, Starburst’s data products saw significant adoption, prompting its expanded role within the organization. It now supports over 30 data products across six domains. This enabled instant reporting across 20+ key applications, resulting in over 200,000 unique dataset accesses and a 20-fold increase in BI tool usage at Resilience in only 4 months. The impact of Adam’s role showcases his dedication to empowering analytics users at Resilience and enhancing client experiences, ultimately speeding up the time-to-market for life-saving therapeutics.

Chief Data Officer of the Year: Maxime Havez, Chief Data Officer at Crédit Mutuel Arkéa

Maxime Havez earns Chief Data Officer of the Year for his visionary implementation of Starburst, revitalizing Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s data platform through unwavering advocacy and insightful recognition by the team’s data architects. Maxime’s democratization of data access and analytics enhancements in their hybrid architecture significantly boosted the organization’s data capabilities. This approach helped avoid costly migrations, accelerated data project timelines, and maintained high standards. With 350 users onboarded in the first year, query performance improved 10-20 times, and service quality notably enhanced, Maxime’s adoption of Starburst has driven the evolution of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s data strategy.

Analytics Leader of the Year: Akshat Nair, Engineering Leader (Data Platform) at DoorDash

Akshat Nair wins the Data Analyst of the Year award for his strategic involvement in fostering a data-driven environment at DoorDash. Collaborating closely with Starburst and AWS, Akshat drove significant improvements in cost optimization, query performance, and data integration, resulting in faster access to data and enhanced operational efficiency. His efforts led to a seamless integration of disparate data sources within Doordash’s data lake architecture and faster access to data (cutting it down from hours to minutes) when ready by using query federation capabilities of Starburst. Akshat’s visionary approach empowers teams to manage and access data independently, fostering improved agility across the organization.

Data Analyst Enabler of the Year: Tibor-Florestan Pluto, Enterprise Architect for Data and Business Intelligence at AirPlus

Tibor-Florestan Pluto and AirPlus’ Regulatory Connect (RegConnect) team earned the Data Analyst Enabler of the Year award for their groundbreaking solution architecture and automation of data integration across multiple systems and teams. Their implementation of a data-mesh inspired approach, facilitated by Starburst, made the integration of data across numerous systems and teams remarkably easy, in stark contrast to the traditional centralized data warehouse approach. Their forward-thinking approach cements AirPlus’ data strategy, ensuring agility and scalability in the face of evolving business needs.

Data Architect of the Year: Stéphane Orieux, Data Engineer at Crédit Mutuel Arkéa

Stéphane Orieux is recognized as the Data Architect of the Year for his contributions to Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s data platform. Despite his title, Stéphane has exemplified the role of both a data architect and data engineer, leading the integration of Starburst into the bank’s data platform. Acting as the bridge between the internal teams and Starburst, Stéphane played a pivotal role in coordinating the launch of an MVP and continued to co-construct the platform with users to meet their evolving needs. His technical expertise led to a significant acceleration in query performance, with some queries reduced from 30 minutes to less than 5 seconds.

Data Engineer of the Year: Anand Sharma, Director of Engineering at Paytm

Anand Sharma is the recipient of the Data Engineer of the Year for his role in transforming Paytm’s data landscape. Anand’s visionary leadership and technical expertise have been instrumental in redefining Paytm’s data strategy through the successful implementation of Starburst. By spearheading the migration of over 1,500 Daily Active Users (DAUs) and optimizing query performance, Anand enabled users to gain critical data insights with unprecedented efficiency, reducing query response times by a factor of 10. Moreover, Anand’s cost-effective approach saves Paytm over $100K per month in reduced infrastructure costs.

Data Scientist of the Year: Fahad Ahmad, Data Science Leader at Halliburton

Fahad Ahmad, Data Science Leader at Halliburton, is the winner of the Data Scientist of the Year award for leading the company to successfully adopt a data mesh architecture. Fahad led the transformation of Halliburton’s data landscape by implementing Starburst data products and leveraging natural language processing with Gen AI. As a result, Halliburton achieved a significant reduction in query response times, from weeks to mere seconds, enabling real-time data-driven decision-making. Through the decentralized data management approach, Fahad broke down barriers and empowered users across 13 business lines to access and analyze data in real-time.

Congratulations again to all of the deserving recipients of the 2024 Data Rebel Awards! Don’t forget to check out Data Universe to see how else our customers are challenging the status quo within the data analytics space.

See how else our customers are challenging the status quo within the data analytics space

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