Want to know how relevant data centers are to your life? Try getting through a day without some part of your existence being touched by the gigabytes of information stored about you and your activities in a data center somewhere in the world.

Want to know how relevant data centers are to your life? Try getting through a day without some part of your existence being touched by the gigabytes of information stored about you and your activities in a data center somewhere in the world.

All of this became strikingly apparent to me recently as I was attempting to get from point A to point B on an airplane being held on the ground by heavy snow and ice. Data, and the ability to access it quickly, became of prime importance as my sister and I sat in Columbus, suddenly realizing our chances of getting on a cruise ship before it left the dock with another sister and our mother were diminishing.

But my phone still worked. And my phone had an airlines app and a Twitter account. I had learned in earlier dealings that airlines are especially responsive to Twitter messages, even more so than by phone. And the necessary brevity of tweets makes the conversations a bit less frustrating.

We were still sitting on the plane to nowhere while fellow passengers waited on hold, or squirmed in their seats-anxious to get back in the terminal and wait in line for gate agents-when I sent a tweet for help and was soon in touch with the airline. By the time they ushered us off the plane to continue our four-hour wait, my sister and I were rebooked to our destination and were on standby for two earlier flights, thanks in part to the data that enabled my swift communication via Twitter.

I was already looking forward to Kitty McConnell's comprehensive story on data centers for this month's issue. My travel experience made me even more curious about why Columbus has become a fertile market for new data centers-and just what are they, anyway? If you have wondered, too, our cover story provides a lot of answers. It turns out location, infrastructure, power capabilities, workforce and lower business costs combine to make central Ohio especially attractive for the siting of data centers-as they do for many business operations.

Another theme we explore this month is how business and education increasingly combine forces to reach common goals. We share three strong examples-of higher education customizing classes for business executives, of vocational education working with manufacturers and the building trades to produce the skilled workforce they need, and of business executives lending support to train a new generation of school building principals. BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools is an especially promising initiative of the Ohio Business Roundtable, with plenty of opportunity for Columbus business leaders to get involved.

Also this month: New contributing writer Mike Mahoney shows us how applications for interventional radiology are revolutionizing medical practice to reduce both healing time and costs, A new rating service provides a more elite list of Top Lawyers than we have used in previous years, and Jeff Bell gets us primed for baseball season by profiling a Plain City company that makes wood bats for big leaguers and rec leaguers alike.

After the winter we've endured, nothing sounds sweeter than that perennial proclamation: Play ball!