Like many Fortune 500 companies today, The Travelers Companies, Inc. is looking for ways to efficiently manage its real estate. One obvious way: consolidating under one roof the 800 employees spread throughout six different facilities in the Houston metropolitan area.
After a seven-month search, the St. Paul, Minn.-based property casualty company, which is ranked 85th on the Fortune 500 list, chose the 150,000-square-foot Intellicenter™ for its Houston operations.
“This was not an easy process,” says Tom Maloney, an executive vice president and principal with The Staubach Co. who represents Travelers. “Finding a building that offered the right location in a safe and secure business park environment, the right amount of space and greater efficiencies is a challenge. But at the end of the day, we felt comfortable with Koll Development Company’s (KDC) Intellicenter product.”
David Bale with Staubach’s Houston office also represented Travelers in the deal, while Phil Arnett and Kyle Kelley with CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Houston office handle the leasing for Intellicenter-Houston.
Travelers plans a January 2008 move into its new home in the Westway Park
development, a 150-acre master-planned business park at the intersection of the Sam Houston Tollway and Clay Road between Interstate 10 and U.S. 290. Westway Park is a Wolff Companies development.
The Intellicenter building, developed by KDC, was one of 15 buildings that Travelers considered. “Initially, the Intellicenter building was just like the other options — a building in the right location that could accommodate our space needs,” Maloney explains. “But, once we learned about the potential efficiencies provided by the Intellicenter’s floorplates and building systems, we became more interested.”
Travelers is the first tenant to lease space in one of KDC’s Intellicenter buildings. The Houston building is one of 16 speculative buildings totaling more than 2 million square feet that KDC is building as part of a $250-million development program with Prudential Real Estate Services. In addition to the Houston building, there are three more Intellicenters under development in Atlanta, Dallas and Ft. Mill, S.C. KDC plans to have five more under construction by the end of 2007.
KDC created the Intellicenter concept after conducting a survey of 40 corporate users, CEO Steve Van Amburgh says. The survey found that most companies are focused on decreasing the amount of square feet allocated for each employee to roughly 200 square feet and are increasingly interested in “green” building.
Every Intellicenter offers 150,000 to 200,000 square feet and the same design features. The buildings provide corporate users with building features previously only available in build-to-suit projects, including: large floorplates to accommodate more employees per square foot, raised-access flooring for under-floor air distribution and easy access to electrical, phone and data cabling, and 30 to 50 percent more parking than conventional buildings.
Intellicenter floorplates, which range from 40,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet, are substantially larger than the 20,000-square-foot and 25,000-square-foot floorplates found in older, conventional buildings.
“The larger floorplate is highly desirable to today ’s corporate user,” Van Amburgh says, pointing out that Travelers was able to decrease its space from 210,000 square feet to about 150,000 square feet because of the Intellicenter’s larger floorplates and increased parking. Intellicenter-Houston will provide six spaces per 1,000 square feet of building space.
“The thing that ultimately differentiated Intellicenter was the efficiency,” Maloney says. “We found that the floorplates were planned very well for high density operations, and the projected operating expense associated with the building systems was very attractive.”
Van Amburgh explains that studies have shown that the combination of raised-access flooring and under-floor air decreases energy usage by 35 percent compared to traditional ceiling delivery. Moreover, raised-access flooring is considered an important element of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building rating system, which is widely recognized as the industry standard to evaluate environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings. All Intellicenters will be LEED-certified.
Maloney admits that Travelers was a little skeptical that Intellicenters could provide such extensive operating savings. “Because this was the first Intellicenter building, we had more questions about the performance of the building than potential tenants will later on,” he notes. “Our biggest question revolved around operating expense savings related to the raised floors.”
Travelers challenged KDC to demonstrate the cost savings, and KDC answered that challenge by inviting the Fortune 500 company to visit similar facilities that KDC had built for Citigroup and Chase Bank. “At the end of the day, we found that the Intellicenter economics were comparable with alternative buildings that didn’t offer as many benefits as the Intellicenter does,” Maloney says.
