Michael Cata, Product Manager in New York, NY, United States
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Michael Cata

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

New York, NY, United States
Toptal Member Since
April 12, 2021

Michael specializes in corporate productivity. A management consultant by training and product manager in practice, he loves working with enterprise clients in the space between strategy and execution. Michael has designed, recruited, and managed teams that have cut years of time filling forms for civil servants applying for background investigations, automated millions of dollars in operations for P&C underwriters, and delivered confidence for bank compliance managers screening their clients.

Work Experience

Managing Partner

2020 - 2021
Mccallum & Partners
  • Eliminated manual compliance processes by refactoring a publicly traded insurance company’s policy forms database and migrating an on-prem application to a cloud-native web app that serves 10,000+ policy documents over several APIs.
  • Advised the vendor selection, acquisition, and management of a low-code workflow platform that resulted in three new, in-production applications within one year for the client.
  • Developed a dataset of publicly traded company executive teams over the past twenty years by writing a software application that parses SEC Form 4 filings to share with prospective clients and advise on their trends compared to peers.

Engagement Manager

2016 - 2020
  • Managed a 12-person software development team with a $3 million budget that delivered a complete redesign of all background investigation application forms that serve hundreds of thousands of civil servants and contractors each year.
  • Led an engagement with US Naval Personnel Command leadership resulting in an early product release, an API-driven architecture for decentralized career and life data, and consolidated operations across the organization.
  • Improved the due diligence process for $23 billion of government contracting spend by developing the product roadmap for a labor pricing tool and a broader ecosystem of software applications.


2014 - 2016
  • Designed, recruited, onboarded, and scaled three cross-functional teams (engineering, design, product, data science) during an 18-month engagement with a publicly-traded insurance company to develop and implement a firm-wide technology strategy.
  • Ghost wrote a “big picture” vision for how global P&Ls would work with functional offices with seven CMOs of a global beverage producer.
  • Hacked together small applications to prove concepts in parallel with strategy development in the sales process.

Strategy and Analytics Consultant

2013 - 2014
  • Coordinated the ramp-up of a 70-person engagement at a bulge-bracket investment bank that would process over 1,000 Know Your Customer reports for the compliance function.
  • Collaborated with globally distributed users to ensure familiarity with new software and conducted regular QA testing on payroll software.
  • Led the research behind a proposal for a major wealth management firm.

Project Culper AKA "eApp": Redesigning the Most Complex Form in Government


Redesigned, refactored, and redeployed some of the most painful forms in the federal government: background investigation applications. The result was a user-friendly process that dramatically reduces the time required to complete mandatory forms.

With over 3.4 million clearance holders between federal and industry employees, the background investigation process is a large undertaking. The first step for applicants is to provide detailed personal information, which will be used throughout the remainder of the investigation. On average, it takes three weeks to complete the first step in this process. That is where Culper (as part of eApp) gets involved. This new system was built to accelerate the background investigation process and address the most painful part of the process for applicants, the form.

Culper employed a user-centered design approach leveraging key principles from the U.S. Digital Services Playbook and the accessible, open-source US Web Design System. The project team employed agile development methods, ensuring an adaptive process that responded to emergent user needs and changing requirements.
2009 - 2013

Bachelor's Degree in Economics, Political Science

Ohio State University - Columbus, Ohio


Zoom, Slack, G Suite, R


Team Development, Data Science, Agile Software Development, B2C


Strategy, Management, Organizational Design, Structure & Organizational Design, Research, Ideation Workshops, Discovery Workshops, Workshop Facilitation, Open Source, SQL, P&L Management, Econometrics, Economics, Unit Economics, Statistics, Statistical Modeling, Data Analysis, Experimental Design, Experimental Research, Market Research, Market Research & Analysis, Software Design, Software Development Management, Product Management, API Design, Distributed Team Management, Reports, Workshops, Recruiting, IT Recruitment, Technical Recruiting, B2B, Business to Business (B2B), Business to Consumer (B2C), Web Development, Front-end, Management Consulting, Hybrid Apps, Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Identity, Government Contracting, Information Security, Customer Discovery, UX Research, Software Development, QA Testing, Project Management, Agile Coaching, Content Strategy, Web App Development, Web Development Strategy, Front-end Design

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