Swagelok is poised to open its new Global Headquarters and Innovation Center next month, a building measuring 130,000 square feet and budgeted between $30 million and $50 million.
“The building is complete, and we are in the process of start up and move in,” Theresa Polachek, vice president of corporate communications, said last week.
Swagelok began moving in a small pilot group at the end of May, she said, and associates will return to the site in early August as they transition many office associates from fully remote to on site work.
A total of 275 associates will be located immediately in the new building, with space for 350 associates, she said.
Construction of the building began in September, 2019.
Inside the building, which is three stories, finish work is being completed, Ms. Polachek continued, in the Customer Collaboration and Innovation Center, including the testing and start up of the 15,000-square-foot lab. Exterior work is ongoing with the reopening of the Solon Road entrance and landscaping, which will be complete this month. Remaining site work will be completed in the fall, she said.
Swagelok began building the concept for its Global Headquarters and Innovation Center over six years ago, Ms. Polachek noted, working with its partner Vocon in evaluating how their associates work, what type of environment would best support their daily needs, and discovering what future amenities they felt were important to creating the collaboration opportunities and relationships that are central to the company’s culture.
“The result of that work can be seen in the amenities incorporated into the final design and build,” she said. That includes a world-class customer collaboration and innovation center where their associates can work with customers to co-create design solutions as well as an office environment that provides a much greater amount of space dedicated to collaboration activities.
The new center also will provide Swagelok’s associates with best-in-class workstations and new amenities such as work cafes and outdoor spaces and represent a strong visual representation of their brand and values including deliberate tie-in and celebration of their adjacent manufacturing operations, she said.
“We also took the opportunity to simultaneously improve the amenities for our production operations with renovated locker rooms, cafeterias, production support offices, training spaces and outdoor patios to continue to provide best in class amenities that allow us to attract and retain talent,” Ms. Polachek added.
The overall process in constructing the project went well, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, she said. The contractor on the job is Donley’s IC.
“The process went extremely well,” she said. “We were fortunate to have partners like Donley’s IC and Vocon, whose values and priorities align closely with ours.”
That meant acting in an abundance of caution to ensure everyone working on the project took proper health and safety measures, and maintaining open communication between all parties if plans needed to adjust, she said.
“Our strong COVID protocols worked well in keeping everyone safe both in our production operations and on the project and was a key factor in maintaining our schedule,” she explained. “We were early enough in the construction process that we incorporated improved design elements like automatic doors, touch-free lighting, cleaning stations and increased air turns (in the GHQ and in the adjacent manufacturing plant).
“We also leveraged new digital collaboration tools that helped us effectively manage this project with our partners that we will continue to utilize going forward,” she added.
Swagelok is not planning any public celebration at this time to mark the opening targeted for late July or early August, Ms. Polachek said. But they do plan to host a small event for the project team, Swagelok executive leaders, and public officials to celebrate the opening of the space, she said.
“We will focus other events on providing our associates from across Northeast Ohio the opportunity to visit and tour the space,” she added. “We do plan to create a short video tour of the space that will be shared on our YouTube channel for the general public.”
The building has an overall modern and contemporary design and 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.
Swagelok, founded by Fred A. Lennon in 1947, is a leading manufacturer of valves and tube fittings. Company officials selected its property in Solon to construct the headquarters after a three-month site selection process in 2019 throughout Northeast Ohio.
Swagelok employs about 3,200 in Solon and ties with Nestle as the largest employer in the city.