In Blog, PTC Member Profiles

Charles McCarthy, General Manager – Mission Critical, Suffolk Construction

Charles McCarthy
General Manager
Mission Critical, Suffolk Construction

Mission Critical, Suffolk Construction

Charles McCarthy is General Manager, Mission Critical at Suffolk. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the industry, with an emphasis on managing highly complex facilities. Prior to joining Suffolk, McCarthy was construction executive of the Federal Contracting and Mission Critical Groups for the Minneapolis-based firm M. A. Mortenson Construction. He also held leadership positions with DPR Construction and Clark Construction Group, where he managed construction of many mission-critical facilities for federal government agencies and private clients. 

What technology breakthrough would pave the way for the ICT industry? 

Addressing issues around reliable, efficient power — both at our jobsites and for the environment as a whole — would be a major breakthrough. On our projects, power constraints can result in schedule delays, cost overruns, and other pressing concerns for our teams and clients. Solving the question of how mission critical projects can be more efficient and less energy-dependent at an infrastructure level would have a positive impact throughout the industry. 

Is it important for companies to continue to innovate their organization or offerings, and why?

Without question; the data center industry is dynamic and constantly changing, so it pays for companies to keep up with that speed of innovation. With the rise of data challenges, information security, artificial intelligence, and other technological advances, companies that don’t invest in innovation will drastically fall behind.

How can corporations and researchers best serve the next generation?

We need to recognize that workforce development for this burgeoning industry starts young, and we need to encourage diversity in all aspects of the data center workforce. With our clients and subcontractors, Suffolk’s made a concerted effort to recruit missioncritical personnel in a variety of areas, including trade schools, community colleges, and the military. Due to the speed of mission critical projects, we also see people who are typically underrepresented in the construction industry finding more opportunities for growth. By going through an entire project lifecycle in 12 months, they pick up the technical skills more quickly and jump ahead in their career journeys. That advantage translates to more women and people of color on missioncritical projects — at Suffolk, our team is 27% women — compared to an average of 11% on other jobsites. With the speed and demand of data centers, people who might not have considered construction are overcoming hurdles and demonstrating their value on projects.

What value does PTC hold for you/your company?

PTC is a vibrant organization that offers unparalleled opportunities to network with other industry professionals and leaders in the telecommunications space. We’re also embracing the chance to build brand awareness in this sector, and PTC is a fantastic avenue to introduce ourselves and our work to other organizations. As the data center field is constantly evolving, we appreciate the insights that PTC provides to all its members.

How does PTC fit your company’s goals or career purpose?

Suffolk’s Mission Critical Center of Excellence is looking to expand heavily in the next year or two, and PTC will play a key role in our networking and ability to connect with industry professionals. At the same time, PTC’s detailed insights into the telecommunications landscape will help us reach our goals in data center construction. 

What advice would you share with current and future graduates interested in this field?

Don’t be afraid to break out and try new things. As I mentioned before, many of our team members weren’t necessarily invested in data centers and did not see themselves as stereotypical data center construction employees. Since this industry and its needs — technical, mechanical, operational, relational, administrative, and more — are always advancing, there are growth opportunities everywhere. Plus, that ability to see a project from start to finish in just 12 months makes a big difference in terms of career development. It’s hard to match the pace of data center construction and the experience that comes with its speed and complexity.

About Suffolk Construction – Mission Critical
Suffolk is a national leader in the construction industry, with 40 years of experience building some of the most recognizable and complex projects in the country. The company’s Mission Critical Center of Excellence — one of four Centers of Excellence at Suffolk — is a dedicated national team with specialized skills in the industry. With this presence, our diverse team spanning four generations has honed their technical skills, developed broad sector experience, and pursued innovative processes to deliver on our clients’ visions. We’re from all walks of life, and we’re proud to build for some of the biggest tech giants in the U.S. 

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