By REBECCA HATTAWAY
CNHI News Service
PRYOR — Google is back in Pryor — and it’s ‘Google speed’ ahead.
The company announced plans to build a $600 million data center at Mid-America Industrial Park in 2007. The project was stalled for a time but has since resumed.
“There are very few locations that can move at Google speed,” said Matt Dunne, Google Community Affairs director. “It is a pleasure to work with a community that was willing to ‘bob and weave’ with us when we had to put the project on hold because we didn’t have the server demand at that point. It’s not every community that can move at that speed or have that flexibility.”
The data center is now operational, with 106 people currently working at the site.
“Google designs and builds our own machines,” said Mike Wooten, head of the Pryor facility. “We employ two groups of people: one maintains the facilities ... and one maintains the computers.”
There are still positions to be filled.
“We hire a lot of people from Oklahoma — Tulsa and Claremore, but a lot are from Mayes County,” Wooten said.
From the beginning, the area seemed like a good fit for Google.
“We’ve been very pleased with Mid America Industrial Park,” Wooten said. “There are several key ingredients we look for, including available land to expand, power that is reasonably priced, and a talent pool. We are glad we could come back and invest in Pryor.”
Google is known for having a unique workplace culture, and the Pryor data center will be no exception. There is a mechanical bull on site, as well as a pool table, foos ball, and dart boards.
Lunch and dinner is served on site, provided by local restaurants. Another area is set up convenience store-style with cookies, chips and other snacks.
Later, a second building will offer additional amenities, including a more extensive food service, as well as a gym and office area.
“Google believes in investing in their employees,” Dunne said, “making sure they feel well-treated so they can focus on their job.”
They also emphasize a creative environment — encouraging innovation and sharing ideas.
“We’re a very bottom-up company. If someone has an idea, they see it through,” Wooten said. “We all test and try out the new things people are coming up with all the time.”
The driving force behind every idea and innovation, Wooten said, remains the same.
“We’re focused on improving people’s lives,” he said. Currently there are five data centers in the United States and two online. Google has recently acquired land to build three others in Asia.
By REBECCA HATTAWAY
- State, national, world
Fallin: Let scientists study quakes before drilling decisions are made
The state has put together a team — comprised of the Oklahoma Geological Society and energy-related businesses — which is determining if there is a relationship between fracking and earthquakes, the governor said.
Colorado collects $2 million in recreational pot taxes
By comparison, Colorado made about $2.7 million in liquor excise taxes in January of last year.
Forecasters warn of extreme fire risk in Oklahoma
A red flag warning is in effect from 1-8 p.m. Tuesday for much of Oklahoma.
Hunt for missing jet widens to distant waters
More than three days after the Boeing 777 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, no trace of the plane has been found in waters between Malaysia and Vietnam that have been scoured by more than 40 planes and ships from at least 10 nations.
Attitudes and laws against pit bulls soften
Hostility toward "pits" grew so intense that some cities began treating them as the canine equivalent of assault rifles and prohibited residents from owning them.
Federal health care enrollment deadline nears
After March 31, only people with “qualifying life events” such as a change in income or family size will be able to enroll in plans offered through the federal law. In Oklahoma, enrollment is through the federal health care exchange, healthcare.gov.
Family of Texas man on flight comforted by faith
Philip Wood, an IBM executive who had been working in Beijing over the past two years, had recently returned home from Asia before his next assignment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
UPDATE: Search for Malaysian jet suspended as night falls
There was no confirmation that the slicks were related to the missing plane, but the statement said they were consistent with the kinds that would be produced by the two fuel tanks of a crashed jetliner.
Obama warns party to focus on 2014, not 2016
If voters hand the Senate over to Republican control, the president will lose even the uphill chance he has to get legislation passed in his remaining time in office.
Frustration in Afghan women's rights struggle
In 2009, the United States gave Wazhma Frogh the International Woman of Courage award for her women's rights activism in Afghanistan. Prominently displayed in Frogh's office is a picture of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton granting her the award as First Lady Michelle Obama smiles, clapping by her side. Four years later, the United States denied her a visa when she was trying to get away from an Afghan militia commander who she says was persecuting her.
- More State, national, world Headlines
- Fallin: Let scientists study quakes before drilling decisions are made