Management Team 2019-05-07T13:13:37+00:00



Nigel Hook

CEO/President and Founder

Nigel Hook, CEO and founder in 1981 of DataSkill, a cognitive solutions integrator. Nigel’s founding vision has been to create extraordinary value from data. Growing up near Bletchley Park, Hook’s early career was inspired by Turing and led to his BSc in Computer Science from Staffordshire University, and later an MBA from FDU. Today, DataSkill solves the most vexing problems for its customers across multiple industries with an ensemble of AI technologies.

Nigel’s passion for speed has driven his 30 year career in motorsports where he competes at the top level of Offshore Powerboat Racing worldwide. Nigel’s exceptional skills on the water earned him three World Championships, three World Speed Records and an induction into the APBA Hall of Champions. He currently races the 77 Lucas Oil SilverHook 48GP in the Superboat International unlimited class.

The 48’ SilverHook raceboat has become the showcase of leading edge IOT intelligence with both Cisco and IBM Watson, integrated into a winning solution by DataSkill.

Dave Druker


Dave Druker has been with DataSkill since 1998. He is responsible for client services and sales. He has worked with clients such as Kuehne & Nagel, Leap Wireless (Cricket – now AT&T), USCO, Horsetrader, Crossflo, Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Websense, Isis Pharmaceuticals, Smart & Final and Disney.

As the San Diego Branch Manager for Technology Locator, Dave successfully provided technical professionals to companies in the San Diego area on a contract/temporary basis. At Community Care Network Dave managed the development and implementation of major IT projects with teams of up to 50 people. Throughout his career, Dave has had experience working with DB2, Sybase, and client server technology in the medical, insurance, loan and financial industries.

Dave received his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and his Masters in Counseling from the University of Southern California. He is recognized as a leader in the community as he served on the Del Mar City Council and was Mayor of Del Mar in 1997, 2003 and 2008. He was also a board member of the North County Transit District.

Luke Baer

Chief Innovations Officer

Luke Baer | Chief Innovations Officer

Luke has been with DataSkill for two years, and has most recently been leading a first-of-its-kind implementation of IBM Watson in the Trade Finance industry. By implementing several innovative Artificial Intelligence approaches, Luke has uniquely positioned DataSkill’s leading software offering, DataTrade, for widespread adoption globally.

Luke started in the world of Data Science at Cornell University, where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Applied Operations Research. Since then he has led many teams in banking, “Big 4” consulting, and software development. One common thread has been obvious throughout his impressive career in technology: His passion for innovation. Whether building predictive models for long-term catastrophic weather events, or improving patient care in psychiatric hospitals, Luke adds rare and original insight to every engagement.

Dimitri Popolov

PhD, Chief Data Scientist

Dr. Popolov leads DataSkill’s Acumi product team and sales engineering. He is responsible for the product roadmap and designing the Acumi Intelligence solution for various market solutions.

Prior to joining DataSkill in 2013, Dimitri led the IBM Russia team in launching the IBM Content Analytics (ICA) across the Russian market and contributing to the design and development of the IBM analytical solution stack.

Dimitri received a PhD in Computer Sciences & Engineering from De Montfort University – Leicester, UK. He conducted research in Computer-Mediated Communication and Human-Computer Interaction, designing a Java client-server tool for spatial visualization of complex structures in text conversations. Dimitri also holds a Master’s in Computer Science from Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Moscow, Russia.

Andrew Hook

Andrew Hook, Director United Kingdom Office

Andrew Hook established the United Kingdom office for DataSkill.  Part of his responsibilities includes managing the Software Sales relationship with IBM and Ingram Micro. In this capacity, Andrew has brought in millions in IBM software since joining DataSkill a couple of years ago.

As an MSC Business Intelligence graduate with a 23-year successful track record for delivering insight in top Financial Institutions in the UK such as Legal & General and Nationwide, Andrew brings DataSkill Insurance expertise. He is highly skilled in a wide range of database, data warehouse and reporting technologies, especially with Microsoft and IBM Cognos/SPSS. He is an experienced manager with strongly developed analytical skills across a range of business functions. He is energized by challenges in organizations where information is valued as an asset and where the right skills can be applied to deliver insight and drive better decision making.

Andrew received his education at Sheffield Hallam University – MSC, Business Intelligence; University of Leicester – PgDip, Management Studies (DMS); and Kingston University – BA (Honors), Economics. His specialties include Business Intelligence, Analytics, Data Mining, Management Information, Analysis, Better Decision Making, Cognos, SPSS, SAS, SQL, VBA, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Access.  Andrew enjoys spending time with his family and dogs.  He has a passion for Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  Andrew also enjoys walking, running and learning new gadgets.

