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Lisa Slater Nicholls

9 San Felipe Way, Novato, CA 94945 USA


  • Over thirty years’ experience developing and communicating innovative solutions for data storage, collection, reporting, and analysis. More than twenty-five years’ experience developing with on-line technologies.
  • Deep, demonstrated strength in absorbing and connecting diverse technical environments, data, and requirements to produce Business Intelligence solutions, and business-centered results, from data warehousing through reporting front ends.
  • Recognized expert in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Integration Services (SSIS).
  • Strong background in XML/XSLT, object-oriented design and rapid development practices (OOP and RAD). Successful implementations of IIS/COM and ASP.NET-hosted solutions, as well as Java-based server applications. Expertise in various SQL dialects and scripting languages, and all versions of Microsoft FoxPro and Visual FoxPro.
  • Longstanding interest in, and practice of, organized testing strategies, performance optimization, coaching of dynamic development teams.

Work experience and activities

  • Semi-retired but continuing to be in demand:  Principal Solutions Architect and developer’s consultant

  • Solutions Architect and additional roles, Dominican University of California, CA, USA

    July 2015 – Feb 2023.

    Hired originally as a DBA/Developer in July 2015, I brought professional SQL DBA practices and maintenance to the University.  On the “developer” side, I streamlined and improved integration practices (involving cloud, Oracle, MySQL, and MS SQL Server data) and adapted existing home-grown systems (such as a PHP-based web application, more than 1500 existing SSRS reports, and extensions to the SIS-provided student web application) for better re-use and functionality.

    As Solutions Architect, starting in October 2018, I designed and implemented a data warehouse to bring data together from the various department silos.  Along with standard ETL and SQL Server components, this solution includes an SSAS-layer with three comprehensive analytic models surfacing the data.

    From Feb 2020-August 2021, I accepted the challenge of incorporating the role of Director of Institutional Research into my existing portfolio, thereby becoming responsible for the University’s internal business analytics as well as its external compliance reporting. By August 2021, the department’s toolset was modernized, with a full intranet web solution allowing all departments to leverage the new warehouse with significant self-service, and I relinquished this role to a well-equipped successor.

    In the final phase of my Dominican career, reporting to the President as Solutions Architect and transitioning to working part-time, I focused on financial management requirements, COVID response team needs, and fulfilled requests from all other departments needing tailored, data-centric tools.

  • co-CTO, Poseidon Saltwater Systems, Inc., TX, USA

    May 2015 – August 2020. With Colin Nicholls:

    Full design, management, and maintenance of Windows network server and client hardware, development of database and front-end applications, multiple interfaces with non-Windows-network devices in the field. Produced full documentation and staff training. Integrations with, and extensions to, cloud applications for investors and management use, including accounting and business intelligence.

  • Principal Software Architect, Infor for Enwisen HR Service Delivery, CA, USA

    September 2012 – June 2015.

    Extensive portfolio, with focus on data integration. Created an SSIS framework to handle the standardization of ETL operations for a SAAS provider with approximately 200 client portals, able to support extensive customization, to replace almost 900 heavily customized processes. Customer-facing and business-facing roles, plus leadership of multiple technical teams.

  • Database Administrator, at the Santa Rosa City Schools District, CA, USA

    August 2010 – September 2012.

    All areas of SQL Server and Student Information Systems (SIS) application support, with special emphasis on Business Intelligence (BI) and Integration.

    Notable successes include substantial improvements to performance and maintenance of SQL Server infrastructure, as well as the design and full implementation of an SIS Extension framework (ASP.NET) housing custom SSRS-based reporting, mobile-enabled data-entry applications for teachers, and a flexible community contact mechanism for administrators. Extensive SSIS-based development work resulting in synchronization of SIS with HR and State Reporting repositories.

    Full support for district Moodle (open-source LMS) implementation, including development of SQL- and PHP- based customizations for integration and branding.

  • Account and Technical Project Manager/Architect – Microsoft Technologies Team, at EC|Wise, CA, USA

    November 2007 – August 2010.

    Team management, solutions strategy, architecture and design, with special emphasis on Business Intelligence and Integration.

  • Programmer/Analyst, dba Spacefold, for Bally Technologies, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

    January 2003 – November 2007.

    Design and implementation of web services to store and expose heterogeneous data (AS400, Oracle, SQL Server, Excel), including full-scale enterprise reporting implementation. Fulfillment of additional data mining and output requirements, for external browser- and application- based clients, in .NET (both C# and VB.NET) components, T-SQL, XML and XSLT.

    Analysis, migration, and two-way data translation between legacy systems (FoxPro, Visual Basic Classic, IBM-AS400, java-based) and new enterprise systems (Siebel, EDS-Team Center, Agile PLM).

    Ad-hoc scripting solutions and other customizations for end-users in ASP.NET and Microsoft-Office-based client code. Coach/resource for in-house developers using SQL, MS Reporting Services, XML, and Siebel.

    Deployment and administrative ownership of intranet web server, SQL Server installations, and SQL Server Reporting Services exposure in the enterprise.

  • Program Manager/Developer, dba Spacefold, for Microsoft, WA, USA

    January 2003 – November 2007.

