Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Google has big plans for Berkeley County.
Lilyn Hester, Google’s Southeastern Public Affairs Manager, spoke to the Monck Corner Rotary Club last week during the club’s weekly lunch at Gilligan’s.
Google is in the process of expanding its data center operations at the Mt. Holly Commerce Park. Hester, who works out of the Google Data Center at Mt. Holly, said Google is committed to Berkeley County and South Carolina.
“Google is bringing $600 million dollars into South Carolina and Berkeley County because we believe in Berkeley County and the resources here,” Hester said. “Construction of the data center expansion is ongoing and currently is in the initial planning stages.”
Hester added that while there is no set completion date on the data center expansion project, the new construction and Google’s long term commitment to Berkeley County and the tri-county area points to a bright future for the workforce.
“We like to hire locally whenever possible,” she said. “We prefer to hire from the tri-county area but our applications do go out worldwide.”
Currently Google staffs 150 employees at its regional data center but that number is growing.
“With the expansion Google is hiring a wide variety of employees, not just degreed engineers, but support staff, electricians, maintenance workers, and office staff,” she said. “The boom for Berkeley County will reach across the board.
“With construction gearing up, Google is now hiring. A lot of what we have available can be found online.”
Interested applicants are invited to visit www.google.com/jobs for available positions locally and worldwide.
With the additional $600 million expansion investment Google’s total investment at the site now totals over $1.2 billion.
The data center houses thousands of servers to support services such as Google search, Gmail, Google-Plus and YouTube. As demand for Google’s services grows, the company must ramp up data center to meet this demand.
The boon to Berkeley County extends beyond data centers. Google is also involved in supporting science and mathematics programs in local schools. Since 2008, it has awarded more than $932,000 in grants to local schools and nonprofits.
“Students interested in math and science, don’t decide when they’re 17 and say, ‘I really love math and I want to be an engineer,’” she said. “This is a passion that starts early on in their lives and it’s our job to find those young students and cultivate their passion.”
To that end, each February the Citadel Foundation and Google host the “Storm the Citadel Trebuchet Competition.” Teams of local students, Citadel cadets, engineers, scientists, and corporate executives build and launch trebuchets, a device similar to a medieval catapult, competing in accuracy, design, and team spirit.
More than 400 people in the community have attended the event annually.
“This is our third year co-hosting the Trebuchet Competition with the Citadel,” Hester said. “In our first year we had 10 to 12 teams competing. This year we had more than 40 teams competing and next year the Citadel is worried about having enough room on their parade ground to fit everybody.”
Hester added that despite Google’s size, “We are a start-up company at heart. Google started in a garage and we are big supporters of entrepreneurship. Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it accessible, but inside, we’re not that organized. It’s not good to take an idea to a big meeting. You take your idea and you run with it. That’s the entrepreneurship we cultivate.”
Google’s community effort extends to helping senior citizens become more computer and Internet savvy.
“We provide training for seniors on how to get online, upload pictures and share information,” she said.