Alumnus Kenneth G. Brill ’66, an entrepreneurial technology inventor and innovator who helped to change the landscape of the data center industry and the engineering profession, died July 30. He was 69.
Brill held an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Redlands and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School. What followed was a long career fueled by his continuous desire both to learn from others and to contribute his knowledge and expertise to the betterment of the data center industry and the engineering profession.
In 1989, Brill co-founded the Uninterruptable Uptime Users Group, which continues to thrive today as the 7x24 Exchange, a widely respected non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the data center engineering profession. In 1992, recognizing the need for a research and professional services firm dedicated to the unique requirements of large-scale computing in data centers, he founded Uptime Institute. Today, the Institute is a leading global authority on data center systems engineering, management, and operations for the purposes of ensuring desired levels of what is known as continuous “uptime availability” required in today’s global information economy.
His pioneering approach to data center infrastructure systems resulted in a US Patent in 2000. As the principal inventor and author of what is today known as the Tier Classification System, by which data center infrastructure systems are design-engineered, built, and maintained to ensure business-required levels of uptime availability, Brill was responsible for what is now intrinsic to the highest level of Tier Certification – Tier IV, the electrical system design concept known as “dual-power technology.”
Brill also founded Upsite Technologies, Inc., a research, development, and manufacturing firm dedicated to innovative projects for managing airflow in data centers and improving operational effectiveness and energy efficiency. In 2006, he founded the Uptime Institute Symposium, a forum for improving the energy efficiency data centers, and as part of that, the Green Enterprise IT Awards, a program to celebrate rigorous technical team efforts for improving the energy efficiency of corporate information technology and data centers while providing valuable knowledge-sharing to benefit the data center industry.
Throughout his successful career, Brill was a man who held his alma mater and its students deeply in his heart, said Associate Director of International Business Initiatives Bruce Rawding. “He was always mindful of giving back to the University (of Redlands) and took time out his busy schedule to meet with alumni, students and the University community at large,” Rawding said.
“He left such an indelible mark on all who heard him speak on topics such as leadership and giving back. He was a proud Bulldog for Life and he will be greatly missed."
Hunsaker Chair of Management and Business Professor Jack Osborn said the Business program was fortunate to have Brill’s presence in both the Business Capstone and in various classes including international negotiations.
“Ken shared his incredibly dynamic and international perspective with our students on several occasions. What our students noted was his great humanity and sensitive concern for them and their futures. He was truly inspirational. His passing is a great loss for the University and the IT world.”
On March 7, 2013, University President Ralph Kuncl conferred upon Brill an Honorary Doctor of Information Science Degree, which celebrated Brill’s legendary contributions and iconic reputation.
“Ken Brill was an inventor, innovator, mentor, and role mode—a true pioneer whose contributions in the data center industry went beyond his work, changing the world and setting the example for generations of knowledge engineers. He was our friend, and will be sorely missed, as we join with those who celebrate his rich and full life.”