New College Institute to Offer Amazon Web Services Training in Southern Virginia

New College Institute to Offer Amazon Web Services Training in Southern Virginia

Martinsville, Va. – New College Institute (NCI) is pleased to announce a collaborative effort with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide cloud computing skills development and job training through the AWS re/Start program. The first AWS re/Start cohort at NCI is scheduled to begin in Fall 2020 (Download Flyer). NCI and AWS will host informational AWS re/Start webinars on August 5 to provide details on employer, partnership, and participant opportunities.

“This is an amazing opportunity for job seekers in Southern and Southwestern Virginia,” said Karen Jackson, interim executive director of NCI. “We are proud to be working with AWS to provide training that will empower more people in Virginia’s rural communities to learn new, in-demand skills, and find employment in a high-growth industry. ”

AWS re/Start prepares learners for entry-level cloud roles, such as cloud operations, site reliability, infrastructure support, and technical adjacent business support functions. Each cohort of learners in the AWS re/Start program is supported by professional mentors and accredited trainers, and completes a 12-week training featuring real-world scenario-based learning, hands-on labs, and coursework. The program also provides learners with resume and interview coaching to prepare for employer meetings and interviews.

NCI’s AWS re/Start program will primarily be available to unemployed and underemployed populations in Southern and Southwestern Virginia. Applicants from other areas of Virginia will be considered on a space available basis. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, almost 400,000 Virginians are currently unemployed due to COVID-19. In addition, according to Emsi labor market data from July 2019 to June 2020, Virginia has the third largest number of cloud related job postings in the United States with almost 300K cloud related jobs posted. NCI is proud to create opportunities for more people, from more backgrounds, to engage in workforce training in such a high-demand, high-growth arena. AWS and the AWS Workforce Development team continue to focus on opportunities to support unemployed and underemployed individuals in Virginia.

“The Information Technology (IT) industry is facing a substantial talent deficit that can only be addressed by attracting more Americans into cloud computing and IT careers, including those without traditional technology educations or experience. The AWS re/Start program is a springboard to help Virginians prepare for and successfully enter entry-level careers in cloud computing. 1901 Group is excited to leverage AWS re/Start and NCI to help identify, attract, and hire more Virginians to fill our demand for cloud computing talent, especially at our Enterprise IT Operations Centers in Southwest Virginia,” said Brendan Walsh SVP Partner Relations at 1901 Group.

“To overcome this systematic supply versus demand situation, cloud talent must be cultivated from non-traditional sources. AWS re/Start brings ‘net-new’ talent into the cloud ecosystem by skilling unemployed and underemployed individuals with little to no technology background and preparing them to launch a cloud career,” said Tejas Vashi, AWS re/Start Global Team Lead, AWS Training & Certification, Amazon Web Services, Inc.

For more information or to register for the AWS re/Start program click here or contact Brian Stanley or 276-403-5605.

Another 1.5 million square feet of data center space eyed in White Oak

Another 1.5 million square feet of data center space eyed in White Oak


QTS’s existing facility at 6000 Technology Blvd. in White Oak Technology Park. (Photos by Jonathan Spiers)

The race to increase data center capacity in a Henrico County tech park appears to be escalating as a long-time tenant prepares to triple its footprint.

QTS Data Centers is planning an expansion on 210 acres it owns in the White Oak Technology Park at 6020 Technology Blvd. in the county’s Sandston area.

The proposed project, which was submitted to the county’s planning division this month, would involve construction of about 1.2 million square feet of new data center space to rise between QTS’ existing 1.3 million-square-foot campus to the west and the Facebook data center site under construction to the east, according to submitted site plans.

One of the many computer systems housed within the QTS facility.

Plans call for three 330,000-square-foot data center buildings, and a 165,000-square-foot data facility.

In addition to QTS’ eastern expansion on its campus, the company also updated its plans for another development, now dubbed “Project Isaac,” that’s set to rise on about 73 acres south of its campus along Portugee Road.

The firm originally submitted preliminary plans for that project in March to build a 710,000-square-foot data center building on county-owned property.

While the 710,000-square-foot building remains part of the plans, a second 355,000-square-foot data center building has been added to the mix, according to submitted site plans, bringing the total amount of new data center development assigned to Project Isaac to 1.1 million square feet.

Between its eastern campus expansion and Project Isaac, QTS is set to deliver about 2.3 million square feet of new data center space to the area, planning documents show.

The two QTS projects, while separate, are being fast-tracked by county planners.

White Oak Technology Park in eastern Henrico.

Once completed, QTS will own and operate about 3.6 million square feet of data center space in the White Oak Technology Park, becoming its largest data center tenant.

QTS’ neighbor, Facebook, will have 2.4 million square feet of data center space once it completes a $750 million expansion of three 450,000-square-foot buildings on its 172-acre campus in late 2020.

