Data Centers: Critical For Loudoun County

By October 30, 2015 Blog, Data Centers, ICT

Loudoun County has earned its reputation as “Data Center Alley,” a key component of the technology corridor and local economy in Northern Virginia.

Sixty facilities house more than 6 million square feet of data center space, serving about 3,000 companies, providing high-paying jobs and pumping $70 million per year into the county’s infrastructure.

Data centers’ economic impact and role in the community were the primary topic of discussion of the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce forum, “How Data Centers Create Business Opportunities.”

Loudoun Economic Development’s Executive Director Buddy Rizer, who works closely with our data center companies, was one of the featured panelists. He focused his commentary on debunking popular myths, starting with a supposed lack of employment opportunities.

“It definitely gets my ire up when people say ‘there’s no jobs,’ because that’s not true,” he said. “We think that there is a $10 million economy around data centers—not counting data centers, but around data centers.”Data centers have three levels of impact on jobs, each of which benefits the local workforce:

• Primary: the actual data center and its employees
• Secondary: companies served by each data center
• Tertiary: peripheral staff, including providers of security, heating and air
conditioning, electric systems, backup generators and custodial services.
“It’s all part of that infrastructure,” Rizer explained. “While they might say there’s 15 employees that work for a data center company, we think that if you take in the primary, secondary and tertiary jobs, it’s closer to 100.“When you start to multiply that out, I think you see a major impact on the economy in Loudoun County, because of the data center systems.”

Kevin Burke, Virtacore’s vice president of business and a fellow panelist, added: “It’s the quality of the job, not just the quantity of the jobs. With the tech research around here, there’s a lot of talent and there’s a lot of people that want that talent. So you’ve got to pay your employees at least at market [rate], or even a little higher than market, to retain that talent.

“They’re high-paying jobs. There’s a lot of companies around here in the Northern Virginia-D.C. area that want to poach your talent, particularly if you have technical talent. We have to bring people in from Maryland, D.C. and Loudoun because there’s just so much competition for that talent.”

In fact, the salaries offered for almost all data center industry jobs are at least 150 percent of the average wage in Loudoun County. This represents a significant financial boost to the workforce.

This has contributed to this region having the largest concentration of tech workers in the U.S. More than 58 percent of Loudoun residents hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

Equinix and COPT recently held ground breaking ceremonies on data centers that will bring more than 1.6 million square feet of combined space and hundreds of millions of investment dollars to Loudoun County.

More big deals are expected to be announced soon, which will provide even more opportunity for company and job growth into the future.

Learn more about world’s largest concentration of data centers.
Gallery: See photos from yesterday’s forum.
Watch unedited video footage from the event:

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