AFCOM & Data Center World Gen/Next Advisory Board

Data Center World & AFCOM have created an advisory board to help us accomplish three very important goals. 

We're calling our group the Data Center World Gen/Next Advisory Board. Among their responsibilities are:

  • To better understand the way in which younger workers – specifically those from the Gen Z and Millennial generations – contribute to the development and advancement of the data center industry
  • To provide better services, content, and networking/career opportunities for data center professionals from these generations
  • To help veteran data center professionals better understand the career aspirations and potential contributions to the data center that these professionals bring to the table

DCW & AFCOM are committed to providing relevant information and advice to the next generation of leaders in the data center community to help them build fulfilling careers. And, we know that pertinent information can be based entirely on your generation and what you find valuable. To be sure, the future of the data center is you: Gen Z & Millennial leaders.

The members of this board are talented and passionate people committed to a career in the data center who like to share their experiences and insight with peers and other colleagues in this vibrant community.

The Gen/Next Advisory Board aims to:

  • Help shape market research developed by AFCOM and our research partner Omdia
  • Suggest topics and speakers for our industry events
  • If so desired, speak at our industry events, including AFCOM chapter meetings
  • Meet with members of the existing AFCOM Data Center Institute to share knowledge and experiences for advancing the data center industry and receive expert advice in return
  • Help develop educational opportunities for other Gen Z and Millennial workers in the data center industry

We expect to meet via virtual platform quarterly and hold an annual meeting at each Data Center World Conference. Each meeting we’ll discuss pre-arranged topics like career development, technology needs, communication/management issues, & emerging technologies.

AFCOM and DCW Gen/Next Advisory Board Members

Ben Burich

Senior Systems Engineer, Data Center Facilities & Technologies
University of Pittsburg Medical Center 

I was born in 1993, so I guess I’m one of those millennials. I’m originally from the Cleveland, Ohio area (Go Browns!). In the summer after graduating high school, I had the opportunity for a paid internship with Molded Fiber Glass (MFG) in their Corporate IT department. I was able to turn that internship into a full-time job that I continued throughout my college years.  I went to college for undergraduate education at Kent State University where I received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Technology.

I then moved to Pittsburgh, PA to pursue the incredible opportunity to lead a data center migration for a large health system - the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). With thorough planning and a few grey hairs developing, we moved all servers and cabinets in a single weekend. At the same time, I implemented an automated cable labeling system. No longer do we need to type out labels in a spreadsheet. We planned and hung 10,000 cables prior to the move and only had 6 corrections! Now, I manage the new data center and plan out daily tasks for the staff as well as perform all long term planning for the new data center.

I also have a passion for automation, so I work with our Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) group to push us further into automation. I firmly believe that everyone in all job fields should review what they could automate in their lives. I have certifications from IDCA (DCIE), CNet (CDCTP), and Comptia A+/Network+.

I’m also the President of our local Toastmasters club, Pittsburgh Midday. I’m in the process of getting my Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Robert Morris University. I have attended Data Center World in 2017 as well as the 2020 virtual experience. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Michail Clutter

Program Manager - Technology Services
Casne Engineering Inc 

Michail (Mike) Clutter is a Managing Partner and Technical Program Manager at Casne Engineering Inc. and has been working in Data Centers for over 15 years. After his military career as a Navy Nuclear Reactor Operator, Mike immediately fit in with the hard working, event driven community that Data Centers rely on. Adept in both construction and operations, Mike has played a key role in the launch of many of todays well know Data Center facilities of west coast. It was in the operation and maintenance that he found himself a niche in OT systems such as SCADA, BMS, CMMS and BMS. Today, Mike is using his knowledge and experience to provide access to reliable and concise data in hopes to drive innovation towards scalability and sustainability.

Christopher Deatherage

Engineer III

My name is Christopher Deatherage, I’ve been in the network space for the last 8 years and been around datacenters throughout my entire career. I spent the majority of my time in a large Datacenter environment learning all the inter-workings of what goes into making a successful datacenter operate. I live south of Tampa with my wife and 3 wild boys. I’ve always had the luxury of being around a lot of the latest and greatest technology in the industry and be a part of design & implementation.

Matt Eagen

Infrastructure Support
Bloomberg LP

Matt's interest in technology was sparked during childhood; he grew up playing DOS games on 5.25" floppy disks in the 90s. Currently transitioning into a leadership role at Bloomberg, Matt is extremely proud to have taken a non-traditional route into the data center industry. He has a knack for getting involved in large scope projects and correlating trending issues. Outside of work, he likes to spend time with his family, relax at the beach, surf, and read. In addition, Matt appreciates quality in all things, especially food.

