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Inside Data Centre Podcast

Author: Andy Davis

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My name is Andy Davis and I am the host of the Inside Data Centre Podcast. On this podcast I will interview the people working in the data centre sector across the globe and tell their stories.. How did they first enter the sector? How have they developed their career? What are the challenges faced by the industry as it rapidly expands? What advice can they give others looking to work in the sector? If you work in the data centre sector, or you want to work in the sector, then this is the podcast for you.
37 Episodes
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In this weeks episode I am joined by Mike Tobin OBE.  This episode includes swimming with sharks, boardroom bust-ups, getting shot at in South Africa, many important life lessons, and how you take a business from making a significant loss to a highly profitable multi billion pound data centre company! We discuss Mike's highly successful career which he has put down on paper in his book 'Lifting the Floor', how he achieved his success, and his views on the data centre industry.Mike had an eventful start to life which included being shot at in South Africa and living in a squat with his family in London. At the age of 16 Mike was accepted onto an apprenticeship scheme which was the start of a highly successful career in engineering and eventually within the data centre sector.We discuss how Mike became CEO of Redbus at a time when the company was in financial difficulty. Following some good fortune, many boardroom bust-ups and a lot of hard work Redbus became TeleCity and Mike took the business to a £2bn+ turnover company.  We also talk about luck, what makes a great leader, and the importance of building great teams and surrounding yourself with the best people. Mike is now involved in a non-exec capacity for many businesses across the world and he has an excellent view of the global data centre industry.  And if you make it to the end you will receive some excellent advice!
In the first episode of the Hot Topics series I speak with Jim Hart from Business Critical Solutions about the impact of Covid on the data centre industry.First we look back to a report conducted by Business Critical Solutions (BCS) at the start of the pandemic - 'New Normal, New Thinking'. We talk about what developers and service providers were thinking at this stage and how it was impacting on the growth plans of the sector.We then look at the latest report released by BCS - 'Covid, the lasting legacy'. We discuss how the pandemic has dramatically changed the landscape of the data centre industry and how it has resulted in a period of change and rapid growth. We also discuss how the industry has adapted and what lessons we have all learnt during the last 12 months.This is a whistle stop review of the last 12 months in the data centre industry! Check out the BCS report on this link - https://www.bcs.uk.com/data-centre-survey-covid-19-the-lasting-legacy/
In this weeks episode I am joined by Scott Willis, President and CEO of DartPoints based in Dallas, US. DartPoints are an innovative Edge data center developer who are interconnecting the US to bridge the digital divide.We discuss how Scott started his career in networking and data centers, and the evolution of the industry throughout this timeframe. We then discuss DartPoints and their mission within the US Edge Data Center space. Scott provides some great insight on what Edge really means, the importance of analytics in site selection, and how the sector has seen a massive increase in demand during the last 12 months. Finally we discuss the future plans for DartPoints and how the Edge sector will evolve over the coming years. 
In this weeks episode I am joined by Chris Street, EVP Market Development at Princeton Digital based in Singapore. Princeton Digital are a young progressive organisation that is making rapid progress developing a data centre platform across the APAC region. We discuss how Chris first started his career in the data centre industry and how he spent a number of years working for Amazon in what was a transformative period for the organisation and the data centre industry.We then discuss Princeton Digital and their rapid growth across the APAC region. We discuss the reasons for recently entering the Indian region, their further expansion plans in China, and the ever growing demand within Indonesia. Finally we discuss the future plans for Princeton Digital and look at what is driving the significant demand across the APAC region. 
In this episode I am joined by Matt Hawkins, Global Account Director at CNet Training. Matt provides an excellent insight into the education pathways available in the data centre industry. We start by discussing how Matt first fell into data centres 16 years ago and how he has continued to develop his career in the sector.We then discuss the various education pathways available in the industry...First up is the availability of education at entry level and the pathways into the industry. We then look at cross sector training and the education opportunities available for those in other sectors that want to transfer to data centres. Finally we discuss upskilling and the various education options available for those in the industry looking for further development.This is a must listen for anyone looking for education pathways in the data centre industry!
In this episode I am joined by Amber Villegas-Williamson, Technical Consultant at Uptime Institute. Amber is an experienced data centre engineer who has an excellent insight into the industry and some great ideas on how we can attract new talent to join us in the data centre sector.We discuss how Amber developed her interest in engineering during school and how a teacher suggested to head down the engineering route in further education. Amber studied electrical engineering at college and university and has now developed a successful career in data centres.We then discuss what Uptime Institute is and the importance of the organisation within the data centre sector.Finally we discuss the various challenges around attracting new talent and how events like 'I'm an engineer get me out of here' can positively impact the sector. Amber shares insights on  how we can look to other sectors for ideas around diversity and attraction, the importance of collaboration, and her work as a STEM mentor.Amber has some excellent views on the industry and this episode is a must listen for anyone looking at implementing new talent strategies.
