669: 5 Things to Think About When Choosing Your Headquarters w/ Wesley Palmisano

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Wesley Palmisano, President and CEO of Palmisano.

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

Wouldn't it be nice to have several thought leaders in your industry know and Love Your brand? Start a podcast, invite your industries thought leaders to be guests on your show and start reaping the benefits of having a network full of industry influencers? Learn more at sweet phish MEDIACOM. You're listening to the BE TOB growth show, podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. What you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources? You've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green and I'm James Carberry. Let's get it into the show. Welcome back to the B to be gross show. Today we are joined by Wesley Palmisano. Wesley is the president and CEO at Palmisano. Wesley, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to have you on the show. Here we're going to be talking about something. I think it's just it's just very different, which is always exciting to me. Being talking about be five things to think about when choosing the right headquarters. So very different, very unique. But, Wesley, before we get into that, maybe you can tell us a little about what you and your team at Paulmisan who were up to these days. Palmisano is a commercial and civil construction company located in New Orleans, Louisiana. We were founded just under five years ago and we've grown rapidly over the the actually the first three years. In those initial three years we grew from start up to around a hundred million in revenue. We hired over a hundred new employees and that same time frame. So extremely rapid growth in the commercial construction industry as our primary business. But then, of course, as if we didn't have enough going on already, we also started a civil construction company in that same time frame and started to ramp it up and grow it as well. And so, of course, with all that growth, the topic of today's show is extremely timely for us because we just moved into a newly built corporate headquarters. That, of course, was driven by a rapid growth and and something that that was part of our business plan and that we wanted to accomplish by the five year milestone as part of our original five year business plan. Yeah, that's incredible and that, you know, one of my favorite things about this show is that we get to featured guests who they themselves have experienced like this exact sort of growth that you're talking about, and so you've obviously been been through you've been in the trenches, you've seen this firsthand. Again, five things that you should really be thinking about when choosing the right headquarters. So what's so? You're definitely the the right person to come on the show and talk to us about this today. Let's just jump right at what is the first consideration that you think people should be thinking about before an office space? It was, you know, of course, I always think back to our trajectory and growth of the organization and we started out in a least space in in downtown New Orleans, which is really unique for a construction company like...

...us and to be located in the downtown environment. And I guess one little side note on our business is that most of the work we do is design build in terms of format, which means that we're engaged and involved in the design and the construction of the project, and so we're very familiar with what it takes to actually bring together the entire process. And so we started off in a leafe space, but in downtown New Orleans, and that is definitely one of the things that that we considered and looked at in terms of our original office was trying to find a place that was unique and made us stand out. And so our corporate image, I think, is the first thing that we take we took into consideration for that leaf space. And then, of course, as we move towards a blank slate now, because we built a new construction building for our new headquarters, we first thought about corporate image and what did we want the building in the headquarters to say about the organization, and we kind of dug in and thought about who we are as an organization, the personality of the brand, and from that brand personality we started to develop what we felt like the building should embody. And you know, of course, that's very difficult to capture in a physical space because because our companying, our organization in the growth has been driven by what we believe to be an extremely talented and unique set of individuals, and so capturing the personality of the group in a physical space is not easy to do. But you know, by looking at our core values and what we stand for is an organization, we found a lot of inspiration and what the building should become and some of those things that you know, to give some specific examples, are one of our core values that we think is is fairly unique about us as called sweet floors, which we look at that is this mentality that we're all very down to earth and an individuals that are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. And in our industry, of course, sweeping the floors is one of the lower task and so we look at it as everyone, including myself, should be willing to physically sweep the floors on the job site. And so we have this very down the earth mentality. And so in thinking about the headquarters with that meant to us in terms of brand personality was that we wanted the space to be welcoming and very down earth. We didn't want to have marble floors and and fancy finishes. And so translating that to the actual product in the construction world, and it's obviously very fitting to also to our brand personality and the fact that we're a construction company, everything in this building and in our headquarters is steel, wood, blasts or concrete. It is really of four materials throughout the entire building, but we put it together in a way that it's tastefully done, it's elegant and it's an extremely nice headquarters and a class a space, but just done in a...

