Vice President of Infrastructure, Facebook
Tom Furlong is a founding member of iMasons Advisory Council. As the Vice President of Infrastructure Data Centers at Facebook, Tom is responsible for the creation and execution of the strategy to source and operate mission critical assets, which support the company’s computing and networking infrastructure.
Published in Issue 4 | July 30, 2020
Did you choose this industry, or did it choose you?
Let’s say that I did not choose the way this unfolded. I was an engineer out of college and ran a steam propulsion plant in the Navy. After leaving the Navy, I worked as a planning engineer in a heavy construction company, concurrently pursuing an MBA in Finance. The expertise and skills that I had attained in these formative years of my career proved complementary to work in the data center industry.
My first opportunity to work in the space came in 2000, when I joined an Internet company, Exodus Communications, where I worked in a variety of roles—including running the capital build program and managing data center facility operations. In 2005, Yahoo! asked me to establish a program to design and build their data centers. This is where I expanded my knowledge to include the site development process.
In 2007, Facebook recruited me to lead the technology side of their data center vertical, paving a road for me to oversee the server and networking technology. Ever since, my team’s responsibilities have grown exponentially to encompass energy procurement, site selection, design, construction, facility operations, server and networking equipment installation and operations. When I think back to the beginning, I couldn’t have foreseen a career in this industry, but I have enjoyed every step of this two-decade journey in this space.
There are a lot of variables that come into play for a candidate assessing their options in the digital space, from choosing a part of the industry, to opting for a relevant firm that specializes in critical facilities design and that services data center clients.
Why did you get involved with iMasons?
There was no other group in the industry that focused on end-users. Most of the other existing groups were dominated by data center service providers and vendors. iMasons seamlessly bridged this gap, and that was my initial draw, as getting involved fulfilled my own personal commitment to create more awareness about our industry.
Awareness plays a pivotal role in encouraging talent to join an industry. People are always evaluating new opportunities, and our goal is to successfully unlock and inspire our talent. There are a lot of variables that come into play for a candidate assessing their options in the digital space, from choosing a part of the industry, to opting for a relevant firm that specializes in critical facilities design and that services data center clients. Ideally, after college, a graduate should be able to decide to go into industry in an area that best matches their academic pedigree, interest level, and skills. With the scholarship program at iMasons, we can help foster this awareness and narrow the talent gap.