Facebook recently completed the first phase – two buildings totaling 970,000 square feet – that opened in the first half of 2019.

Kevin Snead, QTS Richmond site director, did not immediately respond to a call for comment Monday afternoon. Anthony Romanello, Henrico County Economic Development Authority executive director, forwarded a request for comment about the two projects to QTS.

Growing facility

The lobby in QTS’s main building.

QTS is a publicly traded data center operator that owns and maintains several facilities across North America and Europe, and one in Hong Kong.

QTS’s Richmond facility is one of nine mega data centers the company operates in the country, including one in Chicago and two each in Atlanta, New Jersey and Texas. The company’s data center footprint spans nine states and three continents, with centers in Amsterdam, London and Hong Kong.

Highly secured, the complex employs about 300 security cameras that monitor the property 24-7. QTS contracts with security company Allied Universal Security for those and other services. The facility is highly automated, requiring only about 30 employees across sales and operations to be on site at any given time.

The complex includes additional space for potential expansion. The site previously served as a semiconductor plant for manufacturing computer chips.

Previously used as a semiconductor plant for manufacturing computer chips, the facility now is used to store data center capacity for large financial institutions, banks, and multiple federal and regional government agencies. The company’s White Oak Technology campus caters to federal government entities, according to its website.

It also serves as a connection hub for two subsea cables, called MAREA and BRUSA, that provide enhanced international connectivity via the Virginia Beach Cable Landing Station, where the cables connecting data centers in South America and Europe come ashore.

Called the QTS Richmond Network Access Point, the hub provides connections to what the company describes as “the lowest latency and highest capacity ever deployed between continents.”

The technology is said to provide the fastest internet speeds ever, capable of transmitting all the world’s movies across the Atlantic Ocean in 42 seconds, Romanello said during a tour of the facility in June.

“We’re talking about billions and billions of bits of data that are getting moved, where even a microsecond could give somebody an advantage,” he said. “Imagine if you’re a day trader, where that fraction of a second makes a difference.”

Data center surge

Romanello and others have been making an effort in recent months to get the word out about QTS Richmond as an alternative to Ashburn and other data center hubs for businesses seeking international high-speed internet connections.

A leased tenant space that had yet to be filled.

Earlier this year, QTS hosted an inaugural summit that attracted local and regional government leaders and speakers from Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Telxius.

The overseas cables’ arrival over the past two years have helped fuel a surge in data center development in the region, coupled with lowered state and local tax rates to help attract such facilities.

The state offers a sales and use tax exemption specific to data centers, and in 2017, Henrico County approved an 88 percent reduction in its business personal property tax on data centers. Earlier this year, Chesterfield County lowered its data center tax rate to be the lowest in the state.

Romanello said such reductions, combined with Virginia’s power rate structure and Henrico’s available infrastructure, attracted the cables – driven in large part by Facebook and Microsoft – to be located here. He also credited Henrico’s investment in White Oak and the QTS site, where Infineon Technologies and later Qimonda operated before the semiconductor closed abruptly 10 years ago.

“It goes back to having a great partner in QTS – the fact that the county took over this property over 20 years ago, put $44 million into the infrastructure for roads, water and sewer. The fiber followed that,” Romanello said. “You’ve got this public-private partnership that has facilitated QTS and their investment, Facebook, and all the others that are here and that are going to be coming.”

Twyla Powell, Henrico EDA’s business attraction manager, said the cable connection makes the region an attractive alternative, particularly to international companies seeking high-speed connections with their headquarters overseas, without having to be routed through Ashburn, New York and other, busier hubs.

“It’s giving the network more options of places to go, where the traffic can be routed more efficiently and with a different path,” Powell said this summer. “Speed and latency are two key things, but also having multiple paths keeps the internet more available overall. If you can’t get into the country from New York, you can get in from Richmond. That’s all really good for the whole state.”

Powell said the hub also provides benefits to regional businesses and internet users.

“In Southside Virginia, all those people that use Mid-Atlantic Broadband, there’s a connection for Mid-Atlantic Broadband to this map,” she said. “So all those people served in the Southside of Virginia will have access to these higher-speed networks without having to travel up to Ashburn, which is the busiest internet place in the world, when all they might need is to just come to Richmond.”

BizSense reporter Jonathan Spiers contributed to this story.

Governor Northam Announces Microsoft Corporation’s Sixth Expansion in Mecklenburg County


Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam

Date: January 9, 2019

Office of the Governor
Contact: Alena Yarmosky

Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Contact: Suzanne Clark

Microsoft Media Relations
Contact: WE Communications

Governor Northam Announces Microsoft Corporation’s Sixth Expansion in Mecklenburg County

~ Microsoft investment and expansion will create more than 100 new jobs ~

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Microsoft Corporation, one of the largest and most influential companies in the world, will inject significant capital investment to expand its enterprise data center in Mecklenburg County. The project is Microsoft’s sixth expansion at the facility since 2010 and will allow the company to further enhance its ability to serve customers in the U.S. and across the globe. Virginia successfully competed against multiple states for this significant investment, which will create more than 100 new jobs.

