Skybox Unboxed featuring Haynes Strader
THURSDAY, JULY 29, 2021
The basis for Skybox’s success lies in the hard work and achievement of our employees. We are highlighting each of our team members from various departments to share their impact on Skybox and what makes them the heartbeat of our organization.
"It is no secret Haynes Strader is a gifted and trusted professional within the data center sector. An incredible eye for site selection, quality solutions and a passion for developing talent both within and outside of Skybox. We look forward to seeing the incredible value Haynes will bring to Skybox and its customers as Chief Development Officer.” – Rob Morris, CEO
How did you get into datacenter industry?
Pure luck. I completed my undergrad degree at SMU and soon after transitioned to teaching 6th graders with Teach for America in Arlington. Two years later, I had an opportunity to work as a consultant in the IT/HR outsourcing business but realized that abundant travel paired with too many shallow business relationships was not what I wanted in a career. I joined CBRE in the Wheel Program and began rotating through a number of practices and real estate types including office, industrial, retail and global corporate services. During that time, I also met Rob shortly after Skybox had gotten off the ground. He strongly encouraged me to meet the data center team at CBRE. Through Rob, I met Brant Bernet and Chris Herrmann who led the CBRE DCS team in Dallas. It was clear that the data center industry had a meaningful growth opportunity at the time with a much smaller group of experts in the field than other asset classes. My “inner nerd” who grew up playing video games, purchasing the latest tech gadgets and watching more Star Wars than sports knew that there were aspects of the mission critical industry would be a natural fit. As a bonus, the datacenter industry can be a small pond, which creates a clear opportunity to create deeper relationships with developers, brokers, and clients. During my tenure at CBRE, I represented transactions with Skybox including acquiring Legacy I and the sale of Skybox Houston I and was able to develop a strong working relationship with the Skybox team. I immediately recognized that Skybox was onto something: delivering creative, custom design solutions, with speed to market as a significant differentiator within this space. Change in this industry happens so rapidly, if you can’t be flexible, you’ll be left behind. Skybox was consistently ahead of the game, and I knew I wanted to be part of this unique group.
What is one thing we don’t know about you?
Other than the myriad of Star Wars trivia I know, I was also a co-founder of Dallas Pedicabs, with Skybox colleague Gordon Kellerman while we were in undergrad at SMU. We managed eight rickshaws and eventually sold the company in 2015 to one of the largest pedicab owners and operators in Texas. For those that know me, it’s also no secret I’m a huge SMU fan and am still involved as a board member of the Dedman College Executive Board and associate board member of the Folsom Institue for Real Estate.
What makes working for Skybox different?
Two things that differentiate Skybox from others in the space: our employee acumen and execution assurance brought to every deal. I knew if I shook hands with a principal on terms, that we had an agreement, and it would be honored. This level of trust is increasingly difficult to find in a very competitive business. As a team, we have fun together creating exciting deals and projects. Everything we do is extremely rewarding because of who I work with each day.
What is your favorite way to spend your time off?
I love hunting and fishing but by far traveling with my wife Christine (4 years married) and our eight-month-old Charlotte is at the top of my list. We love getting out to North Carolina and can’t wait to get Charlotte on a pair of skis out West!
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on? What is an important lesson you’ve learned from it?
My favorite project at Skybox has been helping bring our group beyond Texan borders. We love Texas and will continue building here, but we are also expanding into Chicago, Northern California, Northern Virginia and 3-4 new markets in the next 18 months, and I love that kind of challenge. As the datacenter industry becomes more sophisticated, we’re attracting institutional capital interest and seeing changes in power and land availability. Solving seemingly complicated issues with creativity and speed is something Skybox has mastered, and I really enjoy being part of that problem solving process.