Data Center POST interview with Jeff Uphues, CEO, DC BLOX
By Contributing Editor Ilissa Miller
Jeff Uphues leads DC BLOX as a proven C-Level executive with deep expertise in hybrid cloud services, data center infrastructure and the operation of communication networks. He spearheads the company’s strategy, building and operating a fabric of edge-connected, cloud-enabled data centers and driving the growth and profitability of best-in-class infrastructure for digital services. Jeff leverages over 25 years of experience as a communications industry executive and business strategist, having held numerous C-suite leadership positions in sales, marketing and operations with Cbeyond, Bandwidth, ACSI Network Technologies and MCI.
With the exponential growth of data and its increasing importance to business, companies are struggling to keep up with the infrastructure needed to manage and transport it. Rather than expanding company-owned facilities, businesses are turning more to the cloud and to multi-tenant data centers to meet their needs.
We sat down to talk with Jeff and learn a little bit more about DC BLOX, explore what the company has been up to and discuss what’s on the horizon for the end of 2019 and beyond.
Data Center POST, Ilissa Miller (DCP-IM) Question: Can you tell us a little bit about DC BLOX?
DC BLOX, Jeff Uphues (D-JU) Answer: DC BLOX provides foundational infrastructure for the digital economy. We focus on serving growing markets where the availability of secure, reliable multi-tenant data centers is limited. Our vision is simple – Serve locally, connect globally.
DCP-IM Q: Expand for our readers what you mean by serving locally and connecting globally.
D-JU A: We serve local markets by meeting business’ local and regional data center needs with Tier 3-rated facilities that are secure, reliable and cost-efficient and with the expertise that allows them to focus their own resources strategically. But beyond that, DC BLOX enables the local communities in the places where it does business. We’re investing capital for data center construction, providing jobs and strengthening the local economy. We’re offering our resources and facilities to local organizations to enable training, collaboration and education.
Connect globally means we’re connecting businesses to any destination worldwide through our private network and global ecosystem of communications partners. With a software-defined network fabric and quickly provisioned connectivity to the cloud, to partners, and to providers, we’re enabling fast response to business opportunities.
DCP-IM Q: Tell our readers a little bit about the Birmingham community.
D-JU A: DC BLOX has recently opened the first phase of its multi-tenant data center on Sixth Street South in Birmingham. Our facility is located in Birmingham’s historic Titusville neighborhood, home to such luminaries as former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The DC BLOX Birmingham data center project will potentially invest $785 million over the next 10 years and has the capability to expand to over 200,000 square feet.
Our vision to serve locally and connect globally aligns with the common goal of the community. We are committed to the people of Birmingham, the community of Titusville and the state of Alabama, and we’ll continue to do our part and embrace our community and new neighbors.
DCP-IM Q: It’s evident from the video of the Birmingham Data Center opening that Titusville is a welcome place for DC BLOX to locate. What kind of impact will DC BLOX have in Titusville?
D-JU A: DC BLOX received a warm welcome from our new neighbors. Residents are excited about the caliber of jobs a data center facility will produce by attracting other technology-dependent companies to the area.
The site where the DC BLOX data center sits was dormant for three decades. This project shows what can happen with community partnerships and collaboration between the public and private sectors. We’re excited to invest in this area and boost economic development in Birmingham. The money the city made from the land sale is being reinvested back into the community as part of its neighborhood revitalization project. Streets are being paved; homes repaired. It’s exciting to watch the progress.
In addition, DC BLOX has donated computers to the Memorial Park recreation center across the street from our facility. We want to encourage and support the local community as it prepares for a high-tech future.
DCP-IM Q: The site where DC BLOX’s data center sits is a redevelopment project. It’s essential to preserve resources and live and work sustainably. Can you tell us about the actual building project site?
D-JU A: The Titusville neighborhood sits to the west of the University of Alabama (UAB) and was home to an iron works factory in the early 1900s. It has an industrial history and has launched the careers of politicians, college presidents, prize-winning journalists and international bankers. It was home to prominent local leaders, such as Rice and African American architect Wallace Rayfield, who designed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in downtown Birmingham. It was one of the first neighborhoods in Birmingham where African Americans were allowed to own residential and commercial property.
With the construction of DC BLOX’s data center in this area, we have the opportunity to carry forward the area’s proud tradition.
DCP-IM Q: What’s next for the DC BLOX Birmingham Data Center?
D-JU A: DC BLOX expects to continue investing new capital into the city over the next several years — funds that the mayor has earmarked for investment in the Birmingham City School (BCS) system. Successful economic development projects like DC BLOX’s have produced revenue that has resulted in an additional $3 million for BCS in 2019.
The Birmingham facility is DC BLOX’s flagship, and it will continue to be expanded as business demand grows. With this technology and innovation campus now in place, Alabama and the city of Birmingham have the digital infrastructure to empower new innovation and growth.
We are witnessing a renaissance in Birmingham as it moves from its industrial past to a tech-based future, and DC BLOX is proud to be a part of it. The Birmingham location is connected to DC BLOX’s other data centers in Atlanta, Chattanooga and Huntsville and will have access to all future data centers as well.
DCP-IM: Thank you for sharing insights about DC BLOX with our readers, Jeff. To learn more about DC BLOX, please visit https://www.dcblox.com/.