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Our Executive Team

Phil Horstmann

Chief Executive Officer

Horstmann founded Ascent in 1998. He wanted to align and integrate best-in-class critical systems infrastructure, facilities engineering, purpose built construction, architectural acumen and best practices operations protocols. Doing so would allow for the improvement of client operations in data center and other critical systems environments.

Today, under his leadership, Ascent is a turnkey critical systems infrastructure solutions provider. The company provides a broad range of expertise, uniquely spanning data center planning, engineering, construction, management, real estate development and operations outsourcing.

Robert Painter


Painter serves as President for Ascent, with day to day oversight for the engineering & construction, operations and finance divisions of the company. With the company since 1999, Painter has managed data center projects across the country and ranging in scale from computer room power and cooling expansions to large-scale, hyper-entitled data center developments.

Prior to joining Ascent, Painter worked as 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. Painter received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri and a master’s in business administration from Maryville University.

Brad Pauley

Vice President, Engineering & Construction

Pauley leads the engineering & construction division at Ascent and oversees the preconstruction, design, and construction activities for data center developments and expansion projects. He is responsible for budgeting, schedule management, permitting, design management, bidding and construction through commissioning. Previously as Senior Mechanical Engineer with Ascent, Pauley provided on-site project management services for complex data center projects and was the team lead on one of the world’s first container based data center deployments. Pauley is a LEED Accredited Professional with extensive experience in value engineering and efficiency improvements.

Prior to joining the Ascent team, Pauley was a lead mechanical engineering with Parsons Brinckerhoff Buildings and received his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri – Rolla.

Jamie Lester

Vice President, Finance

Lester is responsible for the company’s financial operations and accounting activities including financial planning, financial reporting, cash management while also overseeing the human resource and administration department. Lester also directs the accounts payable department for Ascent’s Financial Integration Services. Lester has managed the growth and development in the accounting department since 2000.

Lester additionally serves as assistant operation manager for Traiteurville Stables, Waterloo, IL and was named one of St. Louis Business Journal’s Class of 2003 30 Under 30 award winners. Lester received a bachelor’s of science in business management from Saint Louis University.

Chris Askew

Vice President, Technology

Askew is responsible for the overall planning, implementation and execution of all IT functions for Ascent. A seasoned IT veteran, Askew is experienced in overseeing the IT operations of Ascent, large corporate and educational environments as well as financial institutions and is experienced in adhering to strict process and technology compliance guidelines.

Askew runs the IT infrastructure, software, network and physical equipment for Ascent. Askew is responsible for a 24x7 network and hosting environment for a SaaS application that manages maintenance of more than 2,000 mission critical sites. In addition, Askew manages the IT support of 250 internal users and 1,200+ external users including management of daily IT work tickets, network connectivity and server upgrades/improvements.

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