Steven Ligeza, Project Manager in Chicago, IL, United States
Steven is available for hire
Hire Steven

Steven Ligeza

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

Chicago, IL, United States
Toptal Member Since
May 29, 2019

Steve has nearly 20 years of experience as a technology program, project, and product manager, and Scrum Master and Agile Coach. This includes senior management experience at a $450 million fintech firm, and an online lending startup. He is adept with both Agile and Waterfall methods. His projects include app development, infrastructure, and organizational development, with deep expertise in data (strategy, big data, analytics, BI, and DW).

Project Highlights

Asset Reference Data Enrichment Product
As a product manager, I created the first customer-facing API data product at an investment bank with an international team.
Data Strategy and Organization Development for a Tech Startup
Acted as director of data for a fintech startup to architect and develop an overall data strategy, budget, and organization.
National Analytics Program Leadership
Managed a nationwide analytics program to develop, and deploy a solution for an international logistics firm.


Work Experience

Managing Director

2013 - PRESENT
Downtune Solutions, Inc.
  • Led strategic technology initiatives at firms ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups spanning financial services, fintech, pharmaceutical, insurance, CPG, and logistics.
  • Oversaw the program and project management. My Scrum Master project experience includes application development, big data, business intelligence, analytics, data warehouse, data products, SaaS and ERP deployments, IT services, and information management.
  • Led the project and program management of multiple local, remote, and international teams using Agile Scrum, Lean, XP, test-driven development and continuous integration, as well as Waterfall SDLC.
  • Provided services of data strategy creation, technology strategic planning, organizational development, process engineering, Agile transformation, and data product development.
  • Product-managed data product using a Lean and XP approach with test-driven development, and continuous integration.
  • Provided data management and analytics best practice recommendations across several verticals.
  • Led the development, research, and design of several data products including a decisioning engine, automated tax lien brokerage, automated property tax appeals, automated title processing, and an asset management online marketplace.
  • Acted as Director of Data for an online lender: Created the data strategy, roadmap, organizational structure, processes, protocols, and budget in collaboration with C-suite to enable strategic initiatives. Prevented a $1.5 million per month loss due to a critical flaw in the new platform.
  • Provided thought leadership and coaching on creating value from the existing marketing campaign data, web analytics, internal data assets, and public data sources for a fintech firm.
  • Process-engineered and mentored data teams on Agile methodologies, business process analysis, and performance management.
  • Established a partnership with a cookie-free IP targeting web marketing firm.
  • Responsible for customer relationship management, proposals, negotiations and sales pipeline growth, P&L management, interviewing, hiring, and vendor management.
  • Leveraged management software which included Jira, ServiceNow, Asana, Trello, and AtTask.
  • Utilized the following platforms: PostgreSQL, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cloudera, Qlik Sense, NPrinting, QlikView, Oracle, Teradata, SQL Server, DB2, Informatica, SSIS, and CargoWise.

Senior Manager of Data Services

2010 - 2013
Enova International, Inc.
  • Hired as the project manager, promoted to owner of all processes, platforms, operations, services, staff for database development, data warehousing, BI, and DBAs.
  • Directed a local, and remote team of four managers, an architect, and over 30 full time staff. This role included employee career development, establishing performance goals, and reviews.
  • Established and led the overall data strategy for the company to drive growth in international, and domestic markets.
  • Managed a portfolio of up to 36 concurrent initiatives using Agile Scrum, including departmental process re-engineering, data infrastructure upgrade and disaster recovery, new enterprise BI platform selection, data warehouse development, service-oriented architecture alignment, automation of many manual processes, and data product development.
  • Created and drove strategies to support product development, ensure operational robustness, ensure data security and privacy compliance, and drive accuracy and availability of data across the company with proper tools.
  • Reorganized the data department into cross-functional teams to align data architecture, data product development testing, and service delivery with products, and business functions.
  • Oversaw the operational process engineering to improve delivery and forecasting, decrease errors through metric-driven performance management, benchmarking, and project methodology.
  • Led workshops with senior leadership to drive enterprise data governance, master data management, and data quality initiative to determine and implement controls, criteria, and change management processes.
  • Standardized and streamlined the onboarding process for new hires and contractors.
  • Managed risk and compliance relating to PII, PCI, and SDLC.
  • Established the SLAs scalability, and redundancy of multiple platforms. Project management tools included Acunote, Confluence, and OmniPlan. Platforms included PostgreSQL, Ruby on Rails, MicroStrategy, QlikView, SQL Server, SSIS, and Pentaho.

