compass 2nd gen design Compass Datacenters
A rendering of the second-generation data center design by Compass Datacenters (Image: Compass)

Women Warriors: Balancing Data Centers, Construction, and Family

So, how do we make things like the data center and construction industries attractive to more women? We begin, as the old saying goes, 'by swallowing the elephant one bite at time.'

As part of our ongoing series on women in data centers, Nancy Novak, Compass Datacenters’ SVP of Construction, talks about the challenges she's encountered while working in the construction and data center industries. Here is an excerpt from her story in her own words:

There are a few things in life that tie every human being together. Construction is one and data is another. Construction touches every life in some way by providing shelter, work environments, infrastructure, and so forth. Data is the raw energy that drives every element of our society. The sheer volume of data generated annually continues to grow exponentially. This in turn will drive the demand for construction of even more facilities across the globe.

So, how do we make things like the data center and construction industries attractive to more women? We begin, as the old saying goes, “by swallowing the elephant one bite at time.” For example, commuting four hours a day and working in a harsh environment is not particularly enticing or effective. One way to address this issue is to start normalizing offsite manufacturing so we can optimize our labor. This normalization starts in the design/programming stage and moves all the way through execution. When we are designing and programming space, we have to focus on the areas with the most labor. (Hint: That’s not where the most real estate is; it’s in the mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades.) Technology can help drive the behaviors that will lead to normalizing and optimizing offsite manufacturing to reduce or eliminate the commuting issues that often serve as a barrier to women in construction. And this is just one example.

Data center clients are, of course, always looking for smarter ways to get their facilities just in time through innovative design, efficient means and methods, smarter forecasting for needs, etc. I welcome this challenge. In my new role overseeing the construction operations with Compass Datacenters I can see how these efficiencies and innovations are woven into these business values and the Compass product. It’s going to be exciting to see where we can go in the world of data center development while looking for industry partners who see the big picture through these lenses.

You can read Nancy Novak's article about her journey as a woman in the data center construction industry in full on the AFCOM website, where it's available free of charge to AFCOM members. To learn more about AFCOM and join the association, visit here.

AFCOM is a sister organization to Data Center Knowledge.

More from the Data Center Knowledge Women Warriors series:

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