Employee Spotlight: Travis Wright, VP Energy and Sustainability

  • What’s your full name? Travis Robert Wright
  • What’s your title? Vice President – Energy and Sustainability
  • How long have you been at QTS? 5.5 years

  • What do you do at QTS (explain your role, responsibilities, etc.)? I do everything I possibly can to help our sales team sell and our operations teams operate.  I focus on energy, sustainability, and tax incentives, and I help evaluate the viability of new sites.

  • How did you end up in this field? I have always had a passion for energy – how it is produced, how it moves, how we use it, the implications of using it, and how we improve.  Prior to QTS I had the opportunity to work for 5 different companies, and in 4 different industries.  This gave me a remarkable insight into how to optimize operations, and in every case, energy was one of the largest components. When I made the jump from Semiconductor to Data centers in 2014, I did so by leading the operations of our then brand new Irving site.  This is where I found that the energy component in Data Center operations was similar to what I had learned in previous industries, but on steroids.  The low hanging fruit of energy efficiency had already been picked in Irving, so I started to optimize the upstream component.  I worked more on sourcing and contracts, and ended up making a pretty good power hedge for that site.  One of the great things about being a Site Director is that the operations leadership will lean on you to become a SME in something that benefits all sites, and for me, that was energy.  So after working on a few other sites energy contracts, it became obvious that this was a full time job.    

  • Why did you choose this career path? Well, I chose engineering because my father was an engineer, and he inspired me.  And I sort of fell into the QTS role… I was the Facilities Director at a semiconductor plant in Phoenix that we were selling, and QTS was interested to buy it.  After about 42 tours with QTS folks, I told Mr Robey that I was planning to move to Fremont, CA to work for Western Digital.  He looked at me kind of sideways and said “well that’s not quite what we had in mind”.  Then I was invited to interview for the Irving Site Director job, and the rest is history! 

  • What moments at QTS have defined your career? I remember very early in my career at QTS – I was working for Eric Jacobs and David Robey had flown in for some meeting.  Eric walked right up and gave David a big bro-hug.  I had never seen, or even imagined that to happen in a company, and it made me realize how special this place was.  Sounds like a little thing, but it really did leave an impression.

  • What’s been one of your proudest moments working at QTS? Taking the Irving site from zero to one of the largest and most successful sites in QTS.  I love all of the sites, but that one is still deepest in my heart.  The people are incredible, and to think I had a little part in kindling the big bonfire that is Irving makes me pretty proud.

  • What do you like the most about working at QTS? Well, I love the work, but the really remarkable thing about working at QTS is the culture.  I have never had the opportunity to work in an environment where we actually respect each other for our talents.  We get to do big stuff and make big change in a big company in one of the fastest growing industries in the world.  How do you beat that?

  • What’s been your most memorable day at QTS? My first day.  I interviewed in Richmond, and accepted the job without having ever seen the Irving site.  I flew in from Phoenix for my first day, and walked up to a site with 350 guys in hardhats, and Doug Maytan.  There was no office, no air conditioning, no customers, no network, no processes, no procedures… nothing.  And Doug lets me know that the former security guards had stolen the TV’s off the walls.  So I started by rolling out prints on a table to see what this place was going to be. 

  • What’s the most interesting part of your job? There is a lot to choose from, but I think the most interesting part is when we are evaluating the viability of a prospective new site, and figuring out if it can actually work for QTS. 

  • What’s the thing you like the most about this industry? The explosive growth, and the fact that cities, towns, states, and utility companies all seem to want us in their territory.

  • Where do you see the industry going in 5, 10, 15 years? The growth curve is certainly going to continue up, but I think the number of players will shrink due to M&A.  It may also become easier to site a data center with the emergence of 5G – seems like there will be less reliance on fiber availability.

  • What traits define you? Loyal, Capable, Imaginative, Observant

  • What do you like to do in your free time? My free time passion is sailing, but living in the desert does not make that an easy hobby.  So I love to spend time with my family at our cabin in the mountains where we hike and ride ATV’s and zipline and stand up paddleboard and pan for gold and geocache and play board games and have camp fires and feed the squirrels and watch the snow fall and go sledding and shoot guns and enjoy the simple life!

  • If you could learn anything, what would it be? I want to learn how to weld, and I want to learn how to patent something.

  • If you weren’t in this job, what else would you be doing? As long as I could figure out how to make it pay the bills, I would be a full time inventor.  I have a long list of billion dollar ideas that needs further analysis, testing, culling, and shepherding.

  • When you have 30-minutes of free time, what could we find you doing? Probably fixing or improving something in my house.

  • If you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be and why? Nikola Tesla.  He was an insanely brilliant and fearless inventor.  That guy tried stuff knowing that it just might end the world as we know it, but decided trying it was worth the risk.

  • What’s your walk-up song and why? Imagine Dragons – Believer.  It’s a song about embracing tough times and using them as a tool for personal growth.  And it is a catchy tune.