predictive analytics scholarship

Predictive Analytics Group funds endowed scholarship at University of Delaware to engage future Business Analytics professionals

CONTACT: David LaRoche ([email protected]), 302-588-7053

NEWARK, DE — As the use of data analytics expands, many executives are challenged to consolidate data from multiple legacy systems, develop in-house advanced analytics experience, and control access to specific reports across the enterprise. In many cases, they need advanced analytic support but either can’t afford them on a full-time basis or don’t know where to find them and train them.

Enter Predictive Analytics Group (PAG), a company formed by three University of Delaware alumni. PAG is poised to leverage the boom in business analytics – an industry that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will grow by up to 35 percent between 2019 and 2029.

The company, which employs 25 people from offices on UD’s STAR campus – a full 40% of whom are UD grads – is adding a $50,000 endowed scholarship to its ongoing support of the UD Business Analytics department, with the first student receiving assistance in the Spring 2022 semester.

“Being able to partner with our alma mater and then sharing what we experienced as students and throughout our careers has been, and will continue to be, very rewarding for all of us at Predictive Analytics Group,” said CEO Stephen Hoops, a 1998 graduate of UD’s Business and Economics (BE) school. “We are proud to be the first company to fund a scholarship like this for the Business Analytics department and to support the next generation of top business analysts. The university is already doing a terrific job in this area as we’ve seen with the people we’ve hired and brought in as interns and contractors.”

Hoops and co-founders (and ‘98 BE classmates) Chief Data and Analytics Officer Dee Ridgway and Managing Partner of U.S. Operations David Laroche brought their own experiences in top roles at major financial institutions to their full-service management consulting company – and to emerging data analysts.

Launching the scholarship has been personally meaningful to the company leaders, especially Hoops, who originally came to UD on an athletics scholarship. When an injury abruptly changed his plans, he found himself changing majors and working at MBNA America full-time in order to graduate.

“Working full-time while I was in school made me who I am today, but it’s not something I would wish on today’s students,” Hoops said. “I’d rather students have the ability to concentrate on their school experience and it not be a secondary aspect of their life, which it was for me.”

For some time, PAG has made it a priority to support UD and its students, through philanthropy as well as sharing their expertise. The company regularly hires recent UD graduates, mentors current students through Horn Entrepreneurship programming, and offers internship positions to undergraduates. The scholarship, Hoops said, is the next step in connecting talented students with opportunities to success in the business analytics field.

“Today’s leading-edge technologies are creating new opportunities for businesses to elevate their performance through data analytics,” said Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics Dean Bruce Weber. “We at Lerner College are delighted to see Predictive Analytics Group and our alumni step in to help advance and support our students in this rapidly growing discipline. I am grateful for PAG’s generous philanthropy and mentorship and know that, together, we can further business education opportunities for talented students.”

“Working as a part time employee for PAG under Dave LaRoche’s leadership was a great learning and development experience,” said Carson Furci, a UD senior majoring in Entrepreneurship. “I joined PAG this past Spring and started working on projects with Dave. Since day one, he has worked hard to be the best mentor and teacher to me that he can be. I have used Excel, Salesforce, Tableau, LinkedIn, and learned basic SQL coding, and was included in the redesign and enhancement of the PAG website and other social media platforms that we use. I feel the experience is invaluable and will help me in whatever role I pursue after my graduation.”

“At Predictive Analytics, we have people with a tremendous amount of experience,” LaRoche said. “It can be very tough for organizations to onboard and train new hires at once, but we can help students early in their careers, so they graduate with a foundation of skills that benefit them and make them attractive to future employers, whether it’s working with us or with someone else. But I won’t deny that the scholarship-application process is a great way to meet top candidates.”

This is especially important as the industry grows and looks for new talent. Mentorship and hands-on learning experience ensure graduates can find jobs in any number of industries, producing reports and forecasts so businesses can anticipate trends, meet customer needs, and manage their products and services better.

For Ridgeway, who works closely with the UD student interns at Predictive Analytics Group, interacting with current Blue Hens is a chance to tap into fresh talent. Students may stay with the company for several years, so Ridgeway and his colleagues also get to witness students come into their own, as they grow from undergraduate to young professional.

“Our interns are home-grown, but they have their own backgrounds and experiences, so we get insights that are different from when we were at UD in the late ’90s and early 2000s,” he said.

“The students and recent graduates that work with us are eager to learn,” Hoops added. “They want to understand your experiences and there is nothing more rewarding than being able to relay those experiences and offer them meaningful advice that will help shape their own careers.”

