Personal Information

  • Name: Zack Riesland
  • Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • Email:
  • LinkedIn:
  • Professional Experience: 18 Years +

Professional Profile

Available for freelance web design projects and freelance hourly consulting on serverless and "big data" technologies (Hadoop, Amazon Web Services, etc).

You can download my resume here

AWS Certified

  • I hold a growing list of AWS certifications, including Certified Solutions Architect Associate
  • (Check out this presentation from Re:Invent 2018 where they highlighted a scalable application I build using Step Functions, Batch, Lambda, Aurora Serverless, SNS, and more)

Regularly Work With:

Python, Pandas, Data Lake, Date Warehouse, Java, Amazon Web Services (AWS Batch, Step Functions, Redshift, S3, Athena, EMR, API Gateway, Lambda, etc), Scala, Serverless, Web Programming, (Javascript, CSS, etc), SQL, Tableau, etc

Summa Cum Laude graduate (with a 3.99 GPA) from North Carolina State University, where I was part of the inaugural class of the University Honors Program.

I'm very comfortable learning, adapting, juggling lots of responsibilities, and staying ahead of the curve.

Work Experince

August 2021 - Present

Principal Data Engineer

Appian Way Energy Partners, Full-Time - Durham, NC

1/4 of the engineering team, focussing on cloud, scalability, and general architecture

October 2017 - August 2021

Senior Principal Data Engineer

Sensus, Full-Time - Durham, NC (promotion from previous title)

Continually enhancing our corporate data lake, which we rebuilt to be 100% cloud native.

  • Extensive use of AWS technologies, including
    • AWS Batch (containers, docker, ECS, ECR)
    • AWS Step Functions
    • AWS EMR (spark, hadoop, hardware optimization, cost efficiency)
    • AWS Kinesis (streaming)
    • AWS Lambda (java, javascript, nodejs, lambda layers, python)
    • AWS Athena (presto, SQL)
    • AWS Redshift
    • AWS Redshift Spectrum
    • AWS Glue
  • Designed and built multiple customer-facing solutions for data access API over Redshift, including management of the data
  • Designed and built horizontally scalable process to parse up to thousands of files simultaneously
    • Worked with Amazon to present the architecture at Re:Invent conference
  • Designed and built horizontally scalable process to perform ETL on virtually unlimited size incremental data

August 2014 - September 2017

Senior Data Engineer

Sensus, Full-Time - Durham, NC

Design, develop, and maintain a Hadoop stack for smart grid analytics, including web-based GUI tools for querying, viewing, and reporting data.

  • Built our Hadoop cluster from scratch and scaled and maintained it to trillions of rows in scale
  • Extensive use of Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) including Hive, HBase, Ambari, Spark, Tez, etc.
    • Hive
    • HDFS
    • HBase
    • Ambari
    • Spark
    • Phoenix
    • NiFi
  • Built several Javascript-based dashboards for interracting with data (JQuery, Bootstrap, Apache Phoenix, Google Maps, etc)
  • Integrated Apache NiFi for fully customizable ingest flow

2012 - 2014

Level III Engineer

Cisco, Full-Time - RTP, NC

Front-end (JSP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, DOJO, AJAX, etc) and back-end (Java, SQL) work on a distributed, scalable, cloud-based application that uses technologies like SNMP and FTP to collect data from network devices and provide smart interfaces for interacting with the data.

Tech: Java, Javascript, AJAX, JQuery, Dojo, Clearcase, SQL, XML, JAXB, JSON, Linux, Clearcase, Jenkins, etc

2008 - 2012

Senior Fuel Engineer

Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Full-Time - RTP, NC

Full-time software developer/designer. My job was to help design and implement bug fixes and enhancements to an enormous base that runs at almost 30,000 sites across the country and processes almost half a billion dollars every day.

Tech: Java, C, C#, C++, SQL, XML, JAXB, VB, VMWare,

2004 - 2008

Previous Roles

More details available by request


2000 - 2005

North Carolina State University

Computer Science - 3.99 GPA, Summa Cum Laude

  • Benjamin Franklink Scholar
  • Order of 30 & 3
  • Founding member of the University Honors Program
  • University Scholars Program
  • Also pursued degrees in Environmental Engineering and Philosophy

1996 - 2000

JF Webb High School

  • 3-sport varsity athlete
  • 1550 SAT score


Available upon request

Technical Skills



20 years

Java is the first language I ever learned and I still use it regularly. I'm extremely comfortable with all the associated tools like Maven / Jenkins / IntelliJ, etc.



14 years

I've done a lot of web development over the past decade and currently write a good amount of NodeJS code for Lambda functions. I am very comfortable with Javascript and many of the associated technologies like Bootstrap, JQuery, NodeJS, NPM, Google Maps API, etc.


SQL / Redshift

12 years

I've written and tuned a lot of SQL code over the years, including MS SQL server, Redshift, MySQL, Hive, Phoenix, and Spark. Recently focussed on Redshift.


Python / Pandas / Snowflake

3 years

My current role involves regular work with Python, Pandas, Snowflake, etc to build and store dataframes - and Dash, Plotly, etc to display them on dashboards.



7 years

I helped build our corporate data lake from scratch on a Hadoop cluster that I primarily maintained. I'm comfortable with Hive, Tez, Map Reduce, Spark, Ambari, HBase, Phoenix, etc.



7 years

I spent a large portion of the past year working in EMR, including Hive, Tez, and Spark queries, and writing Java code against the API for dynamic creation and use of clusters.


AWS Batch / AWS Step Functions

7 years

I spent the better part of 2017 designing and building a sophisticated application leveraging Batch and Step Functions.



7 years

We rebuilt our entire data lake from the ground up to be 100% cloud-native and almost completely serverless. Our ETL is designed over Lambda and Batch, and even our EMR clusters are ephemiral.


Web Design

Freelance Web Design Services

I enjoy helping (hourly) with all sorts of freelance web design services including:

  • Building your website from scratch (including lots of Wordpress experience)
  • Customize or tweak your website
  • Improve SEO on your site to improve your search engine performance


Big Data Technology Consulting

I love helping clients explore and leverage "big data" technologies including:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS):
    • EMR
    • Batch
    • Step Functions
    • Athena
    • Redshift / Spectrum
    • Glue
    • Dynamo DB
    • Elasticache
    • Elastic Beanstalk
  • Hadoop:
    • Hive
    • Ambari
    • Spark
    • HBase
    • Phoenix
    • NiFi
    • Map Reduce

Connect with me over email and let me help you take the mystery out of the new big data technology!


Email is the best way to get in touch with me.

Research Triangle, North Carolina