Arrival of Switch bestows benefits on No. Nevada |

Arrival of Switch bestows benefits on No. Nevada

Sally Roberts
Kristi Overgaard, executive vice president of awesomeness for Switch, speaks about what the company is bringing to northern Nevada during the EDAWN luncheon Sept. 24. Overgaard is part of the executive team that is moving to the area.
Susan Mantle/EDAWN |

Switch executives gave a glimpse of the Las Vegas mega technology company to a packed house Sept. 24 at an EDAWN luncheon that sold out a week in advance.

“Switch is helping to change our community just as much as Tesla has,” EDAWN President Mike Kazmierski told the crowd gathered at the Atlantas Casino Resort Spa waiting to hear from Switch Vice President of Strategy Adam Kramer, and Executive Vice President of Awesomeness Brand & Design Kristi Overgaard. “In the technical world, this is a really big deal.”

Switch was founded 15 years ago in Las Vegas by Rob Roy, who continues to lead the company.

In 2000, the Internet was a very different place,” Kramer said. “It looked different.” The patents that Roy holds “have fundamentally changed the industry.”

Switch is building a 3 million square-foot SUPERNAP data center in Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, just the first of seven such buildings to be constructed in the next 10 years with a build-out total of 6.4 million square feet.

Switch’s data centers have been rated by UPTIME Institute as the world’s only Tier IV gold co-location data centers.

“Switch is the highest rated data center on the planet,” Kramer said. “That’s what we built in Nevada.”

Once the TRIC data-center complex is complete, it will be the single largest data center on earth, surpassing the Las Vegas center, which currently holds the record.

Also planned is the SUPERLOOP, a 17,000 gigabyte fiber optic network that will connect Reno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco with nearly instantaneous data transfer capabilities.

There is currently no fiber connection between southern Nevada and northern Nevada, Kramer said.

“If someone sends a message it has to go through California,” he said. “(The SUPERLOOP) will avoid the natural disasters and tax disasters of California.”

“The creation of the SUPERLOOP will make Nevada the most connected state in the United States and attract global business expansion,” Kramer said.

Switch currently has more than 1,000 clients with data storage in its Las Vegas SUPERNAP center. Seventy-five of its clients are data cloud providers.

The large client base that includes industry giants like ebay, Google, Wells Fargo and FOX, provides $3 trillion in purchasing power that benefits all the companies. With their data storage housed on the same campus, clients can communicate with each other more securely and swiftly.

Switch has also invested in downtown Reno through its Innevation Center in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno.

“We’re in TRIC, we’re also very much in downtown,” said Overgaard, whose Switch team designed the center.

The Innevation Center, modeled after Switch’s UNLV Innevation Center, opened in September.

Part incubator for entrepreneurs and part tech education center, it houses the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center and Switch offices.

“We very very much believe education is economic development,” Overgaard said.

Kramer and Overgaard went on to describe the many other advantages Switch brings to northern Nevada including:

Jobs — Switch will hire 30 manager-level employees by the end of 2016 and fill a minimum of 20 additional positions. Data center clients are expected to hire approximately 2,000 badged employees by 2025.

Schools — The company will upgrade connectivity in rural schools throughout the state of Nevada.

Trade Missions— Switch executives will continue to participate in trade missions for the state of Nevada. Recently, they joined Governor Sandoval and other business and government leaders on a trade mission to Europe. Kramer said he talked to a company president in Ireland who is interested in opening a center in Reno.

Community Support — Besides the Innevation Center, Switch and its staff support other organizations in the area, including the Nevada Museum of Art’s STEAM education mission with a $200,000 donation. The company has also become EDAWN’s first Platinum Investor.

“We are so humbled that so many care to come out to hear our story,” Kramer told the lunch audience. “We are only one piece of what’s going on here.”