Managing Partner of U.S. Operations

Mr. LaRoche is a resourceful, results-oriented Executive with over 25 years of financial services experience; emphasizing collections risk management, dialer operations, MIS and reporting analytics, acquisition strategies, loss forecasting, credit policy, account management strategies, portfolio conversions, due diligence, and collections operations management. He also has over 15 years of direct risk management experience, with 3 years of collections line management experience possessing excellent analytical skills and the ability to manage diverse groups in strategies, modeling, collections, dialer operations, loss forecasting/loan loss reserve modeling, financial analysis, operations and loss avoidance.

David started his career in 1997 as a customer service representative for Travelers Bank. Since then, he has held the following senior positions:

  • Director, US Operations for Bridgeforce Consulting
  • Sr. Director and Call Center Leader for American Express
  • SVP. Collections Strategy and IT leader for Washington Mutual

Chief Risk Officer

Dale Hoops has over 25 years of experience within the financial services industry, with a focus on Risk Management, Collections, Fraud, Account Management Strategies, Loss Forecasting, stress testing, and economic analysis.

Dale started her financial services career in 1996 as a part time customer service representative and teller in a small financial center while attending the University of Richmond. Her career has included senior roles at Bank of America, Citi, and MBNA America. She has experience with multiple retail products, including consumer and commercial cards, private label and co-brand, deposits, vehicle lending, mortgage, and home equity. Her key strengths have been identifying opportunities for improvement through business analysis, strategy development, and risk governance.

In addition to her professional career, Dale has extensive leadership experience with non-profits with event planning, policy, budget, and audit management. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, which serves 8,000 girls in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. She is the former President, Vice President, and Treasurer at a local Parent-Teacher Association, former community pillar chair for Bank of America’s LEAD for Women Delaware network, and served on the leadership team for the Field of Dreams Relay for Life event to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

Chief Data and Analytics Officer

Mr. Ridgeway has over 30 years of experience within the financial services industry, including Risk Management, Finance, Project Management, Compliance, MIS, IT & Operations. He has held senior roles at several of the top 5 Banks, including MBNA, Wells Fargo & Citibank. Dee has expertise in Risk oversight and a wealth of knowledge in the regulatory footprint (CFPB / OCC / FRB) in financial services. He has hands-on knowledge in the strategy world with numerous credit products including: credit cards, auto lending, mortgage and home equity, and unsecured lending. Dee is a co-founder of Predictive Analytics Group, worked as a Senior Consultant for Hoops Consulting, LLC., and owned & operated Mayflower Analytics LLC.

From a Risk Management perspective, Dee has experience in portfolio management in credit underwriting and loss mitigation during several growth cycles and economic contraction periods. He understands the needs and partners well with operational risk, modeling, and loss forecasting risk functions.

Dee is a SME on risk data strategy (data architecture, data management, and systems integration) and often creates a "passable bridge" between Risk and IT that translates business needs into executable business plans.

From an MIS, reporting, and portfolio analytics perspective, Dee has a proven track record of designing portfolio reporting that meets executive and end user needs that often have been labeled the "gold standard."

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CEO and Chief Strategy Officer

Mr. Hoops has over 25 years of experience within the financial services industry, including Credit Collections & Fraud Risk Management, Business Operations, Control &Compliance, Strategic Planning, Forecasting, and Marketing Analytics. He has served as a Chief Risk Officer for Barclaycard US Partnerships, a Global Scoring Head at Citibank, and a Site President for Wells Fargo Financial. Steve is a co-founder of Predictive Analytics Group and has owned & operated Hoops Consulting, LLC for the past 4 years.

Steve started his financial services career in 1993 as a part-time telemarketer while attending the University of Delaware for his Business Administration degree. Mr. Hoops has spent his 25-plus years within the industry building best-in-class operations with each company he has supported. His career has been highlighted by leading several large functions for several Tier 1 and Tier 2International Banks, including:

  • Credit Policy (CRO for $20B co-branded portfolio, Barclaycard US partnership)
  • Credit Policy (SVP for $28B retail Co-brand & Private Label portfolio, Citibank)
  • Loss Forecasting / Loan Loss Reserves ($30B Consumer portfolio, Citi-Financial)
  • Collections Risk Management ($70B Co-brand & Private label portfolios, Citibank)
  • Modeling ($30B Consumer Loan & sub-prime Mortgage portfolio, Citi-Financial)
  • Collection Operations (Head of 410 person operations center, $17B Auto, Personal Loan & Mortgage portfolio, Wells Fargo)
  • Credit Analytics (MBNA/Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank)