William Collier is the founder and owner of Interstitial Systems, a manufacturer of multilevel electromechanical raised floor distribution systems for data centres.
Collier has over 40 years’ experience in the industry, which has taken him in multiple directions before his current focus on data centres. “In my early days I was actually installing interior construction products, of which raised floors were one example,” he says. “After a while, one of the manufacturers asked me to become a dealer, which I did, operating in the Chicago market up until about 1982. That’s when I started doing some specialty floors for stock exchanges, places like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, and the Midwest Stock Exchange.”
The special floors required by these institutions represented an opportunity for Collier. “They needed a bigger module, higher floors, things that weren't done in the traditional floor industry.” Around this time, Collier developed a three level system, which was the original version of Interstial’s current offering. “The purpose of that floor was to meet the code provision at the time, which required isolating air conditioning, line voltage wires and low voltage wires from each other.” This was usually done using conduit and his product made it much easier for users to relocate equipment.
For a while, Collier’s innovation went unused, having been licensed to a manufacturer that did nothing with the product. Collier thought little of it, until he was contacted by an engineer 10 years ago who wanted his system. “He told me ‘the industry has changed - you need to look that over again.’ So I did some research and decided that I would get back into it if I could create an even better product, and that's basically where we are now, with a generation two product operating on a two rather than three-level system.”
Collier’s approach to running the business is simple. As he says, “It’s all summed up in one word: trust. It's all about trust. You’ve got to trust your people and you have to build trust with your clients. We keep things collaborative and sincere.”