Dec. 07--Under the executive who financed the deals that created today's
Wilton resident Bob DeSantis is running 365 Data Centers from a small executive office at 200 Connecticut Ave. in Norwalk, with the company running a network of 10 data centers nationally that DeSantis and his partners have bought in over the past year, the closest to Connecticut in New York City.
DeSantis and his partners built the company this year from a handful of data centers sold off by
Under DeSantis, 365 Data Centers has done just that with the goal of providing a hybrid of basic colocation services maintaining Internet server farms for other companies, and providing basic managed services for small businesses and larger enterprises that do not use the largest cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Google and
"This is a new 365," DeSantis said. "We've added a sales force. We've added the broader product set. ... We still have space to grow."
DeSantis is known by many in Norwalk outside of business circles -- in 1989, he created Norwalk's entry into the then-nascent Men's Senior Baseball League, with Connecticut contributing 40 teams in less than five years under DeSantis' stewardship.
"By the time we got to 1993, most of the teams were loaded with ex-college (players)," DeSantis said. "We had quite a run."
Growing up the son of a Boston Navy Yard sheet metal worker, DeSantis moved to Connecticut in the early 1980s after taking a job in Stamford with GTE, which was looking to bolster its tax department in advance of the 1984 deregulation of the telecommunications industry.
He went across town in 1986 to join Citizens Utilities, and after being elevated to chief financial officer under former CEO Leonard Tow, handled the finances for a string of telecommunications acquisitions that would create the foundation for Frontier Communications, based in Norwalk today. DeSantis left in late 2000 after laying the financial groundwork for Citizens' buy of Global Crossing, a deal that brought Citizens the Frontier brand that the company would later adopt as its corporate name.
DeSantis went on to become CFO of DSL.net in New Haven and later president and chief operating officer of the Financial Accounting Foundation, the Norwalk entity that sets U.S. accounting standards used by companies and government agencies.
He got his first hands-on introduction to the data center industry helping out a friend in Wilton on a startup, then joining Xand in Westchester County, N.Y. Xand grew into a significant employer with 175 people before selling in 2014 to TierPoint, which DeSantis left in 2016 with the intent of consulting and perhaps coaching high school baseball on the side.
But the 365 Main deal was too good to pass up. The new company has 70 people today with DeSantis contemplating another deal, perhaps in the Atlanta area, to fill out its network.
"The economics of this business is very simple," DeSantis said. "It's real estate, it's people, it's power and communications costs. ... We may not have an 'Xand 2' here, but if we come close to that we'll be very happy."
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman