For most children, summertime means no school, summer camp, or spending hours playing video games. For Travis Wright, it meant something much different. “I spent my summers in sailing school, which looking back at it, was pretty neat,” he says. “All of my friends and I would go to the yacht club, learn sailing basics … and spend days and days doing the same stuff over again, getting it engrained in ourselves how to sail, race, and be successful.”
Travis Wright, site director of QTS Data Center’s Irving location, grew up on a lake in the small Wisconsin town of Delafield. The town was surrounded by four lakes, so it wasn’t a surprise that by age 8, Wright had already begun racing sailboats. Before he knew how to drive, Wright rode boats to his friends’ homes and raced them on ice during the winter. But Wright wasn’t the first sailor in his family. His father learned to sail in the Navy and taught those same skills to Travis and his brother. “My childhood was wonderful,” Travis beams, reminiscing about his younger days sailing. Once he graduated high school, Wright attended Marquette University in Milwaukee. The school was about a mile away from a local yacht club. Brand new to the area, Wright marched right into the club and asked if anyone needed an extra crew member. Charlie Camps, a seasoned sailor, took Wright up on his offer.
At QTS, Wright spends most of his workday developing his employees, fostering relationships with customers, and enhancing site productivity. Joining QTS in February 2014, when the company opened the Irving office, Wright helped build the location from the ground up. Opening a brand new facility and hiring a team of 20 employees was not an easy task, he says. But the skills he’s learned as a sailor have aided him for such a task and continued to aid him throughout his career. Strategy plays a huge factor in sailing, Wright says, and he leveraged that skill when he became a leader at QTS. “When racing, it’s a strategy game,” he says. “That mindset of using strategy to move your business forward has some value.”
The list of places Wright has sailed is extensive, and includes Tahiti and Belize. A typical sailing trip for Wright is laid back, with a chance to view everything the destination has to offer. One moment, he might know exactly what he’s going to do with the day; later, he might change his mind and do something else. “That’s the greatest thing about cruising; you are completely on your own,” he says. “There is no agenda.” Meeting the locals of the country he’s visiting and learning about the culture and land is one of the many things Wright loves about sailing. One of the most memorable places Wright has sailed is the tiny Tahitian island called Taha’a. “They have some of the most laid-back people I have ever met who all speak French,” he says. He laughs, remembering a woman who greeted him and his wife Jennifer with an elongated “Bonjour” as she rode her bike down the island street.
These days Wright doesn’t own any boats and, with a wife and two growing children, he doesn’t get to sail as much as he did in the lakes of Delafield. Prior to meeting him, Jennifer was not a sailor. But with a couple of trips under her belt, she’s what Wright calls a “fantastic crew [member].” Wright’s two young boys, Spencer and Carter, were both born in Arizona and now live in Dallas, so their sailing opportunities have been slim. Wright one day hopes to get the boys more involved in sailing, but for now letting them engage in their own hobbies is the No. 1 priority for him.
Wright plans to take his whole family sailing soon. But in the meantime, he plans to focus on QTS’ success and being a good husband and father. That doesn’t mean he’s forgotten about sailing or his favorite thing about it: “Settling down, when you shut off your engine and it gets quiet, you can hear the waves crashing against the boat,” he says. “It’s the most peaceful time in the world.”