The Silicon Review
“Trust is not given. It’s earned.”
DuPont Fabros Development began in 1997 entering the real estate market pursuing a broad array of commercial development opportunities. A few years later, the company shifted its efforts toward building and managing premium data centers. The company’s novel approach categorized data centers as a new class of real estate—one in which customers could realize significant cost-savings by signing long-term leases (as opposed to short-term license agreements) in a facility significantly larger and more energy-efficient than a typical colocation facility.
In 2007, DuPont Fabros Technology went public as a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). At its IPO, DFT ranked as the largest U.S. IPO by a REIT year to date and ranked as the seventh largest REIT IPO ever.
In Conversation with the Executive; Christopher P. Eldredge
Tell us about your first product that was launched?
DFT became a public company listed on the NYSE in October 2007. At that time, DFT owned and operated five data centers in Northern Virginia. The first to open was VA3 in Reston, Virginia. VA3 was acquired in March 2003 for $23 million and consisted of 147,000 computer room square feet and 13 megawatts of critical load capacity.
If you have to list several factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?
Our biggest difference is our product and our people. We believe we have the best of both. Our belief is that we build the highest quality data centers in North America. We also believe we are the only publicly traded wholesale data center provider in North America who owns and operates 100% of its data centers. In addition, we pride ourselves on delivering outstanding customer service.
What is a typical day in your office like?
In our last employee survey, we heard words like “rewarding,” “challenging,” “fun,” “flexible” and “lively” when asked what it is like working at DFT. That same survey revealed that 100% of our employees said they are proud of our company and our accomplishments. As the leader of the organization, there is nothing more rewarding than positive feedback from the people who make up DFT.
Do you have any new products ready to be/getting ready to be rolled out into the market?
We are currently expanding in our current markets (Ashburn, VA; Santa Clara, CA and Elk Grove Village, IL), as well as new markets including Canada and Oregon. In addition, we are talking to customers about what other products and services they require for their businesses so that we can best align our strategic priorities with theirs.
Where do you see you and your company a couple of years from now?
Our growth will come through organic growth, expansion with new customers in our current markets, as well as through the successful expansion into new markets. The use of technology is not slowing down. From the Internet of Things to mobile applications and big data, we are all consuming more and more technology and bandwidth. Much of the growth is being fueled by “the cloud.” At DFT, one of our stated goals is to be the largest enabler of the cloud. The industry is only at the beginning stages of this massive migration to the cloud, and I’m most excited about the role DFT will play in this every-changing landscaping.
How do you and your company contribute to the global IT platform and society at large?
We support the critical missions of our clients, many of whom are global enterprises. We understand the value of what passes through our data centers every day. It’s more than simply an endless stream of data. It’s the lifeblood of a global economy made up of businesses who are improving the health and wellness of millions, adding invaluable depth to business-customer interactions, and helping bridge relationships across time and continents.
‘It is difficult to start a venture. But far more difficult to maintain it’ – How would you and your team interpret this saying?
Maintaining or sustaining a business is hard work. As a former college athlete who played basketball at the division 1 level, sports have been a large part of my life. Similar to a sports team, in business you have to have the right players, you have to train, you have to work hard, you have to have a winning strategy, you have to understand and respect the competition but constantly be looking for ways to get an edge. It’s about the team pulling together and working as a unit. Every day at DFT, we’re trying to win . . . for our customers, our shareholders and our employees.
Meet the Executive Leader
Christopher P. Eldredge, President, CEO, and Director: Christopher P. Eldredge is president, chief executive officer and director of DuPont Fabros Technology (DFT). In this role, Eldredge is responsible for developing and defining the company’s vision and expansion strategy. Eldredge has worked in the IT infrastructure and telecommunications industry for nearly two decades and has a strong background in executive management, strategic business development, mergers and acquisitions, operations and sales.
Prior to joining DFT in February 2015, Eldredge was executive vice president of data center services at NTT America Inc., a global IT infrastructure services provider. At NTT America, he led all aspects of data center services in the United States. Eldredge also serves as a board member for the Northern Virginia Technology Council.