Global Power Partner Spotlight: Denisse De La Cruz

1661300632899Meet Denisse De la Cruz, a project engineer at Kohler with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s of business administration. As a versatile professional in her field with expertise in manufacturing, design, field support, and sales, she’s a key member of the Kohler support and service team. In another edition of our Global Power Partner Spotlight series, let’s learn more about Denisse as a valuable contributor to Kohler customer success.

Hi Denisse! Could you tell us a little about your role at Kohler?

I’ve undertaken three roles within Kohler, accumulating five years with the company. My first role was field service for industrial generators, followed by field service for residential generators. Those led to my current role: project engineer with the data center sales team. Today, I work to deliver exceptional support from the early design phase, working alongside my account executive peers and our customers to support the commissioning phase with any additions that may be needed to complete the project. My days consist of reviewing site drawings and performing specification reviews to ensure we provide the right product and pricing targets to meet our customers’ requirements.

What was your previous background, and how did you come to Kohler?

In 2019, I began working for the United States Department of Defense in their data center division. My job entailed the design, implementation, and operations of their data centers’ Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Covid-19, however, completely changed the landscape and the way business operated. With the opportunity to work remotely with Kohler, I accepted a position with the residential generator team’s field support group. After a couple of years in that position, I transitioned to the data center project engineer role, where I currently quote our large diesel generators or KD units, to the data center market.

Taking into consideration my previous roles with Kohler and also those prior to Kohler, my background has equipped me to succeed in my current role in ways I couldn’t imagine. Working on these past projects has helped me to always keep my eye on the customer, ensuring a timely response and being a true partner in their power needs.

What does it mean to you to be a data center global power partner, and how do you support this commitment in your day-to-day operations?

Being a data center global power partner is an awesome responsibility. Kohler truly serves a global market, so there are plenty of examples of how we work with team members around the world to provide the best possible products and services. As a part of the project engineering team, I want to make sure we’re collaborating with our partners in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) and APAC (Asia-Pacific) to standardize best practices and share knowledge.

Best practices and processes across the regions are shared and molded to individual needs, working to maintain a consistent look and feel to our customers while we are providing our quotes and submittals globally. Additionally, our global customers share somewhat similar specifications and design needs, so our Kohler counterparts lean on one another to share these commonalities to maintain continuity and commonality as best we can. All of this is to say that aligning internally helps us deliver a better end-to-end experience to our customers. As Kohler, we not only pride ourselves on working closely together as a family with our direct peers, but with our teammates around the world to make certain that no matter where you are, Kohler is supporting you every step of the way.

In your view, when it comes to backup power, what do you see being the biggest considerations or requirements at play in the data center industry?

Exhaust after-treatment systems (EATS) are one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in this space. This is due to the varying restrictions a regulatory board may apply to their areas of jurisdiction. It is therefore important to obtain as much information as possible on the location and the number of units in a specific project area, since needs for Tier 2, Tier 4 ready, Tier 4 compliant, and Tier 4 certified from factory are all different and specific.

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Another trend that we’re seeing is racking generator systems, compared to setting generators side by side, to reduce square footage. Racking is when a genset is placed in or on a concrete or steel structure (allowing for multiple levels of power-producing systems or power generators), whereas stacking is the bundling of units (usually two) sharing the same enclosure. There are issues that arise from both configurations, one of which is serviceability, and the only way to mitigate issues in the field is open communication with the customer from the design phase on. We want to make sure our customers understand the advantages and potential limitations of each layout and that we are designing a system together that meets their needs.

What do you find compelling about working in the data center sphere?

Being part of such a quickly growing market is exciting and compelling. As such, our company is always creating new ways to improve our internal processes and infrastructure to better meet the demand. Meanwhile, our peers are doing the same and it is culminating in better tools/software, consortiums/conferences, industry knowledge and networking. So, all stakeholders are working hard to advance the industry in general, and it’s something that we all benefit from — whether you’re a manufacturer, distributor, data center, or just someone who uses the internet.

Are there any customer success stories you’ve been a part of in your tenure that you’d like to highlight?

The successful quoting of units while providing a great customer service experience to them is always a win in my book. It all starts from the early stages, when I’m introduced to a potential customer and provide them a quote that meets their specs. I continue along the process all the way to seeing the product ship from our dock. It doesn’t end there, though. In many ways, success is truly when our customers come back to work with me a second time.

How about your life outside of your Kohler work? What do you like to do?

My evenings are spent with my wife and two dogs. We love to garden in the summer and watch football in the winters. Last but not least, I’m an avid reader and enjoy spending time writing.

To learn more about Kohler’s service and support teams, click here
. Or, continue with our Global Power Partner spotlight series with Melvin Louis here.

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