Enhance Your Headquarters Experience
01 Jun, 2012
By Rachel Duran
In just a five-month period, MindTree Limited’s officials were able to select the model location for a new U.S. operations center, which they hope will serve as a template for further U.S. openings. “We wanted to give our clients the option of doing application development and support here in the states,” says Scott Staples, company co-founder and president of the Americas. MindTree is a global IT services company.
The new Gainesville, Fla., operations are unique to the company in the United States at this time; the company conducts most of its work out of Bangalore, India. “When we talk about this delivery center as being like a startup, it really is,” Staples says. “It is a startup operation within a strong parent company, where we are starting up a new concept by building a U.S. development center.”
Conducting their own site selection search, MindTree’s officials viewed the project as talent driven and not necessarily economic driven. Officials wanted to be in a community that was producing strong engineering and computer science talent. Staples says the Southeast’s trends showed increased enrollments during the last three years in computer science and engineering courses. “We wanted to be in an area with a continuous flow of new talent,” Staples says.
Access to experienced and available talent, available buildings, active industry clusters, and fun things to do outside of work are all vital criteria when selecting headquarters, service centers and back office operations.
“MindTree wanted to be less than a mile away or a bus or a bike ride from a university,” says David Ramsey, vice president of the Council for Economic Outreach, which is part of the Gainesville chamber. “Innovation Square is located next to the University of Florida, and Innovation Hub is the anchor tenant, and where MindTree is temporarily located.” MindTree will permanently locate across the street from the Innovation Hub to a former medical building site. The company will start in an 11,000-square-foot facility with 90 workers, with room to grow and accommodate the ramping up of 400 staff during the next three to four years.
In addition to forming relationships with a university’s faculty and department heads, MindTree was also looking for a place with a high quality of life in order to attract employees from other parts of the country. “We were also looking for a good business environment where we knew we could be supported,” Staples says. “We were also looking for state and local government support.”
Ramsey says Gainesville is home to a strong technology cluster that features mobile app developers, gaming software companies and others. He says companies will find a high quality of life, as well as early stage and more experienced talent. “It goes back to a community that has the infrastructure to support IT,” Ramsey adds.
In the Nashville metro, officials are experiencing a shortage of 1,100 health care IT workers. The region is one of the nation’s leaders in this industry segment. “They are launching recruiting campaigns in other states, looking for those who have graduate degrees in health care IT,” says Tom Tucker, director of economic and community development, Goodlettsville, Tenn. The community is 16 miles from Nashville, and is home to a roster of headquarters operations.
“It is extremely important to work with our existing employers to retain them and help them to expand,” Tucker says. “The state government has put a number of incentives and programs in place to share with industry such as job training, job tax investment credits and funding for infrastructure.”
One of the headquarters operations in Goodlettsville is Dollar General, which employs 1,100 people at its campus. Associated Wholesale Grocers has a regional corporate headquarters, as well as a distribution and warehouse facility in the community, which supplies independent grocers in the middle south United States. Tyson Foods operates its case ready meat operations from Goodlettsville, and employs nearly 1,600 people.
Goodlettsville is at the confluence of three interstates: 65, 24 and 40. The community’s location provides ease of access to air services, including the Nashville International Airport, which is 20 minutes away. “We are also 20 minutes from the Sumner County Regional Airport, and 20 minutes from the John C. Tune Airport in Nashville,” Tucker says.
In Twin Falls and southern Idaho, the area’s agricultural resources support many food processing companies and their headquarters operations. Earlier this year, Glanbia Foods Inc. announced it would begin building its corporate headquarters and innovation center in downtown Twin Falls. The company has been located in various facilities throughout the city. The new 35,000-square-foot facility and 14,000-square-foot research center will bring the company’s operations under one roof. The Cheese Innovation Center will support the company’s growing research and new product efforts.
“I was intrigued to find out Kindred is not the only nursing company that has hundreds of facilities in many states,” says Dr. Marc Rothman, chief medical officer and vice president of the nursing center division of Kindred Healthcare Inc. “Between Louisville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Nashville is a hub of health care activity. Here in Louisville, the University of Louisville is bridging the gap between bench research, translation research and community work through their new centers.”
