You can Google it
Amazon isn’t the only tech giant making moves in NoVa
If it’s not one tech giant, it’s another. Ever since Amazon.com Inc. announced in late 2018 that it would open a second headquarters in Arlington County, discussions about workforce and real estate in Northern Virginia have fixed on the e-tailer.
But Google LLC’s been busy, too. Last year the Mountain View, California-based global tech company announced a $13 billion investment across the United States. That includes major investments in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
What stands out — physically — in Northern Virginia is Google’s new Reston office space. The company has maintained a presence in Reston since opening a small office there in 2005, but last spring Google signed a lease with Comstock for the top two floors, about 165,000 square feet, in 1900 Reston Metro Plaza, a distinctive building at Metro’s Silver Line Wiehle-Reston East Station.
The 16-story building, designed by architect Helmut Jahn, has bold geometry, an exposed structure and color-changing edge lighting. It looms over the Dulles Toll Road.
“Currently, we have over 300 Googlers — our name for our employees — across our data center in Loudoun County and office in Reston. We are continuing to hire for openings at our data centers and various teams in Reston,” says Peter Schottenfels, communications manager at Google. In 2019, the company surpassed 100,000 employees worldwide. Google expects to roughly double its workforce in Northern Virginia.
In 2018, Google announced plans to construct a data center complex in Loudoun County, and last year the company announced the expansion of the facility, bringing its total investment in Northern Virginia to $1.2 billion. Loudoun, known as “Data Center Alley,” is home to one of the largest concentrations of data centers in the world, with about 13.5 million square feet in operation.
“We build out our data centers in response to our own needs as a company, as well as customer demand for cloud services. Data centers are the engines of the internet,” Schottenfels says. “When you use Search, Gmail or YouTube, that information goes through one of our data centers.”
Google is the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy and has signed contracts for renewable energy that “will ensure that our facilities in Northern Virginia are matched with 100% renewable energy,” he says.
The company is looking to fill a variety of full-time and contractor positions in Loudoun, including computer technicians, engineers and various food services, maintenance and security roles, according to its website.
And it has plans to help build the talent pipeline it will need to fill those positions, according to Schottenfels.
“Not only are we excited by the region’s geographic location, friendly business environment and talented workforce, we’re committed to being good neighbors and having a positive impact in the community,” he says. “In the past year, we’ve given $100,000 to the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, and $100,000 to the Loudoun Education Foundation. Since 2011, Google has contributed $27.1 million in grants and employee-matched gifts to Virginia nonprofits and schools.”
The grants will support STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs, teacher training and grants for classroom materials, as well as special programs like the LEF-LCPS Backpack Coalition, which feeds 850 students and their families during the school year, according to Loudoun Economic Development.
Google “has truly embraced the role of a Loudoun corporate citizen,” says Buddy Rizer, executive director of Loudoun Economic Development. “It’s incredibly rewarding to work with companies like Google that enrich our community and positively shape the next generation.”