Brian Swanson

Vice President Cognitive Services

Brian Swanson leads DataSkill’s global services for cognitive computing and content analytics. He is responsible for driving customer success through implementations, pilots, proof of concepts and workshops. Brian has over 20 years of experience in enterprise software and services. Recent engagements with the IBM Watson cognitive technologies include: Verizon, AT&T, Verizon, Shell, Ontario Shores Mental Health Sciences, Zurich, DIPOL, Notice & Comment, California Cancer Registry, Swiss Mobiliar, Exelon, UnityPoint Healthcare, Humana, Minter Ellison, and SITA. Brian has been a speaker at IBM World of Watson breakout sessions and was invited to speak at the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum session titled Code Vs. Lex: Law as an Algorithm – the Existence of Laws in the New Technological. His background includes a history of customer success at Fortune 500 companies in Insurance & Financial Services, Retail, Hi-Tech, and Manufacturing. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from San Diego State University.

Brian’s drive to win also comes out when racing Formula Vee open wheel race cars with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). He has won the San Francsico Regional championship and can be seen at Northern California’s world-renowned tracks including Laguna Seca, Sonoma Raceway (Sears Point), and Thunderhill Raceway Park.

Ekaterina Derango

Director of Global Trade Finance

Ekaterina Derango | Director of Global Trade Finance

Ekaterina started her career at Citibank in the Trade Operations Department after her graduation in 2004 from one of the most prominent schools of economics in Russia, Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics. After two years of experience in Trade Operations, where she was processing Letters of Credit, Guarantees and Supplier Finance transactions, she moved to the position of a Trade Advisor.

As a Trade Advisor she was involved in negotiations of the LC terms and Guarantees wording with Citibank customers. She worked with different levels obtaining internal approvals and required decision making on her own. In 2007 Ekaterina moved to HSBC to continue her career as a Sales Manager for Trade Finance products. During her time at HSBC Ekaterina worked as a Relationship Manager for Commercial banking. She then moved to Citibank’s Trade Finance front office in 2012.

In 2013 Ekaterina moved to Mizuho bank (one of the three Japanese Mega banks) where she developed trade finance business in close cooperation with the London Trade Finance team. In 2016 Ekaterina left Mizuho and moved to the USA, where she later joined DataSkill as an advisor in the development of the TradeSun products using ACUMI for advanced application of AI, including NLP and unique supervised machine learning with the initial focus on automating LC processing.

Jeff Margileth

Chief Technology Officer

Jeff Margileth has been with Dataskill over 12 years starting as a contractor and then moving into the Chief Technology Officer position in 2006. He is responsible for DataSkill’s technology department. He has worked with clients such as Kuehne & Nagel, Leap Wireless (Cricket – now AT&T), USCO, Sony Computer Entertainment of America, OnBudget, Syntricity, IdeaEdge (Bill My Parents), Evente, and The Irvine Company.

Jeff is a proven project manager and technology architect with a history of successful Data Integration projects and a deep understanding of business processes. His early career years were influenced by Ernst & Young and Data Integration projects with world-wide customers who laid the foundation for this stellar CTO.

Jeff received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science at the Harvey Mudd College. Jeff’s specialty areas include IT Architecture and Analysis, Systems Integration, Business Process Modeling, Process Improvement, and Methodology Development. His technical skills include object-oriented design and development, systems architecture, Java/J2EE, C++, cloud computing, and expertise with many development frameworks such as Spring and Hibernate. Jeff continues to improve his skills through education and is continually receiving new certifications. Jeff competes in Iron Man events and enjoys all outdoor activities with his family.

Alfonso Montaño

Director Tijuana Office

Alfonso Montaño came to DataSkill through the acquisition of Silicon Space in 2008.  Alfonso is an accomplish Senior Software Engineer and has been involved in many projects for DataSkill.  Being bi-lingual Alfonso is an integral part of the relationships between our US customers and the engineers in the Tijuana office.  Alfonso also maintains the Mexico office operations.

While at DataSkill, some of the projects Alfonso has been involved with include BillMyParents (the SpendSmart Company), Enalasys, Networkfleet, and California Horsetrader.  For these clients Alfonso has done tasks such as design and develop Web Services and Regression Tests for core applications. He participates in the maintenance of the applications and communications for new requirements by the clients.

Alfonso received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from CETYS Universidad where he was the recipient of an “Honorable Mention” award.  Alfonso enjoys traveling and outdoor activities when he is not programming.

Barbara Biers

Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Barbara Biers joined DataSkill over 14 years ago as the assistant to Nigel Hook, CEO of DataSkill. Her responsibilities have grown to include maintenance of the facilities, human resource tasks, assistance in marketing activities and general administration to the management team.

Barbara was at the San Diego Software Industry Council (now Software San Diego) where she maintained the office, performed admin tasks and helped produce regular council meetings and events. Prior to working at the Council, Barbara held down positions in the Customer Service areas of Allegiant Technologies and Silicon Beach Software (purchased by Aldus Software and then Adobe).

Barbara’s education was completed at Washington State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Business. Her spare time is spent with her family and friends playing games, diving, biking and traveling. She returns to Hawaii, where she grew up, regularly.