By Lisa May 

Sisters grad works on data centers


Last updated 3/26/2024 at 1:31pm

Photo provided

Hannah Harrer on site at a facility in Arizona.

Twenty years ago, your living room shelves and closets may have been filled with VHS tapes and DVDs of favorite movies. Finding enough room to store the growing collection was problematic. Perhaps a few readers still insist on storing some of these old favorites today, even without the devices needed to play them back.

But now that we are more than two decades into the 21st century, most of us watch digital movies by streaming them from Netflix, Amazon Prime, or another video-streaming service. Have you ever considered that all this content still must be stored somewhere?

Everything digital that we access "in the cloud" - not stored on our own devices - has to be housed somewhere. Sisters resident Hannah Harrer has a role in the industry that meets the digital storage needs of today - building data centers.

Data centers are physical buildings that house the hardware, software, networks, cabling, and everything that makes it possible for U.S. companies and consumers to access the applications and files needed to function in a high-tech society every day. Harrer is quickly becoming an expert on this exploding industry and she wants others to share her enthusiasm for the opportunities it presents.

Harrer is the Director of Strategy, Digital Infrastructure, and High-Tech for a local company called Trangistics, Inc. Trangistics is a logistics company run by CEO Joey Hougham, who lives right here in Sisters. The company has existed for more than 20 years, supporting industries with their transportation, warehousing, and inventory management needs.

Harrer was brought on to help shift the company focus to the high-tech industry and data centers. Trangistics has played a part in construction of a giant microchip factory in Arizona and assisting in the expansion of data centers built across the U.S. - including some data centers right here in Central Oregon near Prineville.

Hard at work at Trangistics, Inc. since August 2023, Harrer has attended multiple conferences on the complexities of building data centers. She was brand-new to the high-tech industry when she was hired and she said the last seven months have been "like drinking from a firehose."

Hannah first came to Sisters back in 2007, when Tom and Janice Harrer moved their family of five from Oahu. Hannah was in the eighth grade when they arrived. English and writing were her best subjects in school, but volleyball was her passion, having been brought up by parents who both played professional volleyball.

Hannah graduated from Sisters High School (SHS) in 2012 and attended Cal Poly Pomona on a full volleyball scholarship. After earning her bachelor's degree in Communication, with an emphasis on Public Relations, she headed to San Diego State, where she completed her masters degree in Communication Studies. The masters degree trained her on conducting quantitative market research and gave her a more clear career direction.

Harrer's first job, starting in 2018, was in higher education, doing marketing for Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. When the pandemic hit in 2020, she was able to work remotely and she returned to Sisters. In 2022, she moved to a remote position doing market research for Columbia Sportswear.

Now at Trangistics, she said, "I am thrilled to have landed in this industry." In fact, she hopes to open up opportunities for young people to work in the data center field. Harrer describes the industry as very open to collaboration, since without partnerships between real estate, construction, logistics, and utility companies-along with the high-tech client building the data center-you simply cannot complete the job.

Some of the challenges Harrer described in data center construction include acquiring locations with sufficient power infrastructure, as well as addressing supply chain delays. Supply chain problems can be alleviated by a logistics company such as Trangistics, which is able to efficiently transport and warehouse construction materials well ahead of the construction schedule. Power infrastructure limitations can prove to be a hard stop on many locations that might otherwise have plenty of space for a data center.

High-tech construction is not the sum total of Hannah's life, however. Volleyball still plays a huge role. In the Fall of 2022 Hannah was invited to coach the Sisters Middle School eighth-grade volleyball team and head up the entire middle school program. The following year, she followed the players to the high school and coached the first JV2/freshman team fielded by SHS in 7 years. It was a special joy for Hannah to be one of the coaches on the bench last fall when the varsity team won the state championship, an honor that she herself experienced as a sophomore at SHS.

Regardless of where her life and career take her in the future, Hannah said, "Sisters will always hold a special place in my heart."

Harrer listed several foundations where readers can learn more about the future of data center construction:

• Nomad Futurist Foundation

• Infrastructure Masons

• WIMCO: Women in Mission Critical Operations (A division of 7x24 Exchange):

She is working to bring a representative to SHS from the Nomad Futurist Foundation so students can learn more about this promising field.

According to, there were 5,375 data centers in the U.S., as of September 2023. The largest data center complex in the U.S., as cited by, measuring out to a total of 4.6 million square feet, is the Meta Platforms (Facebook) facility right down the highway from us in Prineville.

The truly staggering statistics are found in the needs for data storage. The Statista website lists the total data produced by humans as of 2020 as 64.2 zettabytes. Total data created is projected to grow to over 180 zettabytes by 2025 - a near three-fold increase in just 5 years. Wondering what a zettabyte is? Most hard drives are now measured in terabytes and a 1 terabyte drive is a fairly common size for a personal computer. One zettabyte is equal to 1 billion terabytes. So, it would require 183 billion of the average household hard drives to hold the entirety of human digital resources by next year. And that doesn't account for backup copies.

So, as you shoot those photos with your iPhone and rest easy knowing that they are being stored for you by Apple, or as you share data with coworkers on a group Google doc, remember that those files are not stored in the air, as the "cloud" terminology implies. They are stored on actual computers that are housed in real buildings in definite locations across the world. And there is an entire industry working to support the burgeoning need to house our data. Next time you see Hannah around town, thank her for being a proponent of the industry. You can find her on LinkedIn:


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