UT, PYA Analytics Announce Joint Appointment

Blair Christian, PhD, has accepted a joint appointment with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration and PYA Analytics.

BChristianChristian, a statistician and data scientist who earned his PhD in statistics from Rice University, is an assistant professor of practice in the college’s Department of Statistics, Operations, and Management Science (SOMS). He also is a data scientist with PYA Analytics, specializing in the research and development of advanced statistical models and analytic application programming interfaces.

Kenneth Gilbert, Regal Professor of Business and SOMS department head, said joint appointments have benefits that extend beyond the two organizations.

“Christian’s expertise, which is in the healthcare arena, is allowing us to apply analytics to solve some of the most pressing problems in this growing industry. This collaboration will provide relevance in the classroom, ensure that our research program is firmly grounded in relevant problems, and maintain our role as thought leaders in the new discipline of Business Analytics.”

Brian Worley, PYA Analytics president and CEO, said that his appointment signals a very important step in building a long-term relationship between PYA Analytics and the university.

The UT Business Analytics program recently was listed by Information Week as one of the Twenty Top Big Data Programs in North America. A recent Forbes article stated that the UT program is distinctive in providing students the business smarts and soft skills, in addition to the technical skills, needed to succeed.

With more than 100 undergraduate and 50 graduate students, the UT program is also one of the nation’s largest.

PYA Analytics, an affiliate company of Pershing Yoakley & Associates (PYA), provides data analytics, modeling and simulation, and management consulting to clients in healthcare, business, government and nonprofit organizations.

“The combined resources of UT, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the private sector in East Tennessee are matched only by very few places in the nation – Silicon Valley and Research Triangle Park – to name a couple,” said Ed Pershing president of PYA and chair of PYA Analytics. “We are eager to do what we can to elevate our ‘triangle’ of science, academics, and business to that elite group of technology-based centers.”

Prior to joining UT and PYA Analytics, Christian was a senior research statistician developer with the SAS Institute in Cary, North Carolina. He also was a Postdoctoral Researcher with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a statistical software engineer for Zillant Inc.

About University of Tennessee

Haslam College of Business, University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN
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