I attended the Critical Facilities Summit in Nashville this past October, in fact, I mentioned it in my 2018 November/December “Critical Thoughts” column. Because there is never enough space when you need it, I wanted to use this column to mention the general session I attended during the conference, which was held on Tuesday, October 16 titled “Diversity in Critical Facilities.” The panel discussion featured Carrie Goetz, RCDD, CDCS, CDCP, global director of technology for Paige DataCom Solutions; Enoch Moeller hardware operations site manager for Google; and Kylash Ramesh, management analyst, Division of Facilities Operations & Maintenance for the National Institutes of Health.

The description of the session states, “The competition for talent for data centers and other types of critical facilities is intense. And as the Baby Boom generation ages out of the workforce, it is essential for facility executives to look to a more diverse talent pool to find the skills, energy, and creativity needed to support critical operations.” The loss of institutional knowledge as well as the ongoing challenge to increase diversity are two sides of the same coin and are very real problems that need to be addressed. John Hewitt, president of the Americas at Vertiv, talks about this issue in our “State of the Industry, Part 2” panel discussion article starting on page 30. Hewitt says that his company is looking at non-traditional channels for potential employees such as non-degreed students or those with non-traditional degrees for IT careers. Hewitt also says that the cloud and IT will bridge the gap between generations.  What does this technology look like and how will it be used? What are other ways to overcome obstacles to increase diversity? What steps can be taken to increase diversity? We will be covering this fascinating and evolving topic and answering these questions in future issues. Stay tuned.