Since 2014, hyperscale data centre operator EdgeConneX and global veterans’ talent empowerment firm, Salute Mission Critical, have been partnering to change the lives of thousands of veterans across the Americas, Europe and soon in Asia.
Fighting stigmas and preconceptions, the two brands have walked hand in hand to train and help war heroes become valuable team members of the data centre community, be it within the EdgeConneX footprint be it outside it, showcasing once more, a prime example of how the industry can step over rivalries for the greater good.
“Salute is global,” said EdgeConneX’s CMO Philip Marangella in this latest JSA TV interview. “It is military veterans from all countries around the world. The framework that Lee Kirby [chairman and co-founder of Salute Mission Critical] established to help veterans migrate from the military into the commercial sector is fantastic and it can be applied anywhere.
“We leverage them in South America, as well as in Europe where we have close to 100 Salute people supporting our facilities across the region and then obviously North America. As we scale out, it’s kind of hand in hand when it comes to both our growth and theirs. This is key to help have that operational consistency that we have established in our other data centres around the world. That’s why we have this kind of great symbiotic partnership together.”
Salute’s work has seen more than 600MW of data centre power serviced by trained veterans working for over 250 clients worldwide.
The team of veterans comprises all branches of the military with an average of 35% from the Army, 35% from the Marines, 20% from the Navy, and 10% from the Air Force ranks.
The brand has an office presence in 12 countries and works alongside 15 countries’ militaries. Salute continues to constantly expand as more military organisations join the mission and the business follows its customers.
With EdgeConneX, chairman Kirby is clear: “I have never seen a more productive partnership in my whole career, and we have expanded bringing value to each other. That is just incredible.”
Salute helps EdgeConneX deploy, maintain, manage, and secure data centres with military precision and high-quality results.
“The folks that we recruit, and train don’t show up on site the next day,” explains Kirby. “There’s weeks and months of training that go into it, and then months and years of mentoring. Only then they get onto the operations teams.
“To partner up with great companies like EdgeConneX gives us the ability to keep going on a
sustainable basis because as veterans grow in their skills and move on into our client ranks, we have friends on the inside. We continue to backfill them and grow that service contract behind the scenes.
“What we hope to do is educate the industry that the veterans they were trying to recruit are
awesome and they should keep recruiting them. Historically, operators were going after such a small slice that they were going just after the veterans that had similar skill sets that they could drop into jobs and immediately become available.”
This is a message that EdgeConneX understood earlier on, hence its longstanding partnership with Salute. This is also reflected in the EdgeConneX’ Customers, People, Planet mission, that is bringing to the forefront of the business what really matters.
“The Customers, People, Planet initiative comes from our CEO Randy Brouckman where he says let’s focus on three things,” says Marangella. “First, our customers and giving them what they want, where they want, when they want – making sure they’re always satisfied by offering the best data centre services possible.
“Secondly, it’s our people. We always talk about technologies and various widgets, cooling and so on. That’s important but the most important assets are the people that are running it, operating it, and making it happen. You’ve got to take care of your people.
“Then obviously the planet. The data centre industry is quite good overall to self-regulate and we always
collaborate really well; we’re quite efficient – as much as we can be – but we’re always looking for ways to improve and how to be greener, not just from a PUE perspective but from a water perspective as well as from a people perspective.”
The key word in it all really is “people”. People-customers, people-teams, people-environment. The human capital of any business is the most precious of the venture. Without it, the cash capital will not materialise.
In this chat between JSA Europe’s João Marques Lima, Marangella and Kirby, the three delve into all the above in more detail as well as explore other projects actively reshaping the people conversation in the sector.
From EdgeConneX and the Infrastructure Masons’ Capstone project to Salute’s acceleration and future plans: without forgetting what’s next for the EdgeConneX/Salute partnership, this is a chat that not only explores how two businesses have come together to make the data centre world a better place but shares best practices on how others can join the change.
To view a recent discussion by Phillip and Lee, please tune in to EdgeTV here.