Case Studies Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services Pursues New East Coast Corporate Campus

Expanding the Cloud

For over 15 years, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering. As the leading cloud computing company in the U.S., AWS is continually growing its business and tech workforce. In 2017, to address demand, AWS began the site selection search to find a new corporate campus on the East Coast devoted to its cloud computing services.

The requirements: top talent and accessibility to major metro areas.

The Virginia Solution

Prime Talent and Location

With the demand to hire over 1,000 employees, it was critical for AWS to locate in a place with a sustainable pipeline of tech workers.

Enter Virginia.

The Commonwealth hosts the largest data center market in the world, and Northern Virginia is home to more than 20% (100) of all known hyperscale data centers worldwide. Already at the forefront of emerging sectors like cloud computing, cybersecurity, and software development, Virginia is committed to technology and innovation. With the highest concentration of tech workers in the nation, a steady pipeline of IT talent flocks to Northern Virginia annually – many of which matriculate from the state’s nationally recognized colleges and universities. The Commonwealth is also home to the 4th-largest veteran population in the U.S. Given Amazon's strong track record of hiring veterans and military spouses, AWS’ further growth in Virginia would help the company meet its pledge to hire thousands of veterans and military spouses.

As a global powerhouse, AWS required strategic access to its 125+ domestic and international facilities. Virginia’s mid-Atlantic location borders the nation’s capital and provides a gateway to domestic and global markets. Close proximity to three major international airports places 60% of the U.S. population within a two-hour flight of Virginia, and 47% of the U.S. population lives within a one-day drive.

Located in the heart of the Northern Virginia region, Fairfax County offers access to policymakers and leaders who are helping to shape the face of tomorrow’s information technology sector. With one of every four jobs directly related to the technology solutions sector, Fairfax County attracts a constant influx of young talent from around the world. Partners such as the Northern Virginia Technology Council, George Mason University, Northern Virginia Community College, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech all contribute to the IT services and professional services ecosystem. These advantages would provide an ideal environment for AWS to serve its booming customer base.

Virginia Delivers

In June 2017, AWS announced plans to establish its new East Coast corporate campus at One Dulles Tower in Fairfax County, a 400,000-square-foot Class A office building about two miles east of Washington Dulles International Airport, creating up to 1,500 new jobs.

Amazon partners with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) through its Career Choice program to address the high demand for workers with cloud computing skills in the region and prepare the workforce of tomorrow. The program empowers Amazon employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere and provides a variety of education and upskilling opportunities including full college tuition, industry certifications, and foundational skills such as English language proficiency. Amazon’s Veteran Technical Apprenticeship program – the first of its kind on the East Coast – launched at NOVA in 2017 to train local veterans for roles as data center technicians, system engineers, and cloud computing consultants.

Amazon Web Services continues to expand its massive cloud cluster in Northern Virginia, where it operates more than 50 data centers. It is the largest single concentration of corporate data center infrastructure on earth, housing the AWS US-East cloud region.

Since 2011, AWS has invested $35 billion into Virginia through infrastructure investments and is among the largest private-sector employers in the Commonwealth, with over 8,800 full-time, well-paying jobs in corporate offices and data centers across Virginia. These roles include data center technicians, engineers, solutions architects, sales representatives, account managers, software development engineers, and cloud experts. Each year, the company pledges to hire more and more former military members and their families. In 2021, AWS hired nearly 40,000 military-connected personnel, surpassing its goal of 25,000.

Amazon Web Services’ growth in Virginia is a testament to the success tech companies can find in the Commonwealth. Virginia continues to dominate the data center industry thanks to its infrastructure, workforce, and competitive business costs, and Amazon Web Services is helping to lead the charge.