David Saroli

CEO of Online Technologies Corp., a data center operator, in Ann Arbor. Ness has more than 20 years of experience launching and managing high tech companies from startup to larger scale and liquidity. He led a group of investors to acquire Online Technologies in 2003 and has since served as its CEO, growing the company from a small local provider with a 600-square-foot center to Michigan’s premier managed data center operator with three centers in the state. Online Tech helps companies manage their growing demand for data and computing capacity through its SAS-70 secure and reliable multi-tenant data centers. With a full range of colocation, dedicated server hosting, and managed service options, Online Tech ensures that a client’s servers are always on, always online, and always safe. For three years, the company has been named a Washtenaw County FastTrack winner for Michigan’s fastest growing companies. Prior to Online Tech, Ness was a co-founder of CompanyCrafters and of WorkWell Health and Safety Systems, which was acquired by Liberty Mutual. He serves on numerous boards, including the board of the Small Business Association of Michigan. Ness received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Michigan.

WHERE BORN: “Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My mother and father. They taught me that life would present many options if I worked hard and had integrity.”

LAST BOOK READ: “Two books – The World Without Us by Allen Weisman and Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Driven, hardworking, and helpful.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “We see a lot of growth, and three trends are driving that: outsourcing, where everything will be hosted; power issues, including a data center crisis because servers are getting hotter faster than cooling can get cooler; and the credit freeze because companies can’t get capital to build their own data centers. In the long term, we see opportunities in greener data centers.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “My DVR – it put me back in control of television – and my voice-recognition system in my new Acura.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “Anywhere with my wife in warm weather with filled scuba tanks.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Playing sports with my stepsons, sailing, scuba diving, and cooking with my wife.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Thai curry.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: "I’m good at teaching math and I speak pig Latin as quickly as English. It was my secret language with my two sisters while growing up.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “Credible and helpful.”