In this episode, Nabeel and Phil are joined by Luke Kipfer, Vice President, Data Center Development and Construction at American Real Estate Partners. Luke is a project management professional with 15+ years of leadership experience providing strategic direction and successful execution within the construction industry.

Luke started working at the young age of 17, fresh out of high school, creating the foundation for a successful career.

“If there’s one thing my dad drilled into me, it was worth ethic. When I didn’t have school I was up on job sites. Sitting around the house wasn’t an option, so I was going to work.”

Luke eventually made the transition into the digital infrastructure space. Phil wonders what has either surprised him the most or is most unique about applying construction, project management and mechanical engineering to data center or mission critical infrastructure.

“The aspect that I focus on is really the criticality of it. I think in a lot of other industries, failures of equipment, failures of processes, failures of design are – I don’t wanna say tolerated – but they’re more accepted within the industry, where within the data center industry it’s not.”

Educating a broader audience is very important, and especially local folks that have zero idea what a data center is. Nabeel asks Luke what we need to do to help.

“I think that it needs to be an approach from several different levels – We need to have local community government support to be able to help educate the people in their area. As operators of data centers, we need to be involved in community relations and local trade organizations.”

Nabeel ends with one of his favorite questions: Knowing what you know today and based on your journey, what would you do differently, if anything?

“The only thing I would do differently is I would reach out for help sooner. One of the things that I really like about this industry is once I became more established and had relationships, I’d go and ask for help. I believe that I would’ve accelerated my career growth if I just asked for help and mentorship more often.”


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