If you were connected enough to secure an invite to the grand opening of the Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters in Sandy Springs, Georgia, in suburban Atlanta, you are probably sitting at your desk like this writer thinking of ways to update your current office and workspace. Small enhancements can make a big difference but good luck trying to match this experience.
The 200,000 square foot glass building, which cost more than $93 million to build, will house 1,000 employees moving from their original headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey, and from its temporary headquarters in Dunwoody, Georgia.
The building was designed from the inside out based on the needs of employees, according to Dietmar Exler, president and CEO at Mercedes-Benz USA. It embodies the cultural change of the company. “Every floor is designed to drive collaboration. We focus here on we space as much as we do on me space. There are as many individual workstations as we have conference rooms and huddle spaces,” Exler vaunts from the stage with natural light beaming in on him from all angles.
The cafeteria serves restaurant quality food. There were a host of baristas at the java bar serving specialty coffee. During the tour, we had the opportunity to explore the body shop, which is the fitness center, and a child care center for employees’ kids up to pre-K.
“What a beautiful building this is. It is really [and] truly gorgeous. As the governor of this state with 10.4M citizens and growing, we have all taken great pride in the fact that for five consecutive years we have been designated as the best state in the nation to do business. One of the confirmations of that designation is the building of this facility by Mercedes-Benz. ”
–Nathan Deal, 82nd and current governor of the state of Georgia
Axel Harries, vice president, product management and sales, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars says, “This is a great day for our brand. It starts the next chapter of a long history … 125 years ago, our company’s founding father, Gottlieb Daimler, traveled to the United States, first meeting with his business partner, William Steinway, yes, the Steinway, the piano manufacturers. They planned to build engines together. As you can see, we were always interested in innovative partnerships. It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship between our country (Germany) and the U.S. Last year alone, we sold [over] 300K passenger cars here. Today, Mercedes-Benz is the most successful premium brand in the United States.”
The Daimler Group employs 23,500 people in the U.S., which is eight percent of their workforce worldwide. The GLE and the GLS are built in the U.S., in Huntsville, Alabama.
He continues, “Home is where the heart is. A big part of our heart is here in the U.S. Mercedes-Benz and Atlanta are a perfect match because we both believe in the power of leadership and continuous innovation. Connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electrification are four major trends that will change the automotive industry in the coming years. We call that CASE. Each of these letters has the power to turn our entire industry upside down – the secret lies in combining them … making our customers lives and personal mobility easier.”
Harries adds about the company’s forward-thinking commitment to collaboration and creativity. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast. We are creating a culture that lets everyone live up to their full potential. With our cultural exchange program called Leadership 2020, we are redefining our culture of collaboration and management.”
“I am so very grateful for the investment that Mercedes-Benz has made into our communities, specifically on the westside of Atlanta. It really is what sets up apart from so many other places. There are not many places across the country and the world where you see partnerships between our non profit community, our corporate community and our government in the way that you do in our great state.”
–Keisha Lance Bottoms, 60th and current mayor of Atlanta
Harries announced the opening of Lab1886, a new technology incubator that will open in metro Atlanta in summer 2018. It will be separate from the Sandy Springs headquarters and the first independent entity in the U.S. The are incubators in three other cities: Stuttgart and Berlin in Germany, and Beijing in China. The name refers to the year the founding fathers invented the car.
Lab1886 is a business unit dedicated to “turning innovative ideas into the actual product, services or business model” and new ideas and unconventional thinking are welcome. “It combines big corporations’ expertise and know-how, the spirit of a startup. How many 132-year-old startups do you know?” Harries asks in his closing.
“Welcome to Sandy Springs. This is a great day for our community. I was proud to learn Mercedes-Benz was coming. It has been a wonderful partnership. We look forward to a long-term relationship with not only the company but with the people.”
–Rusty Paul, Mayor of the city of Sandy Springs, the city’s second and current Mayor