LightEdge opens a second data center, now needs a deep talent pool

The newest 48,000 square-foot data center for LightEdge in Altoona will serve Iowa residents and companies.

It just needs graduates from Iowa colleges to hire.

Des Moines-based LightEdge provides enterprise-grade cloud services, colocation and consulting for Iowa companies. Its second data center in Altoona sits across from its current 30,000-square-foot data center building and between data centers for Facebook and Microsoft.

On Wednesday, LightEdge CEO Jim Masterson, COO Jeff Springborn and CSO Jake Gibson took Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Lt. Governor Adam Gregg and about 15 high school students in cyber security programs on a tour of the new facility.

This second data center has two 10,000 square-foot data center suites, with plans for two more.

It cost $30 million to construct.

LightEdge Solutions
Chief Security Officer Jake Gibson (left) explains some of the security features in the new data center for LightEdge in Altoona.

Recruiting is tough

Masterson said LightEdge is a company made up primarily of engineers, they just have a tough time finding employable ones.

“There’s a tremendous shortage right now,” Masterson said. “We do a lot of recruiting out of the local community college and the local universities. Some of the guys in our network operations center here are from the DMACC program.”

His message to the students: Jobs are available.

“You future in this space is so bright,” Masterson says. “You cannot find people nearly in the numbers we need that are as bright as we need.”

Springborn said LightEdge supports programs that develop sources for talent.

“We need people who know network, cloud, IT, security, all of those types of skillsets,” Springborn said. “We’re big supporters of developing the skillset in this market place. The shortage here in Iowa is more skilled workers. We can’t find enough.”


So the workforce came to them

That shortage is why Sam Oppel—Information Technology Instructor for the Des Moines School District—brought 15 students to tour the LightEdge data center Wednesday.

Students can take classes in cyber security, mobile app development and game design.

He said the tour hopefully got the kids excited about a career in IT.

“And then keeping them in Iowa,” Oppel said. “That’s another big push for a lot of businesses in Des Moines. There’s a lot of cool stuff happening in IT here in Des Moines, there’s no reason to leave.”

Oppel said classes meet every-other day for three hours.

“Our courses line up with DMACC’s cyber security program,” Oppel said. “So they are taking DMACC college courses in high school and getting college credit.”

Gage Akes is in the ‘Cyber Security 1’ and Joshua Spencer is in the ‘Cyber Security 2’ program at Central Campus.

Akes is learning about hardware and connecting different things. Spencer is in the more advanced class, learning networking, configuring routers and about the physical connections.

Both were excited to check out the LightEdge data center and see what a data center looks like.

“When my teacher told me I thought it sounded cool,” Spencer, 16, said.

“It’s really intriguing all the stuff you can do,” Akes, 15, said. “I wanted to come visit one for myself.”