In this episode I am joined by Gil Santaliz - CEO and Founder of NJFX based in New Jersey, US. Gil is a highly successful entrepreneur who is now leading and developing NJFX, a carrier neutral landing station campus. We discuss how Gil first started his career in the telecommunications sector and how he was first introduced to data centers. Gil talks about how necessity forced him to establish 4connections in 2001 which he took to a successful sale after only 7 years. He then spent some time on the golf course which is where the concept of NJFX was first established. We then discuss NJFX and the importance of the sub-sea sector within data centres. Gil gives his insight into the impact of hyperscalers on the sub-sea sector and whether we will see more facilities constructed at landing points in the future.Finally we discuss the importance of mentors and how Gil is highly motivated to do all he can to help the next generation develop highly successful careers.Gil is very passionate about the industry and provides some valuable insights into the importance of the sub-sea sector and life as a successful entrepreneur.
In this weeks episode I am joined by Andrew Schaap, CEO at Aligned. Andrew has had a highly successful career in the data center industry and he is now the leader of one of the most exciting and cutting edge infrastructure technology organisations in the US.We discuss how Andrew started his career in real estate and how a hiring freeze resulted in him starting his own software company. We then discuss how Andrew entered the data center industry and how he developed a highly successful career within Digital Realty before making the move to Aligned.Finally we discuss Aligned and the great work they are doing in the industry. We discuss the technology solutions they have introduced, the focus on scalability and sustainability, the Aligned DNA, and how people are at the centre of everything they do.  We also touch on Andrew's role as a STEM mentor and the importance of sharing our knowledge to develop the next generation of talent within the data centre industry.Andrew is an engaging leader who is passionate about the data center industry. It is a great listen!
In this weeks episode I am joined by Matt Pullen,  EVP Managing Director for CyrusOne Europe.  After initially training as a pilot Matt has developed a highly successful career in the data center industry and has an excellent view of the European data centre region.  We discuss how Matt first trained as a pilot before re-training in real estate prior to starting his career in data centres with CBRE. Following over twenty years within CBRE Matt joined Zenium who went on to be acquired by CyrusOne. We then discuss how Matt began his role within CyrusOne and what it has been like being a leader of a major business unit within the last 12 months.  We then discuss CyrusOne's operations in Europe taking a look at London and the FLAP(D) markets. We also discuss the emerging markets in Europe and the future plans for CyrusOne in the region.   Matt offers a great insight into the European market and the future plans of data centre development in the region.  
In this episode I am joined by Marc Roberts, Operations Director at Lean Construction International. Marc has experience within a number of sectors and is now utilising his knowledge to enhance construction methodology in the data centre industry.We discuss how Marc first started his career and the experience he has gained from working within various different sectors. We then discuss how he has implemented LEAN methodology to improve performance and the importance of process. Finally we discuss how Marc is now implementing his experience to improve the construction process within data centres and how important it is to have a clear plan from the onset of the project. We talk about the benefits of process, the importance of the acid test, Marc's top tips on implementing process change,  and how the data centre industry is adapting to the challenges of rapid growth. Marc provides some excellent advice on how the industry can improve processes and he also throws in some Bruce Lee quotes! 
In this episode I am joined by Theresa O'Brien, Global Talent Resourcing Leader within CBRE Data Centre Solutions. Theresa provides an excellent insight into the challenges around talent attraction within a global organisation and the solutions being developed to overcome the challenges we all face.We discuss how Theresa started her career in recruitment and how she first gained exposure to the data centre industry. We then discuss Theresa's career within CBRE and her current role as a global talent leader.We also discuss the challenges faced today within the data centre talent space, including diversity, attracting the next generation of talent, retention, global trends, and brand awareness. Theresa provides a great insight how CBRE and the sector as a whole is working together to manage the challenges and develop solutions to help the long term growth of the sector. This is an excellent insight into the day to day reality of the talent challenges faced within the data centre sector. 
In this episode I am joined by Ed Galvin, CEO of DC Byte. Ed has a background in data centre real estate and a gap in the market resulted in Ed creating the Data Centre Analytical platform, DC Byte.We discuss how Ed was once planning on training as a chef but opted for studying theology at university and then an MA in property at Cass Business School. After starting his career in the commercial property market Ed then made the move to CBRE and entered the world of data centres. After seeing a gap in the market for a more consultative approve Ed established an advisory consultancy and then went on to create and launch the analytics platform DC Byte.We then discuss DC Byte and how the platform has changed the face of data centre research and analytics. We discuss the trends in the market, such as the geography of new developments, FLAP or FLAD, sustainability and power demand.We even touch on Starlink and how advances in technology will influence the data centre market in the future.Ed has a great holistic view of the industry and is clearly passionate about the sector. It is great listen! 
In this episode I am joined by Guy Willner, CEO and Chairman of IXcellerate and IXAfrica. Guy has had an amazing career in the data centre industry having developed a number of DC organisations across various regions. An interest in cars and engineering resulted in Guy taking a degree in engineering in the UK and following a few years of working in Cable TV Guy established IXEurope with a business partner. After securing major funding they went on to develop a highly successful data centre organisation that was acquired by Equinix. Guy then went on to hold senior roles within Equinix, Teraco, and various other data centre organisations.After an opportunity presented itself Guy established IXcellerate in Russia which is now the 2nd largest data centre platform in Russia. We discuss the challenges of developing a company in Russia and the future plans for the company. We also discuss the challenges faced by the industry today and how we can manage these challenges as the industry rapidly expands.If you want to know what it is like to establish a data centre organisation then this is a must listen!