...way that it starts to embody who we are as an organization. Yeah, I love that. I mean, I mean that there's there was so much thought that went into that, into the you know, what is your corporate image? How do we want to project that? And I think this, this second point is is also tied into that. It was, it's taking the consideration your your company culture. It is and and so on the cultural front, you know, I've already hit a little bit on core values, brand personality, portraying out reardly to the world who we are. But at the same time, when I think about culture, I've I'm, I guess, thinking more about the people here and their personalities and how we interact with each other. And so, from a cultural standpoint, we tried to make the building very functional for our people in the way we think and work and operate, and so you know from everything from death configurations and and actual work spaces, which we spend a lot of time on trying to get that right, in which you know where we land. That actually, I think, is is somewhat innovative in that most offices are either private office dominant. You'll see in some industries or in other applications you'll see a very open floor plant where you can look completely across the floor and it's it's a wide open space with kind of a Pharma cubicles. We didn't really care for either one of those models and so where we landed was something that's kind of a blend of the two and something that I describe, and it's obviously the visual is much better than a verbal description, but I describe it as pods. And so we established an environment where teams of people can work together, but then there's privacy from team, one team to the next, and so our world is very project driven in they're usually teams of five or six people working on a particular large commercial construction project, and so those teams have an environment where there's a lot of collaboration among the teams and they have break out. Each team has breakout meeting space, they have phone rooms for conference calls, they have whiteboard space, standing huddle areas for daily Huddles. We have score boards for metrics and tracking of product data in each team area. But then those teams have some privacy from one team to the next because the other team is working on a completely different initiative or completely different project. And so the work space is set up in a manner that it's very conducive to an environment where where our people can function at a high level. And then, at the same time, we wanted, since since there is this very intense collaborative work space where there tends to be a very high level of engagement, we wanted places for people to be able to retreat. So on the other side of the coin, I guess, in addition to the office layout, we set up...

...a lot of public spaces that that have a really high level of qualities. We have a courtyard that's a really nice space that the building actually enters through, and then we've got a ton of really nice meeting spaces and meeting rooms where people can break out of their space and meet with each other. But then the real, I guess, the focal point of the building is a communal area where we've got a cafe, a really nice break room and lunch room space. There's a training room connected to that that flows into it and then an outdoor deck that actually overlooks the Mississippi River, because we chose a location that is right along the river in New Orleans. And you know that that outdoor deck. It has outdoor kitchen, pink punk tables, couches, sitting areaas different opportunities for people to even sit outside and work. And then, of course, the technology package in the building is also and keeping with that, with a very mobile work environment. People can easily get up from their desk and work anywhere in the building, you know, in the cafe space. You know, of course we have all the amenities of which you may see at a tech company, even as as being kind of what we consider ourselves the next generation of construction professionals. And so we've got the Keg Cooler and ice coffee and a real, real cafe set up that that, I guess, is if coffee shop atmosphere with surround sound music, and we've got to think we've got a ninety inch TV in there. And you know, it's a really neat space that feels almost like a starbucks type of atmosphere in the morning, but of course in the afternoon it turns into happy hour right, right well, and you know it's just you've you've put so much thought into you. Okay, you know what company Culture Wise, you know what what are our employees like? How can we create this environment that we you know, most conducive for you know, obviously you want them to be comfortable, but how that comfort then leads to productivity? So so that sounds fantastic. They and those are the things that are sort of in the here and now for your current corporate image, your current company culture. But you also took any consideration your future business plan? We did, and we learned a good lessons. We moved in our first office space. We moved into it, of course we had just a handful of employees because we were early in establishing the business and granted it was a least space and but even in that case we thought we had enough space for expansion. But we quickly learned that it wasn't enough. And so in the office we started with six people, I think, in the old building, and we when we moved out of there, we had almost sixty in the same space. Why? So we learned a lesson about about our growth and and trying to accommodate for that.

