Data Centre Industry Contribution of the Year
Andy Hirst began his Sudlows career as an Electrical Manager and has since progressed through the business. In 2018 Andy was promoted to his current role of 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. In 2019 Andy was awarded ‘Business Person of the Year’ at the Oldham Business Awards and most recently he was the proud recipient of this very award.
Andy plays 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 in 2014, followed by an Indian office which was opened in 2020.
Recognising the need in the Data Centre industry to reduce emissions and be more mindful of the environment has led to Andy appointing Zac Potts to a new role of ‘Head of Sustainability & Innovation.
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 and most recently a Data Centre Solutions award for ‘Data Centre 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. Andy has also 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. He is also a fellow of the IET (FIET). Andy has recently become one of the first people to achieve a Masters Degree in Data Centre Leadership and Management.
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 Data Centre Team that consisted of just one person ten 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. Andy also makes regular contributions to industry publications and is regularly invited to share his thoughts and opinions on the latest data centre industry trends, most notably in the publication Inside_Networks.
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.
It would be a great honour for Andy to win this award for the second consecutive year and to have his achievements and commitments to the data centre industry recognised at an awards dedicated to what he is so passionate about.