In this blog series, Humans of SAS Services, we're highlighting some of the people who make our customers successful – our experts in the field at SAS Services. Our goal is to give you a feel for the human side of SAS, apart from the features and functions of our software. After all, it’s the people who make our company click.
For this post, I interviewed Beth Cubbage, Senior Manager for Analytical Consulting in the US. Beth is a great example of a person who has taken her curiosity about the world and put it into action. Starting with her academic career and continuing in her work for SAS, Beth’s what-if approach to life pays great dividends to those around her. Beth has more than 15 years’ experience in the consulting space. She leads a team of motivated professionals who always put the customer first.
Let’s start with you. What led you to pursue a career in the technical space? What brought you to SAS?
Before college, I thought I would be a writer when I grew up. But in college, I loved the challenge of math classes and just kept taking them. Before long, I realized that I was close to having a math degree. At the same time, I really enjoyed the logic of economics. So, I ended up getting two degrees – one in math and one in economics.
In both writing and analytics, I love telling a story with data. That’s why I ended up getting a PhD in Economics. It’s fascinating to me to build a model that explains real-world events.
In my first job out of college, I worked for an airline. We used SAS all the time for data management and reporting. All my colleagues told me SAS was a great skill to have on your resume, so I started learning to code in SAS. Later, during grad school, a friend of mine connected me with a SAS R&D internship. I was immediately hooked. Not only was I able to do interesting work, but I loved having smart, motivated colleagues.
Ultimately, the draw of solving a new problem every day attracted me to a career in analytics and has kept me here at SAS for over a decade.
Tell us about the team you lead – their experience, and how they typically engage with SAS customers.
I lead a group of analytical consultants in the Analytical Consulting & Enterprise Solutions team. Our projects focus primarily in the energy and media spaces. We’re usually involved in the sales process, starting with early stage planning through implementation. We contribute a broad range of expertise, including statistics, operations research, economics, econometrics, machine learning and computer engineering.
My team combines deep analytics knowledge with industry-specific experience to solve customer problems. The variety of customer challenges we encounter keeps us busy and engaged.
One day we might be building an environment to process huge volumes of website data. Another day we could be developing a machine learning model to forecast short-term residential energy usage. Our awesome consulting customers and sales partners keep us constantly learning – and solving problems.
Collectively, your team has numerous years of experience. How has this helped with customer engagements?
One of our former team members developed a unique method of clustering while working with retail customers. In 2020, a current team member was able to apply that clustering method to a study of COVID case clusters and emerging hot spots. Many of my team members have worked on so many different projects over the years that they’ve built collections of code snippets, solution definition questions, and other assets that we reuse frequently.
Another great example of bringing the past together with the present is my team’s work on energy forecasting. We have some team members who bring many years of SAS skills, analytics expertise and experience to the team. But we also have early career team members who bring fresh ideas and new ways of doing things.
Supporting each other and valuing input from every team member, we’ve been able to standardize and automate much of the code we’ve developed over time to support our energy customers. This improves the customer experience and makes it easier for our team to deliver fast, high-quality results.
The data analytics space is constantly evolving. How does your team stay on top of the changes – and at the leading edge?
My team members are deeply invested in expanding their skills. They frequently take classes in new analytics techniques on their own time. And we share course links with each other so everyone can take advantage of the most helpful content.
We also present at team meetings on many interesting projects and techniques we’ve worked on. Over the past year, one of my team’s most senior members made a conference presentation on using deep learning techniques to predict the energy output from solar panels. Our newest member just presented some clustering work she did on cotton seeds. Plus, we work regularly with developers, customers and partners both inside and outside of SAS to stay in touch with new technology trends and to keep our skills sharp.Learn more about SAS Services