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July 30, 2019
About Pepper, Workplace, Projects

Typically, we plan our spaces to fit the way we work. At Pepper, we’re looking at our new space differently: as an opportunity to transform the way we work.

Recently, Columbus Business First published an article about our new office in Dublin. It's been more than a year in the planning, and now we're only a couple months away from moving in. It's stressful and also one of the most exciting projects I've witnessed at Pepper - for many reasons.

We're building for ourselves. While we have a team managing the construction and our self-perform group is involved in the craftsmanship, it's the employee engagement aspect that is so unique. The tables are turned, and we now sit in the client's seat. We decide the furnishings and fixtures. We decide to proceed with certain long-lead items or find alternatives. We decide how, what and when to communicate to our staff. So many decisions! I've always appreciated how overwhelming a construction project can be for our clients, and now I can truly empathize with them, and particularly for those where it falls outside their day-to-day responsibilities. Our project is transforming how we think about customer service.

Our team checks out the progress on our own jobsite.

These aren't just my thoughts. Our decision-making approach is not top-down; rather, everyone in our office has a hand (or two) in the work.  And the space we're building is designed to encourage more collaboration, problem-solving and camaraderie. We're moving from offices to a completely open concept. For the first time since I was an intern, I won't have an office!

If the open office and the fact we're building the space for ourselves aren't enough, we've decided to pursue WELL Silver Certification. When I started looking into the kind of space we would want, I didn't know what WELL was, but I knew I wanted to build something that would help our people perform at their best. After talking with our Vice President of High Performance and Sustainability, Susan Heinking, it became clear that WELL was the answer. WELL focuses on the health of the building, and it also considers the health and wellness of its occupants. And that's why we build - for the people that inhabit the spaces. It made too much sense not to do it. 

I could go on and on about what has gone into this project, and starting in August, through a spirit of transparency, we'll be sharing our story on our website. I invite you to follow us and learn from us. Ask questions and come tour our space.

Can a building change the way we work? We believe it can.


About the Author


Paul FrancoisPresident, Ohio

Paul is responsible for overseeing the financial and operational success of Pepper Ohio. He began his career with Pepper serving in project management, after earning his Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University. He gained a broad range of project experience, from healthcare to industrial projects, and with specializations in commercial interior and institutional projects, where he worked with some of Pepper's most established clients. He also demonstrated a keen understanding of business acumen and company leadership that made him a natural fit to assume the role of president in 2006.

Paul is active in industry organizations, currently serving as a board member and the chair of the facilities committee for Junior Achievement of Central Ohio and as an Industry Advisory Council board member at Iowa State University. A strong advocate for community involvement, Paul also invests his time with several central Ohio charities and educational programs, such as the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement and the Little Miami River Clean-Up.