“When Microsoft established its new enterprise data center in 2010, it represented the largest economic investment in southern Virginia history, and we have been thrilled to see the company continue expanding in the Commonwealth ever since,” said Governor Northam. “Microsoft’s sustained investment in Virginia has created hundreds of new jobs for our citizens and advanced our position as a leader in information technology. We thank Microsoft for its tremendous contribution to the economies of Mecklenburg County and to the Commonwealth as a whole.”

Microsoft is a publicly held corporation, established in 1975, and headquartered in Redmond, Washington, with revenues surpassing $100 billion and more than 134,000 employees worldwide. Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft has created nearly 1,800 jobs in Virginia, with approximately 300 jobs at Microsoft locations in Mecklenburg County.

“Microsoft and the Commonwealth boast a rich history of successful corporate partnership, and we are thrilled that the company’s sixth expansion in Mecklenburg County will bring more than 100 new jobs to Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Microsoft’s state-of-the-art data center is thriving due to the region’s premier assets and infrastructure, which include a density of fiber and competitively priced power. Thanks to industry leaders like Microsoft, Virginia remains the largest data center market in the U.S., and we look forward to the company’s continued growth in Mecklenburg County.”

“As demand for cloud and online services continues to grow, Microsoft is investing in Virginia as a strategic location to help us deliver for our customers,” said Noelle Walsh, corporate vice president, Cloud Operations + Innovation, Microsoft Corp. “Mecklenburg County has been a good home for Microsoft, and we’re committed to supporting the community through local partnerships to help deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits such as expanding access to high-speed broadband services and supporting skills training for positions in the information technology industry. We’ve also invested to increase the amount of renewable energy available and help others access more renewable energy. In May 2018, Microsoft announced the purchase of 315-megawatts of energy from two new solar projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which represented the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy in the United States.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Mecklenburg County and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $1.5 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Mecklenburg County with the project. The company is also eligible for Data Center Sales and Use tax exemptions on qualifying computer equipment and enabling software.

“Mecklenburg County is pleased that Microsoft is continuing to grow their operation in our County with their sixth expansion announcement since 2010,” said Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors Glenn Barbour. “The continued expansion of the Boydton Data Center showcases our county and its assets to the world. We look forward to working with Microsoft to continue their growth of their cloud services and the opportunities it provides for our citizens and our economy.”

“Microsoft’s economic impact on Southern Virginia is invaluable, and we thank the company for its sixth major investment in Mecklenburg County since 2010,” said Senator Frank Ruff, Chairman of the MEI Commission. “State and local partners have worked tirelessly to ensure the company’s continued growth in the region, and I am pleased that the MEI Commission could play a role in securing this important expansion for the Commonwealth.”

“An additional expansion of Microsoft’s Mecklenburg County site is tremendous for the region, and is further evidence that rural Virginia can play an important role in the growth of the high-tech industry in the Commonwealth,” said Delegate Nick Rush, Vice Chair of the MEI Commission. “I am proud of VEDP, MEI, and the partners involved for continued collaboration and a strong corporate partnership with the company.”

“The announcement of Microsoft once again expanding in Mecklenburg County is welcome news not only to me but to the people I serve in the 61st district,” said Delegate Thomas Wright. “Microsoft clearly appreciates that Mecklenburg offers a thriving workforce, a business-friendly environment, and the infrastructure to support a growing operation.”

Full Release


Microsoft Is Expanding Its Virginia Data Center Footprint, But Not in Ashburn

The Microsoft store in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, in 2018

Microsoft Is Expanding Its Virginia Data Center Footprint, But Not in Ashburn

Microsoft is expanding its data center campus in Boydton, a town in southern Virginia • The campus hosts one of three availability regions for the company’s Azure cloud in the state • Not counting the latest expansion, Microsoft has invested about $2 billion in the campus, which has been active since 2010, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch estimate

Yevgeniy Sverdlik | Jan 10, 2019


Microsoft is once again expanding its already enormous data center campus in Boydton, a town in southern Virginia.

The office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the company’s plans Thursday, saying it will “inject significant capital investment” in what will be its sixth expansion at the site, which has been operational since 2010 .

Cloud giants including Microsoft have been spending billions of dollars each quarter in recent years on expanding data center infrastructure for their platforms. In Virginia, most of this construction activity has taken place in and around Ashburn – some 230 miles north of Boydton.

