JCA: dynamic data centre engineering
JCA offers trusted world class engineering services to the data centre sector. Working across the design, construction, operation and maintenance of mission critical facilities for 17 years, JCA takes a holistic view with a pragmatic approach to the benefits and pitfalls of resilient engineering strategies.
“When working with clients like Ark, we appreciate what drives their business and understand their key business goals,” confirms JCA’s Managing Director Tom Absalom. “Engineering expertise we hold can be applied to support our partners’ business plans and market offering. In recent years, we've made great strides in terms of reduced CapEx and OpEx, albeit with increased availability and enhanced environmental credentials.”
Keeping pace with the evolutionary cycle of incremental gains, JCA ensures the products it develops and deploys are enhanced over those that have gone before. “That can only happen when you work with organisations with shared goals and strategies for the entire supply chain,” says Absalom. “We make sure everyone is aligned towards a single aim. During our time working with Ark we’ve progressed through some revolutionary concept designs which have trickled down into the world-class products you see them operating today.”
“Ark’s commitment to sustainability creates an aspiration for JCA to deliver,” maintains the company’s Chairman and Founder Ian Jackson. “It’s the perfect partnership for us to showcase our desire and commitment to invest in the lifecycle of a building asset through the implementation of new digital building technologies. Equally, we’re investigating and testing new disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence to improve waste management controls and also provide the strategic direction to leverage real-time information from other construction sites throughout the country.
“We’re fortunate to have customers that share our values and appreciate the advantage collaborative partnerships can bring on a long-term basis. At JCA continuous improvement is key as we strive to enhance our consistency and processes.”
Looking to the future
“We’ve been fortunate to navigate the uncertainties of the pandemic and remain able to focus on our core business objectives,” says Jackson. “Our objectives for 2021 and beyond are simple and smart. We’re well positioned to meet our goals. We’ll focus on four key areas: our people, our financial position, our customers, and our processes and controls. With over 80% of our targeted work budgeted and secured already for this year, we’re able to ensure the safety and prosperity of our staff while pushing ahead to deliver for our customers.”
“JCA, along with Gratte Brothers, are our preferred mechanical and electrical engineering partners helping us develop improved energy centre solutions. We were also keen to modularise this process so our partners came up with a unique solution which not only utilises the data center cooling to cool the energy center, but also allows Ark to build the energy center off site - improving health and safety while reducing material waste and cost. Though competitors in the market, JCA and Gratte Brothers are both owner-managed businesses that integrate well with Ark. They’re really adaptable and always looking to innovate. When we need to ensure speed to market, and in times of crisis like we’ve experienced during the pandemic, we rely on these partnerships to deliver safely to our customers.”
Andy Garvin, Director of Design, Construction & Operations, Ark Data Centres.
Dark Wolf: accelerating security for USAF
As a small company whose biggest customers are the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, Dark Wolf Solutions (Dark Wolf) is a triple-threat, specializing in Cybersecurity, Software and DevOps, and Management Solutions. Dark Wolf secures and tests cloud platforms, develops and deploys applications, and offers consultancy services performing system engineering, system integration, and mission support.
The break for Dark Wolf came when the Department of Defense decided to explore software factories. Rick Tossavainen, Dark Wolf’s CEO, thinks it was an inspired path for the DoD to take. “It was a really great decision,” he says, “Let’s pull our people together as part of this digital transformation and recreate what Silicon Valley startup firms typically have. Let’s get into commercial facilities where we have open windows and big whiteboards and just promote ideation and collaboration. And it creates this collaborative environment where people start creating things much more rapidly than before.”
It has been, Tossavainen says, “amazing to watch” and has energized the Federal Contracting Sector with an influx of new talent and improved working environments that foster creativity and innovative ways of approaching traditional problems.
“We originally started working with the US Air Force about three years ago. The problem was at the time you could develop all the software you wanted but you couldn’t get it into production – you had to go through the traditional assessment and authorization process. I talked to Lauren Knausenberger and she told me about Kessel Run and what eventually came out of this was the DoD’s first continuous ATO [Authority To Operate].”
The secret to Dark Wolf’s success – and its partnerships with USAF and Space Force – lies in a client-first attitude. “We’re not looking to maximise revenue,” Tossavainen explains. “We tell all of our employees, if you’re ever faced with an issue and you don’t know how to resolve it, and one solution is better for the customer and the second is better for Dark Wolf, you always do number one. We’ve just got to take care of our customers, and I look for other partners that want to do that. And let’s work together so that we can bring them the best answer we can.”
Rapid releases and constant evolution of software are common themes among USAF’s partners. Like many firms operating in the commercial and public sector spaces, Dark Wolf leads with a DevSecOps approach.
“Failure is tolerated,” says Tossavainen. “If it’s not going the right way in three months, let’s adjust. Let’s rapidly change course. And you can tell really quickly if something’s going to be successful or not, because they’re doing deployments multiple times a day – to the customer.”