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Regional Risk Conference

Best Practices in Risk and Decision Analysis

June 24th, 2014 • Seattle

Regional Risk Conference

Best Practices in Risk and Decision Analysis

June 24th, 2014, Seattle, Washington

A Key Event for Quantitative Risk and Decision Analysis

Palisade invited attendees from a range of industries to an intensive 1-day conference in Seattle. This “must attend” event proved once again to be an invaluable resource for professionals dealing with risk in any sector. Industry experts presented a selection of real-world case studies about innovative approaches to managing risk and uncertainty in a wide range of business applications. The program also included practical software training classes presented by Palisade trainers and consultants. Participants learned how to get the most from @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite through example models demonstrating the features that make risk modelling powerful and accessible.

Download presentations from the conference

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A Global Resource

This 2014 Palisade Risk Conference is part of a global, annual series of meetings where professionals share ideas and advance the practice of risk and decision analysis. With over fifteen events on six continents this year alone, the Palisade Risk Conferences have become a truly global resource for decision-makers.

Information about 2014 Conferences


  General Sessions      
  Software Presentations      
  Industry Case Studies

Tuesday 24 June 2014 · Seattle

Please note the conference schedule may change without notice.


08:00 - 08:45
08:45 - 09:30

Welcome and Overview of Decision-Making
Andrew Sich and Randy Heffernan
Palisade Corporation

9:30 - 10:15
10:15 - 10:45
10:45 - 11:45
11:45 - 12:45
12:45 - 1:30
1:30 - 2:30
2:30 - 3:30
3:30 - 4:30

Simplifying Risk Analysis Through Automation
Gustavo Vinueza
Palisade Corporation

4:30 -
Networking Reception


  Jim Aksel, PMP, PMI-SP

Principal Consultant

I am a native of Syracuse, NY and have been working in the aerospace sector since 1976. My first assignments were at General Electric Military Electronics in Utica, NY. From there I moved on to Boeing in Seattle, WA for several years where I worked in new product development and did a lot of computer work.

From there, we went down to Los Angeles, CA to work on the B-2 Bomber program. I held several positions of increasing responsibility all related to the electronics of the B-2 and keeping it well supported. This is where I learned most of my Project Management skills including Earned Value and Microsoft Project. I got to rub elbows with some of the big names in the EVMS world as well.

Always looking to improve myself, I was contacted by Toshiba America who wanted me to set up their Program Management Office in one of their divisions. Toshiba taught me the value that should be expected for a dollar of effort and what people are really willing to pay for in a project.

From there, I moved to Rockwell Collins (also in Southern, CA) where I lead the engineering effort for several commercial ventures for in-flight entertainment including Aeroflot, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways among others. International business gives a whole new aspect to project management.

Since that time, I have been working supporting our troops in Iraq with software for all their communication gear. Our clients include Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Rolls Royce, Southern California Edison, Home Depot, Arco, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, and some others. We are expanding.

Other program experience includes C-17 supportability, and some unmanned aerial programs. I also assisted in setting up and organizing the PMO for Southern California Edison's SMART meter program (typical of what most large utilities are doing in the US).

Additionally, I have authored portions of the Program Management Institutes Practice Standard for Scheduling, the US Department of Defense Earned Value Implementation Guide, and revisions of various schedule and financial reporting requirements for DoD contracts.

Along the way I picked up a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering/Aerospace from Clarkson University, a Master of Arts in Management from University of Redlands, another Master of Science in Computer Science from Azusa Pacific University. It is important to keep current with these skills so I completed a professional certificate program in Program Management through Villanova University, and sat for the Project Management Professional exam. I am a current PMP in good standing.

I live in Southern California with my wife; we have two grown sons who live in the area. We have three grandchildren with more to come I pray.

  Sandi Claudell

Mindspring Coaching

Sandi Claudell was fortunate to work for over three years with the original authors of the Toyota Production System. She has taught and implemented Lean principles in all kinds of industries over the last 20 years. In addition, she is a Master Black Belt / coach in Six Sigma, and thus in love with the data and what it can do to support businesses – Lean or not. She quickly saw the benefit of Monte Carlo and other tools offered by Palisade and has been using them successfully in any number of problem solving situations. She is a dynamic speaker and able to take complicated concepts and make them simple and understandable. Join her to see an example of how she solves staffing problems using Takt Time and Monte Carlo.

