Larry O’Connor is the founder and chief executive officer of Woodstock, IL-based Other World Computing (http://www.owcdigital.com). OWC is a leading provider of quality computer upgrade products and services for Mac and PC users around the world.
O’Connor started Other World Computing while still in high school in 1988. Frustrated with the high cost and options for Apple memory expansion, he came up with a better solution and started providing memory upgrades online. Today, OWC is a respected supplier of Apple product upgrades and accessories.
The company has demonstrated dynamic growth in each of its 29 years of operation. Over the years, O’Connor has received numerous offers to partner or buyout, but he has instead opted to work toward his vision of building OWC into a self-sustainable organization that’s known as a great place to work, innovating and supporting professional grade solutions and service to technology users around the globe.
OWC’s products include storage, accessories, memory, and more for Apple and PC computers and peripherals. Products are sold under the OWC brand, and distributed through Macsales.com at http://www.macsales.com, as well as numerous other resellers and distributors. OWC is currently ranked the number one technology employer in the Woodstock, Illinois area, and in total, employs more than 200 people.
OWC “Green” Building
OWC’s commitment to the environment matches its commitment to customer service and product quality. Its 37,000 square-foot corporate headquarters opened in March 2008, and is the culmination of that environmental commitment. O’Connor’s “green” building design employs the principals of energy efficiency, protection of natural resources, and lowered pollution emissions. The OWC corporate campus was awarded LEED Platinum Certification in March 2010 by the Green Building Certification Institute. Platinum is the highest achievable level of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Program, which began in 1998. With this recognition, OWC also became the first privately-owned facility in Illinois incorporating light manufacturing/assembly to obtain LEED Platinum status in the world.
Other green initiatives include the installation of a Vestas V39-500kW wind turbine in October 2009, making OWC one of the first technology manufacturers/distributors in the US to be 100 percent on-site wind powered. The 194-foot tall turbine generates approximately 815,000kW of electricity per year. Over a year’s time, the turbine’s average excess power generation is approximately 10 percent more than what the building consumes, with the remaining energy being pushed out to the local grid. Not content with harnessing wind power, OWC has also adopted solar power as an energy source in Woodstock, as well as their Austin, TX, office. In early 2014, an array of 160 solar panels was energized at the Austin facility, producing approximately 60,000kW/year, or about one-third of the power consumed by that three-story building. The array in Woodstock is made up of 770 solar panels, making it one of the largest privately-held solar arrays in Illinois, and generating approximately 265,000kW/year. OWC’s utilization of GeoThermal for heating/cooling systems is a key component reducing the actual demand on energy in the Woodstock facility at large. O’Connor believes that environmental stewardship is the right thing to do for future generations and makes good economic sense as well, that with planning and effort, sustainability is synonymous with success.
OWC continues to lead the way with ongoing recycling programs as well. The OWC headquarters has a strong corporate focus on recycling of all day-to-day operational materials, and currently 94 percent of solid waste materials are recycled in some manner, for a near zero waste program. OWC subsidiary, NewerTech (www.newertech.com), provides the NewerTech laptop battery recycling program, the first of its kind, and is currently one of the only fully prepaid battery recycling program.
Today, OWC’s product lines include Envoy Pro EX portable USB and Thunderbolt drives; the Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini portable RAID powerhouse; Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 2 and USB-C Docks; the Mercury Helios line of PCI and eGPU expansion; the ThunderBay line of high capacity, high performance Thunderbolt 2 and 3 RAID arrays; the Mercury-on-the-Go Bus Powered Portable Solution; and the Jupiter line of networked storage solutions.