In this episode I am joined by Richard Irwin, Business Development Director : Mission Critical at Structuretone. After graduating in engineering at the University of Dundee Richard made the move to a sales role and then a lucky break resulted in him entering the data centre industry.We discuss why Richard pursued a career in engineering, how he ended up in a sales role, and how a lucky break resulted in a career in data centres. We discuss how he has developed a rounded career in the data centre industry and why he made the decision to join Structuretone.We then look at the current challenges in the industry, the demands of the clients, the value of collaboration, and how Structuretone are taking a unified approach to delivering data centre projects across all regions. Richard has a well rounded view of the industry and he has an excellent understanding of clients demands in the current market.
In this episode I am joined by Todd Cushing, President of 1623 Farnam based in Omaha, US. Todd has spent his career in the data center industry and he is now responsible for a major interconnectivity facility in the US. We start by discussing how Todd started his career in the data center sector at the age of 16 and how he has worked in the industry ever since. We then discuss Todd's career path, the time he spent with CBRE, and the reasons for seeking a return to a role that allowed him to get his 'hands dirty'. Finally we discuss 1623 Farnam and the offering they provide within the US. Todd outlines the history of the building (it was once a bank), the challenges of developing a live multi-storey facility, and the importance of 1623 Farnam to connectivity in the US.Todd has extensive experience in the data center sector and offers excellent advice to those looking to join the industry. Enjoy! 
In this episode I am joined by Muhammad Khan, Studio Director at Stephen George & Partners LLP. After graduating in architecture at the University of Strathclyde, Muhammad has gone on to develop a successful career in the industry and he now has a focus on mission critical projects. We discuss how Muhammad's enjoyment of art resulted in him pursuing a career in architecture, how he initially gained exposure to the data centre industry, and how the design of data centres continues to develop as the industry expands.We then discuss Muhammad's role in mentoring the future generation of architects, how important this is to ensure knowledge is shared across the industry, and how we need to ensure that everyone is aware of the career opportunities within the data centre sector.Muhammad is a great example of someone who is keen to ensure his knowledge is shared across the industry to future proof the talent working in the sector. The more we share, the more we learn!   
In this episode I am joined by Nigel Clarkson, Co-Founder and Global Head of Property at Stratus Data Centres. Nigel is a data centre entrepreneur with extensive experience developing facilities and platforms across the globe.We discuss how Nigel left Australia to go backpacking across Europe and ended up joining British Telecom where he first gained exposure to data centres. We talk through Nigel's experience developing data centre platforms for major investors and how the industry has changed throughout his career.Finally we discuss the plans for Stratus Data Centres and the challenges they face as they develop a major data centre platform across the world. We discuss the demands from the clients, the challenges faced in different locations, and how speed to market is essential in the current climate. This discussion gives a great insight into how the data centre industry has developed and the challenges faced when developing data centres in a data driven world.  
In this episode I am joined by Jen Reininger, Senior Consultant for ESD in the US. Jen has developed a successful career in the data center industry and is now in a position that has great exposure to the activity in the US and other global markets.We discuss how Jen first entered the data center industry, how she worked her way up within Cyrus One, and why she made the decision to join ESD. We also look at diversity in the industry, how the approach to diversity has developed, and what the industry can do to attract a more diverse workforce.Finally we discuss the data center market in the US and what challenges are currently faced by those organisations expanding in the region. This is a great open discussion about Jen's career and the challenges faced by the industry. Jen has an excellent perception of the industry and some great ideas on how the industry can adapt as it rapidly expands. 
In this episode I am joined by Phillip Marangella, Chief Marketing Officer for EdgeConneX.  Phillip has developed a highly successful career in the data center industry and he is now a senior leader in an organisation at the forefront of data center development across the US and Europe. We discuss how Phillip first entered the data centre industry, how his career has developed, and what the industry can do to attract more talent including a discussion around a college programme he helped to establish with the Infrastructure Masons. We also discuss the challenges faced by the industry around sustainability and improving user experience.EdgeConneX are a dynamic and rapidly expanding organisation that now has a footprint across the US and in Europe. Phillip discusses how the organisation has evolved and what they are doing to maintain their position as a market leader.Enjoy!
In this episode I am joined by Lee Kirby, Chairman and Co-Founder of Salute Mission Critical. Lee has led an amazing life having spent the majority of his life in the United States Army Reserve while also developing a successful career in data centers. Lee began his career in the military and then moved into the world of networking and data centers. After developing a successful career in the data center industry Lee then made the decision to form Salute Mission Critical. Salute Mission Critical was built by veterans for veterans and it offers an amazing opportunity for former military personnel to join the data center industry. We discuss the reasons why Lee established the organisation, the excellent training they provide, how they have adapted in the last 12 months, and what the future looks like for the company. Lee also provides some amazing examples of people who have benefited from his organisations great work. Lee also offers some excellent leadership advice that can help us all become better leaders.  Enjoy!
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