BRUNSWICK — Nearly 40 years ago, Charlie Largay rode his bike up and down the streets of Brunswick Naval Air Station with the son of then- Commanding Officer Capt. Robert Latta. Employed by the Augusta-based Edwards Company, Largay’s father worked building the runways at the base in 1941, and Largay grew up with the CO’s son, Bruce.
These days, he uses four wheels when he drives daily from Old Orchard Beach to the former data center at Brunswick Naval Air Station — home of Resilient Tier-V, the data security company Largay runs with his wife, Maureen.
The former standout swimmer at Morse High School took the long way from Bath to what is now Brunswick Landing, traveling around the world so many times since that one nephew calculated for a school project that Largay has traveled “to the moon and back 22 times.”
Now back in the Mid-coast region, he and his wife, Maureen — Resilient’s chief executive officer — are committed to creating a major information technology hub at Brunswick Landing, and hiring — very soon — quite a few employees.
‘It will be pretty staggering’
Largay works, appropriately, out of the former commodore’s office — one of the only rooms in the building not “built like a bunker,” he said.
Simply put — far too simply, in fact — Resilient provides the infrastructure that supports “ the cloud,” and ensures that the data it contains is secure.
The “cloud” — Largay calls the term a “ buzzword” — actually runs on very real plumbing and technology housed in the Resilient headquarters.
Partnering with IBM, Cisco, the National Defense University and the Navy Post Graduate School to develop its cybersecurity, Resilient will eventually be one of only several world-class data centers.
“That room alone will support close to 9,000 servers and the equivalent amount of data of roughly 1,000 Libraries of Congress,” Largay said during a recent tour of the Resilient facility, still undergoing renovations in preparation for the delivery of new “ supercomputers.” “And that’s one room … the total capacity will be in excess of 6 million servers.”
Brunswick is particularly attractive to a company such as Resilient, Largay said, because the data it protects is not near an earthquake zone, a target area such as Washington, D.C. or New York City or a nuclear power plant.
“And we have the benefit of two 8,100-foot heavy-lift runways that anybody could bring their recovery team to,” he said. “If there was disaster in another area, they could evacuate to here with their systems and keep their businesses running.”
Clients already include the U.S. government, as well as Fortune 50 companies and small businesses, he said.
“ We have more fiber (optics) in here than probably, with the exception of a few government facilities, and maybe the NYSE, we have more fiber than probably 90 percent of the larger facilities on the East Coast, and more than most cities,” Largay said. “And when we finish with the second phase of the build- out, it will be pretty staggering.”
Resilient is currently housed in two buildings at the former base, but is in the process of securing a third and fourth. Largay said he “ looked very seriously at another site in Texas. We almost went there, but then we decided we wanted to be at home.”
Around the world
“I have ties to both communities that run pretty deep,” Largay said of Brunswick and Bath.
He grew up on Washington Street in Bath, next to Dr. Winchenbach, a surgeon at the former Bath Memorial Hospital.
“As a little boy, my job was to always make sure that in a snowstorm he was always plowed out so he could always get out if there was an accident or an emergency,” Largay said. “And it ingrained in me that Maine’s a little different. One of the things that you have to understand is you never know who you might need to solve a problem for you. It might be the person who could save you or somebody in your family’s life. You don’t have to like everybody, but I find there’s a level of civility around here that, I will be honest, I miss in the big city.”
Before graduating from Morse High School in 1974, Largay set a number of swimming records. He graduated from Bowdoin College and worked for a year at Bath Iron Works.
Largay then spent 16 years working for IBM, eventually traveling millions of miles around the world responding to technology crises.
Among his challenges was leading IBM’s efforts in support of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
In 2005, in partnership with Cisco, Charles and Maureen “ co- ran” IBM’s global response to a major earthquake in Pakistan.
“From (Hurricane) Katrina forward, pretty much, we were involved” in crisis management for the company, he said.
That took him to such locales as Japan, Cyprus and Sri Lanka.
As a perk of their world travels, the couple are personal travel guides for their many nieces and nephews who — if they plan to enter college or the military upon graduating from high school — Charlie and Maureen will take anywhere on the globe.
“We’ve taken six so far,” he said. “The next one up wants to go to Italy. We lived there twice, so we know Italy. To see two young eyes with their brand-new passports without a stamp on them … and we get to go see a place (through their eyes).”
‘A tremendous Renaissance’
The Largays left IBM in 2007, and in 2009, Resilient was incorporated.
Since returning to Maine — the couple lives in Old Orchard Beach currently, but are looking to move to Brunswick — Largay said he’s “had a wonderful time reaching back and getting reassociated with the area.”
At a golf tournament hosted several years ago by the Morse High School Alumni Association, he reconnected with a former classmate from grade school — who also attended Morse and Bowdoin with him. Then he discovered that the woman now works at Southern Maine Community College, and became his point of contact as the two organizations began to work together on a training program soon to get under way.
With 38 existing employees, Resilient is “ ready to do a very big set of hires,” Largay said. A training program with SMCC will determine “ who has the aptitude” for positions at Resilient, and will then feed those applicants into courses to develop specific skills.
Resilient is also working with representatives of Bowdoin College and other schools to develop the work force Largay said he will need, because, he noted, “I don’t want to bring them from away.”
He’s even gone into Brunswick High School to speak to guidance counselors, he said.
“We’re reaching out. I think we need to expose these kids to opportunities that they don’t know exist, that excite them. There’s an innovation and creativity, a pragmatism in the people that are here. There’s very few things I think they cannot learn … ( and) we’re going to need some computer geeks in a big way.”
Largay said he’s confident Resilient will soon become a world-class data center, and that the redevelopment effort at Brunswick Landing has been criticized unfairly.
“ I think very few people understand how difficult it has been for ( the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority),” he said, crediting tireless efforts by Maine’s “very, very supportive” congressional delegation and state legislators.
“ Before it’s over, there’s going to be a tremendous Renaissance out there,” he said.
¦ THE ANNUAL NEWSMAKERS SERIES profiles local individuals whose circumstances reflect major stories of the year. Charlie Largay, who attended Morse High School, runs Resilient Tier-V, a data security company, with his wife, Maureen. They are both committed to creating a major information technology hub at Brunswick Landing, and hiring — very soon — quite a few employees.