And so in this building we built a headquarters that fully accommodates of course the current staff, but also accommodates our current three year business plan and we wanted the building to be able to accommodate the three year growth plan at a minimum, and so we have space built into here where we can end up adding about fifty percent additional capacity to the staff, which accommodates that three year growth. But then, beyond that and trying to be extremely forward thinking, we also built the building with the capacity to go up and extra two floors. Wow, and so by adding that vertical expansion it would add a tremendous additional capacity that that would accommodate any future plan. And so we've got almost a two stage plan for what the future may bring, but doing it in a way that that first stage of growth is built into the building and and easily accommodated within the current headquarters. And that's for that near Term Plan. But if we continue to grow at the same pace over a much longer term, we didn't want to build that much additional capacity into the building day one, but of course leaving the flexibility in the way we design the structure to be able to accommodate with make ten or fifteen years out. Yeah, obviously you're talking about growth, you're talking about the future. Is that sort of also wrapped up in this fourth point that you considered your talent acquisition? Definitely. I mean we wanted to set up a headquarters that was innovative. It's unique for a construction company, and I mentioned this briefly a minute ago that I think most people that have toward our new headquarters feel like we're a tech company and and what people envisioned to be the Google type of office. And so our office and headquarters is very unique for a construction company and we're already seeing that it's it's an environment that people love working in, and so by having that it's allowing us to continue to attract top talent and retain those people here and keep them happy long term. And obviously the physical environment is not the only thing. Of course it's we're huge and company culture and morale and we're that's a big part. We believe are part of the formula for our success and and the physical environment is obviously important as well of having employees happy and healthy in the in the place of work. And so you know, we also incorporated we've got two gyms in the building, which one is an indoor cardio and Yoga space, and the other we actually have a warehouse type of environment for for high intensity invertal training. And so, you know,...

...holistic wellness, corporate wellness programs. We've got another program that we run where we provide healthy meals for the employees as well. And so this is becomes more than just a job, it's to some extent, and entire lifestyle. And and so by doing that, you know, and having obviously the nice and very forward thinking and innovative office, which is very consistent with who how we envisioned ourselves as an organization, of being the future of our industry, it gives us an opportunity to attract that top talent. And you know, and I guess take a page from from the book of some of the tech firms that have found a lot of success through similar methodologies. Yeah, yeah, you've. You certainly turned it into sort of that one stop shop. I mean you've got you got your coffee, you got your happy hour, you got your meal Prap, you got your Jib. So it sounds it sounds incredible. Leslie's talk about this. Fifth and final point that you considered when choosing the right headquarters is the is the customer base. How does that how does that factor in? Well, the reason I like to make this a point for us, and I think this definitely varies by industry, and for some industries they need to be close to their customers and for other other industries it's not as important. But in our case I think it has to do with our customers, it has to do with the little bit of the personality the brand. But it was very difficult and that's the reason that in our case it's it's something that was important in the consideration because as a construction company, we generally need a lot of space, which is not easy to come by in a downtown environment at any reasonable price point, and so it was very important for us to be near downtown and to be in an urban environment for multiple reasons. One, you know, again, it's it's consistent with the brand personality in the fact that we made a decision to establish ourselves downtown when we started as an organization, which was unique. Most construction companies end up locating their offices outside of the city where there's more space available, and so we wanted to be close to downtown. But then obviously we also had to find a piece of property that was affordable. Most of our clients and customers are downtown. Our work, as we've really ramped up and grown as an organization, tends to be all downtown and that's the type of work we do and our really our market niche is urban construction, a lot of mixed use hotel retail projects that are in a downtown environment, and so we wanted to make sure that we were part of the conversation and and the project that we developed and built was consistent and keeping with the type of work we do. And so are, you know. And then in terms of proximity, most of our customers tend to have offices downtown and so we're we're back...

