AFCOM has announced the finalists for its annual “Data Center Manager of the Year” award. The 2011 finalists are: Billie Haggard, senior vice president, data centers, CoreSite; Tom Roberts, manager, data center facilities, Trinity Information Services; and Abdulaziz Al-Shafi, administrator of IT computer operations, Saudi ARAMCO, are all being recognized for outstanding leadership and excellence in the field of data center management. The Data Center Manager of the Year recipient will be announced on March 30 during the 2011 Spring Data Center World conference.

The award, developed by AFCOM, recognizes information technology leaders whose qualities embody innovation, organization and versatility in data center and facilities management. The winner must be an effective leader, run a highly efficient data center, work well under pressure, possess strong communication skills and keep up-to-date on the latest technologies in order to maintain his or her company’s edge.

Billie Haggard, senior vice president, data centers, CoreSite: Billie Haggard’s innovation in recent data center build-outs is exemplified through his design and utilization of air economizers and use of 100 percent rooftop mechanical systems, resulting in a zero footprint for the air handlers required in the data center. Haggard demonstrated a commitment to a design philosophy that highlights high reliability, maintainability, sustainability and availability of the mission without any compromise to efficiency. This dedication, creativity and inspiring management style made Haggard stand out and become a finalist in this year’s competition.

Tom Roberts, manager, data center facilities, Trinity Information Services: After devoting nearly 30 years of his career to Trinity Information Services, Tom Roberts has many accomplishments under his belt. This year, Roberts implemented a hot/cold aisle containment approach into his data centers, which resulted in a 10 percent decrease in utility consumption. Roberts also makes additional ongoing efforts to educate “server and network folks” about facilities management, and to foster understanding and innovation. Roberts’ work has labeled him an innovator in the growing field of Healthcare IT, as his supervisor describes, “[Roberts] is the lifeblood of the Trinity Information Services’ data center modernization efforts.”

Abdulaziz Al-Shafi, administrator of IT computer operations, Saudi ARAMCO: As many data center managers understand, transitioning out aging facilities and mainframes can be difficult. Abdulaziz Al-Shafi managed to upgrade current data centers without downtime to the corporate and oil and gas computer services, including the historical transformation from mainframe to a SAP environment. To do this, Al-Shafi designed a way to host thousands of IT servers and storage infrastructures in his older data centers. As he identified the need for a new corporate data center to support new technologies and the company’s growth, he saved substantial capital cost via consolidating different business line requirements into one project. The new data center is the first of its sophistication in the Middle East, and is expected to serve Saudi ARAMCO for at least the next two decades.

“Every year, we understand how picking the ‘Data Center Manager of the Year’ is very competitive; however, this year’s pool of deserving candidates made narrowing the field down to three the most difficult decision we’ve faced in years,” said Jill Yaoz, chief executive officer of AFCOM. “From exercises in deploying green or cloud technologies, to building entirely new facilities, it is truly inspiring to see the creativity and innovation AFCOM members are demonstrating in the field. This year’s finalists came up with solutions and ideas many of us had never seen before, and we are excited they are willing to share what they’ve learned and discovered with the rest of the community at Data Center World.”

For more than 30 years, Data Center World has been the largest global event of its kind and has been named one of the 50 fastest growing tradeshows in the U.S. It is often regarded as the premier networking and educational event by data center managers and industry professionals. The 2011 Spring Data Center World will be held March 27-31 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Highlights during this five day conference include:
  • A Keynote Session, “Leadership in Adversity” and “Threats to American Security,” by former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton.
  • “Data Loss Disasters: When the Best Plans Fail,” information every data and facility manager needs to know when crisis strikes, including future trends and emerging technologies in disaster recovery and hybrid storage-utilizing the cloud to mitigate disaster risk.
  • A special discussion with AFCOM and the Data Center Institute on “The State of the Data Center,” results from a survey conducted in early 2011 on the top issues data center managers are facing today.