CAPRE’s 2020 Digital Infrastructure Outlook Preview: DataCenterDNA’s Lee Smith Says Industry Needs to be “Sexy” to Address Skills Gap

CAPRE: Thanks for chatting with us Lee. Tell us about DataCenterDNA and your unique perspective there. Smith: Data Center DNA is a boutique consulting firm I founded in Northern Virginia over a year ago. Our focus is operational excellence. Sometimes a C-Suite has a strategic direction they want to take, but then there can be a lag between them and the operational execution. So we come in to see where those disconnects are and put things back together. We also look at organizations in terms of growth and expansion. We specialize in focusing on little-served edge markets, such as those in Asia or Africa, where companies might be looking to expand but perhaps they don’t have a full understanding of the challenges therein. CAPRE: As someone who has a bird’s eye view of the industry, what do you think is the most pressing issue facing the mission critical space? Smith: As an individual and professional, I have a soft spot for skills and educational growth within the industry, both domestically and abroad. The biggest challenge we’re facing is that we don’t do enough to market ourselves and the skills necessary for our industry as, for lack of a better word, sexy. It can be very, well, uncool. We need to do more to grab the attention of middle school, high school, and college students to get them to envision themselves as having a role in this industry. What’s perplexing is…