Program Co-Director And Advisory Board Co-Chair Quotations


Volkan Otugen: “We are working to meet the educational and fast-growing workforce needs of the industry. The timing couldn’t be better. The datacenter industry demands professionals with diverse, but highly specialized skills to address the demands of this rapidly growing profession.”

Klyne Smith: “The program focuses on connecting students to the datacenter industry using a combination of academic rigor and corporate experience. It provides students with end-to-end knowledge for datacenter inception, architecture, implementation, and management.”


Eddie Schutter

Chair and CTO at Switch

“The datacenter and digital infrastructure markets are going to keep growing. We’re going to need more and more people with the knowledge of digital infrastructure, how to support it, how to manage it, and how to make it work in an integrated way that supports the solutions we need for humanity. This program is a first step in paving the way for that future.”

Chris Crosby

Chair and CEO at Compass Datacenters

“As I look at the future of the program, I think about how we can bring in other elements. There’s a lot around the ethics of how we do things and why we’re doing what we’re doing when it comes to technology. There’s also opportunity to bring in more from the green perspective and how we can prioritize sustainability in datacenter operations and infrastructure. Too many times as engineers, we answer the question as it was asked rather than asking if that question was the right one at all, and here at SMU, we have a lot of potential to do the latter.”

Don Beaty

CEO at DLB Associates

“Learning and pushing the practical limits of technology energizes me, and my hope is that this program inspires that same creative energy in our leaders of tomorrow.”

Yang Peng

CEO at UR Inc.

“As a graduate of SMU myself, I know how dedicated the university is to providing the highest quality of education. This program combines the excellent training I received through the engineering school with training in key leadership skills, like negation and business development, and will help prepare students for leading in the strategic planning and implementation of data centers.”

Christian Belady

Vice President at Microsoft Corporation

“I’ve been responsible for driving the strategy and delivery of server and facility development worldwide, and this program is a great opportunity for me to be able to share my knowledge on datacenter research, engineering, construction, and operations with future industry leaders.”

Wendi Runyon

Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Schneider Electric

“One of the biggest challenges the datacenter industry faces today is how to apply predictive analytics. Increasingly companies like mine are working to consider the datacenter as a whole—as a complex system—rather than individual assets to be analyzed. A program like the one at SMU—which approaches datacenter management holistically and through the lens of many different disciplines—will be especially valuable in preparing future employees.”

Peter Gross

Managing Partner at PMG Associates

“I’m passionate about new things—innovation that could make a difference. Some of them have to do with sustainability, some of them have to do with specific technology, and some of them have to do with datacenter development as a whole. The program at SMU is the first of its kind not only to give students a background in all existing datacenter technology and considerations, but also to develop the skills they need to push these innovations forward.”

Jim Sargent

GM of Professional Services at Micro Focus

“Agility is key to early and ongoing success. This program gives students the foundation in all aspects of the datacenter industry they need to be able to learn from existing business cases—and then apply that knowledge in order to adapt them and develop them into even more successful cases.”

Michael H. Hites

CIO of Southern Methodist University

“Through my role at SMU, I’m involved in all things IT—strategic planning, 24/7 operations, infrastructure management, application development, analytics support, information security, customer service, project management, and teaching, learning, training, and research governance models. It has been exciting to be able to channel all that experience into creating an environment where other people passionate about technology can learn, grow, inspire, and innovate.”

Andrew Schapp

CEO of Aligned

“My hope with this program is that it will help up-and-coming industry leaders create more sustainable, more scalable, and more adaptive datacenters of the future.”

Michael Manos

CTO of Dunn & Bradstreet

“It’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of the curriculum development for this first-of-its-kind program. The future success of the industry depends on engineers who can enhance business operations by effectively building and evolving technology within and around the datacenter, and I wholeheartedly believe this program will ready them to do just that.”

Michael Sullivan

President and Owner of Health Career Services

“I am a big supporter of encouraging the younger generation to get into this industry. Programs like the one SMU has put together will help make that vision come true.”

Nancy Novak

CIO at Compass Datacenters

“With hundreds of types of positions involved, there are so many opportunities in the datacenter industry. Having a program like this one at SMU not only brings an awareness about what’s available and how you could get involved, but also gives you the confidence to tap into networking opportunities and make it happen.”

Gary Wojtaszek


“Whether you’re using an app on your phone, trying to order an Uber, or seeing what your friends are up to on social media, what happens in the background of all this technology is technically happening in a datacenter, and the datacenter industry is booming. Having a degree that exposes you to all these datacenter inner workings is extremely valuable to employers like me.”