Chobani Greek Yogurt is in the process of setting up operations in southern Idaho. The 950,000-square-foot yogurt processing facility will be operational later this year, and serve as the company’s western distribution base. The company’s headquarters are located in New York state.
The southern Idaho region is also home to an emerging cluster in counterterrorism and related firms. LMS Defense Inc. is establishing its corporate headquarters operation in Twin Falls, moving operations from Nevada. The company is a defense training firm specializing in counterterrorism training to the United States military, law enforcement, corporations and security professionals. “Relocating our corporate headquarters to Twin Falls will allow us to grow the business in a more business-friendly environment with plans to expand counterterrorism training, defense and R&D testing for law enforcement officers in Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and Montana,” says John Chapman, founder and CEO, LMS Defense.
High Performing Innovators
Moving south to Louisville, Ky., the region is home to a prominent life-long wellness and aging care cluster. “We have a full support system for any stage of business development,” says Kelly Armstrong, economic development director at Greater Louisville Inc. “We have the corporate headquarters, support system and we also have a strong entrepreneurial and startup community in play,” she says.
“Many of the national health care companies, and most of the long-term care companies are in the Midwest,” says Dr. Marc Rothman, chief medical officer and vice president of the nursing center division of Kindred Healthcare Inc. “I was intrigued to find out Kindred is not the only nursing company that has hundreds of facilities in many states. Between Louisville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Nashville is a hub of health care activity. Here in Louisville, the University of Louisville is bridging the gap between bench research, translation research and community work through their new centers.”
Kindred, which recently relocated 100 executives to Louisville from St. Louis, has four divisions: nursing centers, long-term acute care, rehabilitation services, and home care and hospice. The company works to ensure people can remain in their own homes as long as possible. Nursing centers today are no longer places where 100 percent of the patients will spend the rest of their lives. The centers are increasingly using aggressive medical treatments and rehab in anticipation of sending many patients back home, Rothman says. The needs of these short-term populations, those that need anywhere from 10-to-30 days of health services after a hospital discharge, but are not ready to be back at home, are also being met by rehab centers.
Another company attracted to Louisville’s life-long wellness and aging care sector is Signature Healthcare, which located to Louisville from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., a couple of years ago. The company was looking for synergies that more closely aligned to their long-term care services operations, such as tapping into a skilled workforce. Louisville is also home to companies such as Humana, Pharmerica Corp. and numerous support organizations.
For example, InnovateLTC is the nation’s first aging care innovation incubator. Another group, Nucleus provides programming, resources and funding to turn research into commercial success. The Fund for Innovation and Aging has a goal of raising $10 million to assists startups. And Idea Hours is a monthly networking event where industry leaders gather.
Don’t forget the live and play factor when siting headquarters and service center operations. Armstrong says Louisville is among a few cities in the country where the five major arts disciplines are represented, including the ballet, symphony, opera, art museums and theatre. “We are a hub of creativity,” she says. What’s more, the city has hosted the Iron Man Triathlon for the past two years, and next year will host the Cyclo-cross Masters World Championships.
Kindred’s Rothman adds there is a “crucible here in Louisville of farm to table; there are a lot of good chefs and this is a foodie town. I was pleasantly surprised to find this out.” He adds that Louisville is also an easy place to get in and out of as he often visits nursing homes across the country.
Tucker says not to forget Nashville is billed as Music City USA. “There are people coming from all over the world to Nashville,” he says. “The music industry spins out creative workers, writers and producers.” What’s more, metro community, Goodlettsville, has ranked as one of Tennessee’s top 10 most business-friendly cities.
In Gainesville, Ramsey says companies and their talent will find lakes and rivers and the University of Florida’s sports teams to cheer for. There are also 40 nature parks within 50 miles, a rails to trails path, theatre, ballet, orchestras, museums, festivals and much more. The city has also been ranked among the top 10 bicycling communities in the country.
Combine these lifestyle activities with pro-business climates, complete with supporting infrastructure, and corporations will find ideal places to conduct business, live and work.
For complete details about the organizations featured in this article, visit:
City of Goodlettsville (Tenn.) Economic and Community Development
Council for Economic Outreach (Gainesville, Fla.)
Greater Louisville Inc.
Kindred Healthcare Inc.
Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization