Auburn Spotlight, Keith Coker '95

AUBURN
SPOTLIGHT
"The Auburn experience is hard to put into words. The best way I can describe it is you become part of a family that includes not only students, but professors and alumni as well. The family teaches you how to learn and how to practically apply what you have learned in the real world."
Keith Coker '95
CEO, Green Cloud Technologies
AUBURN SPOTLIGHT

Spotlight Interview

Keith Coker graduated from Auburn University Cum Laude in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. The foundations and processes Coker learned as an undergraduate at Auburn helped him to become the successful CEO that he is today.

You are currently co-founder and CEO of Green Cloud Technologies. How did you get that role and how long have you been at this company?

Myself and three partners started Green Cloud Technologies in 2011. During that time, I have had held roles of chief technology officer, chief operating officer and chief executive officer. In 2017, I became CEO.

What did your career path look like from graduating Auburn to now? 

After graduating Auburn, I completed a master's degree at the University of Arizona. After completing my degrees, I worked for a number of different startups out of West Point, Georgia, including Interstate Fibernet, Powertel and Knology. Each role required a blend of engineering and finance to develop cost efficient network deployment strategies. After successful endeavors in West Point, I joined NuVox Communications in 1999 as it was just launching business in Greenville, South Carolina. While at NuVox we successfully grew the company to over $500 million in revenues and sold the business to Windstream in 2009. Looking to start another business in Greenville, the idea behind Green Cloud was born in 2011. 

How would you describe your time spent at Auburn?

The years spent at Auburn are some of the most memorable of my life. I am grateful that Coach Mike Griffin gave me the opportunity to play on the golf team while at Auburn. Participating in the athletic department gave me a deeper connection to all sports at Auburn. Whether it be football, basketball or baseball there is a sense of pride just watching Auburn compete in any event. The professors inside of the electrical engineering department in particular took a personal interest in their students. In addition to academics and sports, Auburn was where I met my future wife Jeana Hall '95. We still look back at our time at Auburn with the fondest of memories and take every opportunity we get to return. 

Why did you choose to attend Auburn?

Auburn was an easy choice for me. I grew up an Auburn fan as my father had graduated Auburn. We attended football games together as a kid and listened to most games we did not make it to. Having the opportunity to attend the school you grew up loving with an academic scholarship while being able to play golf left other schools at a disadvantage. Growing up in such close proximity to Auburn had allowed me to participate in programs that highlighted the engineering schools at Auburn. With my interest in engineering and Auburn’s recruitment through scholarships and athletics, it seemed like a perfect fit.

What did you gain from your Auburn experience and degree?

The Auburn experience is hard to put into words. The best way I can describe it is you become part of a family that includes not only students, but professors and alumni as well. The family teaches you how to learn and how to practically apply what you have learned in the real world. Most of what you learn in school will not directly apply, but the foundations and the process by which you learn will be your key to success. My success in business has afforded me the opportunity to travel a great deal. As with most Auburn graduates, many times I proudly have some emblem from Auburn on my clothing, backpacks, etc. that is usually discreet. It is rare to pass through an airport or crowded space without hearing a “War Eagle” from a fellow alum. In that instance, you feel proud to be part of the Auburn family no matter where your travels take you.

What advice would you give to Auburn students and to those that are planning to attend Auburn?

Enjoy your time at Auburn to its fullest. Understand what it means to be part of the Auburn Family. Know that becoming part of the Auburn Family is both a privilege and responsibility. Perfect your “War Eagle” as you never know where or when it might be needed.