10/14/18 – New Google leader feels community connection

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by admin


October 14, 2018


By Virginia Annable


Jorge Gutierrez grew up spending much of his time in a carpenter’s workshop in Miami, Florida.


A lot of his family, all Cuban immigrants who left after Fidel Castro came to power, were carpenters, so Gutierrez found a love of wood.


Now, as the new site operations manager at Google’s Lenoir data center, a technology-focused job, Gutierrez uses woodworking as a way to decompress, and a way to connect to Lenoir, the place he now calls home.


“The fact that woodworking and furniture-making is such a big part of this area’s history,… it really helps me connect,” he said.


In June, Gutierrez took over from Enoch Moeller, who was the public face of Google in Lenoir as site operation manager for 10½ years. Gutierrez has been settling into the position and is eager to continue Moeller’s work, he said.


While hand-making furniture, including his family’s patio set, is his weekend pastime, technology is his passion, and his interest in it started when he was a young teenager.


When Gutierrez was in middle school, his class took a trip to Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ data center, and he found himself in awe of what technology could do.


“It would be disingenuous to not say that it changed my life completely. … I remember running home and asking my parents for a computer,” he said.


His family scraped money together to buy him an IBM computer, and the rest was history. While he studied education in school, technology remained his passion. He tinkered with computers and continued to explore new technology, so when a data center job in Miami opened, he jumped at the opportunity.


“I was like, ‘I’d do this for free, so let’s go,’ and I was off and running,” Gutierrez said.


Gutierrez worked with that data center until about three years ago, when he got a call from a Google recruiter who had seen Gutierrez’s work and wanted him to join Google’s team in Lenoir.


“I was really surprised by the call. I thought it was a prank — I almost hung on them,” Gutierrez said.


But after a long talk with his wife about what a move from hot and bustling Miami to calm and rural Lenoir would mean, he decided to take the plunge and became hardware operations manager at the data center. Gutierrez handled much of the technical side of operations.


In the past year, as he trained under Moeller to learn about the site operations and being a public face to the data center, he worked on some projects such as the Gravity Games, a derby-style car race sponsored by Google to foster interest in engineering among students, and Students@Work, an event where Google employees teach students how to build a computer and also some about coding, but now he’s the one running the show.


Gutierrez said he’s going to continue to grow Google’s presence in the community by working with the school system, nonprofits and local government.


“My main goal is to continue to support the community and try to make it better,” he said.


Gutierrez said when he moved to Lenoir he felt an instant connection. Within weeks, the community was welcoming him with open arms — inviting him to go fishing, go to barbecues, go on hikes. The people in Caldwell County are what made him fall in love, and what keep him motivated to make a difference in the community he now calls home — though he’s still getting used to the winter snow.


When he’s not hiking Rough Ridge or Grandfather Mountain, Gutierrez is spending time in Caldwell County, he said. Lenoir already holds a place in his heart, he said, and he hopes to grow his connection with the area and the people in it.


“I’m approachable, I’m in this community, I’m here for the long haul,” Gutierrez said. “It’s important to me that this community does well. My team lives here, we work here, we go out to eat here. I want to make sure I’m doing my part to make this community a better place to live and work and succeed.”

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