Northern Virginia is the world’s largest and fastest-growing data center market, and Microsoft has substantial presence there. But big cloud providers usually have multiple data center locations serving every major geographic area, spread apart to provide backup for each other. Microsoft’s Azure cloud has three availability regions in Virginia, two for the private sector and one that exclusively serves government clients.

Azure US East 2 availability region is hosted on the Microsoft data center campus in Boydton, according to datacenterHawk .

In statements, Northam and other state, local, and federal officials touted economic development benefits Microsoft’s presence has brought to the area. The company created 300 jobs in Mecklenburg County (where Boydton is located), according to the governor’s office. The planned expansion is expected to create 100 more.

As with its past construction projects at the site, Microsoft is eligible for tax breaks for the latest expansion. It will be able to apply the state’s Data Center Sales and Use tax exemptions to computing equipment and software it buys to fill the new space with.

Even though Microsoft’s data center campus has been in Boydton since 2010, according to Northam’s office, Virginia competed for the expansion project with multiple states, which appears to be an explanation for the tax breaks.

Virginia’s sales and use tax exemptions for data centers accounted for about $80 million in uncollected state revenue in fiscal 2018, according to the Associated Press .

Microsoft’s initial investment to build the data center campus in 2010 was nearly $500 million. Including the previous expansion, a $250 million project announced in 2016, the company has invested about $2 billion in building out the campus over the years, Richmond Times-Dispatch estimated.

Governor McAuliffe Announces 44 New Jobs and More than $251 Million Investment in Mecklenburg County

VA Seal

Commonwealth of Virginia

Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe


November 9, 2016

Office of the Governor
Contact: Brian Coy

Virginia Economic Development Partnership,
Contact: Suzanne Clark
Phone: (804) 545-5806

Microsoft Corporation
Contact: WE Communications
Phone: (503) 443-7070

Governor McAuliffe Announces 44 New Jobs and More than $251 Million Investment in Mecklenburg County

~ Project will be Microsoft Corporation’s 5th expansion in Virginia ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Microsoft Corporation will invest $251.6 million to expand its data center site in Mecklenburg County and increase capacity to serve its growing customer base. Virginia successfully competed against other sites in the U.S. for the project, which will create 44 new jobs.

Microsoft’s original project in 2010 involved an investment of up to $499 million and 50 new jobs. In 2011, the company invested an additional $150 million to expand the site, and in 2013 announced a $348 million expansion. In June 2014, Microsoft invested another $346.7 million, creating 90 new jobs. The company expanded for a fourth time in November 2015, investing $402.4 million and creating 42 new jobs.

“Microsoft has now invested nearly $2 billion in its Mecklenburg facility and created over 250 jobs since 2010,” Governor McAuliffe said. “With five expansions in six years, this company’s success continues to be a testament to Southern Virginia’s talented workforce and strong IT infrastructure. The Commonwealth is emerging as a leader in the data center industry, and we are honored to have such a valued corporate partner aid us in our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”

“Virginia’s data center industry has been booming for more than a decade, especially in rural Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Since 2005, more than 8,400 jobs and more than $11 billion in capital investment have been announced for this critical sector. Virginia’s momentum is bolstered by a powerhouse company like Microsoft on our corporate roster, which continues to make major investments in its Mecklenburg data center.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

“The demand for cloud services continues to grow globally as cloud services are transforming entire industries,” said Christian Belady, General Manager, Cloud Infrastructure Strategy & Architecture, Cloud Infrastructure and Operations at Microsoft. “We will continue to invest in growing our capacity to meet the expanding demand of our customers in close collaboration with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the County of Mecklenburg.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Mecklenburg County to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Mecklenburg County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $970,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project.

“Mecklenburg County is again pleased that Microsoft Corporation has decided to expand their Boydton data center for the fifth time,” said Glenn Barbour, Chairman, Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors. “This expansion continues to showcase our county and its attributes to the world. We look forward to continuing our close partnerships with Microsoft, and our state and local partners as this project continues to grow and expand our local economy.”

“The Tobacco Commission is pleased that Microsoft has found our region to be a good location to continue to expand its data center capacity,” said Senator Frank Ruff, Vice Chairman of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. “The company has been a great asset to Mecklenburg, and we look forward to this latest expansion.”

“I am very excited that Microsoft continues to grow and expand in Mecklenburg County with its fifth expansion since 2010,” said Delegate Tommy Wright, Chairman of the Southside Economic Development Committee of the Tobacco Commission. “I am also very pleased that the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $970,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project.  The continued investment in Mecklenburg County of $251 million and the creation of 44 new jobs is great for Mecklenburg County and for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”


To view the published release, please visit:

Elliot Meyer
Press Assistant
Office of Governor Terence R. McAuliffe
Direct: (804) 786-4401
General: (804) 786-2211