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International Data Center Day: Celebrating the Vital Role of the Data Center Industry
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International Data Center Day: Celebrating the Vital Role of the Data Center Industry

Today is International Data Center Day. This global celebration aims to raise awareness of the data center industry and draw attention to the massive role that data centers play in our digital economy. It also seeks to increase knowledge of the economic, employment, education and environmental benefits of data center industry projects.

So what is a data center? Data centers enable practically every digital service used by individuals and businesses worldwide. They are the backbone of modern cloud solutions and run every delivery service, ridesharing app, vacation-planning website and online marketplace, and are essential for training and running today’s most advanced artificial intelligence (AI) models and services.

With such a large role, it’s no surprise that the data center industry has been experiencing exponential growth. And, with the emergence of tomorrow’s truly disruptive AI applications, that growth is only expected to accelerate.

The industry’s expansion is driven by a vast ecosystem of individuals around the world with diverse skills, abilities and backgrounds. This diversity is essential in the modern data center industry requiring expertise in construction, skilled trades, networking and IT, real estate, finance, physical security and many other roles.

To demonstrate the importance of data centers and highlight the global and diverse nature of the workforce that is essential for the industry’s success, we spoke with several employees from Vantage Data Centers. These individuals represent the company’s global footprint and reflect the varied skills, abilities and talents needed in this crucial industry.

They include:

  • Janie Dugas, Director, Senior Corporate Counsel, NA
  • Ron Partin, Director, Construction, NA
  • Julian Fiandor, Senior Director, Engineering, EMEA
  • Anissa Habbouchi, Procurement Manager, EMEA
  • Archie Escalona, Senior Manager, Finance & Accounting, APAC
  • Poppy Tie, Real Estate Transaction Manager, APAC

During our conversation, we asked why they chose to work in the data center industry and why it’s exciting to be part of this rapidly growing sector.

Data Centers Today (DCT): What made you want to join the data center industry, or how did you get introduced to it?

Janie Dugas: Every facet of our lives involves digital data. Data centers are the heart of the Internet and the backbone of the digital economy, so I love being part of such a booming industry. I was previously working in real estate and construction industries. Given the rapid pace at which the need for data centers evolves, they are in constant acquisition and construction mode. There was continuity with the experience I had, and I seized the opportunity to join a wonderful company.

Ron Partin: I got into the data center industry because I needed a job out of college. I started as an air application engineer at Liebert – a data center cooling and electrical equipment manufacturer – in February 1996, and I have been in the industry ever since.

Julian Fiandor: I didn’t start in the data center industry intentionally. I was already working on mission-critical building environments in the transport industry – train stations and airports. Etix Everywhere, the company Vantage acquired to enter the European market, gave me the first opportunity to work in this industry, and the rest is history.

Anissa Habbouchi: I was introduced to the data center industry through my engineering background where I developed a strong interest in technology and how our digital world functions. I remember asking one of my teachers, ”How does the Internet work?“ He mentioned data centers.

Archie Escalona: I joined the data center industry in 2016, working in finance for a data center company. I believed then, as I do now, that data centers are key to the future because they support all our online activities.

In 2021, I moved to Vantage Data Centers, impressed by how fast the company was growing and how well its leaders were guiding that growth. Their vision and leadership confirmed my belief that I was in the right field, contributing to an important part of our digital world.

Poppy Tie: Earlier in my career, I was fortunate to be involved in a multifaceted project related to a hyperscale data center. Through this, I was exposed to the countless complexities involved in developing a data center, from start to finish.

I became fascinated by the vast digital world and the intricate infrastructure that supports it. This led me to continue pursuing opportunities within this industry, where I truly feel I am contributing to the backbone of global connectivity and innovation.

DCT: What do you find most rewarding about the data center industry?

Janie Dugas: The data center industry is one of the most demanding but rewarding sectors. One of the things I enjoy most is being part of a fast-growing industry, which allows us in the legal department to fine-tune existing procedures and implement new ones.

Ron Partin: It is very interesting to watch how trends change.

Years ago, it was very taboo to have water in a data center. Now, the industry is talking about bringing water to the racks to cool the IT equipment. Years ago, everyone had their own enterprise data center. Now most people are moving their computing needs to the cloud.

Julian Fiandor: Being an engineer by nature, and with a passion for the construction industry, there are few markets that can offer the mix of very complex technical challenges in all disciplines with a relatively fast development cycle of two to four years. This offers a timely reward of finishing a project before you get to the point of burnout.

Anissa Habbouchi: The crucial role data centers play in supporting the digital infrastructure of businesses and society is immensely gratifying. Having an impact in that means a lot to me.

Archie Escalona: The most rewarding aspect of working in the data center industry is its unique blend of stability and growth opportunities. It is unparalleled in other sectors.

The chance to contribute to the infrastructure enabling the digital economy is fulfilling and inspiring. Additionally, the industry’s dynamic nature ensures that there is always something new to learn, making it an ideal environment for professional development and career advancement.

Poppy Tie: One rewarding aspect of this industry is the tangible impact data centers have on individuals and businesses globally. Whether they influence the digital economy, secure sensitive data or just support everyday online experiences, being part of this industry brings a great sense of fulfilment and personal satisfaction.

Additionally, the ever-evolving nature and challenges of the industry keep me engaged and motivated. It also attracts intelligent and creative individuals, allowing for continuous learning, innovation and collective problem-solving.

DCT: What advice would you offer to anyone trying to get into the data center industry? 

Janie Dugas: One of Vantage’s core values is agility, and that’s the advice I’d give to anyone interested in joining the data center industry. Indeed, you must be able to adapt quickly because it’s a very dynamic environment and business.

Ron Partin: If you want to stay in this industry, you must be a student. You need to have a desire to learn. The industry will leave you behind if you don’t continue your education.

Julian Fiandor: Just do it, but be ready to invest the energy into it. We are responsible for enabling our society’s technological development.

Anissa Habbouchi: Depending on the role you seek, I recommend staying updated with industry trends and obtaining certifications. The data center industry is a small world, so networking with professionals in this field can also provide valuable guidance.

Archie Escalona: For those contemplating a career in the data center industry, my advice is to embrace the journey wholeheartedly. This field is characterized by its fast-paced evolution and its critical role in supporting our daily digital interactions.

If you’re prepared to learn, grow and thrive within a company at the forefront of innovation, then the data center industry is where you belong.

Poppy Tie: Go for it. This industry attracts people from a multitude of different educational and working backgrounds. There is always space and roles for agile individuals with a curiosity-driven mindset and an interest and passion in technology.

Technical skills and an up-to-date understanding of industry trends and technologies are helpful. But equally valuable are soft skills, such as problem-solving, collaboration and adaptability. I also suggest networking and expanding your professional network with individuals already in the industry.

If you’re interested in exploring a career in the data center industry, check out the job opportunities at Vantage Data Centers today.

Happy International Data Center Day!

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