Ampirical’s new Northshore offices reflect the engineering company’s people-first values
It was one of my goals to create a great place to work. But It’s about the people. The company is nothing without the people.
Mark Stephens, Ampirical Executive VP of Engineering
When engineering services company Ampirical began the design process for its new Northshore headquarters, Executive Vice President of Engineering Mark Stephens said he wanted to create a comfortable space for the employees.
“We don’t bring many clients in here, so it’s just us,” Stephens said. “We put ourselves in the position of those who work here and how they work. The reality is, we spend the most hours of our day at our workplace. My goal was to create a space where our employees wanted to be.”
To achieve that goal, Ampirical hired Greenleaf Lawson Architects. The result is an approximately 77,000-square-foot building with private and flexible office space, a kitchen, 21 conference rooms and a training room. An outdoor pavilion is also under construction, and Stephens said the company is looking forward to using a barbecue pit and gas hookup for crawfish boils in the pavilion.
Founded in 2006, Ampirical works with companies that need voltage interconnection to tap into the electrical grid. Or, as Stephens explains, anyone who needs high voltage facilities, including “investors in utilities, municipal utilities, the electrical grid owners and operators … Entergy is one of our biggest clients.” In fact, the company’s founders began their careers at Entergy.
The new building’s design aesthetic is in alignment with the company’s engineering background.
“We went with a modern industrial style with brick, concrete and steel as a reflection of the kind of work we do,” Stephens said. “We design and build things, and we wanted to bring in some aspects of that, as well as aspects of the core values of our company, so we can expand everyone’s understanding of the company and what we do.”
With three offices in California besides the Louisiana office, Stephens said Ampirical needed a space not only large enough to host post-pandemic, company-wide annual meetings and trainings, but also technologically capable of accommodating virtual meetings and other tools required for working with offsite teams.
“Every conference room is a team’s room, so it has TVs on the wall,” he said. “You can hit one button that turns everything on. We have iPads outside of every room so you can see who is on the schedule to make each room easy to use, especially right now when we are still doing a lot of virtual meetings. We have about half [of our staff] back right now. It’s not mandatory for everyone to come back.”
Prior to the move, Ampirical had staff scattered among three buildings in Mandeville and Covington. Stephens said work is much easier now that all of those teams are under one roof. He adds that there are still challenges, particularly as the company transitions away from pandemic operations and protocols.
“We have plenty of work, so it’s just about getting our teams back together and getting back to normal — whatever that new normal might be,” he said. “Getting to see everyone’s smiles again.”
That’s not to say that there aren’t other challenges on the business side. Being in a competitive, niche industry makes finding and keeping employees an integral part of the day-to-day operations.
“We’re a very growth-oriented company,” Stephens said. “For me it goes back to treating people like you want to be treated, trying to promote a good work-life balance and showing respect for people. If you build a staff based on that, the staff will do everything to make your company a success. For us, that has been a big key. It was one of my goals to create a great place to work. But It’s about the people. The company is nothing without the people.”
At a Glance
1654 Ochsner Boulevard, Covington
Date of building
Built to suite in 2019
Move in date
Person in Charge
Mark Stephens, executive VP of engineering; Matthew Saacks, president; Mike Sulzer, executive VP of operations; Jeff Spence, VP of substation engineering; Kurt Traub VP of T and D line engineering.
Number of employees
Architecture and Interior Design
Greenleaf Lawson Architects
Furnishings, workstations, architectural walls and signage:
Southern Interior Solutions