Google has officially opened it’s new data center in Council Bluffs.  House Democrats brought forward a proposal in 2007 that helped lure Google to Iowa – helping create more than 200 jobs in the Council Bluffs area.  Similar programs were created to encourage Microsoft and IBM to locate operations in Iowa as well.  The story from the Omaha World Herald (photo courtesy of Omaha World Herald):

COUNCIL BLUFFS – The next time you Google something, that search might be processed a few miles away, at the Internet company’s new data center in the Bluffs.

About 650 people gathered at the construction site Tuesday to celebrate the Iowa center going online.

The $600-million data center, located on 55-acres northwest of U.S. 275 and South 11th Street, will eventually employ about 200 people. The center houses computers that will run some of Google’s services, such as the search engine, Gmail, and Google Maps.

A symbolic plugging in of network fiber supplants a ribbon cutting at the Google site. From left, Bob Mundt, executive director of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce; Dan Kinney, president of Iowa Western Community College; Iowa Rep. Paul Shomshor; Paul Froutan, Google director of operations; Iowa Rep. Doug Struyk; Iowa Gov. Chet Culver; Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan; Kelly Sears, Boys and Girls Club executive director; and Chris Russell, manager of the Google data center.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Google is one of several information-technology companies that have chosen to locate operations in the metro area.

Yahoo plans to open a data center in La Vista and a customer care center in west Omaha. And Interpublic, one of the world’s largest advertising and public relations companies, recently announced plans to consolidate and move its global information technology operations to Omaha from London, Hong Kong, New York City and Chicago.

Chris Russell, Google’s data center operations manager in the Bluffs, said that the availability of power, the potential hiring pool, a low incidence of natural disasters, strong local educational institutions, community and governmental support and the economic climate all played a role in attracting Google to the Council Bluffs area.

Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan said the city has invested in economic infrastructure, such as its fiber-optic network and power plant.

Paul Froutan, Google’s California-based director of hardware operations, said those investments were crucial to making Council Bluffs one of a handful of locations around the world with the capacity to support a data center of this caliber.

Hanafan said Council Bluffs’ association with Google – the world’s most widely recognized brand – would help foster future economic development.

“Google has put us on the map.”

He said Google’s $600 million investment is the largest made at one time by a single company in Iowa or Nebraska. He said the availability of land – Google has purchased an additional 180 acres to the west and 1,000 acres to the south of the current site – could allow for further significant investments.

Froutan said Google has plenty of growth capacity in Iowa.

“This is the beginning for us.”

Hanafan said that Google has created opportunities and would infuse money into the local economy.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said the opening of the center brought Iowa closer to his goal of making the state the “Silicon Valley of the Midwest.”

He said that Microsoft plans to build a $500 million data center in West Des Moines, and IBM plans a new service center with up to 1,300 jobs to Dubuque.

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Russell address the crowd of 650.
Culver said he wants Iowa to become a national leader in the IT industry and wants to send a message to the next generation of Iowans that they don’t have to go to other places to find good-paying jobs.

The average salary at the Google data center, he said, is $50,000.

Russell, the local operations manager, said there were still positions available at the site, including computer technicians, facilities maintenance people and project managers.

Hanafan said that Google already is making itself part of the community. It already has partnered with local school districts, Iowa Western Community College and not-for-profit organizations. Google supplied and set up all of the computers at the Boys and Girls Club of Council Bluffs and also relocated the computers and network for the Red Cross.

Russell said the company would continue its involvement in community projects that can benefit from its expertise.