Data Centre Engineer of the Year
Tom Blundy is a Senior Consultant and Data Centre Engineer at data centre specialist Keysource.
Keysource provides a range of services globally to support the full data centre lifecycle from initial
consultancy, through project delivery to ongoing operational management.
Following his graduation with a MEng Hons Degree in Architecture and Environmental Design in
2013, Tom joined Keysource and has continued his professional development whilst gaining a broad
range of experience, achieving chartered status in 2019 and now is a design and engineering lead for
Tom is responsible for managing, implementing and approving the design lifecycle of a project. Often
using the RIBA plan of work as a framework, Tom establishes the design brief with the client team
and then develops the design through concept, technical and for-construction design.
Importantly, Tom’s knowledge and experience of critical infrastructure allows him to advise and
consult with the client team on all infrastructure packages, constructively discussing and debating the
advantages and disadvantages of approaches and/or technologies including construction, power,
cooling, protection, security and monitoring.
This broad capability and continuity across the integrated infrastructure gives the client team
confidence that a robust process has been completed to arrive at the right technical solution.
To do this comprehensively, Tom uses his design skills and knowledge of market costs to ensure the
client gets a balanced technical and commercial view through the decision-making process –
something which is unique in the industry.
In addition, Tom leads a successful engineering team which includes data centre, mechanical and
electrical engineers. His leadership and people skills supports development whilst delivering results
for the business.
Why Tom for Data Centre Engineer of the Year?
Tom’s innovative approach to his work and his ability to consider the clients’ current and future
requirements has allowed him to create technical solutions which provide customers with flexibility
and agility and exceed expectations. As a result he is well respected by customers and popular
across the Keysource team.
Part of Tom’s success is his experience in commissioning the facilities that he designs. Responsible
for designing and executing the commissioning and integrated system testing (IST) plans, Tom
monitors the results to satisfy stakeholders that expectations have been met. Undoubtedly this
capability to see a project through from inception to testing and handover gives Tom the opportunity
to identify improvements which he can take into the next project.
Over Tom’s years of experience, he has built a reputation of assured project outcomes which is
invaluable in the fast paced, business critical data centre sector. This has included strengths in the
• Live Operational data centre upgrades – Common in the industry, the ability to upgrade a
data centre with additional capacity, resilience, or both with zero downtime to existing IT load
can present a risk to a customer’s brand, reputation and commercially. The health and safety
of installation engineers who undertake the planned work is key. Tom has proven himself on
multiple mega-watt facilities that his designs, planning and management deliver in technically
challenging, and often, high pressure environments. Examples include Willis Towers Watson
and Major Airport Group
• Efficiency – At the forefront of our industry the ability to deliver high levels of data centre
efficiency is a big focus. Tom’s designs have delivered both design and operational (part load)
Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of sub 1.25 in traditional air cooled environments. This
requires precision engineering and detailed understanding of topics such as cooling control
operational to achieve such low efficiency levels.
• Stranded capacity – Data Centre owners and operators have often found it challenging to
design for future unknowns. As a common theme in the design process Tom has identified
simple, zero or low cost features which can provide the client significant flexibility, often giving
them a competitive edge or business advantage.
Tom’s recent workload includes projects in Defence, Pharmaceuticals, Telecoms and most recently a
Secure Colocation Facility.
As Design Lead & Commissioning Manager for the Colocation Facility, Tom’s role included the master
planning of the first floor of the building and the construction and fit out of the new data hall. He was
lead designer for the installation of the new electrical infrastructure including the HV network upgrade,
standby generators, UPS systems and power distribution. He was also responsible for the phasing
strategies and switching schedules that allowed the live migration of the existing data hall electrical
infrastructure on to the new infrastructure without any downtime. This was a critical requirement as
the data centre supports multiple ‘Blue Light services’.
Another key success factor within this project was the planning and design of a new modular cooling
system. The design allows for flexibility to cool multiple data halls and reduces the risk of ‘stranded
capacity’, reducing the overall capital spend whilst ensuring capacity can be upgraded without any
downtime and with zero impact on client facing services.
In the Defence environment, Tom has recently undertaken an on-site audit of critical data centre
facilities including interviews with key stakeholders, a review of the requirements and expectations
required of a facility that supports the UKs national interests. The project deliverable included the
development of a strategic audit and roadmap designed to mitigate the risks identified within the
holistic assessment of the facility operations. The roadmap identifies the risks and the commercial
requirements and implications at each stage in order to support an informed decision regarding the
most appropriate mitigation strategy.
As lead consultant for a UK Defence Association, Tom led the design phase including the
management of the Architects, Civil and Structural Engineers and the Security and Building Control
advisors for a brand new data centre building. Tom supported the planning submissions and worked
closely with the client throughout the tender process for the eventual Design & Build contractor. As a
result of the close working relationship with the client, Tom became the ‘Design Guardian’ and went
on to review the design, construction, and testing of the facility to ensure it met all the original design
Maintaining services, in particular during upgrades, is Tom’s speciality. His design for a UK
Telecommunications Network Provider included new cooling systems, DC rectifiers, UPS systems
and AC & DC switch gear. Tom’s innovative phasing strategies enable future live upgrades and
expansion without causing disruption to the end user. An article written by Tom about strategies to
minimise disruption during maintenance appeared in the March edition of Electrical Engineering
magazine (see attachment).
Tom recently designed a new resilient UPS installation and the associated supporting services for an
existing Pharmaceuticals manufacturing facility. Once deployed the new system will completely
protect the facility from a disruption of power that would cause immense problems with the
manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines.
Tom’s skill. knowledge, innovation, leadership and client friendly approach make him a true asset to
the Keysource business and we believe a great candidate for Data Centre Engineer of the Year