  Eric Valpey

Actuarial Health Care Researcher
Premera Blue Cross

Eric Valpey is an Actuarial Health Care Researcher at Premera Blue Cross. He is an Associate of the Society of Actuaries and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics from the University of Washington. His work focuses in large part on assessing the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of health care improvement initiatives. He specializes in Applied Mathematical Probability Modeling, Predictive Modeling, Data Visualization, and Monte Carlo Simulations. Eric is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the Bleeding Disorder Foundation of Washington.

  Khatuna Giorgadze

Linksbridge SPC

Khatuna Giorgadze is an associate at Linksbridge SPC and specializes in data analytics, predictive modeling, and decision and risk analysis. Khatuna holds an MPA, and an MA in international development from the University of Washington, Seattle and has 9 years’ experience in international development and data analytics.

  Andrew Sich

Western Region Sales Manager
Palisade Corporation

Andrew Sich is a 7 year Palisade Corporation veteran, having worked in marketing, as well as in academic sales and commercial sales. He regularly coaches customers on how to incorporate probabilistic analysis into their spreadsheets and MS Project schedules using @RISK. Equally as important, Andrew also coaches customers on how to interpret and convey simulation results to decision makers in a palatable, easy to understand manner. Andrew holds a BS in Communications from Ithaca College and is a 30 year sales and marketing professional.

  Gustavo Vinueza

Consultant and Trainer
Palisade Corporation

Gustavo Vinueza is a Systems Engineer from University in Cuenca, Ecuador. He also earned an MBA from Torcuato Di Tella University in Argentina and a Ms. In Finance from Adolfo Ibáñez University in Chile. His main topics of interest include financial and operational modeling, including scientific and academic research into business practice as well as data mining relative matters. He has 16 years of experience and he’s been a consultant for companies in several industries: finance & banking, telecommunications, insurance and IT related services.

His experience includes managing Project portfolios both operational and IT related, cost reduction programs, public purchases bidding, operational controls, capacity analysis and audit processes and software development projects, besides technological infrastructure implementation. He has also earned diplomas in Project Management, Usability, Business Process Management and Business Analytics.


Download zip file of presentations from the Palisade Risk Conference in Seattle
(Individual presentations are also linked below.)

Welcome and Overview of Decision-Making

Andrew Sich

We will briefly review goals of this year’s conference and ways you can benefit from the event before giving some context and background about Palisade as a company. We will also explain the added insights that tools like @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite bring to risk and decision analysis. More in-depth exploration of @RISK and DecisionTools Suite will be covered in later sessions.

Next, we’ll switch gears to touch upon the decision-making process itself. Building off a recent feature story in the Harvard Business Review called “Deciding How to Decide,” we’ll examine common bad habits decision-makers often exhibit. We’ll walk through a checklist of things to watch out for that can indicate you actually know less than you think, and when you should be considering a probabilistic approach.

Introduction to @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite: Using Monte Carlo Simulation under Uncertainty

Gustavo Vinueza

This presentation will use examples from different industries and applications for an entry-level introduction to @RISK and the other products in the DecisionTools Suite, to give you an excellent briefing on how to use and get the most from these tools.

The session begins with a tutorial on @RISK, walking you through a trial risk analysis using various example models. Key features of @RISK will be highlighted. You will experience the intuitive interface of @RISK as you define distributions, correlations, and other model components. During simulation, you will be able to see all charts, thumbnails, and reports update in real time, and can view your results with a variety of graphing and reporting options. We’ll also point out useful tricks to make risk modeling even easier.

The second half of the session will cover the DecisionTools Suite, an integrated set of programs for risk analysis and decision making under uncertainty. You will learn how the products of the Suite — @RISK, RISKOptimizer, Evolver, PrecisionTree, TopRank, StatTools, and NeuralTools — work together to solve practical problems in the real world. We’ll demonstrate how these tools integrate completely with your Excel program, how to browse, define and analyze your data, and we’ll reveal key tips for using the products together.

