In this insightful Nomad Futurist interview, we hear about the remarkable career of Stephen Scott, currently CEO of Datalec, a UK based datacenter construction company. With expertise across engineering, sales, management and finance, Scott provides a unique, decades-long perspective on the evolution of the industry and its future direction.

Scott served as an officer in the Royal Navy where he worked in communications and pursued multiple engineering degrees. After retiring from the Navy, he moved into the software sector, internationalizing products, and traveling around the world before transitioning into IT. 

“When I first stepped into software and engineering, I was sure that IT was going to be the space I’d work in. I liked the idea that it knew no boundaries. It was truly international.”

In the late 90s, Scott was involved in cutting-edge connectivity projects such as the London Grid for Learning that linked 2700 schools and the enablement of Ethernet phone calls for Earls Court, London’s former premier international exhibition center. 

Scott joined the data center industry in 2000, as Sales Director for Global Switch and ran their managed services operation for several years. He also became involved with private equity and filled senior management roles in numerous enterprises over the years.

Scott discusses the challenges posed by the prospect of a looming economic recession:

“We’ve got to work out more efficient ways of deploying data center technology around Europe, more efficient ways of building offsite construction, modular construction, all of the things that we know that we can do to drive down the cost of delivery.”

Because of his extensive background across several decades working in private equity and his leadership roles related to critical infrastructure, Scott sees a future that will entail regulation as the industry evolves.

“I think this industry will become regulatedWe’ve seen these infrastructure funds grow up over the last five years. They need to have a regulated asset class which they can invest in. It’s not the Wild West we were in 10 years ago…It’s now fully grown up.”

Scott understands that young people have a different set of expectations relative to the workforce of the past and expect to have multiple careers after graduating. For this reason, he encourages them to consider the critical infrastructure industry because of the number of verticals it contains.

“…within Internet infrastructure and our world of data centers and communications… there are multiple layers of career possible…with rewards in many different areas, in pure technology, app development, and in everything to do with delivering a service…it can be incredibly exciting!” 

His parting words to the young:

It’s a very cool space with lots of choice and lots of different skills needed. It’s a very cool place to be!”

Stephen Scott is currently CEO of Datalec, a UK-based data center construction company whose reach extends to Europe with over seventeen subsidiary locations. Prior to Datalec, Stephen spent 12 years as COO at Bridgehouse Capital (UK family office) and a further 2 years as CEO at a boutique London-based Investment Bank. During this time, he gained significant private equity experience and participated in multiple sector M&A activities. Stephen has achieved considerable experience in the data center space and has held senior positions in several related companies including Deep Blue Cable (CEO), Global Marine Systems (Commercial Director), PSiNet Europe (CEO), Sentrum Data Centers (COO) and Global Switch (Sales Director). Stephen is a retired Naval Officer with an honors degree in engineering. 

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