Spearheading Unprecedented Growth in Digital Infrastructure, iMasons Debuts Santiago Suinaga as CEO

June 7, 2024
"Santiago not only brings a wealth of industry experience, executive leadership, operational execution, and governance, but he also has a deep personal commitment to our mission," said Infrastructure Masons' Founder and Chairman, Dean Nelson. "I am excited for him to broaden our reach and compound the impact of the iMasons community as we undertake the largest growth our sector has ever seen.”

The Infrastructure Masons (iMasons) have appointed a new Chief Executive Officer to guide the group though its next phase of growth. 

The professional association this week named Santiago Suinaga as its new CEO. Most recently serving as CEO of KIO Networks Data Centers, Suinaga brings 20 years of industry experience to iMasons. 

“The appointment of our first CEO is an important step in our continued growth,” said Dean Nelson, iMasons' Chairman and Founder.



Founded in 2016 by Nelson to chart a course for the fast-growing cloud economy while advancing the digital infrastructure industry in a sustainable manner, iMason’s members have built well over $100 billion worth of data centers, with a roster that includes leaders of the infrastructure teams at Meta, Microsoft,  Switch and Google, among others.

“With the unprecedented expansion of digital infrastructure around the world, the role of our community has never been more important," added Nelson. "Santiago not only brings a wealth of industry experience, executive leadership, operational execution, and governance, but he also has a deep personal commitment to our mission. I am excited for him to broaden our reach and compound the impact of the iMasons community as we undertake the largest growth our sector has ever seen.”



Suinaga will succeed iMasons' prior Executive Director, Jeff Omelchuck, and will begin leading the organization on July 1, 2024.

“We are very excited to have Santiago with us to lead our next stage of growth,” said Maricel Cerruti, founding board member of iMasons. “The board would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Jeff Omelchuck. Santiago will build upon the incredible work he has done over the last six years. We wish him the best in a well-deserved retirement.”

Suinaga is a seasoned executive in digital infrastructure with 20 years of international business experience in more than 10 countries across data center critical operations, technology, sales, finance, cost management and new markets research. 

A longstanding iMasons member, Suinaga joined the group in March of 2020, and since has served as an iMasons Advisory Council Member, a founding member of the iMasons Climate Accord, a previous Mexico Local Chapter leader for the group, a member of the group's LatinX Member Resource Group, and a regular attendee of iMason’s global and virtual events.

As the group transitions into its new era, iMasons emphasized how the support of its community, global partners, and donors remains crucial to its mandate. 

Uniting all stakeholders under Suinaga’s leadership, the organization said it aims to increase the effectiveness of its work across elements of education, inclusion, sustainability and innovation "to create a more equitable and sustainable future for all."

“I’m deeply honored to join Infrastructure Masons as its first Chief Executive Officer," said Suinaga. "Throughout my career, I’ve seen firsthand the impact that dedicated, passionate individuals can have on global challenges. I am committed to leveraging my experience as a leader in the industry and an Infrastructure Masons member to further the iMasons mission, building towards a greater digital future for all."  



A Busy Spring for iMasons

As befits an organization entering a self-described new era, the Spring of 2024 has been been a busy season for Infrastructure Masons. Most recently in May, MCIM, a technology provider specializing in mission-critical facility management software, was rung in as a new iMasons Regional Partner.

“Joining forces with iMasons represents a pivotal moment for MCIM. It underlines our dedication to enhancing digital infrastructure management and highlighting our commitment to sustainability and innovation,” said Michael Dongieux, Founder and Chief Architect of MCIM. “We look forward to contributing to iMasons’ initiatives and working together to address the complex challenges facing our industry.”

As noted by an iMasons press release, "As a Regional Partner, MCIM joins the influential ranks of the iMasons Advisory Councils, engaging with global and regional leaders to deliberate on and devise solutions for the industry’s foremost challenges, including responsible energy consumption, data center efficiency, and open standards for carbon accounting."

The collaboration between MCIM and iMasons is poised to create substantial opportunities for both parties. 

By pooling their resources, knowledge, and expertise, the partners said their new alliance promises to enhance the capabilities and extend the reach of both organizations, while driving meaningful change across the sustainable digital infrastructure landscape.

OCP Foundation, iMasons Forge Key Collaboration On Sustainability

In April, the Open Compute Project Foundation (OCP) and iMasons announced a significant new collaboration related to sustainability initiatives centered on the iMasons Climate Accord (ICA). 

By aligning the OCP Community’s ability to impact the data center supply chain with iMasons' reach with the end-user community, the partners said they'll address what they characterize as one of the industry’s greatest challenges, i.e. "Creating sustainable and scalable digital infrastructure capable of meeting the requirements for AI and HPC from the data center to the edge." 

