Last week Lincoln County State Representative Jason Saine presided over a meeting of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology held in the new PORTAL Building on the campus of his Alma Mater, UNC-Charlotte.
The Committee heard a presentation by Steve Ott, the Dean of the Belk College of Business, about UNC-Charlotte's industry-led Big Data program. Retail, energy, healthcare and technology companies including Belk, Lowe's, Carolinas Healthcare, Bank of America, and IBM are working with the university to develop the program to supply the talent they need for their companies and designing research projects that will use customer data for a competitive advantage.
"We are so very proud of Representative Saine, a '96 graduate of UNC-Charlotte and co-chair of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology", said Betty Machado Doster, UNC-C's legislative liaison and former longtime Lincoln County resident. "We thank him for the great opportunity to bring legislators to campus, many of whom have never been here."
Saine also led the committee and guests on tours of the Microsoft facility in Charlotte and the Facebook data center in Forest City.
The committee members got to hear firsthand how Microsoft and Facebook bring jobs to western NC and contribute to their local communities while helping to bring NC to the forefront of IT progress in the country.
Facebook's data center contains servers that log in every one of Facebook's 1.25 billion users every day. The committee got the opportunity to learn from Facebook staff how they keep their environmentally-friendly data center operating and how they look to North Carolina's universities and community colleges for the talent that staffs their facility.
Another major player in the technology field recently announced plans to expand its presence in Catawba County. Apple is adding a “tactical” data center on its Maiden campus, designed to quickly expand to meet the needs of its iCloud customers.
Apple already has $1.7 billion invested in the Catawba County site, anchored by a 500,000-square-foot data center, according to Scott Millar, president of Catawba County Economic Development Corporation.
“Their investment in the data center and in green energy to date exceed $1.7 billion, far exceeding their 10-year commitment for both jobs and investment in much less time,” Millar said.
Apple has a 100-acre solar farm and a biogas energy plant at the Maiden location.
Apple announced plans in 2009 for the initial large data center. At the time, it was said that Apple's investment in Catawba County could reach $2 billion.
The Apple campus initiated the idea of a NC. Data Center Corridor to the west and northwest of Charlotte. Since Apple arrived, Facebook opened its facility in Rutherford County, and Wipro, Walt Disney and AT&T opened tech centers in Cleveland County. In addition, Google has a data center in Caldwell County that opened in 2008.
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