...and forth a lot between job sites and you know, we even have which is another, I guess, part of the culture, that we have company branded bikes that we can actually ride to the job sites in a lot of cases. So it's it's another unique thing to see some of our guys actually riding down the street with a with a hard hat on instead of a bike helmet. That's bad jacid. Well, was one of the things that, you know, we've been asking our current gas especially people in a situation such as yourself. You're sort of leading thee, the Palmisano team, to obviously some extreme growth. It's been a huge part of your life. What is the kind of legacy that you are trying, at the end of the day, to leave behind, and whether that is professionally, personally, or even a combination of the two? The legacy that that I'd hope to leave behind is is something that we define very early on, and so my own personal goals or somewhat intertwined, as I think many entrepreneurs may find themselves in that type of situation where they found a company and and you know, the goals of the organization and their own tend to merge together in some ways because the company becomes such a big part of your life. As an organization, when we set up, instead of defining a traditional mission and vision statement, we define what we called our manifesto and that takes the place of those that traditional vision, emission statement. And actually, relating back to our headquarters, when you walk in the front door of the building, in the lobby, behind our receptionist in our front desk, instead of seeing the company's logo, which is which you would see in most corporate headquarter or in most corporate offices, you'll see the company logo behind the desk. We actually put our manifesto there because we feel like that is even more important than the logo and the representation of the brand. And so our manifesto speaks to that legacy and it's a starts off as a very bold and and broad statement of the fact that we want to build a better world and the way we define that. And obviously that's that's extremely broad and it's very aggressive and something that that we look at it will you know, as a construction company, how do you really build a better world? And of course you know right now we're we're primarily doing work in Louisiana. We're not across even the United States, or much less the world. But at the same time we look at that and then and it drives a lot of decisions we make and we define it and there are actually for subsets and statements and and you actually would see this even on our website, of our for statements that follow that concept, the building a better world, and one of them is far employees and creating really fulfilling careers and a great work environment so that that's number one for me in terms of legacy...

...is is creating an environment for the employees here that that we create career fulfilling careers for everyone then interacts with us. And then our business model is driven by relationships. So that's the second component of it is is building these deep relationships in the community with clients we interact with, with architects, with subcontractors, with really the people we do business with, and creating this legacy of good will and and doing always doing the right thing. And the third aspect is for our industry, in the construction industry, and we see ourselves as innovators in our space and we want to leap behind this legacy. See of the fact that we are the future of construction and we see our industry is being the same for the last fifty year, hundred years and there's an opportunity right now for disruption and it's happening in a lot of other industries. But we think the way that we deliver construction is extremely innovative and in many companies may follow that model in the future. And then the last act aspect is the broad our community. We have, and I have already established a foundation where we do a lot of charitable work in the community and we want to leave a legacy behind of being a good corporate citizen and and giving back to the communities where we do business. And so you know it. That concept of building a better world is something that drives most of the decisions we make every day, and the decisions in terms of growth as well or driven by that, and the fact that we want to continue to grow and expand is so that we can have a bigger impact in those same areas and in the four different aspects that are just described as wonderful. Well, yes, certainly, building a better world is and is an aggressive legacy, but it sounds like you and your team are doing some fantastic things. It's I mean it's a beautiful legacy that that you're building towards. So again, Leslie, thank you so much for coming on the show sort of sharing some of the details about, you know, the things that went into your decision when you were choosing the right headquarters, sharing that wisdom with our listeners. If any of our listeners are interested in connecting with you or your company, finding out more about what you're up to, finding out more about today's topic. What's the best way for them to go about doing that. Best Place to find us as through our website, which is wj Pelmazano, and the spelling of that is PA L M if an OCOM perfect. Well, Weslie, thank you again so much for your time today. It was an absolute pleasure having you on the show. Thank you for having me. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the BEDB growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners, and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country...

...with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, will talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a BOB growth dinner in a sitting near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's be tob growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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