From the moment the members of the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the United States of America has been known as the home of the brave and the land of the free. Now, 232 years later, our nation remains free, thanks to the millions of exceptional men and women who serve in the five branches of the U.S. military. We are forever grateful.
These brave men and women have made sacrifices to protect our country and ensure that Americans can continue to enjoy the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that the Declaration of Independence promises.
That’s why KDC is paying tribute to the “American Heroes” who have served our country so diligently and so faithfully, with courage and honor, in times of peace and prosperity and in times of strife and poverty.
At KDC, we believe serving others both in business and everyday life is one of the most important attributes of a good servant leader. And we want to recognize the brave members of the U.S. Armed Forces who inspire us to be better people each and
This fall, KDC asked clients, coworkers and friends to tell us about those closest to them who have committed to military duty. The only requirement was that no generation be excluded.
Few people like to move. Even when there are plenty of good reasons to pick up and go, most of us dread moving — all the planning and packing, the uncertainties and unloading. But when that last box has been emptied, and everyone has settled in, most of us can look back and feel content with the decisions we’ve made. Even when it involves relocating a major corporation.
And that’s exactly how Alan Boeckmann feels today, a little more than four years after making the decision to relocate Fluor Corporation’s world headquarters from southern California to North Texas.
“Texas, and more specifically the DFW area, was a perfect fit for Fluor,” says Boeckmann, who has served as chairman and CEO of the FORTUNE 500 company since 2002. “i would say that Fluor’s move to Texas has been extremely beneficial. The best thing about being located in DFW is reflected by the significantly improved morale and attitude of our corporate headquarters staff. Everyone has a pleasant, can-do attitude.”
With revenues of $22.3 billion last year, Fluor is one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the world. Previously headquartered in Aliso Viejo, Calif., for nearly a century, Fluor announced its move to the Lone Star State in July 2005. The Fluor relocation helped push Texas past both New York and California as the state
with the most FORTUNE 500 headquarters.
“One of the contributing factors to Fluor’s decision to leave California was the challenging business environment created by the state and local governments,” Boeckmann says. “The state of Texas has a much more business-friendly outlook, and I am happy that Texas is where our global headquarters is now located.”
Today, Fluor’s corporate home is a three-story, 136,000-square-foot building in Irving, Texas. Situated on 26.8 acres in the prestigious master-planned community of Las Colinas, the facility was developed by KDC on a “fast-track” schedule of only eight months.
The headquarters facility houses 180 of Fluor’s executives and support staff members. The rest of Fluor’s 42,000 employees are scattered across the globe on six continents, tackling some of the largest and most difficult engineering and construction projects in the world. These projects include building the $1.8 billion, 500-megawatt offshore wind farm – the world’s largest – off the coast of England; rebuilding the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, which was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake; and supporting the U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Throughout his 35-year career with Fluor, Boeckmann spent several years running different parts of the company’s business and has lived in Texas three different times. “I was familiar with and really enjoyed the Texas attitude, culture and way of life,” he says.
Yet Texas locations — specifically Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston — were just two of many places Fluor evaluated for its new global headquarters. Working with Cushman & Wakefield, the firm’s short list also included Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and London, just to name a few.
“DFW won out for a number of reasons — the business-friendly environment of the state, no personal income tax, a world-class international airport nearby, affordable home prices, good weather and an educated and affordable workforce,” Boeckmann says.
When Boeckmann first announced the relocation, he indicated that Fluor chose the DFW Metroplex because of its proximity to key clients and the region’s central location and accessibility to international clients. “Being close to our clients, their offices and their projects is very important to us,” he says. “We can literally be anywhere in the U.S. in a few hours and have access to more than 100 international destinations.”
Today, more than 50 percent of the company’s clients reside east of the Mississippi, and it continues to expand globally, with about 45 percent of new assignments in 2008 coming from projects outside the United States.
With the move, Fluor has been able to reduce travel times, improve its management of corporate functions and enhance its ability to interface with clients, Boeckmann points out. Moreover, the move has allowed Fluor’s senior management to manage the company’s employees more effectively, he explains.
