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Red, White, and Green: The EdgeConneX Eco-Friendly Veteran’s Initiative

August 16, 2022

The business relationship between data center operator EdgeConneX and data center services company Salute Mission Critical has strong, deep roots. As both companies look to improve their role in environmental responsibility, the longstanding partnership is flourishing in new, green ways.

blog post title card graphicFor nearly ten years, Salute Mission Critical has been bridging the gap between a need for talent in the commercial IT operations sector on the one hand and military veteran underemployment on the other. They’ve recruited thousands of ex-military members and prepared them for roles in hyperscale, edge, and colocation facilities—many of them owned and managed by EdgeConneX. 81 Salute staff are currently dedicated to services contracts at EdgeConneX data centers worldwide.  Additionally, 12 Salute alumni are now EdgeConneX employees, having filled vacancies created because of rapid global growth. For Salute, that’s a good news story. This symbiotic relationship offers a chance to give veterans a rewarding experience at an innovative and growing company in the industry. For operators like EdgeConneX, the partnership brings together a proven data center services company whose model has disrupted the industry with a proven resource dedicated to recruiting eager technicians with some already skilled in data center processes and environments and all possessing transferrable skills that quickly adapt to the new roles. Beyond benefits that are strictly business-based, it’s also an outlet for the company to do some good. As Salute Chairman and Co-Founder Lee Kirby says, “Hiring veterans and military spouses is the smart thing to do, but also the right thing to do.”

The relationship between Salute and EdgeConneX started in 2014, and its success has created growth in many important ways since that initial partnership. To begin, the partnership has grown in depth, with Salute-trained team members taking on greater responsibilities and more varied positions. Next, the partnership has grown geographically. EdgeConneX now employs Salute personnel in Europe, North America, and South America—representing military veterans from 14 countries. Additionally, the partnership has grown in diversity. Over 65% of EdgeConneX’s Salute team members come from a minority ethnic background. In addition, the Salute contingent has grown to encompass not only military veterans but members of the entire military community (guard, reserve, military spouses and families).

The partnership has grown in another important way: environmental sustainability practice. Over the years, both organizations have placed greater importance on ecological stewardship, and have grown individually and collaboratively to become greener. Salute measures commitment to sustainability in three key ways: by focusing on Salute, its clients, and the world. The internal Salute focus drives sustainability practices throughout the organization and uses the ESG score as an effective means of tracking progress to a recognized global standard. The client-focus has driven lean operating models to the market and gained the ISO 14001 certification, a mark of environmental management that contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Thirdly is Salute’s focus on working globally for the benefit of all and sharing best practices, such as the recently released Green Purchasing Policy, which was implemented with the objective to eliminate product-based greenhouse gasses to zero in the next three years and has proven so effective that Salute shared the policy to help those who had not yet progressed to that point.

For EdgeConneX, sustainability’s growth in importance over the years is reflected in their ethos: Customers, People, Planet. Whereas the customers and people component reflect internal and external stakeholders, the planet portion is dedicated solely to diminishing environmental impact. EdgeConneX’ objective is to become carbon-, waste-, and water-neutral in the next eight years through initiatives like moving to renewable energy and employing green finance instruments. EdgeConneX’ stated ethos served to affirm and reinforce their relationship with Salute.

“Salute Mission Critical’s veterans training and placement programs change lives every day. The EdgeConneX team is honored to work alongside them as they apply their critical skills, high integrity, and military precision to support our world-class data centers globally. Our mutual collaboration is even more impactful as we both share a dedication to environmental sustainability. It’s a winning combination and a partnership we deeply value.” – Randy Brouckman, CEO for EdgeConneX

Although both organizations charted their sustainability courses independently, both companies share a similar vision dedicated to being good stewards of our environment. “EdgeConneX’s Customers People Planet mission truly resonates with Salute’s sustainable data center operations mission,” says Kirby.

Building off each other, eco-friendly business practice is now a fundamental pillar of their relationship—culminating in both organizations serving as founding members of the new iMasons Climate Accord. “I’ve never seen a partnership that is so symbiotic,” explains Kirby, “We are thrilled to be in close collaboration with the EdgeConneX team.” Between Salute and EdgeConneX, doing business always has a green light.