Google’s New Seattle Director: Cloud Expert Doug Orr

12/22/11Follow @curtwoodward

Google’s new site director in Seattle is Doug Orr, a senior engineer at the tech giant who was working most recently on cloud computing projects, two sources tell Xconomy.

Orr takes over for Brian Bershad, a former University of Washington professor who is now working for Google in Russia, one of our sources confirms. Word of Bershad’s new job was first reported in October by John Cook at GeekWire. Our source reports that Bershad’s job will be focused on determining Google’s strategy for gaining market share in Russia, one of the globe’s critical emerging economies.

Scott Silver remains the director at the company’s Kirkland, WA office, one of our sources says. Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity for this story.

Google’s presence in the Seattle area dates to 2004. More recently, it has seen other Silicon Valley companies come to the Puget Sound region in search of prime engineering talent, from the University of Washington and companies like Microsoft and Amazon. The trend has accelerated this year, with well-financed startups joining the parade as the Bay Area talent crunch gets worse.

Orr has been at Google for about five years, according to his LinkedIn page. Before joining Google he worked at Arbor Networks, a network security company. In a recent presentation at the University of Michigan—his alma mater—Orr described his work at Google this way:

“I’ve got two jobs. I’m actually in charge of the systems software for our network infrastructure, which means the load distribution and the management and monitoring of our production network. And I’m responsible for what we’re calling the cloud platform, which is the thing that we’re doing, sort of incrementally, to allow people to use our infrastructure for their cloud computing.”

As of this summer, Google said it had about 850 people between its Seattle and Kirkland offices, including engineers and product managers along with some sales staff. As GeekWire also first reported, Google recently staked out a new office in Bothell that could have enough room to nearly double that headcount.

At the beginning of this year, Google said 2011 would be the biggest hiring year in its history, surpassing the roughly 6,000 people hired in 2007. At a meeting of computer science educators this summer, Bershad put Google’s hunger for top-drawer talent this way: “We are not limited in the number of positions that we have. We are limited in the number of people we can find who are very good.”

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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