Beth Gentle

National Manager
The Australian IT Services Group
Secretary - Sydney Chapter of AFCOM

As Secretary for AFCOM’s Australian Chapter, Beth scouts an incredible lineup of keynote speakers and panel experts for the Sydney meetings, now averaging around 40 attendees every quarter - an impressive feat for a Chapter launched in 2018.

Beth is also the Australian Chapter Leader of Infrastructure Masons Australia (iMason's); a global non-profit association of professional men and women motivated to make a better-connected world by enhancing the education talent pipeline, raising awareness of industry, championing diversity & inclusion, and inspiring industry sustainability.

From 9-5, Beth manages a nation-wide clientele and team of technical cleaners as National Services Manager for Australian IT Services; a market leader in preventative technical cleaning for data centres, computer rooms & office ICT equipment. 

Beth’s prior experience as Membership Coordinator for Australia’s leading music licencing and royalties association, APRA AMCOS, along with her natural affinity for relationship building, have proved invaluable skills for the growth and retention of members within both AFCOM and iMasons’ Australian chapters. 

In her spare time, she studies a Bachelor of Business through Swinburne University, building on her Diploma in Business & Management with a major in Marketing. 

Bringing fresh perspective and youthful energy to Data Center World and AFCOM’s GenNext Advisory Board, Beth hopes to develop educational opportunities for other passionate Gen Z and Millennial professionals as they navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the ever-evolving data centre industry.  

Ryan Gruver

IT Operations Director
Banner Health
President - AFCOM Phoenix Chapter

Ryan Gruver is a native Phoenician, with over 13 years of experience in the IT field, 10 years of that being in the data center. He holds a Master’s of Science in Information Management from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Software Engineering from the University of Advancing Technology.

Ryan has served in a variety of roles in IT from a Data Center Operator, System Admin / Engineer, and now as an IT Director. He has a passion for continuous improvement of services he manages, enabling employees to do their best, and ensuring customers get an excellent experience. He is the president of the Phoenix chapter of AFCOM.

Terry Harris

Data Center Team Manager
American Electric Power

Terry Harris is a Data Center Manager at American Electric Power. He currently manages the data center team and is responsible for multiple Data Center facilities. In his role, Terry is focused on increasing Data Center resiliency; capacity planning for physical space and power; driving continuous improvement for data center standards across multiple facilities; ensuring maximum operational uptime. In 2020 Terry was an integral part in the success of bringing online a new 10,000 sq. ft. Tier III data center facility.

Terry has been at American Electric Power for 16 years. His experience and expertise covers a broad range from IT, Network and Cyber Security. In previous roles, Terry has worked with network access control systems, smart grid encryption, and security tool infrastructure. Terry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Information Systems Management from the University of Akron. He was also a member of the University of Akron Football team.

In his free time, Terry enjoys coaching youth sports, traveling with his family, hiking, and attending live sporting events.

Jane Hseih

Senior Director of Sales

Jane Hsieh is a technology professional with 11+ years of strategic business development and channel sales leadership experience in the mission-critical infrastructure and unified communications sectors. Her experience working closely with international customers and partners, coupled with an in-depth understanding of global markets and best business practices, enable her to specialize in bridging complex technology issues with best of class solutions. She is a member of AFCOM GenNext Advisory Board and a long-time participant of Infrastructure Mason honored by IMason’s IM100.

As Sr. Director of Sales for Aligned, Jane is responsible for strategic account development within the enterprise sector.  In addition to cultivating loyal, long-term professional relationships she also develops and executes go-to-market strategies and drives overall loyalty of Aligned’s brand.

Jane holds a Bachelor of Art, International Relations with focus on Word Trade from University of California, Davis and Business Economics from Fudan University of Shanghai, China.                              
Away from work, Jane enjoys family time and traveling to learn new language, taste new cuisine and expand global perspective. She published of “Bem-Vindo Brazil” a traveler’s guide written in Mandarin in celebration of 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

Ferris Ellis

Founder & Managing Director
Urban Dynamics

Ferris Ellis is a technical leader and entrepreneur with a diverse collection of work efforts across the data center and tech industry. Ferris has driven critical infrastructure and system results with projects including global edge service buildout, server hardware optimization, network automation, secure hardware provisioning, and sustainable energy solutions. He has led the internal network security monitoring service while at Apple and driven custom network software implementations for data center and telco needs while at Brocade Networks. Ferris is the founder and current managing director of Urban Dynamics, a professional services business focused on delivering a brighter future across all types of infrastructure, along with being a Sustainability Advocate for InfraPrime, a company building a sustainable future through data center and related infrastructure. He’s spoken on topics ranging from sustainable power solutions (DCD Building at Scale 2020) to universal numbers as a solution to floating point number's failings (StrangeLoop 2017).

When not working you can find Ferris thinking about circular economics, ethics, and utopias from his home base in Tennessee, USA.