Stop Ignoring Data from Infrequent Events: Solving multi-dimensional hierarchical credibility weighting

Eric Valpey

» Download the presentation

Anyone can be a 100% free-throw shooter by making one basket and then retiring. To avoid sticking our foot in our mouths, statisticians require a credibility threshold (a minimum number of observations) before presenting assessments of performance. But some events are so infrequent by their nature that they rarely meet such thresholds and escape assessment altogether. Is that really the best we can do?

It turns out that there is often great informational value to be found in the appropriate incorporation of observations across related events, across peers, and across time. We demonstrate how to solve this problem with optimization of a maximum likelihood estimation approach. We demonstrate how our solution provides more actionable intelligence by incorporating instead of ignoring uncommon data points.

Market Analysis and Optimization in Global Health using @RISK, RISKOptimizer and PrecisionTree

Khatuna Giorgadze
Linksbridge SPC

» Download the presentation

Without proper methods for managing uncertainty and risk, analyzing supply and demand for life-saving health commodities for developing countries is a major challenge. Accurate demand forecasting is frustrated by underlying uncertainty around adoption, country introduction and uptake, budget and purchasing power fluctuations, losses in distribution chain, etc. There are major risks on the supply side as well, including R&D, manufacturing, and regulatory risks. This presentation covers the application of Palisade’s DecisionTools Suite for analyzing global health markets, optimizing savings, and improving decision-making for the global health community.

Using Monte Carlo and Takt Time to Determine Staffing and other Needed Resources

Sandi Claudell
Mindspring Coaching

» Download the presentation

In all industries, but especially the service industries (healthcare, banking, insurance, shipping, etc.), no two days are alike. In fact, no two hours are alike. We don’t want our patients or customers waiting because we don’t have enough workers, or enough exam rooms or open phones available. How then do we generate a model that will give us a sense of how many people we need? When the volume of customers suddenly rises (think of an Emergency Room), we need to have a plan of action to ensure critical patients don’t wait. For that matter, no one should wait – critical or not.

This workshop will explore how to use a Monte Carlo simulation to determine the answers to these questions, such as how many doctors we need, or phone operators, or tellers, or ‘fill in the blank.’ Sometimes we have enough people but not enough equipment, or exam rooms, or trucks etc., to get the job done on time. Again, using Monte Carlo and Takt Time we can figure that out. Best of all is using the Tornado Chart, which gives us a good view into what we need to keep our eye on if we want to meet ever-changing demands.

Schedule Risk Analysis for a Large Development Program

Jim Aksel

» Download the presentation

A new development missile program takes on the intrigue of invading aliens and intergalactic warfare. But the missile can't save the world unless it is developed, built, and tested in accordance with a rigorous specification, on schedule, and within budget.

See how a Schedule Risk Analysis assisted the Program Management Office of this program secure proper funding and risk reserves while promoting a reasonable timeframe for completion.

Simplifying Risk Analysis Through Automation

Gustavo Vinueza

@RISK and DecisionTools software tools come with an Excel Developer Kit, or XDK, that enables users to automate and customize how they run their analyses. The XDK includes an “object model” for each software tool that programmers can manipulate with VBA code in Excel. Using the XDK, you can automate commonly performed tasks, create customized reports and outputs, and even design custom input dialogs to limit and control how models are set up and run.

We’ll explore a number of examples of how to use this powerful feature to expand the use of @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite. Most examples will feature @RISK, but time permitting we may be able to touch on other tools.

Seattle Marriott Waterfront

The Palisade Risk Conference will be held at the beautiful Seattle Marriott Waterfront hotel at 2100 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121. Tel 206-443-5000 For more information, see the hotel website.

Palisade Corporation
798 Cascadilla Street
Ithaca, NY 14850-3239
800 432 RISK (US/Can)
+1 607 277 8000
+1 607 277 8001 fax
Palisade EMEA & India
+44 1895 425050
Palisade Asia-Pacific
+61 2 9252 5922
Palisade アジア・
+81 3 5456 5287 tel
Palisade Latinoamérica
+1 607 277 8000 x318
+54-1152528795  Argentina
+56-25813492     Chile
+507-8365675     Panamá
+52 55 5350 2852     México
+511-7086781     Perú
+57-15085187     Colombia
Palisade Brasil
+55 (21) 3958 1443
+1 607 277 8000 x318 tel