Derek Eder is an entrepreneur, technologist, organizer and one of the leaders of the civic tech community in Chicago. He is founder and partner at DataMade and the lead organizer for Chi Hack Night, Chicago’s premier weekly event for building, sharing and learning about civic tech. Derek has been building websites in Chicago since 2006 and building up the Chicago civic tech community since 2011. Over the years, Derek has built and collaborated dozens of civic projects including Chicago Lobbyists, ClearStreets, 2nd City Zoning, Look at Cook, Large Lots, MyReps and Is There Sewage in the Chicago River. He grew up in Portland, Oregon and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BS in Computer Engineering. Back when he had spare time, he played in several bands that you could probably find if you Googled hard enough. He now lives in Oak Park with his wife Aya and two children, Ellie and Benji.
Forest Gregg is trying to find ways that information and information technology can help the people of Chicago recognize, understand, and address our shared challenges and opportunities. As a partner at DataMade, he works with clients, helps staff grow, and looks for ways for our company be better for our clients and for ourselves. He has been trained as a sociologist – particularly in quantitative methods and urban sociology. The statistics and machine learning training is useful on projects like dedupe and usaddress; the urban sociology training is useful for projects like Chicago’s Million Dollar Blocks and Where to Buy. From a spell as professional juggler, Forest is pretty good at games of accurate, under-handed tossing.
Regina Compton learned to code at Dev Bootcamp, after too many sacrifices at the altar of Weebly. At DataMade she has been a lead developer on several projects that make complex data easy-to-understand, including Councilmatic (LA Metro and NYC Council) and StudentUnion. Outside of DataMade she often thinks about music, what it does, and how it does the things it does. She especially appreciates the composer George Frideric Handel and fancies herself an active “Handelian” – both as the web developer for the American Handel Society and as an author of a forthcoming essay on Handel’s soprano singers. She also enjoys organizing innovative community arts events, most recently, Amygdala Notes in Chicago. Regina loves spending time at Lake Michigan with her newly born son, who – like his mother – embraces the bitter pleasures of cold-water swimming.
Hannah Cushman is a wayward journalist turned software developer. She cut her teeth on public life in mid-Missouri, covering municipal economic development (ask her about enterprise zones) and elections. An alumna of the Missouri School of Journalism and a veteran of the Associated Press, Hannah remains deeply interested in how information is consumed, shared, and acted upon. At DataMade, she loves projects that derive meaning from data, both narratively like Justice Divided, and practically, like Dedupe.io. She’s also devoted to documenting of common patterns and commenting clever functions. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys pondering particle physics, eating just about anything, and simply existing in the Lincoln Square apartment she shares with her boyfriend, plants, and three cats.
Bea Malsky came to coding circuitously through journalism, game design, and an early obsession with Lego Mindstorms. She’s invested in civic journalism, reproductive justice, new media, maintenance art, and making the perfect bagel. At DataMade she especially enjoys writing complex SQL queries and working to make public data intelligible. Bea is a co-owner of Build Coffee, a coffee shop and bookstore in the Experimental Station on the South Side of Chicago, where she currently runs the shop’s bookstore, gallery, and events. She has a degree in Sociology and Gender & Sexuality Studies from the University of Chicago and is a former reporting fellow with City Bureau, editor at The Point magazine, and editor-in-chief of the South Side Weekly.
Jasmine Mithani caught the programming bug when she enrolled in a computer science class at Pasadena City College while on a gap year from the University of Chicago. Upon her return, she studied media theory by day and contributed to open source projects at night. She somehow found time to work as a game developer at DoSomething.org, a designer at Graphicacy, and a graphics reporter at National Public Radio. At DataMade, Jasmine loves transforming complex data into meaningful visualizations, and is the team member most likely to fret over font weights. After 5pm she heads to South Side Weekly, where she serves as Data Editor. Empowering disadvantaged populations to pursue and maintain careers in technology is near and dear to her heart. In her free moments, Jasmine reads fifty-two books a year, dreams of zines, and doodles in her bullet journal.
Eric van Zanten was once called a “True Renaissance Man” by a friend’s mom and is now using his job as a developer to pay off his art school education. Mostly self-taught as a programmer, Eric’s favorite DataMade projects are the ones that give him a chance to gain an esoteric knowledge of a specialized field. On the weekends you might find him wandering through a graveyard or stopping to read every single one of those brass plaques bolted to the sides of historic things. Eric spends his spare time ignoring his bot children in favor of his real children.