By Anne Vazquez
Published in the July 2010 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
Planning a new headquarters facility for its Florida operations, leadership at The Mosaic Company took the opportunity to improve how its employees worked with each other while also reducing the environmental impact of its office operations.
In the business of producing concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for agriculture, Mosaic was formed in 2004 through a merger of IMC Agrico and Cargill Phosphate. Until April 2010, the company conducted its Florida operations with approximately 400 employees spread throughout at least four offices. This separation was a natural result of the 2004 merger, but in 2008, the company’s leadership decided to consolidate by building a new facility in Lithia, FL, about 20 miles outside Tampa.
“The key objective was to bring together all the people within our Florida phosphate operations as well as some of our corporate people who are based in the state,” explains Rich Krakowski, chair of Mosaic’s building steering committee for the construction project. “Prior to this new building, employees were working across several different locations, and this made it difficult to collaborate at times.”
Krakowski, whose day to day position at Mosaic is vice president, supply chain, was chosen to head up the construction project due to his experience with the company’s operational side as well as his engineering background. (Early on, the company decided to pursue LEED certification for the building, and Krakowski’s technical expertise would be beneficial to the outcome.)
He explains, “[The steering committee’s role] was to develop the preliminary design objectives for the building and then see it through design, construction, and, ultimately, the move in. We developed our objectives early on.”
These objectives were to form a contemporary workspace—one that would foster collaboration and team building among the occupants—and to achieve LEED certification. With regard to LEED, the project team was aiming for Silver (the second level in the four level rating system), but as the project progressed and points accumulated, the team decided it could apply for the next level—LEED Gold. After the building was completed this past February, Mosaic submitted its application for certification to the U.S. Green Building Council. The project is currently under review.
Planning The Pieces
Choosing the right location was the first step, and the Tampa area shaped up to be a good choice once leadership took into account its mining operation sites as well as where employees lived. Ultimately, the company chose a seven acre site in the FishHawk Ranch area of Lithia.
Mosaic then worked with Minneapolis, MN-based Ryan Companies for the design and construction of what would become a 113,000 square foot, four story facility. Gary Bauler, LEED AP, vice president of development at Ryan Companies, headed up the Mosaic project for his firm, and he says, “At the beginning of the project, we all met to establish specific goals. Mosaic’s goals were to create a collaborative environment that would improve communication between the leadership team and employees; to create a teaming environment for the operating groups in Florida; and to attain the highest LEED certification possible, considering the budgetary constraints.”
To that end, early meetings addressed adjacencies, space programming and requirements, security, meeting spaces, technology requirements, and goals for each department. This process began with senior management, continued with department heads, and, ultimately, included every employee.
Says Bauler, “The idea was that Mosaic is a new and different company [from the two companies from which it was formed], and it wanted to create its own corporate culture. The building would be a reflection of that.”
Section By Section
With construction slated to begin in February 2009, the project team forecast a 14 month schedule, and to accommodate this timeline, Mosaic and Ryan decided this would be a design-build project. This approach incorporated early involvement from subcontractors to ensure budget and construction issues were addressed in the early stages of design.
Mosaic’s desire for a more collaborative space and the pursuit of LEED certification lent itself to a building with large expanses of floor to ceiling windows. Additionally, the lobby was designed as a two story atrium, with this communal space occupying the building’s core from the main entrance to the back side.
Having this large lobby area contributed to Mosaic’s vision of unity, a goal further facilitated by several sitting areas, a café for employees and visitors off one side, and a fitness center for employee use on another side.
And while openness and community were desired outcomes, effective security was a prime objective. Inside the main entrance is a reception desk, where employees are required to use a company issued badge for entry. Security for visitors is also addressed with badge access along with a state of the art security system and security guards present at all times.
Accessible by two banks of elevators or stairwells, the second, third, and fourth floors house private and open offices, conference rooms, breakrooms, restrooms, and additional support space. The focus on natural daylight continued throughout those upper floors with the majority of open workstations located along the perimeter.
As noted, Mosaic wanted to develop a contemporary, open workplace that would foster teamwork and productivity. Krakowski explains, “We visited offices of several other companies, which helped us to hone in on certain design components. Expanding common areas and open workstations and reducing private closed offices was a result of that.”
Krakowski continues, “As we understand it, in a typical corporate office building, about 35% of the office space is dedicated to enclosed offices. The way that we were configured—in those nine locations—and how those facilities had been developed over many years, we had an even higher percentage of enclosed offices.”
A Chat With Rich Krakowski, Chair Project Steering Committee & Vice President, Supply Chain The Mosaic Company
What is your role at The Mosaic Company? How long have you worked for the company? I am responsible for the company’s supply chain and international distribution operations. I’ve been with Mosaic since its inception in 2004, and prior to that I was with one of the legacy companies, IMC. I had been with IMC for five years before the merger.
