In 1984, Shaun Mooney (B.S. ’95, M.S. ’04) enlisted in the U.S. Marines out of a desire to emulate John Wayne. After serving a four-year tour, he was reactivated in 1991 to support U.S. troops during Operation: Desert Storm.
Today, Mooney is helping safeguard something that impacts every person with a smartphone, laptop, or other communications device in the entire northeast United States. As property manager for Colliers International, he oversees the energy management processes and operations at 60 Hudson Street in downtown Manhattan. Once known as the Western Union Building and home to that company’s vast underground telegraph network from 1930 to 1973, this fiber-optic anchorage houses the infrastructure that helps fuel the digital lines of communication among financial centers, government agencies, and individuals worldwide. More than 100 telecom companies are housed within the carrier hotel, including Level 3 Communications, Sirius Telecom, Verizon, Sprint, Global Crossing, and many other carriers. If the Internet had a home address in the Northeast, this would be the place.
“This is the biggest telecommunications hub in the entire world,” says Mooney. He estimates that the facilities at 60 Hudson process an estimated two billion text messages, emails, phone calls, and other communications per hour, an exponential increase over the two million messages sent daily during the Western Union days. Back then, pneumatic tubes connecting parts of New York City carried written messages inside capsules propelled by compressed air, traveling as fast as 35 miles per hour. (Text messaging, one could say, in its earliest days.)
The current telecommunications powerhouse at 60 Hudson is one of four in the United States, joining similar hubs in Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles. “These four sites are really the core of the entire country,” Mooney says, referring to the digital communications backbone of the United States. “There are companies within a mile of Manhattan that have tried to re-create this but failed financially.”
Managing the building’s infrastructure and energy systems is a key component to ensuring that 60 Hudson runs smoothly. Mooney’s day-to-day operations include conducting energy and telecom audits, tenant relations, and managing capital projects for building modifications, security upgrades, and cooling tower and generator installations, among other tasks.
Courtesy of NYIT Magazine
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