While chance does favor the prepared, honestly, even we could not have seen this one coming.
A few months ago, a Microsoft representative approached Environmental Initiative inquiring about our ability, capacity and willingness to work with them on a diesel emission-reduction project in an area near one of their data centers. The Microsoft representative, Leo Raudys, is from Minnesota and knows of Environmental Initiative from his time at the MPCA and Best Buy. After figuring out the details, we’re excited to announce we’re working with Microsoft to clean up a few engines, vehicles and equipment in Quincy, Washington, which is home to a high number of these data centers.
Leo and other Microsoft representatives studiously learned about the possibilities, costs, timelines, variables and other details of clean diesel work. Leo and his colleagues also learned about what we do, how we do it and with whom we’ve partnered over the years. Their aim is to “leverage Microsoft talent, technology and partnerships to drive positive impact on the 40 communities worldwide in which the data centers that support the company’s cloud-based computing systems are located.”
Our partnership is a part of this larger Microsoft community effort. In the Quincy area, Microsoft is investing in education, STEM training, technology and broadband and other community priorities. They have dedicated themselves to improving the region where they work. While the data centers can be imposing, none of this investment is required by permits or regulation. I spent a few days recently with Leo and other Microsoft representatives and attended a wonderful and open community listening and discussion session in Quincy. My experience talking, meeting and working with the Microsoft and community folks is that they are all truly approaching our effort with them to “drive positive impact” in the Quincy community as the highest project priority. Just as we choose to center our projects at Environmental Initiative on relationships and community impacts, they are doing the same. I am excited to see this project play out; and, I have fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest and the Mariners baseball stadium.