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Is IBM The Only Data Center In Town? It turns out another company has a 25-year head start on IBM as a Columbia-based data center. And IBM prefers the term “delivery center” anyway, but we won’t get into semantics. Carfax — yes that Carfax — has been collecting and distributing data on used cars out of its Columbia center for a quarter century. I wanted to know more, so I tracked down Chief Technology Officer Gary Lee for a little Q&A. Nice facility you’ve got here, Gary. How many people work here in this Columbia center? We have about 150 employees at our Maguire Boulevard data facility and about 75 percent of those are computer engineers. We’re happy to say that the majority of our staff are homegrown, helping us further support the Boone County economy. Describe this place for someone who hasn’t seen your operation. It’s a very open atmosphere. Our employees work in teams on various projects and there are no workstations, but rather open work areas. The style of programming that we do here promotes a collaborative approach to our work. It’s very much a “wisdom of crowds” environment.

Any truth to the rumor that you’re going to expand your operation here? We’re expanding our current facility to better accommodate our business needs as well as our programming style. The building addition is 15,000 square feet and will be built on our existing property. We also purchased 4 acres adjacent to the current property. In fact, part of that land purchase was used to help secure the new IBM data facility for this area. We expect to add up to 50 more employees within five years and we’ll be recruiting locally for those positions. This area has been our home for 25 years and providing additional job opportunities to local residents is important to us. Photo courtesy of Carfax

Sounds like a nice place to work. What kind of skills do I need if I want to apply for a job here?

The majority of our recent hires are Java programmers and we expect that trend to continue. In addition, each year we hire specialists in areas of technology infrastructure engineering and operations.

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Inside Columbia’s CEO

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spring 2011

Inside Columbia's CEO Spring 2011  

Joan Gabel prepares MU business students for a bright future; the Renaissance Awards celebrate local art's biggest fans; and Columbia's busi...

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