“I do think a headquarters’ location can impact a company’s business in a very positive manner,” Boeckmann says. During the relocation, Fluor lost some employees who elected to not move from California to Texas. However, Boeckmann contends the employees the company has been able to recruit and hire at its new headquarters have surpassed expectations.
“When we were evaluating all our options, being able to replace those employees was one of our biggest concerns,” Boeckmann admits. “The other concern was how the move would impact our culture. Fluor was founded nearly a century ago and has deep roots in Orange County and Southern California. However, we feel we have been welcomed to the DFW business community with open arms.”
Boeckmann says cities and local municipalities play an important role in attracting corporate headquarters and can influence decisions by being business-friendly and helpful to the relocation process. “Early on, the city of Irving and KDC made the effort to understand our needs and what our timeline was,” he notes. “They were very helpful and made every effort to assist Fluor in getting the needed permits and inspections to stay on schedule.”
Also, the city of Irving officials took it upon themselves to rename one of the adjacent streets Fluor Boulevard. “They surprised us with that presentation at a board meeting even before we moved into our new location,” Boeckmann recalls. “It was a very generous and kind gesture.”
Once Fluor committed to the move and KDC was selected to develop the new headquarters, the company had to decide what kind of new headquarters facility it wanted. While the company wanted a building that would reflect its culture, it also wanted to give its employees a first-class work environment.
Clad in natural Texas limestone with an allglass atrium lobby that connects the office wings, Fluor’s new headquarters facility is “spectacular,” according to Boeckmann. In addition to a two-story, covered parking structure, the campus includes a commercial kitchen and dining area, an employee fitness center, a 100-seat auditorium, multiple meeting rooms and a “history walk” depicting Fluor’s nearly 100-year past.
Under KDC’s management, the building was completed on time and on budget.
“Our experience with KDC was already positive,” Boeckmann says. “They made sure that the needed details were taken care of. Since Fluor also builds large, complex structures for our clients, we have a deep understanding for what is expected. Overall, I would give the team a ringing endorsement. It was a job well done.”
Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, the facility features sustainable elements such as high-performance glass, windows sunscreens to provide shading and plenty of natural landscaping.
“I think the aspect that I like most is that while it’s a state-of-the-art building that is LEED-certified, we have retained a great deal of the natural topography and native Texas landscape,” Boeckmann says. “Just a few feet from our front door, you can feel like you are walking through part of the Texas wilderness. Also, the use of in-state stone and wood on the exterior and interior makes it truly special.”
Now that Fluor has had time to settle into its new headquarters, Boeckmann has some counsel for other companies looking to relocate: “The sagest piece of advice I could give other executives would be to focus on where you can get the best pool of talent to fill the positions you need and work with a well-known quality developer to help execute your vision for a new corporate headquarters.”
None of the 1975 Lincoln High School football Lions knew the gentleman their coach had allowed to address them before their big game with Ohio’s best prep team, the Jacktown Giants. But the man in the dark suit curiously knew them all by name.
Maybe that’s why they were willing to listen, to accept the stranger’s unlikely premise that they could avoid a 25th consecutive defeat by upsetting an opponent conversely riding atop a 41-game winning streak. The man spoke for 25 minutes on a Thursday afternoon — about focus and trust and handling adversity, no “X”s or “O”s. They went out the following Friday night, won 9-7 on a last-second field goal and seemingly weren’t the same again. Many of the young men used the principles taught to them in that locker room to build successful business careers and family lives.
Those Lincoln Lions and Jacktown Giants existed only on the pages of The Pep Talk, a breezy book co-written in 2008 by motivational speaker Dr. Kevin Elko and accomplished author Robert L. Shook. The tale gave life to Elko’s dozen tenets that fit into the book’s sub-title: A Football Story About the Business of Winning.
Elko has spoken for years to corporations, colleges and pro sports teams. You may have read about the achievements of one of his most recent audiences; he met with the Green Bay Packers on the eve of their Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium.
