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Verne Global

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Company: Verne Global, Falls Church, VA USA
Entry Submitted By: Connect2 Communications
Company Description: Verne Global offers the ideal location for data centers owing to our unique location. By locating our facility in Iceland, we can provide our customers these key business advantages superior cost management, low-cost, reliable, and sustainable power and connectivity to both Europe and North America.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Maverick of the Year

Nomination Title: Lisa Rhodes, Verne Global Executive

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated woman since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Recognizing the data center industry’s problem of the rising, unpredictable power pricing, Verne Global saw the opportunity to build a competitively priced, data center campus, harnessing only renewable energy. As part of the company’s founding team, Lisa was instrumental in helping Iceland, and the data center industry, realize the potential for developing a new industry in the country, and a new approach to data center power for the market. In 2012 this dream became a reality when Verne Global opened its doors to become the world’s first 100% renewably powered data center. Taking this business opportunity from concept to reality required Lisa and her team to overcome significant hurdles, including an ingrained mindset that data centers were best placed in Tier 1 cities close to a business’ location.

As a result, Lisa implemented a comprehensive campaign that targeted potential IT “mavericks” within industry verticals to champion Iceland, and Verne Global’s campus, as an ideal place for a data center. The program highlighted four key benefits of Iceland and Verne Global that provides a fundamental advantage to the industry:

• Power pricing with 20-year visibility into rates based on contracts negotiated with Iceland’s power companies.

• Economic advantage of the low-cost power options of Iceland’s dual-sourced, 100% renewably powered grid, an advantage of having both power sources (hydroelectric and geothermal) be green.

• Brand advantage of enabling companies to leverage the green, renewable power to avoid the carbon impact.

• Iceland’s highly reliable, highly availability power grid that provides a peace of mind to operators concerned with brown outs, limited expansion capabilities in markets with aging grids.

Through sales-support materials, targeted advertising, aggressive public relations outreach, analyst engagement, tradeshow and conference speaking presence and partnerships with organizations with similar green/sustainability interests, Lisa has:

• Secured top-tier customers for validation: BMW Group, COLT and RMS are just three of the industry bellwethers that now have applications running in the Icelandic campus, with all three companies taking advantage of the ability to enhance their brand with a green message based on their work with Verne Global.

• Created multiple, active end-customer engagement options: From its own news aggregation site, Green Data Center News, to a regular presence on the speaking circuit, to thought provoking billboards in the London Heathrow Express terminal, Lisa created programs that increased inbound inquires and interest by over 500%.

• Changed the industry conversation: Before opening for operations, the conversation about Iceland as a data center location was hopeful at best, and speculative to dismissive at worst. Lisa’s work has helped change the mindset of industry journalists and analysts as they have now endorsed Iceland as a location, and Verne Global as the leading supplier, of data center campus, for an emerging and relevant new market.

• Created partnerships with organizations that helped advance the business: Forging partnerships with key international organizations has helped cement Verne Global’s role as a thought leader. These partnerships include Climate Action, a leading sustainable development organization, working in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – the world’s foremost body on environmental protection and stewardship. Climate Action builds partnerships between business, government and public bodies to accelerate international sustainable development and advance the ‘green economy.’

Provide a brief biography of the nominated woman (up to 125 words):

Lisa Rhodes is responsible for all aspects of the sales, customer interaction, marketing and public relations at Verne Global. Over the past twenty years, she has held senior sales and operations roles in several global information and communications companies. She was Vice President of Sales at Alcatel, Senior Vice President of Sales at IPC, Director of Sales at Sycamore Networks and Senior Director at MCI. In every organization in which she has worked, Ms. Rhodes has played a leadership role, building and managing teams as small as 15 and as large as 300 with competencies in sales, software development, program management, network management, and OSS systems.