Managing Consultant

2005 - 2010
  • Consulted for this startup as their first employee. Functioned as a billable data analytics consultant, managed client accounts, hired and mentored consulting staff; responsible for proposals, SOWs, and contract negotiations.
  • Oversaw the project management, process improvement, design, and mentorship of strategic data solutions in health care, logistics, CPG, media, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, financial services, and government.
  • Developed strategy for an aerospace manufacturing firm; designed and led strategic end-to-end data solution to gather, process, and analyze manufacturing machine data output for actionable insights on aircraft brake safety. I mentored internal staff on Agile development and best practices.
  • Created strategy for, and implemented a pharmaceutical sales forecast tool for real-time projections.
  • Reviewed business needs, and provided strategic recommendations on the deployment of an analytics tool for a healthcare infusions firm.
  • Assessed and provided recommendations to a vendor of a new data-driven vision for a fleet management firm.
  • Led the data quality team initiative for a hospital management firm.
  • Led initiatives to improve sales analytics for the financial services, pharmaceutical, and insurance sectors.
  • Led strategic and tactical enterprise platform migrations. Platforms included SAP Business Objects, Oracle, SQL Server, Teradata, DB2, QlikView, Kalido, PeopleSoft, Cognos, Hansen.

Pharma Sales Analytics Solution Architect

Architected pharmaceuticals executive KPI dashboard from multiple external data sources, and introduced a Scrum Agile project

Analyzed, architected, and developed a multiple-tier analytics solution on the Qlik Sense platform for a pharmaceutical firm.

Asset Reference Data Enrichment Product

As a product manager, I created the first customer-facing API data product at an investment bank with an international team.

* Utilized a Lean and XP approach to manage a blended off, and onshore development team.
* Created a roadmap for product development.
* Created and prioritized user stories.
* Coordinated software releases.
* Leveraged the Cloudera big data platform, Oracle EX, Java Microservices, and API.

Big Data Platform for Business Analytics

As program manager, I developed a new environment for an investment bank to perform advanced analytics and machine learning.

* Implemented a hybrid architecture of a new Cloudera and Oracle Exadata environment with Data Science Workbench for advanced analytics, and TensorFlow machine learning.
* Included data pipelines from sources across enterprise.
* Managed and aligned the efforts of project managers in IT Infrastructure.
* Oversaw the vendor management for product licensing, and professional services arrangements.
* Managed the budget and projections.
* Provided updates to executive stakeholders.

Data Pipeline for Sovereign Wealth Fund

As Scrum Master, I led the rebuild and optimization of the data pipeline to support external customers’ bulk data extraction.

* Managed the remote development team, overseas internal stakeholders, and external customers.
* Developed and managed the feature roadmap for the product.
* Created and prioritized user stories.
* Planned and coordinated software releases.

ServiceNow Implementation for Investment Risk Services

As project manager, I led the SaaS implementation, and established processes to support customers of investment risk services

Managed and aligned the efforts of the IT and business leadership to create, and mature new processes to leverage software capabilities, facilitate ongoing dialogue, and needs analysis.

International Risk and Analytics Program Management

As program manager, I ensured the development and release alignment of investment bank project portfolios.

* Removed obstacles to, and facilitated alignment across a portfolio of IT projects to support business partners.
* Provided updates to executives.
* Collaborated with project managers and business sponsors to ensure traction, and transparency.

Data Product Development

Product development of several data products.

* Collaborated with an investment fund SME partner to drive product development through varying stages of maturity (concept development, feasibility study, market strategy, and design.)
* Products included an asset management marketplace, title processing automation, property tax appeal automation, and an NGO college staffing service.
* Interviewed prospective customers, and SMEs to assess viability.
* Explored the existing market.
* Developed the concept, workflow, and high-level technical design.

Business Intelligence and Analytics Platform Migration

Led the migration, development, and adoption of a new enterprise analytics platform for a major international CPG firm.

* Led the team in design, build, and develop-and-deliver training on in-memory Qlik Sense, and a Nprinting solution to migrate from the customer’s legacy platform Business Objects.
* Established processes to put future development efforts into a more structured development shop format.
* Assisted with training delivery.
* Mentored the team and client in the Scrum and Agile product management approach.
* Platforms included Qlik Sense, NPrinting, SAP Business Objects, and Oracle.

Data Strategy and Organization Development for a Tech Startup

Acted as director of data for a fintech startup to architect and develop an overall data strategy, budget, and organization.

