Homegrown technology company CloudFit expands to historic downtown building
Carroll Moon, co-founder and chief technology officer at CloudFit, sits in Carter Glass’ former office, which is now his own office.
“It is the craziest thing in the world to me that I get to look out these windows every day,” Moon said. “What a blessing! Who gets to do this?”
In late 1978, the Carter Glass building, located at 863 Church St., was gifted to the city and became offices for the data processing and IT departments.
Therefore, all of the fiber in the city terminates near the building, which is important for a high-tech company such as CloudFit, which focuses on serving large companies and federal customers to help them use cloud computing and integrate it into the work they’re already doing with a data center. Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user.
CloudFit was founded in 2018 by a group of former Microsoft employees.
“We felt the adverse impact of this gap in the industry for years while at Microsoft,” Moon said. “Microsoft is the cloud provider, like the electrical company. Customers needed someone to take accountability for their mission critical applications end-to-end. We knew how to do it, and we felt that it needed to be done to push the industry forward.”
Moon grew up in Pittsylvania County and refers to Lynchburg as his home city. He says he’s had his eye on the iconic Carter Glass building even before he started CloudFit. The circa-1931 Art Deco building next to Monument Terrace sat vacant for 12 years before the company moved in at the end of 2020.
“Carter Glass had a significant impact on Lynchburg and the United States. In addition to being a senator and Secretary of Treasury, he was the author of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that changed how banking is done in America. What better place to innovate for the missing link in cloud adoption than in the Carter Glass building?” Moon said. “We also want to make a difference in our region, and there are few places more special than Monument Terrace. And, a lot of what we do is to serve the United States Department of Defense. What better place to love our veterans than at Monument Terrace?”
Moon said the “Cloud” is really just somebody else’s computer.
“Microsoft wants to be the world’s computer,” he said. “Before the Cloud everybody had their own data center, and all of their apps were configured to consume and live within that data center.”
The team at CloudFit helps customers decide which apps to move to the Cloud and how to get them there.
“And most importantly, we take accountability to run them once they’re there,” Moon said.
Moon said he and a few others left Microsoft with its blessing to go and start the company in March 2018. They set up in a section of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance (LRBA).
Renovations to the building took about a year and Moon said the company could have spent probably half the money building a new office outside of the city.
“But if we talk about those important things that [are] making a positive impact on the city, the region and the people in the city and the region, it was worth it to us to be able to do this,” he said.
Glass, the 47th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Woodrow Wilson and a key creator of the Federal Reserve System, commissioned his son-in-law, Roanoke architect Robert McClanahan Allen, to design the landmark building for The News and The Daily Advance in 1930.
His company published two papers at the location for more than 40 years. The building stood empty in the 1970s after the newspaper moved to its current location off Lakeside Drive.
The renovation process was tedious as the company worked with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) to make sure it wasn’t demolishing significant architectural designs.
The door in Moon’s office is original and so are many of the walls, but it was important to Moon to blend the history of the building into a modern workspace.
“It looks like a Microsoft Office,” he said. “It happens to be a modern high-tech office but it happens to be in a National Historic Landmark.”
The building has a mix of open work spaces and private offices.
The historic mezzanine has reopened on the second floor and houses Art Deco columns and a large chandelier.
The partly open and enclosed rooftop overlooks downtown and has been redeveloped into an employee amenity space with a terrace and glass garage doors. With WiFi connections installed, employees are able to work from there as well, Moon said.
CloudFit still leases space at LRBA because it plans on soon filling up at Carter Glass. The company started with just Moon. It now has 160 employees spanning 25 states.
Moon attributes the growth to the mission of the company but also the way it treats customers.
“We treat customers like customers, I think that’s a big thing,” Moons said. “And we’re thankful to serve them. We want the accountability to be able to drive the outcome for the customer.”
CloudFit also is committed to giving back to its community, which is why it set up JobFit, a nonprofit set up to mentor students through IT career training, and KidFit, a nonprofit that coaches kids through athletics.
Matt Loflin, a senior director at CloudFit, moved from Knoxville to work in the Lynchburg CloudFit office last year.
He said the culture of the company has shifted over the last six months since moving out of LRBA and into Carter Glass. He said the building encompasses how the team operates.
“We stepped into having the first and third floor as being pretty much open space with people’s desks in there but also some dedicated conference rooms named after our past,” Loflin said. “One conference room is called Microsoft because a lot of us come from there. Another one is called Composable, which is a company we merged with for a couple of years and we have some of those members that are now part of the CloudFit family.”
On Fridays several members of the company walk outside to the base of Monument Terrace to hand out coffee and pastries to the veterans who stand on the sidewalk asking drivers to honk their horns to support troops.
Loflin said he enjoys doing work that makes changes for customers and serving people in the community.
“It’s all tying back into something you can tangibly feel locally here in Lynchburg,” he said.