Data Centre Industry Contribution of the Year
Andy Hirst began at Sudlows as an Electrical Manager and has since risen through the ranks and was recently made Managing Director of Critical Infrastructures, a role that involves overseeing the division in its entirety. Having over 35 years’ worth of experience in the electrical industry, Andy has been instrumental in transforming Sudlows from a £2m data cabling company to a multi-award winning £30m data centre infrastructure design and build company and continues to work closely with his fellow directors to define the growth strategy and commercial direction of the business.
Andy has achieved several industry and business accolades including being named among the top most influential people in the technology, media & telecoms sector by ‘Insider’ magazine, and has more recently need awarded the ‘Inspiration Award’ at the Networking Computing Awards.
Andy has played a critical role in the championing of energy efficiency and sustainability in the data centre industry, which attracted attention from a number of key trade event organisers across Singapore and Dubai, resulting in Sudlows being awarded, and successfully delivering data centre projects in multiple regions such as Dubai, Turkey, Saudi, Mumbai to name just a few Leading Andy to open Sudlows’ first international office in Dubai five years ago followed by an Indian office which was recently opened this year.
Playing a crucial role as a mentor for Sudlows’ design and engineering teams, Andy has helped Sudlows employees achieve some of the industry’s highest accolades including an IET Technician of the Year and a Young Mission Critical Engineer of the Year. He has also trained, registered and takes an active part in mentoring young engineers across the industry for the IET to work with them to receive incorporated status.
Andy is a committed and active participant in the data centre community, for example, Andy was Chairman for the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association) for a number of years and has sat on multiple steering committees in the UK focusing on energy efficiency and green data centres One of Andy has worked with the ECA to look at and promote gender diversity, upskilling and certifications along with quality standards within the mission critical sector.
Andy is also committed to continuous professional development within the industry and is an ambassador for raising technical standards within the industry and as a result has achieved numerous professional qualifications and accreditations including his Uptime Institute Accredited Tier Designer status, CDCDP, Certified Data Centre Design Professional, HNC Building Services Engineering, HNC Electrical Engineering and has been an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) for a number of years, with last year becoming a fellow of the IET (FIET).
He has realised the importance of implementing strategy along with the right type of leadership required, and as part of getting an understanding in this field to the extent of just completing a three year Master’s Degree in ‘Data Centre Leadership and Management’, where he has become one of just a handful of engineers to achieve this qualification.
Andy’s critical contribution has ensured that strategic growth is planned and controlled with significant investment in sourcing a high standard of engineers and designers in all disciplines around the data centre environment.
This long term investment and managed growth has produced a datacentre team, who from just one person five years ago into an award winning division of 40 dedicated designers, planners and specialists who manage over 150 site engineers.
Andy has also been key in developing opportunities not only for Sudlows, but also on behalf of the UK data centre industry, as a whole, in international markets. Although the UK data centre market has seen significant growth over recent years, the global market opportunities have potential to grow exponentially.
Andy has been profiled in several industry publications over the last year including being named by the “Insider” magazine as one of the top 33 most influential people in the technology, media & telecoms sector alongside well known industry figures such as Richard Tang, owner of Zen Internet and Stephen Wild, Managing Director of Media City.
On an academic level, Andy researches into new green technologies especially focused around the field of carbon reduction. His ambition is to constantly improve efficiencies and resilience around these critical products and as such this takes him around the country, Europe and even globally.