A booming tech hub on the East Coast is rivaling its Silicon Valley counterpart to the West, and PTC (formerly Parametric Technology Corporation) is the latest innovation company to disrupt the tech space and the Boston skyline. John Civello, vice president of corporate real estate and workplace, is moving the global headquarters of the computer software company from the Needham suburb to the first innovation district in the United States, Boston Seaport.
“The company’s biggest hurdle has not been our technology or reputation—it’s location,” Civello says. “We have cutting-edge technologies and the Boston Globe recently picked us as one of the best places to work, but the long commute out of the city was a challenge for us in attracting and retaining the talent we need to remain competitive. Now we’re going to be in the middle of it.”
The new elliptical building, located at 121 Seaport, features upgrades as visionary as the products PTC creates. The elliptical shape of the glass tower gets 30 percent more natural light than the typical rectangular structure. In early 2019, appromiately a thousand employees of the global, billion-dollar company will occupy the top half of the seventeen-story building with LEED Platinum certification, designed by CBT Architects and constructed by Skanska.
Since PTC is a market leader in the Internet of Things and Augmented Reality, Civello says collaboration was top of mind so that its thirty-year heritage of innovation can continue to evolve. “It’s a whole different mindset going from a suburban to an urban space,” Civello says. “It gives us access to the talent we need to invest in growing this technology. We’re massively changing the workplace strategy to anticipate the technology and workforce of the future.”
That concept manifests in completely open floor plans with 100 percent unassigned seating and ergonomic workstations. Designated employee areas offer places for visual thinking, and column-free floor plates allow for a more dynamic organization. The chilled-beam mechanical system cuts energy cuts while also creating a ten-foot floor-to-ceiling height that maximizes views of Boston Harbor. A 5,000 square-foot roof deck in addition to 15,000 square feet of tree-lined open space merges the indoors and outdoors. Plus, an Augmented Reality “walking museum” next to the building (using PTC technology) will highlight Boston’s maritime history.
The office plan also prioritizes telecommunications, such as a cell phone enhancement system, which is a trend that Civello predicts will have increasing prominence in the workplace. “We are very flexible in terms of work life balance and people can work remotely,” he says. “Creating spaces and technologies for people to collaborate in remote locations is becoming more and more critical for success.” All features deployed in the new global headquarters will affect all 6,000 PTC employees around the world, beyond the on-site teams in operations, executive leadership, customer success, research and development, sales, marketing, finance and legal.
Civello’s team conducted employee focus groups to evaluate the usefulness of potential technologies at the new site. It is also partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a technology plan for the building, including a robust system for reserving office space. “We never had a way to measure what was and wasn’t working,” he says. “Now it’s really exciting to be able to get that data moving to see where and how people are working and adjust according to what’s happening in these spaces.”
While the building will also feature a fitness center and food pavilion, one of the most significant perks of the new office space for Civello is the opportunity to procure and install products from PTC customers, from elevators to the office furniture. The customer experience is at the forefront of the new building design. The Corporate Experience Center will provide visitors a hands-on opportunity to interact with PTC technologies, and the active member space will allow customers to view engineers as they work on actual physical objects.
“Building a premier destination for our customers is a key goal of the project,” Civello says. “We will only be a few miles from Logan Airport, a major travel point. We believe that the site will attract talent and exposure to the brand.” Civello himself has evolved his career in the area. Previously, he was the senior director of facilities, real estate, and mergers and acquisitions at Dell EMC after earning a bachelor’s degree in economics at Boston University.
Civello considers the new global headquarters to be the ultimate opportunity to make a difference at PTC. He has hit the ground running every step of the way, from scouting the location to designing the structure to managing construction to moving in. “It really is a business enabler and this move has the potential to accelerate the company’s transformation,” he says. “It’s exciting, and the most rewarding part of this whole process is supporting the vision and positioning the company for growth. If we do our jobs, we will have a massive impact on the future of the company.”
For PTC, which revolutionized the market for computer aided design software when it was founded in the mid 1980s and is today viewed as a leader in the Internet of Things and Augmented Reality, the move signals a continued focus on innovation not only through forward-thinking technological advancements but also in the design of its new global headquarters at 121 Seaport as well.
Photos by Duncan Lake/Cresa Boston
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