    Full Program Manager role within Visual Studio Data group, for in-house base product development of the VFP 9 Reporting System during the Visual FoxPro 9.0 and 9.0 SP2 product cycles, from specification through completion, including language and IDE improvements, and extensibility architecture.

    Development of shipping/out-of-the-box Xbase implementations of new reporting features. External evangelist for new features, presenting conference sessions and serving as customer and third-party vendor contact during alpha/beta test cycles. Author of Flying Fox: Applying Visual FoxPro Reporting to Any Data, in Any Environment, teaching integration of VFP reporting features for MySQL developers.

    MSFT User Ed/MSDN technical writing role, including product documentation and white papers on XML integration scenarios using Office 2007 and XAML.

  • Integration Engineer/Solutions Architect, Acxiom Corporation, AK, USA

    Homebased (San Rafael, CA and Las Vegas, NV) consultant Feb-Mar 1999, employee April 1999 – January 2003.

    Participated in end-to-end proposal, design, and implementation of Oracle-Acxiom Alliances solution, using IIS with ASP, VBScript and XML technologies. Authored DHTML, XSLT-driven interface driven by the ASP solution and XML and visually based on Oracle products, as a sample QuickLoad end-client ASP web application. Provided end-result of the Oracle QuickLoad data-mining solution, a branded analysis report, using Microsoft Excel automation and COM objects.

    Maintained and enhanced Apache SOAP Toolkit-based, Tomcat-hosted web services, to deliver real-time and batch prospect and customer datasets hosted by Acxiom in XML format. Enhanced performance and interoperability via new Java components and improved XSD/WSDL documents, UNIX shell scripting. Provided administrative, test, and demo facilities via Java beans, JSP, custom tag libraries on web server as well as JavaScript/DHTML, Microsoft HTA, HTTP and Microsoft-SOAP Toolkit client test components. Served as technical liaison to work with Microsoft-based SOAP partner-implementers.

    Developed re-usable components and examples to Acxiom-enable Siebel installations, using Siebel scripting and XSLT, with full Siebel courseware-style documentation. Mentored customers’ Siebel’s developers for on-line implementation.

    Created Java and XML/XSLT components for an IBM MQ-Series adaptor for plug-in, real-time Acxiom Data Network (ADN) access. Design included a robust data element mapping strategy, allowing easy customization for IBM implementers.

    Created and taught training course in Acxiom on-line access via XML and Java to Oracle internal development team. Created test tools via Internet Explorer-based DHTML and JavaScript to provide a test environment for internal quality assurance and performance statistics for the Acxiom on-line development team.

    Created the first successful ADN SDK, written in Visual FoxPro components and exposed through IIS. Created COM clients and a full end-user Wizard interface for public distribution, promoting external access of the ADN 1.x API, including full HTML/CHM developer and end-user documentation.

    Provided additional customized clients, integration research, technical writing, migration strategies, escalated ADN support, and documentation examples for ADN customers accessing any Acxiom product lines, using Microsoft Office automation, Perl, Flash, Cold Fusion, VB, Access, Transact-SQL – you name it. Rapidly prepared various products and concepts in the Acxiom pipeline, to support sales-support “live” demos.

    Served as internal evangelist and external advocate for XML throughout Acxiom career. As customer advocate for XML interfaces, helped other Acxiom groups to create usable XML APIs and schemas, receiving various internal awards for this work. Represented Acxiom on CPExchange (customer privacy) XML standards group.

  • FoxPro Developers’ Consultant, dba SoftSpoken,
    based in CA, USA and Auckland, New Zealand


    Specialist in the optimization of FoxPro development practices for programming teams in DOS, Windows, Unix, and Macintosh environments. International client list included Microsoft, Legent, SBT, Savid, various government agencies’ programming groups, and major FoxPro application development houses.

    Developer of several Xbase tools shipped as part of the Microsoft Visual FoxPro product from VFP 6.0 on, including its application framework, many class libraries, and its Coverage-Profiler analysis application.

    Developer of MasterClass Development Framework and many other published programmers’ tools. Writer, producer, and on-screen talent for FoxPro RAD videotapes.

    Author of seven books for FoxPro developers, published by Que, Hayden/Brady, and Pinnacle Press, including one of the few database books ever to make NY Times Computer Bestseller list. (For book references, search for Lisa C. Slater, on Amazon books).

    Monthly columnist for DataBased Advisor for over a year. Author of countless other articles and white papers on database topics, for PC Magazine, Microsoft, and the Cobb Group. Editor of FoxTalk, developers’ journal published by Pinnacle, for two years. Editor of Pinnacle’s Pros Talk Fox books, series I and II.

    Featured speaker at almost every FoxPro conference (regional, national, or international) held 1990 through 1999. Wrote and taught numerous private curricula for corporate groups.

    Numerous honors and achievement awards for Xbase community presence and contributions, including founding member of the Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) group in 1993, continuing through 2001. Served as Fox CompuServe Forum archivist and wizop, 1990 through 1995.

    Continue to provide volunteer support for Xbase developers and Fox developers migrating to other data-handling applications as well as volunteer on-line support for people learning to use XML and XSLT in all environments.


Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

BA magna cum laude in History and Literature, 1976.