* Generated an overall data strategy and roadmap inclusive of staffing and budget estimates.
* Analyzed corporate business objectives, analytical needs, security, technologies, processes, and culture to create a data-centric strategy to achieve business goals.
* Developed a roadmap and budget. Recommended a structure for a successful data services department.
* Scoped data management pain points.
* Began architecting a new, big data decisioning platform.
* Oversaw the strategic planning, business process analysis, and engineering.
* Platforms and tools included Amazon Web Services (AWS), PostgreSQL, MySQL, Qlik Sense, and Google Analytics.

Loan Portfolio Analytics Solution

Designed, staffed, led, and augmented the development of a portfolio analytics solution for a fintech startup.

* Design and led a Cloud-based data cleansing, storage, reporting and analysis solution via the development of an operational data store in Postgres (on AWS), and a reporting and analysis solution (on Qlik Sense Cloud), as well as augmenting hands-on development.
* Mentored staff in seeking additional opportunities via integrating enterprise data with web marketing data.
* Assembled data sets for investor presentations, government bodies, and internal investigation needs.

Decisioning Engine Design and Productization

Led the concept development, feasibility study, and design of an automated Cloud-based decisioning engine.

* Collaborated with C-suite to design the platform to mitigate risks, and streamline loan underwriting.
* The additional objective was to productize an automated decision engine leveraging Cloud, and big data technologies with multiple API integrations to assess risk, and provide score as service.
* Integrations included ThreatMetrix, Yodlee, and LexisNexis, to name a few.

Claims Analytics and Reporting Solution

Optimized, built out, and refined a claims processing analytic platform for a major insurance corporation.

Re-architected the internal claims solution; ramped up the internal development team, developed ETL scripts and UI and UX design, created reference collateral, mentored the internal team on Scrum Agile methods and processes, and implemented a QA review process.

National Analytics Program Leadership

Managed a nationwide analytics program to develop, and deploy a solution for an international logistics firm.

* I was the program manager for over eight remote projects spread across the US.
* Provided leadership, business system analysis, and coaching of internal staff.
* Established and maintained communication channels with business sponsors, and executive leadership.
* Established a data guild.
* Developed processes and criteria for QA, UAT, pre-release checks, and post-release checks.
* Ensured regular releases via the Scrum methodology.
* Developed a KPI and metrics strategy, and roadmap in partnership with the CIO.

International Analytics Project Leadership

Led several analytics projects for an international portfolio to deploy a sales analytics solution.

* Provided leadership, process analysis, pains identification, backlog building, and coaching of internal staff.
* Established and maintained communication channels with business sponsors and executives.
* Developed processes and criteria for QA, UAT, pre-release checks, and post-release checks.
* Ensured regular releases via the Scrum methodology.
* Mentored internal staff.

Logistics Customer Data Sharing Portal

Piloted a B2B data sharing solution and analytics platform to improve the relationship with the client's primary customer.

* Partnered with my client and their customer to drill into pain points, and identify opportunities for improvement.
* Provided training to the customer, and ensured regular check-ins for transparency and Q&A.
1988 - 1992

Bachelor's Degree in Pre-law

Benedictine University - Lisle, Illinois, USA


Big Data Modeling and Management Systems

University of California, San Diego


Certified Scrum Master

Scrum Alliance


Computer Science Career Program

DePaul University


Qlik Sense, Confluence, Jira, Acunote, PostgreSQL




Agile, Scrum, Agile Product Management, XP, Kanban

Industry Expertise

High-tech Startups, Pharmaceuticals, Financial Services, Insurance, Logistics


Data Warehouse Design, Fintech, Consulting, Startups, Scrum Master, Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence (BI), Data Marts, IT Strategy, Project Management, Program Management, Technical Program Management, Leadership, Project Leadership, Management Consulting, Executive Consulting, Analytics, Databases, Technical Product Management, Early-stage Startups, Startup Consulting, Lean Product Development, Project Management Office (PMO), Lean Startups, SAP BusinessObjects (BO), Strategy, Product Management, Big Data, Qlik NPrinting

Collaboration That Works

How to Work with Toptal

Toptal matches you directly with global industry experts from our network in hours—not weeks or months.


Share your needs

Discuss your requirements and refine your scope in a call with a Toptal domain expert.

Choose your talent

Get a short list of expertly matched talent within 24 hours to review, interview, and choose from.

Start your risk-free talent trial

Work with your chosen talent on a trial basis for up to two weeks. Pay only if you decide to hire them.

Top talent is in high demand.

Start hiring