AFCOM has announced the finalists for its annual “Data Center Manager of the Year” award. The 2014 finalists are Dave Leonard, Chief Data Center Office atViaWest; Robert McClary Senior Vice President & General Manager at FORTRUST; and Jason Pfaff, Vice President, North America DCaaSat IO.These IT professionals have all been recognized for outstanding leadership and excellence in the field of data center management.The Data Center Manager of the Year winner will be announced during a special reception at 2014 Spring Data Center World during a special luncheon on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 12:15–1:30pm.

“Nomination for the Data Center Manager of the Year award marks the pinnacle of professional achievement in our industry,” said Tom Roberts, president of AFCOM and chairperson of Data Center World. “These three individuals stand out at as leaders for their companies and demonstrate clear leadership in the Data Center industry. In a business that evolves as rapidly as ours, Dave Leonard, Rob McClary and Jason Pfaff are leading the way.”

AFCOM’s Data Center Manager of the Year Award recognizes outstanding leadership and excellence in the field of data center and facilities management. Award recipients are effective leaders who run highly efficient data centers, giving their company an edge in the industry. The award embodies innovation, organization, versatility and ambition in data center management. Judging criteria is based on the following characteristics: tenure of excellence, history of innovation, superior customer service, positive team environment, and community focus.

  • Dave Leonard,  Chief Data Center Officer, ViaWest

As Chief Data Center Officer, Dave Leonard directs the design and construction of new data centers and data center expansions, as well as defining the standards and practices for operation of ViaWest’s data centers. He is also responsible for strategy and positioning of the data center colocationproduct lines.

Prior to ViaWest, Leonard founded Critical Infrastructure Consulting LLC., and was the chief technology officer of Infocrossing for nine years. He was also the chief technology officer for (i)Structure, a division of Level(3) Communications which Infocrossing later acquired. Prior to that, Leonard was chief technology officer of Corporate Express, Inc. based in Broomfield, Colorado.

Leonard is also a Fellow at the Uptime Institute, the leading educational and standards organization in the data center industry, and is a judge for their annual Green IT awards in the Data Center Design category. Leonard holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Texas Christian University.

  • Robert McClary, Senior Vice President & General Manager, FORTRUST

Rob McClary joined FORTRUST in 2001, and continues to hold the critical role of building the company into the premier data center services provider and colocation facility that it is today. As Sr. VP & GM, he is responsible for the overall supervision of business operations, high-profile construction and the strategic technical direction of FORTRUST. Rob developed and implemented the process controls and procedures that support the continuous uptime and reliability that FORTRUST’s customers seek.

Rob developed and honed his management philosophy, attention to detail and strict process standards during his 16-year tenure in the United States Navy serving in both enlisted and officer roles.  Rob completedover 25 service, engineering, technical, leadership and management schools and courses while in the United States Navy and is a graduate of Southern Illinois University. Additionally, Rob received designation as an Accredited Tier Specialist (ATS) by the Uptime Institute in 2010.

  • Jason Pfaff, Vice President, North America DCaaS, IO

Jason Pfaff brings over 15 years of related experience to the benefit of the data center industry, 12 of which have been directly managing data centers. He has been directly involved in the design, build, and operation of 1.5 million sq. ft. and 175MW of power. Since his time at IO, he has been Senior Vice President and a pivotal leader in the data center transformation from raised floors into the new age of modules.

Jason oversees all of North America for IO, which equates to 1.3 million sq. ft./four sites, and is specifically responsible for the successful construction, commission and delivery of a 12 MW dedicated data center suite in only 90 days.

Prior to joining IO, he worked for Sterling Network Exchange, where he and his team were at the forefront of innovation, as they were the first group to install Stulz plug fan technology in a data center in Arizona.


The Spring Data Center World 2014 will be held April 28 – May 2 at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Highlights of this five-day conference include:

  • Keynote Session, “The Emerging Market Data Center Revolution” by Scott Noteboom
  • Panel presentations moderated by Jason dePreaux of IHS and Jennifer Koppy of IDC

The schedule for the Spring 2014 Data Center World can be found here.