Meet Alan Mclaughlin our data centre engineer of the year

Working with purpose: How I became a data center engineer for STANLEY Security, and never looked back...

Image Alan Mclaughlins Engineer Story 29web

How I started

I was 17 when I started my engineering career. After finishing at a technical college, I gained a placement at a local security company in Ireland. In 2005 I started working for a local company as a service technician. Then in 2012 we were bought by STANLEY Security, part of the Stanley Black & Decker group, and that’s when my career really took off.

I was asked to join the project team in Dublin to work on our first data centre project. My role involved changing an analogue CCTV system to a digital IP system consisting of around 500 cameras. The client was really impressed with the quality of the installation and the project was a success. From there, they commissioned us to work on our first new build project in Dublin, which was also executed really well – leading to our first European project in Amsterdam – a 60-megawatt data center.

Taking off

It was in 2015 that I got my first international project to work on in Seattle, US. I love travelling for my work, especially when I get to work with the world’s top 10 biggest technology companies. As an avid tech enthusiast, I love the fact that install cutting edge equipment such as anti-tailgate devices, personnel portals, biometrics and fibreoptic networks. This is a huge bonus and a real enabler: I can do my job to the best of my ability, having peace of mind that I’m fully equipped by the company, which means I can deliver on time. Often engineers working in the field can find that they are hindered by the lack of tools available to them. This certainly isn’t the case at STANLEY Security and nor should it be, especially as the company is part of Stanley Black & Decker tools business - so, there’ll be no chance of me ever downing tools!

One dedicated team

I’m part of the Global Data Centre Practice who are a dedicated team of security design and engineering experts. Our focus is only on servicing data centers. In house, we use Building Information Modelling (BIM), a shared knowledge resource and tool, to create and optimize data center system designs in real time with our clients across multiple locations.

We were the first Security Integrator in Europe to be awarded BIM Level 2 Certification making it easier to digitally model a data center and use BIM data to reduce the risk of mistakes or discrepancies at an early stage. This enables more cost-effective and predictable planning. It also allows us to work in a more agile and collaborative way while significantly reducing project schedules.

Thanks to BIM modelling, I am always provided with correct specifications and detailed drawings to ensure that we meet our clients expectations. None of this would be possible without the support of our management, sales and design teams, and stores department. We all work as one team.

STANLEY Security has significantly invested in my professional development. So far, I’ve received training on multiple enterprise level systems. I also hold master level certifications in Milestone, S2, and Avigilon.  And I’ve also been trained in Cisco CCNA. Plus, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in international training facilitated by some of our most high-profile clients. A standout and memorable moment for me was when I attended training in San Francisco, California hosted by one of world’s most renowned tech companies and data center operator

What I love about my day

I love the fact that I’m always learning on the job and for me the challenge lies in having to quickly adapt to learning new software and hardware that is project specific. An example that comes to mind is an anti-tailgating device (ATG). This piece of equipment can be very testing to install because of the level of integration between the access control system and the ATG unit. If you look at the wiring schematic it looks more like a map of the London Underground!

The key to success in this job is teamwork and to do this well you need to share your expertise with the rest of the team.

Always part of the big picture

I get to meet some very smart and experienced people on my travels, which always inspires me to work harder, increase my knowledge and technical ability. I get integrated into our clients’ teams, so I can give my all to a given project. 

International working allows me to experience a wide range of cultures. I have worked in Holland for 3 years and during that time, I worked on 6 data centers. I’ve also been posted to work in Frankfurt, Norway and Seattle. Recently I’ve been working in Paris.

Does a career in our Global Data Centre Practice sound like it’s for you?

Did you know that by 2022 there’ll be 4.88 billion global internet users? Today, 300 Million Gigabytes of new data is saved every day, and that will double in the next 2 years. All this is driving unprecedented growth in data centre capacity.

The Data Centre industry is evolving fast, so we are looking for experienced engineers with a minimum of 5 years’ experience who can deliver at pace and understand the bigger picture. 

We want the innovators, the makers and the doers on board. In return we can offer continuous professional development in-house. You’ll also have the opportunity to attend training facilitated by some of our most prestigious clients. If you’d like to work internationally in one of the world’s most dynamic industries and be part of Stanley Black & Decker, a $14 billion revenue, purpose-driven industrial organization, we want to hear from you.

Come and join our winning team of data center experts

We consistently deliver global data centre projects on time and to the highest standards. This includes over 2 gigawatt of completed global transactions and 95 greenfield projects. You could be a part of it.

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Wednesday, 20 November 2019