Speaking up as a Schneider Electric Employee and Resident of the World’s Data Center Capital

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My philosophy as a single working parent to three sons has always been that my professional life and my personal life are intertwined. One crosses over into the other all the time. It’s been that way for three decades and has become so ingrained in me that I rarely think about it, until recently.

I live in Northern Virginia, which is known for rolling countryside, horse farms, great schools and sports programs, proximity to Washington, D.C., and data centers.

Yes, where I raised my boys is considered the data center capital of the world. Loudoun County has more data centers than anyplace on earth, with 26 million square feet of existing space, and another 8 million square feet under development, according to Data Center Frontier.

My professional life and my personal life merged last month when I had the opportunity to stand before the Loudoun County officials who are weighing if they should be more discriminating about how and where data centers are incorporated in the county. The Data Center Coalition and Schneider Electric’s government affairs team were enthusiastic about having me present and share my perspective. I wanted to tell the board members about my experiences living and working here. Of course, I am not the only employee in this position. In fact, I am one of 30 Schneider Electric employees who live or work in Loudoun County and one of 400 in the surrounding area.

To share our progress on sustainability would have taken hours, not minutes

I only had two minutes before the officials but in that brief window I wanted to convey so much! I chatted about how Schneider Electric is part of the business community and interacts with data center owners, operators, and tenants to support a broader ecosystem. Sixteen percent of Schneider Electric’s $30 billion revenue is directly attributed to data centers. And the local data center industry helps to offset the tax burden on residents.

Schneider Electric provides valuable employment opportunities and employees are also active volunteers in the community, which I know personally from spending my time with Habitat for Humanity.

The officials may have already known that we contribute to the greater good of the community but I also wanted them to discover Schneider Electric and its very big, global picture. I wanted them to understand our purpose – to empower all to make the most of our energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability. To share all the progress Schneider Electric has made on sustainability and data centers – our framework for achieving sustainability in data centers, our white paper establishing metrics for sustainability reporting in data centers, our free TradeOff Tools to help companies determine their carbon footprint and efficiency, and so much more  – would have required me to stand there for hours, not minutes. So, I let them know how we are helping the data center industry meet sustainability goals that will benefit all of us – those of us in Northern Virginia and across the globe.

Debating the future of data centers in Loudoun County

In my brief moment in the spotlight as the world’s data center capital debates its future, I was happy my personal life and professional life were overlapping yet again. I shared what I know firsthand about the company I have been with since 2007, and I shared what I have learned from living here as a single parent, which I have done even longer.

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