Diversity, equality, and inclusion is more than just a goal for the technology world — it’s a necessity. That’s why Mission Critical hosts the annual Women in Technology contest. As the demands for data generation, consumption, sharing, storage, processing, and more continue to grow and cybercriminals become increasingly more threatening, it’s clear that the industry needs more people to collaborative on innovative solutions to consumer needs, sustainable connectivity, and cyber safe infrastructure.
Women from all over the world in a wide range of technology sectors, including data centers, health care, and food processing, were nominated for their admirable contributions to the industry and the people who rely on it.
As Rebecca Ellis, president of Questions & Solutions Engineering Inc. and one of this year’s winners, so matter-of-factly put it, “If technology is to benefit all people, then all people need to be represented in the development and application of that technology.”
And, with that, Mission Critical is excited to introduce you to the 2022 Top 25 Women in Technology.
Title: President and Immersion Cooling Ambassadress
Company: Alcatex Data Center Services
Education: Bacherlor of Arts in business sdministration
Professional Credentials/Accreditations: Certified Data Center Energy Practitioner (DCEP).
Organizational Affiliations: AFCOM, iMasons
Achievements/Awards: Celebrating 28 years as a women-owned business
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
Starting out my data center career in 1995, I was part of the 1% of women in a sea of men.
I was never intimidated and, honestly, loved the challenge.
What inspires you to do what you do?
“Pay no attention to that man behind the Curtain.”
It's a famous quote from "The Wizard of Oz," but it also pertains to the data center industry and how many people have no idea how it works, or even how important it is. It honestly makes me feel like I am in a very special club of people who "get it," and the future is so very exciting in this space.
What role does sustainability play in your life?
I always want to be careful not to just hashtag “sustainability.” It is far too easy these days to use it as a buzzword. We need to really explore what it means and why. How do we actually get there?
I love the Open Compute Project, and I have been involved in several groups for a few years, but recently joined the sustainability discussion group, which is in fact, led by a woman. I am so glad to be a part of that discussion and setting these standards for the industry.
What is the most fascinating thing you have learned while working in this industry?
I am one of those blessed women who has the opportunity to work with her husband. For 28 years, in fact, and I am always fascinated by Carlton and his ability to assess data center infrastructure problems and find solutions. It is truly a gift.
What’s something unique about you personally?
I am tall and maybe a little loud. I embrace them both though.
What’s something unique about you professionally?
I consider myself an ambassadress for immersion cooling technology.
I believe it to be the future of the data center, but no, I am not from the future (I have been asked that on LinkedIn lol).
What’s your most admirable quality?
My favorite “act of love” is to cook for my huge family. We have seven children and nine grandchildren — in Texas, we call that a “herd” — but I love every minute of it.
Why is diversity, equality, and inclusion important to you?
Many times, early in my data center career, as I mentioned, there were very few women being represented. It is so great to see this evolve over the years and have a much more diversified group at the trade shows. Also, there are many groups for women in technology that we can get involved in to uplift each other.
What aspect of the industry do you think has the most potential for growth, and, on the other hand, which aspect do you think needs the most improvement?
The U.S. Department of Energy has such a great program with the Data Center Energy Practitioner certification, and I would love to see more from them. The Better Build Challenge for data centers needs to be accelerated and more incentives implemented for energy-efficient technologies.
Women DCEP’s are also the minority, and I would like to see that change.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
The data center of the future definitely should not look the same as it does now. For one reason: energy efficiency. I believe we will see hybrid data centers for several years moving forward, with a mix of technologies, such as immersion cooling.