What is your favorite part of the new headquarters facility? Our community relations group has done a masterful job of putting industry-specific and Mosaic-specific designs in the lobby, which brings the building together. That center core of the building [in the lobby] is a great part of the building.
In terms of sustainability, what was most notable for you? The strategy that impressed me the most was the use of natural lighting. There are artificial lights positioned around the perimeter (on the inside). Based on how much natural light is available, those lights inside will dim in order to take full advantage of the sunlight. That has worked out very well.
The new Mosaic facility reversed that trend, with private offices comprising about 12% of the office space. Describing what functions were relegated to private offices, Krakowski explains, “We maintained closed offices for our executives and for those who need confidentiality in their activities. For instance, there are several people in the human resources department who require confidentiality; some on the accounting side also required this privacy.”
Reducing the number of private offices meant some employees were moved to an open work area. This represented a shift in corporate culture. When asked about the reaction to this plan, Krakowski says, “There were concerns on how it would work, and the biggest were relative to confidentiality. We built in other enclosed spaces in the form of conference rooms that are very accessible. And since we’ve moved in, we’ve really had little to no concerns voiced.”
With private offices sited toward the core of the building, the rest of the workspaces are located along the perimeter of the building. This move resulted in natural daylight provided to 85% of the occupants.
Additionally, most of the corner areas on each of these floors were furnished as common spaces. Krakowski says, “A lot of the corners are dedicated to casual sitting areas for informal meetings and things of that sort. So again, that fostered the open work environment.”
Having its employees working under one roof in an environment designed to encourage collaboration and interaction has benefitted Mosaic’s daily operations. Krakowski notes that before the consolidation of facilities, there were many instances where employees had worked with each other over the phone or e-mail, yet they had never met. Now, with personnel from all departments together, it has lent itself to more convenient and, often, impromptu interaction. “The reaction has been pretty positive,” he says.
When approaching the LEED initiative for this building, Krakowski and rest of the team started with a holistic approach, taking into account how each building material and system would interact with each other in terms of creating a more environmentally friendly structure.
For instance, the team considered how glass designed to be more energy efficient would cost more but noted it would also reduce the cost of the mechanical system and reduce energy consumption. Occupancy and daylight sensors were then included to eliminate unnecessary use of artificial lighting.
For Ryan’s part, Bauler says, “Analysis of this type was considered for every building component to maximize the LEED points while constantly evaluating the impact on project cost.”
In addition to energy efficient windows—and the resulting natural daylight for occupants, other building strategies toward LEED certification included: low flow and dual flush plumbing fixtures, plants native to the Florida climate for reduced irrigation needs; stormwater collection for landscape irrigation; enhanced roof insulation and a white (cool) roof system; and high efficiency mechanical systems.
Pursuit of LEED points was also key to the construction phase, with regional and recycled building materials specified when they fit the schedule and budget. Additionally, Ryan headed up oversight of recycling construction debris, an effort that resulted in 80% of these materials avoiding a landfill.
Says Krakowski, “We were prepared to pay more for green strategies if that was what was required to meet our goals. But, for the most part, the sustainable measures we included didn’t cost much of a premium. The project overall came in pretty much on budget.”
Krakowski concludes, “We are confident that we will achieve a LEED Gold certification on this project.”
Mosaic has been in its new facility for several months, and Krakowski reports the building is functioning well, both behind the scenes and in terms of occupant satisfaction. “The core of the building is the centerpiece, and you can see that right from the external design,” he says. “If there’s something in this building that I favor, it is that center core of the building from the outside all the way to the inside. That space serves to unify, and this concept extends throughout the rest of the building.”
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Name Of Organization: The Mosaic Company. Function of Facility: Headquarters for phosphate business unit and supply chain group. Location: Lithia, FL. Square Footage: 113,589. Project Budget: $20 million. Construction Timetable: February 2009 to February 2010. In-House Project Manager: Rich Krakowski, vice president, supply chain and chair of project steering committee. Architect/General Contractor/Interior Design: Ryan Companies. Electrical Engineer/ Lighting Designer: Colwill Design/Build. Mechanical Engineer: BCH Mechanical, Inc.; TLC Engineering for Architecture. Structural Engineer: LJB, Inc.; Sunshine Structures, Inc. Landscape Architect: Turner Tree & Landscape. Other Consultants: Consulting Engineering Associates, Inc. (LEED administrator).
Furniture: Herman Miller. Flooring: Mirage Tile Porcelain Mosaic; Travertine. Carpet: Constantine Commercial. Ceilings: Armstrong. Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Fire Alarm Components: Edwards Signaling & Security Systems, part of GE Security. Lighting Products: Capri; Cooper; Day-Brite Lighting. HVAC Equipment/Components: Trane. Power Supply Equipment: Caterpillar (emergency generator); Square D by Schneider Electric. Roofing: Firestone Building Products. Signage: Premier Signs. Windows: Coral Architectural Products. Window Treatments: Phifer, Inc. Elevators/Escalators: Kone Elevator.