State of the Union

The traditional IRMAC Business Intelligence/ Data Warehouse ‘State of the Union’ will be delivered by two leading practitioners in the field: Dr Jan Mrazek and Gary Saarenvirta.

Dr. Jan Mrazek

President, Adastra Corporation

Dr. Jan Mrazek is an internationally recognized expert in the Data Warehousing / Data Mining / CRM industry. He is a published author and keynote speaker at business intelligence conferences. He is co-founder and president of Adastra Corporation, an international consulting company headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with 100+ DW consultants worldwide.

Till recently, Dr. Mrazek was Sr. Manager, Business Intelligence Solutions at the Bank of Montreal, where he lead a large team of business intelligence specialists responsible for Business Analysis, Data Mining, Data Warehousing, Enterprise Logical Modeling, DSS and OLAP.

During his tenure with the Bank his team delivered several large scale leading-edge systems that won numerous international awards; including the 1999 Excellence in Business Information (DCI, META Group), the 2000 Best Data Warehouse (RealWare/CPM) and the 2001 Best Practices in DW (The Data Warehousing Institute).

Projects delivered under his leadership are estimated to generate hundreds of millions of dollars.

Dr. Mrazek received his Ph.D. in Management Science from the Hagen University (Germany), and is the author of several books. He is a sought-after keynote speaker at international conferences. His professional interests include information systems for value-based management, knowledge management strategies in companies in merger, robust data mining solutions, knowledge repository and behavior based dynamic structures.

Gary Saarenvirta

Chief Technology Officer, Adastra Corporation

Gary Saarenvirta is a recognized international expert in data warehousing, business intelligence, and data mining for marketing, customer service, sales, risk management and financial performance management. He has over ten years of experience, most recently as the Practice Leader of the Business Intelligence Practice within IBM Canada.

Mr. Saarenvirta has a proven track record of delivering incremental business returns for clients in the finance, retail, insurance, telecommunications, utilities, government and manufacturing industries, including the following engagements: q A recent project with a leading Canadian retailer to identify its most valuable customers. Based on the understanding of customer value the team he led identified tens of millions of dollars of missed annual revenue opportunity by optimizing marketing spend against customers. q His analytic team used artificial intelligence techniques to automatically detect errors in financial markets data streams that a major Canadian investment firm bases its daily trading and risk management strategies. The results of this initiative dramatically outperformed the firm’s existing methods and showed an opportunity to substantially reduce the manual cost of “cleaning” the data. q Mr. Saarenvirta spearheaded a project with a leading Canadian financial institution to identify those commercial customers most likely to defect. A marketing campaign implemented by the client resulted in multi-million dollar incremental savings by retaining customers who would have otherwise defected. Mr. Saarenvirta is a published author of numerous industry articles and academic papers. He co-authored the IBM “Intelligent Miner Applications Guide.”

He has presented and conducted workshops at several industry-leading conferences sponsored by the CMA, Direct Marketing Association of Canada, ICM, Direct Marketing News, Conference Board of Canada, and others.

Mr. Saarenvirta developed his quantitative analytical skills by completing a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Toronto. He gained competency in advanced algorithms, visualization techniques, programming, data manipulation and quantitative analysis through this graduate research in Computational Fluid Dynamics at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. He also held a position as a research scientist for 3 years in an industrial/ commercial experimental research project at the same research institute.

Questions? Contact SIG Co-Chairs:

Bill Chadwick at
Diane Vint Johnson at


Jan 22 2003


5:45 pm - 7:30 pm


Beeton Room West (main floor north end of building) Toronto Reference Library, Yonge Street at Asquith Ave. (one block north of Bloor), Toronto

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