CAPRE’s Carolinas Data Center Summit Preview: Envirotrol’s Robin Aron Says Megatrends like Population Growth Fueling Demand for Mission Critical Infrastructure
CHARLOTTE, NC — Robin Aron is Vice President of Envirotrol and serves voluntarily as Executive Director of the 7×24 Exchange Carolinas Chapter. 7×24 Exchange International is the leading knowledge exchange for those who design, build, use and maintain mission-critical enterprise information infrastructures. 7×24 Exchange’s goal is to improve end-to-end reliability by promoting dialogue among these groups. Envirotrol provides facility management systems and operations support services for mission critical, healthcare, and heavy commercial and industrial facilities. Its services include energy audits and energy efficiency studies, design services for design-build projects, clean room certifications, room particle counts, light and sound level measurement, building/room pressurization testing, smoke tests, duct leak testing, and emergency response for TAB and commissioning needs. CAPRE connected with Robin in advance of CAPRE’s Carolinas Data Center Summit to learn about the latest from both organizations as well as the Carolinas data center arena.
Aron: We are enjoying a thriving economy in the Carolinas, with lots of construction going on this year, as a continuation of last year. We are growing our controls business and successfully expanding our technology play to include security offerings of access control and CCTV. The overall growth within our organization over the past year has been substantial and we’re excited for what the future holds.
CAPRE: What kind of market demands are driving this growth? Why do people pick up their phone to call Envirotrol?
Aron: There are several mega trends that we’re seeing in the world regarding people and the migration into more urban areas. With that, and the increase of IoT and connected devices, all of those trends are driving technology into facilities in a way that they’ve not been before. Especially when you consider that 80% of millennials say that workplace technology will affect their decisions in whether they’ll take jobs. So people are vying for good talent – and doing everything they can to attract that talent. 10,000 baby boomers are retiring out of the workforce every day, and millennials and Gen-Xers will be the majority workforce in short order. There is a lack of people to fill these open roles. People are being driven to find strong technology platforms and partners when building or retrofitting facilities systems.
CAPRE: How is Envirotrol addressing this need?
Aron: Envirotrol is addressing that by offering a converged approach to the building systems that are going into facilities. A traditional approach would be 8 different networks installing by eight different contractors for building automation, lighting control, processes systems, security systems. and we’re approaching it with a converge approach – a single contractor providing common communications networks and fiber optics and integrating it all into one building system and creating truly smart buildings. People are operating buildings differently and occupants expectations are evolving.
CAPRE: What about the Carolinas specifically? What’s happening there?
Aron: Well 60 people were moving to the Charlotte metropolitan area every day as of 2018. Wake County gains an average of 63 residents a day as well. People in the Carolinas need to inject their facilities with the appropriate technology to support the densification of the urban areas and consider IoT and building connectivity in new ways.
CAPRE: What are you looking forward to about CAPRE’s Carolinas Data Center Summit?
Aron: Of course, connecting with industry friends and partners. Many members of the 7×24 Exchange Carolinas chapter represented as presenters. I’m the Executive Director of that chapter and I look forward to the input we’ll hear from many of them. CBRE’s Ben Rojahn is giving a presentation regarding the state of the data center industry in North Carolina, and I’m interested in his perspective on that. I’m also very excited to moderate the panel discussion regarding the 360 View of the Data Center market as well.
CAPRE: What kind of themes or topics will be most salient among data center professionals from the Carolinas?
Aron: Everyone in the Carolinas is interested in 5G and the changes we’ll see in the data center industry as a result. People are talking about the landscape of the colocation market, and how it’s shifting and changing. Plus, people are talking about the hyperscale clients and the race to the Cloud. There is a tremendous expansion and growth required – and how will that impact North Carolina? Are there opportunities for a significant impact, since we do have some of the hyperscale players in our market?
CAPRE: How is the colo market shifting and changing?
Aron: It used to be very saturated. Everyone was getting into the market several years ago. small colos were popping up everywhere, and now they’re getting acquired. And I believe a handful will rise to the top to acquire these smaller colos. The models they have may be very different. We’re not going to have so many divested colocations as we do now.
CAPRE: What is a challenge facing the Carolinas?
Aron: I don’t know that it’s a challenge necessarily, but many areas in our country are very well suited to and experiencing significant growth. Look at Texas and Northern Virginia, they are very attractive. So we have to compete with markets like that. A couple of years ago, there were only a few good markets, but now there are a multitude of good markets. Many areas across the country are doing very good things to attract data center business.
CAPRE: What is the most exciting aspect of the Carolinas data center arena?
Aron: North Carolina has led the way in training up-and-coming data center operators. We’re proactive in that, with the development of the NCMCO (National Consortium of Mission Critical Operators) curriculum at Cleveland Community College, a two-year program that is now being adopted at other colleges. It’s helping fuel the new workforce, as we see many people in our industry retire every day. We’re very proud that CAPRE has agreed to help the 7×24 Carolinas Chapter efforts, by providing 10% of the proceeds of this event to our Bob Cashner Memorial Scholarship fund that we distribute annually.
CAPRE: Thanks so much Robin. We look forward to seeing you in Charlotte.
Hear more from Aron at CAPRE’s Carolinas Data Center Summit May 14th, where she will participate in the 9:30 am – 10:30 am panel “Carolinas Data Center Market 360: An Overview of Capital Raising, Regional Development and Site Selection Advantages”