FAIRLAWN, OHIO — The new corporate and U.S. headquarters of A. Schulman Inc. in Fairlawn is designed to encourage informal meetings and collaboration at the plastics compounder and resin distributor.
(Check out a photo gallery of the building here.)
The cubicles lend themselves to creating shared work space, with rounded tables connecting desks and small filing cabinets that double as impromptu seats. There are informal gathering spaces scattered around the offices and 14 conference rooms, many equipped with video and audio capability to aid in global collaboration across the company's international offices. Administrators' offices surround the rooms, keeping them accessible, rather than tucked away in a separate hallway.
At 44,000 square feet, the old building technically had more room, but less usable space, said president and CEO Joseph Gingo. The basement couldn't be used, and the building needed lots of maintenance and technological updates.
The new building, at 34,000 square feet, better suits the company's needs. It was designed to separate the U.S. and corporate staffs, to lessen distractions for the corporate staff and to consolidate the U.S. employees in one location, Gingo said. There are about 100 U.S. employees at the new headquarters and 40 on the corporate side. The company employs about 3,300 people total.
The corporate side of A. Schulman has grown since Gingo became president on Jan. 1, 2008. He added a central staff to consolidate tasks such as purchasing for the company's dozens of plants.
The company also has grown through acquisitions and joint ventures in that time, and plans to continue that growth. One such attempt has been in the public eye recently, as A. Schulman made a hostile bid to buy specialty chemical maker Ferro Corp. earlier this year. Gingo said that offer is still on the table.
The company, which reported about $2.2 billion in revenue last year, held an open house for its new headquarters on May 7. The building, which A. Schulman is leasing, is located in Fairlawn and took less than 10 months to build.