Military Veterans Find Familiar Values, New Challenges at Equinix

Larry McAlister
Military Veterans Find Familiar Values, New Challenges at Equinix


Here at Equinix, we value the service our military veteran employees have given to our country and the expertise they bring to our company, and we’re always looking to hire more veterans to our U.S. workforce.

The fact that our CEO Steve Smith (Army) and our chief information officer Brian Lillie (Air Force) are veterans is a strong indicator of how highly we regard those with military experience. We’ve found that many of our core principles, such as “Put we before me,” “Keep your promises,” “Win as a team” and “Serve others,” align with the professional ethics ingrained in the men and women who served in the armed forces.

As we approach Independence Day, we wanted to go a little deeper into why we think Equinix and veterans are a great match and focus in particular on the operations teams at our International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers.

Dave Morgan, a U.S. Navy veteran and vice president of our North America IBX operations, says veterans are “the foundation” of his leadership team.

“We’re heavily invested in our veterans and are committed to attracting more,” he said.

Team first

Morgan joined the Navy in 1972 during the Vietnam era because his likelihood of being drafted was high, and he wanted to choose how he would serve. He became an interior communications electrician on a World War II-era ammunition ship which sailed with fighting ships during cruises of the Western Pacific, replenishing their ammo supplies, as needed.

The electrical skills he learned during his four years have remained relevant decades later. But Morgan added that the basic approach that puts team first and places a premium on taking direction quickly and without question was also critical training for an Equinix IBX ops environment.

“In a production, customer-serving organization like mine, it’s very important we don’t waste time questioning what we need to do,” Morgan said. “We respect the direction of our leadership and we go do it. For lack of a better term, we’re good soldiers.”

He added that the mission-critical nature of keeping engines, generators or radar on a ship running applies to an IBX environment as well, where our customers depend on flawless data center operations.

“You’ve got to love that kind of adrenaline and challenge, otherwise it will just eat you up and spit you out,” said Morgan, who’s been with Equinix 13 years. “Veterans are trained to deal with the pressure.”

We get it

John Rufino certainly saw pressure after joining the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in 2010. One of his six years as a utilities engineer was spent in Afghanistan, where he supported expeditionary units by setting up power generators, refrigeration equipment, electrical lines, etc., wherever they needed to go.

Like Morgan, Rufino found the skills he learned in the military applied directly to the job of an IBX engineer, who is responsible for maintaining day-to-day operations at a data center, including utilities and cooling.

Rufino works at NY4 in Secaucus, N.J., which is loaded with financial services firms. The economic impact if something goes wrong there is huge, but he’s confident in his team and okay with the pressure.

“A lot veterans have a hard time finding a job again where they have a task and purpose,” he said. “This is really one of those jobs where you feel you have a task and purpose every day.”

Rufino added that there seems to be an understanding at Equinix about what veterans deal with, including his continued service in USMC Reserves. For instance, he had to take two weeks to serve in Morocco last year. When he came back, “It was like I didn’t miss a beat,” he said.

He added, “That understanding absolutely comes from the top.”

Learn more about Equinix’s efforts to welcome and employ military veterans.


Avatar photo
Larry McAlister Former Vice President, Global Talent Management
Subscribe to the Equinix Blog