Latest Building Plows a Fresh Path: Farm Credit Services of AmericaMar 28, 2022 05:18PM ● By Lisa Lukecart
Hamilton stands on his short legs, leaning against the glass barrier and peering over the wood banister. The portly ceramic pig’s nose can be seen over the edge as he looks down into the well-lit canyon of the office space while a lanyard holds Hamilton’s employee badge with his name displayed under his photo. Marsha, a cow, sometimes “provides” dairy products, such as ice cream during the summer. The black sheep at the bottom of the stairs has yet to be named, possibly due to his disreputable reputation.
These mascots remind employees that it’s all about farmers and ranchers at the financial cooperative Farm Credit Services of America.
The outer structure of the brick likewise nods to agriculture with abstract art fanned out along all three buildings. The main building showcases 12 months of agricultural fields. The north structure, a 77,000-square-foot expansion built in 2011, houses masonry that appears to wave like wheat fields in the wind. The brick detail at the top of the west building, finished in 2021, implies that earth has been turned by a plow.
“They have a similar vocabulary, but the spaces are unique. It’s a difficult thing to do on that scale,” said Aaron Hartung, an architect with Clark & Enersen, the company that designed the building.
Some tricks of the trade went into designing the new building to ensure a cohesive flow. A 290-stall parking garage resides underneath, with separate entry points. The $44.1-million building combines many factors, including a secure access point outside the visitor center. After being buzzed in, visitors find comfortable orange booths and lime green chairs resting on an ocean blue carpet. Fluid, acrylic, vertical artworks hang on the wall, illuminated by LED lights in neon greens and yellows.
An impressive skywalk runs over 118th Street to connect the 200,000-square-foot, four-story office building with the rest of the corporate campus. The interior shows how Farm Credit employees interact with casual collision spaces, countless conference rooms, and innovative brainstorming centers. Recyclable carpets and bamboo paneling whisper environmentally friendly notes. Vibrant paintings by local artists hang in the hallways. Pops of retro neon hues, from the carpet to the columns, glow.
“We are not afraid of color. Color adds energy,” vice president of corporate services Sharlyn Konfrst said. The space focuses on fresh, lively, and modern designs to lure teammates into the office. Since the pandemic, only 200 of 800 teammates have elected to work remotely. A similar number chose a hybrid model.
“In a world that’s changing, where people want to stay home, it’s important to have an attractive and welcoming place,” chief operating officer Scott Binder mentioned. In the main building, streams of natural light from the windows shine on employees while executives work in modest offices.
The third building continues this concept of an employee-first work force. Desks elevate to enable people to work from a standing position with a push of a button. “Hookups,” or media spaces, allow for brainstorming and include whiteboards pre-filled with erasable markers. An enclosed innovation center holds floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, a big-screen monitor, and
The Farmers Market café is decorated with bright blue tiles. A cook can whisk an omelet for breakfast or customize a sandwich for lunch. A self-service kiosk is also available. One can relax in a booth with a coffee or compete at foosball on the
“We work hard, we play hard,” Konfrst added. “I have the coolest job in the world, with great people at a place people choose to go.”
Visit fcsamerica.com for more information.
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2022 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.