Sharp as ever, we dove into the rather pedestrian ‘view of the market’ conversation. John’s answers were intelligent and poignant. Here is a guy who isn’t just spilling answers to fill a conversation. Instead, he is a subject matter expert with an opinion and a plan. His views spanned the increased commoditization of the data center space given adoption of cloud, the increased variability of adoption of technologies and services, and how Big Data affects the demand side of the equation more than the supply side of entrants into the market space. This wasn’t going to be any ordinary conversation. I buckled up.
John Regan is the vice president of acquisitions and due diligence – Data Center Division of Carter Validus Advisors, LLC. Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT, Inc. and the Advisor were founded by John Carter, a principal of Carter & Associates (a real estate firm specializing in Strategic Consulting Services, Asset Management, Institutional Investment Management and Equity Development based in Atlanta since 1958), after teaming with Mario Garcia and the Validus Group in 2009. The combined leadership team brought to market the first public non-traded REIT in December of 2010 to focus on the acquisition of long term net leased Mission Critical Health Care and Data Center facilities.
CVREIT’s Data Center Investment targets acquisition of colocation, wholesale, and enterprise facilities. Successfully acquiring and managing these data center and health care real estate assets requires a deep, fundamental understanding of the unique characteristics of these property types along with the specific requirements of each tenant. John is the proud owner of a phenomenal career. With over 27 years’ experience in the IT and facilities infrastructure space, he epitomizes the practical nature of hard work having its rewards. In summary, he is one of very few executives who truly bridge IT and facilities.
John’s early career started with Digital Equipment Corp. supporting Coopers & Lybrand and eventually joined Coopers. Years later, PriceWaterhouse acquired Coopers, creating PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and John progressed through national director roles in infrastructure delivery, network services, and eventually to data center services. During this time, he led teams of IT, facilities infrastructure engineers, and project managers through the execution of more than 26 million sq ft of real estate projects spanning renovations, restacks, retrofits, consolidations, and new build outs of PWC technology and facilities infrastructure projects. This is where the IT and facilities sides met at the river.
How did he do it? John earned his leadership role through “the value of practical experience, continuous learning on my own, challenging the status quo, identifying deficiencies, and having the courage to speak up to break down unproductive walls.”
Beyond the hard work, John points to a bit of fortune in the timing of a circumstance in 2010. He was one of very few people at PWC with security clearance. A PWC partner and board member requested to tour the Tampa Data Center along with a few U.S. ‘delegates.’ During the course of the tour, John Carter passed his business card to John Regan and asked that he call. Apparently, John Regan made such an impression with his knowledge and persona during the course of the tour that John Carter wanted to hire him. John wasn’t looking and while gratified by the interest, he didn’t respond. He had lots to do and lots going on.
Think Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Inception. Once planted, an idea grows. Over time John visualized the role and compared it with his own tenure and began to look at his career trajectory and time in life differently. What did he have to lose? John Carter handed him his card after all.
Rather than respond to John Carter’s inquiry and proposal to call, John Regan took ownership of the idea and developed a value proposition to present. In summary, he got his head around Carter Validus’ business and defined his own value in their growth interests. John thought, “If I could create 1% savings in the disposition of capital, it would more than rationalize the managing director role I envision, to start.” In short, he made the business case and designed his own role in the company.
We had very little time to address John’s three wishes. There was another asset or three to see before the week ended. John would like to see:
• A breakdown of silo between facilities management and IT. Time has passed for continued fiefdoms, which result in underachieving outcomes. Management has to have the will to change and evolve.
• An increased focus on standardization. We need tiering rules and regulations and contracts that can be applied across the board.
• A holistic adoption of energy management with focus on sustainability and pragmatic use of renewable energy sources.
John’s long tenure has been rewarded by the good fortune of an industry that values and needs his earned intellectual capital. A gratifying career. Well done, John. It’s all going your way.