- Operates in an often unmarked building?
- Requires substantial amounts of power and water?
- Doesn’t produce any products?
- Doesn’t require a sizable staff?
- Does require high-level security?
If you answered “data center,” then perhaps you know a thing or two about amps, ohms, and clouds. Well, more like the cloud.
Known for taking shape as large, non-descript buildings situated off the beaten path, data centers are powerful engines — both economically and technologically. And while they may not be tremendous job creators, they are substantial generators of tax revenues.
As the global appetite for digital solutions and services continues to grow exponentially, so too does the evolution and expansion of data centers.
As new data centers are opened, North Texas is proving to be a dynamic hotspot of industry activity. In fact, according to Site Selection Group, a leading provider of global location advisory, economic incentive and corporate real estate services, Dallas is planted in the No. 3 spot on the company’s list of "top 10 data center markets."
Site Selection Group contends that the DFW region is an advantageous location for data centers due to its low risk assessment, great connectivity, available power, and solid business climate. Further, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro offers efficient proximity to United States markets and is a booming center of business activity across a broad mix of diverse industries.
Google Comes to North Texas
Just 26 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth, the rapidly growing community of Midlothian offers a glimpse inside a tech giant’s data center site selection decision.
Tech giant Google spurred curiosity, excitement, and chatter when it revealed in July 2018 that it had purchased 375 acres of land in Midlothian, Texas. After months of quiet speculation, Google’s official announcement that it would build a data center in the upscale, semi-rural community of nearly 40,000 made headlines left and right.
Not only would this be Google’s first data center in Texas, but it would also be the first data center on the south side of the DFW Metroplex.
Google’s $600 million Midlothian data center is currently under construction in the city’s RailPort Business Park adjacent to U.S. Highway 67. It is expected to result in 40 full-time jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs.
At the company’s July 2019 groundbreaking, Andrew Silvestri, Google’s head of public policy and community development, Americas, expressed tremendous enthusiasm for the new Midlothian data center.
“We have deep roots in Texas, and they’re about to get deeper as we launch our first-ever data center in Texas right here in Midlothian,” said Silvestri. “Texas is a huge part of Google’s story and we are so excited for Midlothian to be the next chapter in that story.”
According to Silvestri, a variety of factors led Google to select Midlothian for its newest data center.
“Our team scoured the globe trying to find sites for these facilities, and Midlothian stood out among all of them across the world because of your abundance of natural resources, but more importantly, because of the talent, the people, and the spirit of community and partnership that you all bring together,” said Silvestri.
The project was a major win for Midlothian, a community that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade.
With virtually every sector of the city booming — housing, business, and retail — Midlothian is capturing the interest of expanding companies, real estate developers, site selection consultants, and more.
And when Google comes to town, others pay attention.
The bottom line is that Google found what it needed in Midlothian — notably land, abundant power and water, and a pro-business atmosphere. The company also zeroed in on the community’s proximity to high-tech talent, educational resources, and its focus on STEM education.
Make no mistake, Midlothian’s tech appeal did not happen overnight. This community’s lucrative mix of ingredients has been orchestrated diligently and strategically over time.
Developing Intellectual Talent
While Midlothian offers efficient and easy proximity to roughly 3.9 million people within a 45-minute radius, the city is also cultivating its own talent close to home — especially in its youngest residents.
Beginning in 2017, the district reinforced its commitment to innovation when it adopted a 1:1 M*Powered Initiative which equips MISD students in kindergarten through fifth grade with individual iPads, and students in middle and high school with a personal MacBook Air laptop.
The district is also working to align its curriculum with the demands of the region’s workforce needs, especially in the areas of information technology, engineering, health science, and more. MISD is also collaborating closely with area businesses to help address workforce challenges and future needs.
Not only is the Midlothian Independent School District ramping up its Career and Technical Education offering with programs including information technology, Cisco cybersecurity, graphic design, biomedical science, and INCubatoredu — entrepreneurship, but it is also partnering with Project Lead The Way (PLTW) for its aerospace engineering and civil engineering programs, and is in the process of repurposing a former elementary school into an innovative campus that will house myriad CTE programs.
Additionally, the city is home to the Midlothian Higher Education Center (MHEC) which offers a variety of courses through Navarro College and Tarleton State University.
Students can further tap into high-tech education opportunities at the North Texas campus of Texas State Technical College (TSTC) in nearby Red Oak where they can sharpen skills in areas including electrical power and controls, industrial systems-electrical specialization, cybersecurity, and computer networking and systems administration – to name a few.
Additionally, TSTC offers a great scholarship opportunity for high school students from Midlothian. In partnership with local industry, Midlothian Economic Development provides funds to The TSTC Foundation’s Texan Success Scholarship. Graduates of MISD and residents of Midlothian are eligible for these $1,000 scholarships.
Midlothian’s enviable fusion of locational assets and efficient infrastructure paired with its commitment to quality education and pro-business policies adds up to fertile ground for expanding companies.
In fact, Methodist Health System is well on its way to opening its new hospital in Midlothian in 2020, new business and retail signs are routinely springing up, and residential development is taking shape in every direction in the community.
Supported by a top-notch educational system and critical resources, the community is building a solid infrastructure that will no doubt appeal to progressive companies in search of talent well versed in such skills as electrical technicians, software engineers, operations and controls engineers, program managers, and more.
Google’s arrival speaks volumes of Midlothian’s competitive appeal and other high-tech companies are no doubt taking notice.
The question now is, “Who will come next?”
Show Your Support of Texas Technical Education
The TSTC Foundation’s Texan Success Scholarship is an “open fund” capable of receiving additional contributions from any person or organization. Industry partners are encouraged to contribute to the fund to help local students advance their education and increase the community’s pipeline of skilled workforce.