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Our Leadership

Ascent is one of the leading providers of Mission Critical and Data Center Engineering, Construction and Operational services in North America.

Ascent’s leadership team leverages their expertise to work closely with our clients, together navigating challenges around the design, engineering, deployment, maintenance, employment and operation of Data Centers and Mission Critical Sites and Infrastructure.

Robert Painter


As President of Ascent, Bob oversees the delivery and execution of Ascent solutions that deliver, support and complement our clients’ North American critical infrastructure operations.

Bob leads the teams responsible for Data Center Operations, Facility Management, IT Site Services, Engineering & Construction and Navigator Platform Services. Initially coming on board as Ascent’s first engineer, Bob has since been a key contributor in critical infrastructure delivery and support for two decades. Now, he creates custom client solutions for 24x7 facility and IT staffing, critical systems maintenance programs, portfolio-wide operational and capital plans and real-time business intelligence reporting.

Under his leadership, Ascent has transformed the Navigator Platform to deliver transparency and insight into infrastructure data across diverse critical sites, design topologies and work management systems. He fosters integrated team efforts, continual processes improvements and new technologies to ensure the Navigator Platform is aligned with clients’ critical facility needs.

An electrical engineer by trade, Bob was previously a District Engineer for Ameren UE, a leading electrical utility in the Midwest. He also served as an electrical design engineer for the Callaway County Nuclear Plant in Missouri specializing in the design and implementation of power controls and power generation. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri and a master’s in business administration from Maryville University.

Jamie Lester

Vice President, Finance

Jamie manages the financial operations of the organization, which spans multiple offices, project locations and services provided across North America. She has been integral in Ascent’s business operations, expansion of its client financial integration services and financing activities of Ascent’s data centers.

Over the past two decades, Jamie has helped build Ascent from the ground up and has worked diligently to instill financial clarity and business intelligence in client services. She leads the team responsible for accounts payable and business processing services critical to delivering key insights into maintenance work as part of Ascent’s Navigator Platform. Her team helps to deliver financial transparency to organizations struggling to centralize independent data from field teams, third-party providers, procurement, accounting systems and teams.

Additionally, Jamie oversees Ascent’s human resources and administration departments that recruit, hire and train employees across North America.

Jamie also helps manage her family-owned Traiteurville Stables in Waterloo, Illinois, a long-standing equine boarding and riding operation. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Saint Louis University and has earned numerous accolades during her career.

Brad Pauley

Vice President, Engineering & Construction

Brad leads the engineering & construction division at Ascent and oversees the preconstruction, design and construction activities for data center builds and expansion projects across North America. In his role, Brad manages Ascent’s in-house team that is responsible for project engineering stamps, construction management and general contracting activities for client projects.

Brad is responsible for budgeting, schedule management, permitting, design management, bidding and construction through commissioning as well as building management controls validation and performance. He is also a key contributor to procedure documentation for mechanical, electrical, fire life safety, controls and security systems incorporated in Ascent’s site operational services.

During his career at Ascent, Brad has led efforts to provide clients with reliable, efficient and safe data center and critical facility operations. His roles in developments, projects and operations has contributed to substantial client savings through design improvements, equipment adjustments and thorough construction management.

Before joining Ascent, Brad was a lead mechanical engineer with Parsons Brinckerhoff Buildings. He is also a LEED Accredited Professional and received his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri – Rolla.

Chris Askew

Vice President, Technology

Chris oversees Ascent’s Data Center IT Managed Services, Information Security Compliance, Data Center IT Operations and IT Infrastructure. Under Chris’ leadership, Ascent has achieved compliant technology operations for multiple sites, expanded its managed service offerings and continues to further develop in-house expertise across new technology solutions.

Chris and his team run the 24x7 network and cloud hosting environment for Ascent’s SaaS application that manages maintenance for mission-critical sites. His IT Infrastructure team is responsible for technology setup and operation of multiple data center and remote office locations. Chris’ Data Center IT Operations team advises customers with their IT migrations and recently migrated internal production and DR IT environments.

Under his guidance, the Data Center IT Managed Services team has implemented a robust, fault-tolerant, always on Internet product, and continues to add solution offerings like BaaS, DRaaS and BMSaaS for its Colocation customers. Chris recently managed the SSAE 18 SOC process for Ascent’s Toronto and St. Louis Data Centers.

Additionally, Chris works closely with Ascent’s IT Site Services team, supporting clients across the country with proficient, low-risk and cost effective solutions. This team develops and implements end-to-end Data Center IT Site Services programs that provide best-in-class services to multiple fortune 500 clients.

Chris holds multiple certifications in IT Operations, Cybersecurity, Data Center Virtualization and Public Cloud Solutions Architect.

Ben Pesek

Vice President, Site Operations

Ben oversees the Site Operations division of specialists who operate and maintain critical environments for Ascent clients across North America. As a navy nuclear operations veteran, Ben brings substantial experience in mission critical environment operations, tactics, and finance to the Ascent team.

Ben has been with the Ascent team for nearly a decade, during which time he has implemented a strict regimen of risk mitigation, procedural compliance, and change control within Site Operations with OPEX and CAPEX expertise. He is responsible for budgetary responsibilities, critical environment operations as well as for the safety and training of all operations personnel.

Prior to joining the Ascent team, Ben was a Sr. Quality Assurance Supervisor for Lee Technologies, solely dedicated to the operations account.

Chris Cleghorn

Vice President, Business Development & Marketing

Chris leads Business Development & Marketing efforts for all of Ascent services and specialized offerings for mission critical infrastructure and facilities. He has been an integral part of Ascent’s growth since 2007 and has a profound understanding of how to best leverage Ascent’s capabilities to serve organizations with critical infrastructure.

Chris has over 25 years of experience providing technology-based solutions and world class operational services to global organizations with mission critical infrastructure. Chris has helped numerous clients overcome mission critical related challenges while ensuring efficiency and focus on core business functions.

He works hand in hand with clients and Ascent internal teams to tailor solutions to support critical operations and critical projects.

Phil Horstmann


Horstmann is the Founder of Ascent, a leader in mission critical solutions and a comprehensive data center partner with subject matter teams across North America providing clients 24x7 support.

Beginning the company in 1998, Horstmann set out to provide critical systems operations for organizations with data centers. As the need to address more infrastructure challenges locally and across the country increased, Horstmann grew his St. Louis, MO team to support the growing operation and expand the services platform. Today, more than 200 people use Ascent’s proven processes and Navigator technology platform to care for mission critical sites.

During the last two decades, Horstmann has built teams of subject matter specialists to provide integrated solutions across the critical infrastructure systems and facilities lifecycles including development, design, construction and 24x7 operations. Constantly seeking quality results and innovative solutions, Horstmann has instilled these values into the business, with a particular focus on safety. As a former paramedic fire fighter, Horstmann’s commitment to safety has become a primary objective in Ascent’s business units.

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