Elko’s 12 “Business Lessons from The Pep Talk” are strikingly similar to both KDC’s 11 “Keys to Business & Personal Success” and its “Top 11 “P”s for Success in 2011.” Steve Van Amburgh, KDC’s CEO, distributes cards with those statements to employees and clients alike. He appreciates Elko’s method and message among the plethora of business “selfhelp” instructions available at your local bookstore. “If you read Pep Talk and change it up a bit, it literally is our philosophy at KDC,” Van Amburgh said. “Whether I’m a project manager or the guy that has to secure new business, I believe integrity and a strong focus on leading is important. There’s a close overlap between leading a company the size of ours and leading a football team.”
Van Amburgh is familiar with both, having played high school and college football. He learned through those experiences the differences in leadership through intimidation and leadership through inspiration.
One of his favorite coaches was his defensive coach at Highland Park High School, Clyde Alexander. “He was fair and taught me valuable life lessons,” Van Amburgh said. “The way he talked to all of us with respect was inspiring, and it had a big impact on my life.”
Elko himself is a former assistant high school coach from western Pennsylvania who left the profession as a young man in the early 1980s after determining the motivational part of the job was what he truly enjoyed. He then earned master’s degrees from West Virginia University in counseling and sports psychology and a doctorate in education.
The head football coach whom he worked for at West Allegheny High School helped him become a draft consultant with the Pittsburgh Steelers, focusing on the prospects’ off-field attributes. That led Elko to speak to various NFL and major college football programs on a regular basis, including the University of Miami and LSU teams that won the national championships in 2001 and 2003.
Elko worked with the Dallas Cowboys for a few years in the late 1990s. At least one of those Cowboys was greatly moved by Elko’s words — eventually. Three-time All-Pro safety Darren Woodson said many of his teammates weren’t initially receptive to Elko’s message. “He spoke to the team a couple of times, and it was, ‘Here we go again,’” said Woodson, who now does NFL commentary for ESPN studio shows.
At the time, the Cowboys had some drafts that didn’t deliver much talent. Woodson said he was frustrated by the newcomers — mostly by their attitudes. He would tear into both his new teammates and himself.
Woodson said Elko pressured him to meet additionally one-on-one, since Woodson was one of the team leaders. “He didn’t understand space,” Woodson recalled with a laugh. “He was up in your face! I’m not a trusting guy. I’m not going to let you into my inner circle until I get to know you. He convinced me to let certain things go.”
Woodson and future Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith became two key believers — “Paul Reveres,” as Malcolm Gladwell termed it in The Tipping Point — in motivational speaking. Elko agrees with Gladwell that it’s critical to get the message across to at least a handful of the most influential group members. They then will influence the others.
“When I got Emmitt, I got a lot of the rest of ’em,” Elko said. “Darren Hambrick came up to me and said, ‘I hated ya, Doc. But I love you now.’”
Elko’s relationship with the 2010 Packers was a product of him previously working with the New Orleans Saints when current Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy was a Saints assistant. When the Pack was upset last December by the lowly Detroit Lions and also lost star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a concussion, McCarthy asked Elko to come in with the team needing wins simply to qualify for the playoffs.
Packers running back Brandon Jackson was already an Elko “veteran,” having heard him first when he played collegiately at Nebraska and kept up a personal relationship since.
“He’s always said the right things to help you,” Jackson said. “It’s always just this one quote here, this one quote there, that you will remember. I talk to him [by phone] most of the time before every game.”
Elko has written or co-authored four books, and the movie rights to The Pep Talk were recently sold. He was in Dallas-Fort Worth a month before his house call to the Packers, speaking to two local corporations, tailoring his message to each.
When it comes to selling commercial real estate, Elko has found no correlation between the professional’s IQ and the person’s ability to succeed. “Or even their college degree,” Elko said. “Their ability to present, their ability to close, their ability to quickly establish rapport — none of which are traditional IQ measures — have everything to do with it.”
That theme also struck a chord with Van Amburgh.
“In a competition, when it is just down to you and one other group, the person that has enough confidence — a lack of fear — will ask the question,” he said. “They will say, ‘What is it going to take for us to do this project for you? We really promise to do an unbelievable job.’”
“At the end of the day, it’s great to win,” Van Amburgh says. “Yet, even more importantly, it seems like the real acid test is whether your family, friends and even competitors speak highly of your actions from an integrity and ethics standpoint.”