Eugene’s Story: From Construction Worker to High Tech Project Manager
Eugene Ellison served in the US Army for 20 years and served as Provost Marshall and Network/Comms Technician during his military career. He enlisted in the military because he felt like it was the right thing to do – and it gave him a unique opportunity to see the world.
Upon discharge, he launched a transportation company, but after several years and a cross-country move, he was ready for a new career path where he could apply the discipline he learned from his time in the military. It was also important for him to find a company that would show the same dedication to him as he would put into his work.
Although he got his foot in the door in the telecommunications industry, something just did not feel right. Eugene felt the construction company he was employed with would not provide the stability he desired for a long-term career – so he sought out a new and different position.
When Salute and Eugene connected, it proved to be a perfect match: he possessed the strong work ethic and broad skill set that Salute seeks out, while Eugene appreciated the respect, support and on-the-job training that Salute offers each of their team members.
He jumped headfirst into Salute’s comprehensive training and certification program – studying new equipment and installation protocol. “I got CompTIA A+, but as soon as I opened the Schneider University Data Center Certified Associate (DCCA) course, it was over,” he says. “I wanted to know everything about data centers and DCIM.”
Soon after joining Salute, an opportunity became available with EdgeConneX, a global edge data center company with a history of working with Salute to provide manpower to support their mission-critical facilities. EdgeConneX needed a trainable, adaptable technician to support one of their west coast data centers. They were also looking for someone with experience in cable & wire installation and physical security – which lined up with the background of Eugene, who not only was military trained but also had civilian real-world experience with positions that included Install Tech, Tech Lead and Project Coordinator. An added bonus? Not only did he have a background in physical security, but also expertise in counterterrorism that he gained in the military.
Salute provided Eugene with specialized training to take on the role as an EdgeConneX Remote Hands Technician to support both EdgeConneX and their customers within that facility, including a major global computer software company. After a little more than a year, he was promoted to Data Center Project Manager at EdgeConneX to oversee support of that same major software company on the east coast.
“EdgeConneX helped open my eyes to data centers,” Eugene explains. “Salute gave me a solid training foundation, and by working onsite at the EdgeConneX facility, I was given a very comprehensive education on the inner workings of data centers from A to Z, beyond just cable and wire. EdgeConneX is very innovative and constantly growing and changing, so I’ve had the added benefit of constantly working with new, cutting-edge equipment, which satisfies my desire to always learn new things. It’s been a game changer, for sure. I went from working lower paying jobs and wondering what my future would hold to becoming a specialized tech professional thanks to Salute. Joining up with them has basically reshaped my life for the better.”
“Salute is a great opportunity for any veterans and active Reservist/National Guard service members. Whether you are just out or have been out for a while, Salute offers the familiar feeling of being involved with other service members and serving a purpose bigger than yourself. Salute’s mission, culture and leadership style empowers those who desire the true fundamentals of the essential structure and function of the trade.”
Accepting the Challenge: On a Mission to Put Veterans to Work
Salute Mission Critical is a global data center services company that delivers world-class support to the world’s fastest growing data centers. The company has a rich history of providing consistent, high-quality results for various projects, including data center deployments, management and decommissions.
From hyperscale to edge clients and their tenants, Salute offers an operating model that is agile, resilient and scalable – that skillfully integrates military precision with best practices from the data center industry. The result is an operating model that is more cost-effective, resilient and strategically advantageous than any other in the industry.
What also sets Salute apart is the company’s unique approach to the recruitment, training, deployment and support of their teams, which is based on the fundamental principles of military training and practices. Upon its inception, Salute’s founders recognized that military veterans were an often-forgotten talent pool of disciplined, adaptable and trainable personnel. Leveraging the talent of veterans like Eugene has been key to Salute’s ongoing success and that of their clients.
Over the years, Salute has helped thousands of veterans start careers in the data center industry, empowering many to dramatically change their lives and those of their family members for the better. This distinction has been recognized several times by the data center industry as one of the best examples of a business with a social conscience.
The Salute & EdgeConneX Partnership
An international pioneer of Edge Data Centers®, EdgeConneX operates a global network of data centers that support local, low latency content and application delivery. Currently operating on three continents, the company’s data centers play an important role in linking service providers with local customers to offer an optimal end-user experience.
EdgeConneX data centers are designed to run as unmanned facilities over the long term, made possible by sophisticated monitoring through the company’s EdgeOS Data Center Information Manager (DCIM) platform. EdgeOS oversees approximately 400,000 monitored points, 600 core to edge to extended edge data centers and 18 subsystems – all on a single pane of glass.
The demand for EdgeConnex data centers requires quick, efficient installation with the expertise and versatility to meet the unique requirements of their customers. Once deployed, these unmanned facilities also require occasional smart hands services for customer support.
Salute is an essential part of the EdgeConneX data center model – supporting nine EdgeConneX sites in North America, four in Europe and two in South America and adding more this year as market demand grows. Worldwide, Salute Mission Critical has 80+ veterans working at EdgeConneX sites.
To ensure transparency and control in all the EdgeConneX support activities, Salute leverages their own proprietary OverWatch™ process platform to drive consistent safety, quality and training globally. Salute technicians use the platform via handheld devices in the field to reference digitized and auditable processes and procedures, while Salute and EdgeConneX project managers are able to leverage the system to track progress and ensure SLA compliance.
All in all, the Salute and EdgeConneX partnership offers the data center industry a proven model that solves its talent shortage and helps change veterans’ lives for the better. An opportunity to solve two strategic issues at the same time is unique and proving to be a monumental success.
In some cases, the men and women in the US Armed Forces lack the years of private sector experience hiring managers seek. Yet time spent serving one’s country develops foundational skills that translate well no matter industry a veteran enters. . Moreover, the data center industry faces an ongoing talent shortage problem. Salute, through its partnership with EdgeConneX and others just like it, is solving both these issues – making a difference in the lives of the men and women who volunteer to serve their country.
“Salute helps EdgeConneX deploy, maintain, manage, and secure [our] world-class data centers with military precision and high-quality results. With its on-site management and remote hands services, Salute has been a key player in ensuring success for EdgeConneX as it deploys and outfits edge facilities. Salute technicians have been a key force behind-the-scenes in leveraging EdgeOS to maintain the uptime of vital infrastructure within EdgeConneX facilities.” – Phillip Marangella, Chief Marketing Officer, EdgeConneX