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Culture is key at Loudoun data center support company Intelishift

Intelishift’s Marcia Moran, Ryan Barbera, Kurt Baumann and Donna Hemmert outside the game room at a Raging Wire data center in Ashburn. - Times-Mirror/Jonathan Taylor
Any conversation about Intelishift Technologies is a conversation about organizational culture.

Kurt Baumann, one of the company's principals and "rebel by design," believes it's important to run a company where people have fun and are open to innovative ideas.

Donna Hemmert, another principal, says she never wants to work another day in her life. At least that's the saying right? If you love what you do, you never work another day in your life.

Baumann and Hemmert believe a culture of creativity and resourcefulness are the keys that drive the success of Intelishift, a growing colocation data center in Ashburn's Data Center Alley. Colocation data centers share facilities, computing hardware and infrastructure to cut costs.

The culture seems to be working. Revenue at Intelishift grew by 70 percent last year, so there's more to the company than having fun. Personality and innovative pricing strategy are also part of the plan, according to Ryan Barbera, who leads sales.

Intelishift allows companies to have flexible leasing plans, which grow as their companies grow. The strategy allows customers to break from the rigidity of a standard data-center lease.

Expanding the business of data centers in Data Center Alley has created opportunity for companies like Intelishift.

The colocation industry is expected to grow by $4 billion in the next four years, according to a study by IMS research, an independent market research firm.

Hemmert and Baumann brought more than 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and the technology industry to the founding of Intelishift. They met at Baumann's old company InterCon years ago.

In establishing Intelishift, they took cues from some of the experiences they had at InterCon to make a fun corporate culture key to innovating the workplace.

Back when Baumann was hiring for InterCon every new hire had a task to complete soon after joining the team.

"There would be a pile of IKEA furniture parts on the floor for them to assemble," said Baumann. "It's kind of a two-fold test. One: Are you willing to eat the snake that's sitting there in front of you? And the second one is are you smart enough to put together furniture."

It was the first job for most of those employees. "InterCon grew up around my laid back philosophy," says Baumann.

Baumann embraces the idea of being nontraditional. He started his career in government contracting, but didn't like the button-down lifestyle that went along with it.

The team at Intelishift believes great brands have an identity that permeates throughout the company. It's something he hopes to see work for Intelishift.

Baumann says he doesn't care whether a candidate for a job has a college diploma, just that they fit in with the culture and that they're smarter than him.

"We don't limit ourselves in the pool that we fish in," explains Baumann.

Hemmert explains that the company wanted to be clear about its identity from the start.

"Some companies go through that [conversation], then they hang a placard in the conference room," said Hemmert, explaining that those same employees walk by the placard every day never pondering what it means.

Intelishift employees are not expected to work on a fixed schedule, it's about getting work done, and having fun.


“Intelishift employees are not expected to work on a fixed schedule, it’s about getting work done…”

That could either be good, or bad.  Does it mean that if I finish at 10am, then I can go golfing ? Or, does it mean that I will be spending my weekend at home, working on work ?

I am an Intelishift customer and I can attest to Kurt and Donna’s amazing attitude towards not only their employees but towards their customers too.  They are great people and run great companies!

I would recommend them to anyone.

sounds like my kind of place….I love putting together Ikea stuff

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