In this lively Nomad Futurist podcast, Phil and Nabeel speak with KC Mares whose passionate interest in achieving energy efficiency has fueled a remarkable career in the data center space and beyond.

Mares is a dynamic data center leader who has headed major development projects and data center builds for an impressive roster of companies including Google, Equinix and Yahoo. Recently he led design teams and achieved massive deployments of cutting-edge technology for Tesla. 

Energy efficiency was an early calling. As a 12-year-old, Mares was already exploring renewable energy, having created an energy-efficient building design for a national science fair.

“Even then I could see that there were a lot of things we could do to improve the efficiency of transportation, of our buildings, and really, of our whole built environment.”

His interests led him to pursue a double major in college: Oceanography (which encompassed studies in physics, chemistry, earth sciences) and business /accounting.

After college, Mares jumped right into the world of business.

“I wanted to change the worldI felt like we had to do something about making businesses more energy efficient.” 

He immediately started considering which industries needed to address energy efficiency as it impacted their bottom line.

Mares became a data center industry champion.

“A fascinating thing about our industry is that it encompasses all kinds of different disciplines, from finance to sales to engineering and real estate.”

Mares shares insights he’s gained over the years including thoughts about serving communities in a holistic way. 

“We really have to rethink how we’re part of the community. A data center is not just an insular box totally isolated from the surrounding community. There’s no point in a data center staying operational…if the entire community is down.”

Mares advises data center HR teams to look for people with different backgrounds.

“The more diversity we have in terms of professional and educational experiences, the better we become as an industry.”

Mares is also always thinking about the future as it pertains to the end user. 

“We need to be constantly iterating, changing, evolving, because we know that technology is evolving faster than our data centers are. So, let’s adapt to that forward change and not keep doing things the same way. One of the things I’ve done throughout my career is making these paradigm shifts.”  

His two pieces of advice for the young:

“Keep an open mind to both the industry and the job that you’re doing and try to focus on affecting the change that is important to you as a person. Find the place where you can make the biggest impact.”

“Work with really smart, good people and collaborate with them and everybody owns their piece and grows together!” 

KC Mares, currently Director, Industry Strategy for Data Centers at C-Power Energy Management, has focused on energy efficiency in data centers for over 20 years, with leadership over design, building and operating the lowest cost and most efficient data centers in over twenty countries. Mares has developed solutions for hyperscalers, tech companies and the largest providers, enterprises, and government data center operators. He has led the design of over $10 billion in data centers, driving industry-leading energy and cost efficiencies. He also recently led factory engineering and battery cell production projects for Tesla.  

Mares has chaired the SVLG Data Center Energy Efficiency demonstration program and summits, and prior to that the SVLG Energy Committee, helping create long-term clean energy solutions for California. When Yahoo was still the largest Internet property, Mares led its worldwide data center strategy, leading the construction of energy-efficient data centers. His work has earned industry recognition, including two EnergyStar Partner of the Year awards. 

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