Group Effort Toward Scope 3

To begin, the groups said the new alliance will focus on standardizing a taxonomy for supplier carbon disclosures related to data center materials and equipment, including a digital carbon label providing both calculated carbon levels and its corresponding methodology. 

This work effort is led by Google, Meta, Microsoft and Schneider Electric, and is critical for building a more sustainable industry as Scope 3 emissions comprise the vast majority of the carbon footprint of data centers. 

“Aligned with Google’s commitment to open ecosystems and goal to achieve net-zero emissions across all of our operations and value chain, we support the effort to develop and scale a common language for carbon reporting of digital infrastructure,” said Partha Ranganathan, VP and Fellow at Google. “Through our participation on the Board of Open Compute Project and Governing Board of iMasons Climate Accord, we’re excited to help establish a consistent method that enables transparency and drives meaningful progress toward a more sustainable data center industry.”

“By joining forces, the OCP and the iMasons Climate Accord have created critical mass behind the effort to standardize the reporting of embodied carbon in our industry. This will help vendors to streamline this process across multiple customers, and help the industry as a whole ensure that decarbonization efforts are on pace,” added Alexander Rakow, Data Center Sustainability Lead at Schneider Electric.

Almost all of those aforementioned Scope 3 emissions are upstream, and take the form of embodied carbon in the materials and equipment that go into building data center facilities. 

In order to meet net-zero carbon goals, the partners note that industry needs to organize its supply chain to measure, report on, and draw down the embodied carbon of data centers.

George Tchaparian, CEO at the Open Compute Project Foundation, commented:

“We are very pleased to build our relationship with iMasons, and the timing could not be better as the data center build-out to scale, driven by AI, is upon us.

To better support the ecosystem and our community, it is clear to us at OCP that the current brute force method of building more and bigger data centers is not sustainable without behavior and technological shifts.

Such shifts will start with proper standardized methods for measurement, allowing OCP’s data center facilities, building and equipment vendor members to adjust their products and end-users to make sustainability part of their buying decision."


Long-Term Perspective Sharpens Short-Term Actions

In a press release, the partners further noted that many opportunities exist to create complementary standardizations to carbon disclosure, including metrics for measuring energy consumption, water usage and heat reuse. 

iMasons noted that other efforts can explore the use of alternate low-carbon concrete and steel, and building materials such as Mass Timber. 

Moving forward, the group said it is "prioritizing actions with the greatest potential for long-term impact while remaining adaptable to changing circumstances and emerging opportunities."

“Achieving lasting change requires a long-term perspective that frames and sharpens our short-term actions," said iMasons' Nelson, who in addition to being Founder and Chairman of the group is an iMasons Climate Accord Governing Body Member.

Nelson added:

"We are excited to collaborate with the OCP to compound our impact on digital infrastructure globally. This involves addressing carbon accounting, measurement and tracking to ensure our efforts cover the entire ecosystem, and continuously build upon these foundations for a meaningful advancement of long-term sustainability goals.”

iMasons emphasized how the well-established multi-vendor data center supply chain provided by the OCP vendor member community is vital to the success of the new alliance. 

As stated by iMasons, "Upon delivering an open framework and set of best practices and standardizations, the OCP vendor members typically move rapidly to adopt and align their products accordingly. When these enhanced products are then produced with full carbon disclosure information for showcase in the OCP Marketplace, further stimulating end-user demand for products that comply."

“This collaborative initiative between iMasons and OCP, aimed at tackling carbon transparency in digital infrastructure, marks a pivotal moment in advancing sustainability within our sector,” added Miranda Gardiner, Executive Director iMasons Climate Accord.

Gardiner continued, "By leveraging our extensive industry network and community-driven ethos, alongside OCP’s dedication to open innovation and community-led standardizations, we are primed for transformative and positive changes to best serve the future of our work and communities."

Assessing the importance of the new collaboration, Ashish Nadkarni, GVP/GM, Worldwide Infrastructure Research at IDC, asserted:

“Sustainability is both a responsibility and opportunity for the digital infrastructure industry to take ownership of its environmental impact and drive positive change. The alliance established between iMasons and OCP is a good example of how the industry needs to rally to meet the challenges of building tomorrow’s AI capable data centers. Together the OCP and iMasons have the opportunity to inspire and empower industry stakeholders to integrate carbon reductions into their overall corporate strategies and operations, by steadily advancing better decision-making and accountability across the industry."


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About the Author

Matt Vincent

A B2B technology journalist and editor with more than two decades of experience, Matt Vincent is Editor in Chief of Data Center Frontier.

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