Cologix 10 Year Conversations: Accelerating the Canadian Market with Sean Maskell
The celebration of Cologix’s 10-year anniversary continues, with a series of fresh conversations from our team. The series premiers with Cologix President & General Manager for Canada, Sean Maskell. Sean has a long and celebrated history with Cologix: Sean has been with Cologix since the very beginning. Day 1. Enjoy this look back at Sean’s time leading the Canadian Market.
You’ve been with Cologix since the very beginning. What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the Canadian Market in the past 10 years?
10 years is a long time and it’s been stuffed full of change, that’s for sure. It’s hard to pick, but what stands out to me is the emergence and adoption of cloud-based services. From a longer-term and macro perspective that has truly changed the industry – from what our clients need and demand to our sales and growth process. When I think about the past 10 years, I see that change in cloud-based services as taking Cologix from the little engine that could to the leading data center provider across Canada. That is significant growth!
I feel lucky to have witnessed and watched a business grow over the years and alongside that, [I’ve] seen the tech needs change and grow as well. Cologix now offers hyperscale solutions, cloud on-ramps to AWS, Microsoft, and Oracle, as well as emerging cloud service providers. We are essentially now able to offer multi-cloud solutions – something that may not have been on the radar 10 years ago.
What initially drew you to Cologix as a company?
I came with the acquisition. *Laugh* But truly it was the opportunity presented to me to aggressively lead the growth of the business across Canada. That initially pulled me into the Cologix family. I really saw the opportunity and growth in that role I approached staying with Cologix (through the acquisition) with that intent. Honestly, the thought of continuing to grow and strengthen the Cologix position in Canadian markets makes me bounce out of bed to continue this crazy journey every day! I realized early on that I loved my job – and have been fortunate to have the chance to keep doing it. It’s not lost on me how unique and special that is.
Given the nature of the IT sector, the landscape is always changing. So, the advantage I have from being with Cologix for so long is that I get to tell the new stories of technology. And I can speak to our customers about how that fits into where Cologix has been and what Cologix is offering now. Currently, we are telling the story of hyperscale deployments and interconnection. With 2020 being the year it was, enterprises are starting to move faster in their digital journeys to be at the edge. And Cologix is there. In fact, our goal is to be ahead of where our customers are and anticipate what they will need.
What do you enjoy and why do you stay?
The people – both my colleagues and the customers. This business has become a part of me and I’m not sure I’d want to do anything else. It’s a great place to be in one’s career when you can easily answer that the people are the best part. That is really what it’s all about for me – relationships with people. That is what I enjoy – building relationships. Being able to fold that into a career is a gift!
Of course, there are tough days – that is business and life. But I always come back to the fact that I’ve learned and grown so much as a professional over the past 10 years. And when I think about my team, I can see how we have grown together in the same direction. It’s not often you can work with individuals who are collectively aligned around a mission – but that’s what I’ve found on my team. And it’s what makes this job my passion.
This past year was tough for everyone – we all had to reevaluate and adjust how we worked. What impressed me about my team is that, despite the challenges that COVID-19 threw us, we have emerged strong. Yes, we are a bit tired of quarantine, and gathering in person is something we all look forward to. But we’ve collectively pulled together and are still moving forward.
What are some of the successes from the Canadian market in the last 10 years?
It is difficult to pick just one – there are so many! It comes down to Cologix being able to innovate and tell the new technology story. We stay ahead of the trends; we want to be where our clients are going before they even know it! Especially in IT/tech you have to have this balance of anticipating the future while offering best-class-service now. It’s not an easy balance, but Cologix has never stopped innovating. We’ve never been complacent and never will be. Looking back 10 years, that drive to innovate has fueled us. For the next 10 years, I see that continuing to drive Cologix forward.
What was a growth moment in the Canadian market from the last 10 years?
As the Canadian markets have grown, I’ve been able to observe key milestones. Reaching those milestones hasn’t always been smooth, but those challenges have built resilience in my team. From large-scale deployments to bringing in new customers, the Canada team has been able to adapt, iterate and learn how to serve the clients. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished!
What is your approach to leadership when it comes to a remote team across the Canadian market?
Empowerment and trust. It comes down to empowerment and trust. That looks like allowing the team to make decisions with the knowledge that I have their back- always. Of course, with a remote team, I’ve found that building trust and empowerment take a bit more effort. We can’t all just gather at the water cooler or have conversations over lunch. I’ve tried to lead my team with the example that mistakes happen – we can learn from them and keep moving. It’s a growth opportunity.
Across the board, leaders have had to adapt to a new approach to leadership due to COVID-19. While the past year was difficult, I can see how the foundation of a people-driven culture set Cologix up for success.
How has digital transformation / the digital age impacted the Canadian market?
Digital adoption in the Canadian Market has moved beyond just a strategy or nice-to-have, to the implementation stage. We are enabling the Canadian market to deploy these strategies by enabling cost-effective cloud direct connects and software-defined interconnection. Life in a Cologix data center enables a “Cloud Adjacent” deployment leading to flexible, highly secure, and low latency cloud connection.
What does Together We Win, mean to you personally?
When you leverage the strength of the team, anything is possible! TWW!