Originally posted on Data Center POST

Data Center POST had the opportunity to connect with Michael Morey, President and CEO of Bluebird Network since 2012. During Michael’s tenure at Bluebird Network, the company has more than tripled in size and was named one of the fastest-growing companies in Missouri in 2015. Michael plans to continue this growth by carefully navigating the shifting Mission Critical landscape and taking advantage of the new opportunities in the market. Learn more about Michael’s plans for Bluebird Network in his Metro Connect USA 23 interview below.  

Data Center POST (DCP) Question: Metro Connect USA 2023 is the 22nd annual event. What are you most looking forward to at the event this year?  

Michael Morey, President and CEO Bluebird Network (MM) Answer: The Team is most looking forward to connecting with other thought leaders in the Digital Infrastructure space to learn more about current and upcoming developments throughout the industry. 

DCP Q: This year’s Infrastructure Day (invite only) takes place on January 30. It is a closed-door session exploring such topics as the edge, 5G, and the next generation of edge networks.   This is your opportunity to share your opinion on one (or all) of these topics, and how your company is positioned to support these trends and technologies.

MM A: In 2022, 5G has changed the way data center operators work – shifting to cloud and edge computing. Additionally, data center operators incorporated automation for seamless 5G deployments and network management. Because data centers play a crucial role in the deployment and operation of 5G networks, there is a growing need for high processing, storage, and distribution. As 5G continues to roll out in smaller communities across the Midwest, there is a tremendous opportunity for edge providers to bring computing resources closer to the consumer – for improved performance and lower latency. 5G demand is on the rise and there is no stopping it. Therefore, more and more bandwidth is needed to deliver data center customers’ services and products. 

DCP Q: On January 31, the CEO panel will discuss  – in part – how the supply chain issues have affected their businesses – how has your company managed through these supply chain challenges, and have you adjusted your procurement strategies, forecasts and plans to adapt to the world’s new order? 

MM A: Bluebird, like so many companies in our industry, was forced to pivot the business’s existing “just in time” delivery strategy and look into other means of remaining productive and tackling our priorities. When supply chain issues hit, we began to order our equipment earlier and from a broader range of suppliers.  We had to look into other vendors to determine if they could readily provide equipment capable of delivering the standard of service and reliability we hold our network to. Fortunately, we found those partners and had the financial resources to order our equipment earlier and in higher quantities than ever before. Our forecasts and plans for growth continue to be aggressive in the space we operate, and procurement strategies are already returning to normal.

DCP Q: ESG is a hot topic that is also on the agenda at Metro Connect USA 2023.  What are your ESG plans and who are they tailored for (customers, prospects, investors, hyperscalers, etc.) – and are there any certifications, groups or initiatives you are part of to help your company achieve its goals? 

MM A: Bluebird Network is committed to reducing the company’s carbon footprint. Early in 2022, Bluebird finalized its ESG roadmap developing a more structured and dynamic sustainability program, achieving its goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2040.

In order to accomplish net-zero carbon emissions, Bluebird determined the greenhouse gas (GHG) generated by its facilities and will be revamping its existing sustainability initiatives. The company plans to reduce its GHG emissions across all activities as much as possible. An example is implementing sustainable purchasing alternatives and vendor relationships to reduce Bluebird’s total carbon footprint up and down the supply chain. Additional examples of sustainable solutions include:

  • Created a Used Electronic Purchasing program
  • Created an Electronic Recycling, Reuse, Refurbish program
  • Purchased dynamic fuel model vehicles to replace older models
  • Established closed-loop water systems within data centers
  • Adoption of LED lighting technologies at data center facilities
  • Creation of hot air return plenums at data center facilities to improve cooling efficiencies

Bluebird’s net-zero initiative sets the direction and serves to support its employees, customers, partners, and communities across the Midwest, in taking responsibility to reduce its carbon footprint as well. In addition to offering high-quality products and services, Bluebird assists customers and partners in achieving their own sustainability goals.

DCP Q: Some of the 2023 predictions address FTTH. There are thoughts that as the economies of scale become realized, roll-up opportunities could be in the near-term/mid-term future.  What is your opinion about FTTH and is it necessary to create a truly robust edge network?

MM A: Fiber to the Home (FTTH) is the biggest piece of the puzzle when addressing the digital divide in the United States. Simply put, connectivity is necessary for businesses, individuals and families of all sizes to continue living and competing in the digital world. While Bluebird Network doesn’t provide FTTH services, we have positioned ourselves as a chief enabler of competition in that conversation. Bluebird provides FTTH providers connectivity to the rest of the world and the Internet.  This means they can focus their capital on the last mile, not the middle mile, nor do they need to buy their middle mile from an FTTH competitor.  Bluebird’s dedicated, reliable service to FTTH providers allows us to play a role in enabling a new era of FTTH productivity throughout the Midwest.

DCP Q: What else would you like for our readers to know that you haven’t already shared about your company? 

MM A: Bluebird Network has completed two new builds, which helped expand their network into Salina, Kansas and Waterloo, Iowa. In addition to these projects and a company acquisition, adding fiber assets in Southern Missouri, Bluebird just recently announced the finalization of its 126-fiber-route-mile network build in Illinois. Bluebird will be delivering an expanded level of services to the region which will aid in taking a huge step forward for the company’s strategic vision.  

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