Office Sweet Office
A home away from home
Photography: Tim Brown
(page 2 of 4)
Bringing out the best of the best
What do you do when you are already considered one of the Valley’s best employers? Why, double the space for your employees, give them a personal bike locker and more opportunity to work out during the day and then hot showers and lockers so they can clean up and go back to work. Make their new space forward-looking to match the operating principles of the founder and its current management.
That’s what Scott Sports Group, based in Switzerland, did for Ketchum-based Scott USA, moving its 52 employees into a brand new structure and giving them nearly 10,000 square feet more space to work in.
“They take very good care of us,” says Brian Marcouiller, vice-president of operations at Scott USA.
Scott Sports Group designs and manufactures an impressive variety of high-tech bicycles, motorcycle gear, snowboards, poles and clothing. That’s ski poles made in Italy, bikes made all over Asia. It’s a massive management and marketing job.
The story of Scott Sports and its technological expertise is detailed on the company website (www.scott-sports.com). Its connection to Ketchum began with the company founder, Ed Scott, an engineer and ski racer who lived in Sun Valley. In 1958, he invented the first aluminum ski pole, a product which made discards of standard poles made of bamboo and steel, and launched Scott as a forward-thinking company.
Scott’s next direction was a new design for motocross goggles, then boots and accessories for that sport. Then the company produced the lightest ski boot on the market and the first foam-ventilated ski goggles.
In 1978, Scott opened a headquarters in Fribourg, Switzerland, and continued to expand its product line. By 1986, Scott was the leading pole manufacturer and also produced its first mountain bike, and not long after, introduced the aerodynamic handlebar. In the years after, Scott would introduce carbon mountain bikes, snowboards, and an endless array of goggles, helmets and bikes.
In 2008, the company was 50 years old and still being run on a principle of evolving high quality and technology.
All U.S. operations, particularly marketing and administrative are done in Ketchum. When it was clear the U.S. headquarters were too tight for comfort, the company’s CEO and president, Beat Zaugg, came to Ketchum to work up plans for a new structure.
Architect for the project, Nick Latham of Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton, says the concept of a series of open work spaces separated by a few individual glass-walled offices came directly from Zaugg.
“He knew exactly what he wanted,” says Latham. “He wanted a very clean, contemporary look.”
Latham says large U.S. offices often have cubicles and walls everywhere while the European model typically is more open. In Scott USA, two employees face each other in work pods, leaving space around them. There are private offices for executives but they are glass, and meant to encourage communication.
In fact, the central reason for the floor plan was to enhance employee communication and comfort.
The new building is one story and thus everyone is on the single floor.
“It’s much better for flow of information,” says Marcouiller. “It’s a very nice work environment.”
The building, on Lindsay Circle near the intersection of Saddle Road and Warm Springs Road, is nearly 10,000 square feet larger than the previous office.
Though it is the beating heart of the U.S. operations, it is quieted sufficiently by carpeting and noise-calming ceiling and the occasional glass wall wrapping offices.
The architect put the mechanical rooms in the center of the building to leave walls with windows for employees and their work spaces. These are points that make the large office work.
The look is sleek. Walls are white and desk surfaces are white. The same modular bookcases and shelving furniture of gunmetal gray and chrome fill every work space from Zaugg’s office to the receptionist’s area, tying everything together. The egalitarian furniture remains under three feet in height so people can see each other.
“That way, everybody isn’t just locked in their little world,” says Marcouiller. “There is that communication. Even the executives are approachable.”
Zaugg’s penchant for spotlighting exposed building materials leads to frequent sightings of concrete pillars and overhead plumbing and electrical conduits and a feeling unlike many corporate offices elsewhere. Corridors leading between office pods feature polished concrete.
The work pods are situated for maximum communication between the departments which work most closely together.
For the operations of a company with three separate divisions in bicycle, motorcycle and winter sports, flow between departments was paramount.
Marcouiller says he worked with Zaugg and Scott USA CFO Dave Stevens to determine the layout.
“Before we moved, everyone knew where they were going,” says Marcouiller.
The new offices included a few things missing from the previous space, such as a showroom to display the latest models of goggles, ski poles, bicycles and clothing. In addition, a conference room located beside the reception area provides a space to make visitors welcome immediately.
The employee break room on the south end of the building has an espresso machine, two refrigerators, two stoves, one freezer, two microwave ovens, tables, chairs, sinks, a big screen TV and an outdoor patio.
The Scott USA lifestyle usually includes taking an exercise break in the middle of the day, and may include riding a bike to work. So the company has provided a locked bicycle room in the parking garage, giving each employee a numbered bicycle hook that keeps their wheels safe. The facility also features male and female locker rooms with several showers and lockers for everyone, along with washers and dryers. >>>