Bernie Oegema is Director of Business Development for the data center market at Siemens, based in Toronto Canada. He has spent his entire professional career in the industry and has enjoyed it immensely. Bernie graduated from McMaster University with a combined Engineering Physics and Business Administration Degree. He also has an MBA and is a Professional Engineer.
Bernie landed his first job with Exide Electronics in Toronto, who were at that time, manufacturing UPS for the local market and had large projects for the financial industry, CANDU nuclear power plants, and the North Warning System. The technology and complexity of these projects fascinated him. Bernie worked in various roles from the test bay to contract management and applications engineering. During his tenure at Exide, which became Powerware, and eventually Eaton, he was also tagged to support a Joint-Venture with Saft SA in Paris, France. This was an exciting period during the precursor to the European Union, called the European Economic Community. The ability to experience the various cultures in Europe and the UK was an invaluable experience. He also was exposed to 415V, 50 Hz transformer-less distribution systems for IT. Who knew that would be a thing? This was also during the 3rd order harmonics period caused by those nasty PWM power supplies, which was even more harmful in a transformer-less distribution system. Kudos to the Europeans for solving that problem for us in North America.
Shortly after returning to North America, Bernie was tapped by Schneider Electric to help them grow their UPS business in Canada. Having a healthy respect for them, he decided to join their group via the US subsidiary, EPE – Emergency Power Engineering. This was eventually merged with Schneider/Square D and then spun off as MGE UPS Systems. This was also a period of rapid technological change and growth. Transistorized PWM inverters and rectifiers were the hot thing, and we were seeing the emergence of colocation providers. We were tied to one of the early boomers, Exodus Communications, who also was one of the early bombers! This was his first exposure to OFCI and allocations, a radical new way of constructing at speed and scale.
After MGE UPS Systems was absorbed back into Schneider, Bernie moved to APC. There, he was exposed to a radical new data center concept of using standardized components, containment, and close-coupled cooling, InRow AC units. This was an amazing solution for the increasing density, especially with the new IBM Blade Centers that were causing hot spots for users that had no concept of how to cool these heaters.
APC was also acquired by Schneider in 2007. Wanting to expand into more areas of the data center business, Bernie joined IBM’s Site and Facilities Services. During this time, he worked on many varied design-build projects in Canada and the Caribbean. Some notable ones are the largest liquid cooled HPC data center in Canada, #54 in the Top 500 in 2008, edge deployments for telcos, colo data centers and several enterprise data centres. During this time, Bernie had a particular focus on increasing efficiency as well as flexibility and reliability in these facilities, maximizing temperatures and ΔT’s as much as possible to maximize efficiency and free-cooling hours, as well as being an early adopter of heat recovery in several projects.
With the increasing focus on using technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the rapidly growing market for data centers, both in the massive facilities and at the edge, Bernie is happy to have joined Siemens, a leader in forming the industrial metaverse. He is passionate about using the energy required to provide extremely valuable work in the IT world as it is likely what will save our planet. AI has incredible promise to advance technologies in Automation, Energy, Pharmaceuticals, Chemistry – think recycling plastic, Transportation, Environmental Modelling and more.
At the 7×24 Spring Conference, he presented, along with Simone D’Angelo of BMO, a relatively simple example of using AI to optimize cooling in data halls. This is just the thin edge of the wedge.
The Data Center Community
Besides loving the cool technology in the data center space, it must be mentioned that the other thing that has kept Bernie in this community is the “community.”
The people in the data center world are top quality. They are focused on providing a quality product for the world and to do so realize that we will achieve more by partnering with the ecosystem of suppliers and consumers. This is especially relevant in today’s environment of rapid growth and focus on environmental sustainability.
In addition to being passionate about his work, Bernie loves family, charity and sport. He plays hockey, cycles, skis, snowboards, jogs and is dabbling in Pickleball.
He is happy that he can combine these pursuits by participating in charity events.
“I look forward to the future of IT as it becomes increasingly relevant to solving the world’s existential problems and am confident the data center infrastructure will be part of that solution by being carbon negative while supporting the technology.”