In September 2016 in Orlando, Florida, Jett got to meet Mickey Mouse on his 5th birthday. From left to right, Mickey, Jett, Sarah, Colton and Ken.

My Background

Who is 3danim8? My name is Ken Black and I was born in Chicago, IL. The title 3danim8 is a pseudonym I have used for many years and was inspired by my friend Dudley Benton. 3danim8 is short for 3D Animations.

You can read a few details about me in this article, including learning about how I fell in love with math and how my career has unfolded to get me to this point in life.

Working History

First 20 Years: Environmental Consulting Engineers & Jacobs Engineering (Knoxville, TN)

I worked for about 20 years as a computational hydrogeologist (B.S, M.S. in geology, with math and CS emphasis). I specialized in developing and applying numerical models in surface water and groundwater systems to make predictions for cleaning-up contaminated groundwater.

  • To do this work required proficiency in geology, hydrology, math, physics, biology, chemistry computer programming, numerical analysis, predictive analytics, GIS, multiple computing platforms and graphical processing.

Next 8 Years: QualPro (Knoxville, TN)

I worked for about 8 years as a process improvement consultant. I specialized in the quantitative analysis of multi-variable experiments, including writing proprietary software to initialize and analyze experiments.

  • To do this work required the ability to rapidly receive, process and comprehend a wide variety of data from many different industries. Additional training in statistical theories was also required to write the computer codes.

The Past 3 Years: General Motors (Austin, TX and Roswell, GA)

I have spent the past 3 years working in the automotive industry, performing work in the field of advanced analytics.

  • To do this work requires proficiency in handling big data in various forms and turning this data into insights. I teach other staff members in the company how to achieve data comprehension so they can learn to solve problems using modern analytic methods.
  • If you would have told me that a Chicago city boy that studied math, computer science, statistically based process improvement, and geology would be doing research on leading-edge technologies like autonomous vehicles, how to process huge volumes of streaming data, and solving world-class, big-data problems using analytics (and saving millions of dollars in the process), I would have told you that you were crazy! This just confirms that anything is possible if you work long enough, stay dedicated to your craft, study great software like Alteryx and Tableau, and you continue to pursue your dreams.


Practical Experience

I have had a lot of practice doing certain things. These things include:

  • teaching technical topics including programming, data visualization, data transformation techniques, and numerical methods
  • teaching environmental science, with a recent (3 year) focused and self-driven study of climate change
  • public speaking, including giving numerous scientific and analytics-based presentations
  • learning how to formulate questions that need answers to achieve better performance
  • learning how to find answers to these questions by applying problem solving skills and experience
  • learning how to translate complex math results into comprehensible output
  • performing continuous learning in computer science, since the age of 13, including programming in over 10 languages


Specialized Skills

My experience has allowed me to develop certain specialized skills. These skills include:

  • understanding scientific principles including the mathematics behind the principles
  • the ability to solve problems that are characterized by governing equations, boundary and initial conditions, and spatially and temporally variable properties
  • the ability to explain how to go from the mathematical basis, to finding solutions, to effectively explaining the answers by using multiple analysis methodologies
  • understanding and explaining the role of uncertainties and sensitivities in systems that are being mathematically simulated
  • using computers to solve quantitative problems of many different types and from many different fields of business and science
  • visualizing and comprehending data
  • effectively writing about technical topics and sharing insights

Other Information


I am interested in many topics, some of which are shown in my original Twitter header above.

How can someone explain all of their experiences, talents, and dreams in one “About Me” Page?  It isn’t easy, so here are a few links to help you get to know me.

Alteryx ACE – Analytics Certified Expert

2015-2017 Alteryx ACE


My About.Me Page

Click here for my Google About Me page

Click here for my Twitter Feed

Click here for my YouTube Channel

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Ken, I just happened to notice the changes you have done to the presentation of your blog. Wow – so nice to see that you have pulled out a lot of interesting content and organized them. In the days to come, I want to take a Deep Dive into your Teaching Tableau series – sorry for the intentional mixing of your 2 categories 🙂

  2. Pingback: Do you want to evaluate/learn Maestro, the ETL/Data Prep Tool from Tableau? – TableauPro

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