In constructing its global headquarters on Solon Road, Swagelok not only incorporated design elements that speak to the culture of its associates and the company’s rich history but also created the first of a kind innovation center of this magnitude.
The headquarters, which broke ground in September of 2019, will be 130,000 square feet and is budgeted between $30 million and $50 million.
The building, which is set to open next June, features three stories and is a combination of curtain walls, massive glass fronts and siding and encompasses an overall modern and contemporary design. It sits on the site of the company’s original global headquarters that opened in Solon in 1965 and is the 15th Swagelok building on the Solon campus.
The company, which was founded by Fred A. Lennon in 1947 and is a leading manufacturer of valves and tube fittings, chose the city and its property there to construct the headquarters after a three-month site selection process last year throughout Northeast Ohio.
Theresa Polachek, vice president of corporate communications with Swagelok, said the company has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the city.
“It’s been an area that we have been able to grow,” she said, as well as to attract high quality associates that contribute to the company’s success.
Swagelok employs about 3,200 in Solon and ties with Nestle as the largest employer in the city.
About 250 associates, some of which come from Swagelok’s Highland Heights campus, will move into the global headquarters next May, and the building has capacity for 350. Those associates come from a variety of departments including engineering, marketing, distribution, supply, communications, continuous improvement and the company’s executive team.
The headquarters is connected to Swagelok’s existing manufacturing plant at 29500 Solon Road in an effort to connect the campus so that associates can easily move between the two spaces.
This design for a campus tie is reflective of the results of a 2015 workplace study, Ms. Polachek explained, where associates expressed the desire for connectivity.
The building will be three stories to accommodate a welcome center, innovation lab as well as office and laboratory spaces.
The entrance lobby, or customer area, which allows for views and lots of natural light, will feature a massive chandelier designed in the “S” of the Swagelok logo and with tube fittings that speak to the company’s leading product among its over 6,000 offerings. Porcelain tile mimics the colors in the manufacturing plant.
The tie in of colors and connectivity as well the purposeful wrap of the two buildings is “good for us culturally,” Project Manager Steve Diaz said.
The lobby is a location where customers have the opportunity to see a particular facet of Swagelok’s manufacturing and work with associates on a design or in applying a particular product to their operations, Ms. Polachek explained. They will also conduct testing for customers in the lab, which is glass floor to ceiling to provide for viewing.
Swagelok hosts on average 100 customer visits annually for various reasons, Ms. Polachek explained. Some come to see the facilities and manufacturing process while others work with company engineers on various challenges.
“To work, learn and teach them is something we don’t see going away,” Ms. Polachek said, even with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
This same innovation is taking place in another building on the campus, but the new global headquarters allows for the expansion of it, she noted.
“Bringing people together is central to the types of relations that help our company be successful,” she said. “This is an exciting time for us as a company.
“The ability to centralize some of these functions and having groups who work together to colocate in one space will drive further value,” she said.
Mr. Diaz explained that the headquarters has more “we space” than me space, with less individual offices and more areas for teams to gather.
He continued that Swagelok did a study after the pandemic began and the building’s design did not need modified as it already incorporated many elements that speak to today’s world, he said.
“We didn’t have to redesign based on COVID requirements,” he said, but just added such features as automated doors to the restrooms.
Leading out of the lobby area on the first floor is a pictorial history of Swagelok as well as the company’s core values in both pictures and text and digital displays.
There is also a solution spotlight to show off the company’s products. A sophisticated lighting control system, which is all LED, will be throughout the building.
Other key features of the building’s second and third floors are large break rooms for associates which leads to an outdoor patio, a boardroom featuring Mr. Lennon’s portrait as well as the final construction beam with associates’ signatures on it as well as the Swagelok logo. Plans are to leave a portion of the beam exposed in the Chief Executive Officer’s office.
Stone from the old building on Solon Road which encompassed the Swagelok’s illuminated sign was salvaged and will be used to line the main driveway in a feature wall.
Office spaces and conference rooms have glass fronts floor to ceiling.
In addition to the global headquarters, the main plant on Solon Road will undergo $10 million in renovations, with all being complete in time for the global headquarters opening in June. The reason for this renovation is because the parking lot is shifting to accommodate the headquarters and “it’s also giving something back to the plant as well,” Mr. Diaz said. The interior finishes at the plant will tie into the new headquarters.
The last time the main plant was expanded was in 1981. Swagelok occupies about 1 million square feet in Solon. Other technology centers of theirs are located in China, Japan, Brazil and India, “but this is our biggest endeavor,” Ms. Polachek said of the global headquarters.
“We are really excited for this project,” she said.
Mayor Edward H. Kraus also expressed excitement saying the city looks forward to its completion.
“We are so proud to be part of their dream,” he said. “It’s amazing to see it come through.
“Solon will benefit now and 20-30 years down the road as a community,” Mayor Kraus added. “They are great partners.”