Our Vision

Big Data Ignite seeks to foster local and regional expertise in advanced computing technologies and practice, including large-scale data management, predictive analytics, machine learning, cloud computing, and the internet of things.

Our History

Big Data Ignite was born out of a shared vision: To foster a local center of excellence in advanced computing technologies and practice. After initial success in organizing local Meetup groups, co-founders Elliott and Tuhin realized that to achieve their goal, the scope and scale of activism would need to grow. So, in 2016, the Big Data Ignite conference was launched! In its first year, the conference attracted over 30 presenters and over 200 participants. The two-day conference was designed to provide hands-on skills in data-related tools and techniques, as well as a practical overview of the data-technology landscape and the state of the art. The first day of the conference was devoted to deep-dive workshops by major tool vendors and academics. The second day was filled with visionary keynote addresses, panel discussions, and practical breakout sessions focusing on use-cases and strategy in the areas of data analytics, data management, IoT, and cloud computing. It was a combination that worked ‚ bringing together hands-on learning and strategic guidance from practicing experts.

Big Data Ignite 2017 and 2018 increased the momentum. The conference grew to three days, over 50 presenters, and over 400 participants, offering an even broader variety of workshops, keynotes, and breakout sessions, with a special focus on AI. The conference also featured complimentary gourmet meals and refreshments, entertainment, and abundant networking opportunities.

Big Data Ignite continues to push the envelope, creating a top-notch, regional data-technology community that brings together not only data scientists and engineers, but also business leaders, civic leaders, teachers, and students. Join us!


Elliott J.R. Church, J.D.

Director & Co-Founder | Big Data Ignite, Inc.

Tuhin Mitra

Director & Co-Founder | Big Data Ignite, Inc.

Steering Committee

David Zeitler, Ph.D.

Grand Valley State University

Randall Pruim, Ph.D.

Calvin University

Michael Bloem, Ph.D.

Consulting Analyst | Applied Data Science | Steelcase

BDI Advisor, Logistics Committee Member, Program Committee Member, Research Committee Member


The Big Data Ignite Board of Advisors is comprised of technical and organizational leaders with a close connection to Michigan.

Jennifer Wangler

Business Development Manager | The Right Place

BDI Advisor & Sponsorship Committee Member

Neil Carlson, Ph.D.

Director | Calvin College Center for Social Research

BDI Advisor, Sponsorship Committee Member, Research Committee Co-Chair

Samra Sulaiman.

Senior Director | Data Governance Center of Excellence | SAP

BDI Systems Committee Co-Chair & Program Committee Member

Marie Mooney, Ph.D.

Research Scholar | Duke University School of Medicine

BDI Advisor & Research Committee Co-Chair


Dinesh Pillai

Enterprise Solution Architect | Meijer

BDI Speaker Coordinator

Isa Helou


BDI Volunteer Coordinator

Traci Montgomery


BDI Volunteer Coordinator


Josh Leffingwell & Tyler Doornbos

Partners | Well Design Studio

BDI Website Partners

Lance & Kimberly Lewis

Champion Video

BDI Video Partner

Rivka Hodgkinson

Principal & Social Media Marketing Consultant | New Media Design Studios

BDI Social-Media Partner

Our Sponsors

Gold Level

We are always looking for speakers, sponsors, and volunteers to join us in our mission. Click a button below to get in touch with us.

Contact Us