The Evolution Of Data Centers

One-on-one with Steve Altizer, CEO and President, Compu Dynamics

InterGlobix Magazine Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Jasmine Bedi, sat down in conversation with Steve Altizer, CEO and President of Compu Dynamics, and discussed the past, present, and future of the data center industry—and where Compu Dynamics falls within it.

Can you walk us through the journey of Compu Dynamics as to when you started the company and how the company and its services have evolved?

In 2002, my career took a pause as I experienced my first and only involuntary departure. I was out of work with a wife, two kids, and a mortgage. Luckily, I also had a GC license and a ton of experience managing construction projects, so I decided to start my own business.

If you’ve ever listened to the podcast How I Built This, you know that Guy Raz asks the same question at the end of each episode: “Was it all hard work, or did luck play a part in your success?” In my case, there was a ton of hard work, but I was very lucky right from the start. Some friends were in the process of acquiring a property in Manassas and they needed a GC to manage the conversion of that building from a system integrator’s lab to a secure government data center. I had been all-in on data centers since my first exposure in 1999, so this was truly a dream project and a great way to get started.

Around the time that project ended, we morphed the company literally over a weekend into a mechanical services company by hiring the entire service team (field and office) from a firm that was packing up and leaving town. In a planned transition, the employees all left their old firm on Friday and started with us on Monday. This was the precise moment when we began to focus on becoming a leading specialty trades contractor in the mission-critical space.

Over the next few years, we acquired two electrical firms and expanded our offerings into electrical and low voltage services. That second acquisition, Loudoun Electric, put us on the map as a serious electrical contractor. My amazing business partner, Lee Piazza, Loudoun Electric’s owner, was part of that package. Our timing was good. The explosion of colocation data centers in Ashburn was beginning, and our growth has resembled a hockey stick since then.

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Steve Altizer has nearly four decades of experience building some of the world’s most sophisticated government and commercial facilities. In 2002, Altizer founded the Andrew Browning Group (now Compu Dynamics). Prior to that, he served as a senior executive with several nationally ranked general and mechanical contractors.

Throughout his career, he has been a student of and thought leader in the technology and science behind today’s modern building environments. This interest has naturally led to an affinity for clients whose requirements drive them toward facilities that are smart, clean, safe, reliable, and secure. His focus for the last 23 years has been exclusively on data centers ranging in size from 20kW to over 100MW.

Steve earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA, both from the University of Virginia.