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Collaboration and Culture: A Driving Force in SMC3’s New HQ

For SMC3, a data, technology and education solutions provider for the freight transportation industry, the decision to build a new headquarters came with careful thought and due diligence. The leadership team at SMC3 evaluated the renovation of their existing space – 30,000 square feet spread across three floors in one building – but due to several limitations, they realized it would not meet their needs. Within the past five years, the team had grown from 100 to more than 150 employees. As a growing vibrant technology business, SMC3 not only needed more space but also needed the right type of spaces to foster the collaboration and creativity necessary to their business.

Some brief background will further illustrate their need and desire for a new workspace. SMC3 was founded over 85 years ago. The company’s long-term success has come from strong visionary leaders that navigated the company through difficult times and transformed the company from a transportation industry rate bureau to a data, technology and education solutions provider. In 2015, Andrew Slusher was named chief executive officer of SMC3 when Jack Middleton retired after having led the company for over two decades. “Jack had surrounded himself with a great leadership team, and he and the SMC³ Board of Directors tasked me with determining the future of SMC3 and forming a new leadership team as his team would be retiring within a relatively short period of time,” stated Andrew Slusher, now president and chief executive officer of SMC3. Slusher began building his new leadership team from within SMC3 and the transportation industry. Together, they would unfold and articulate what the future of the company looked like, what new products would be introduced, and how they would reimagine the culture of the company.

Slusher and his leadership team made the decision to build a new headquarters. Less than four miles away from their previous facility in Peachtree City, the team secured land to build their new home in the Lexington Park area of Peachtree City. The decision to design and build from the ground up would help propel the company forward as a technology company and aid in establishing new mindsets. With the majority of the leadership team and many employees residing in Peachtree City, it was top of mind for SMC3 to support the local community. The project team selected to design and build the new SMC3 headquarters included local firms, Jefferson Browne Gresham Architects, Southtree Commercial, and numerous other subcontractors in the local area. “We were excited to be part of the project and get to work with an organization like SMC3, a company that is an asset to this community,” said Chuck Ogletree, Principal of Southtree Commercial.

On January 30, 2019, SMC3 broke ground on its new headquarters. In August 2020, their 74,000 square foot office was ready to be occupied. A signature building in the community, the team wanted the exterior and interior to be a reflection of the outdoors and the beautiful city of Peachtree City. When meeting with Jefferson Browne Gresham Architects to design the building, Slusher shared his love of the outdoors and wanted the design to pull the outdoors in while also capturing the technology drive of the company. The finished product is breathtaking! A three-story floor-to-ceiling atrium provides natural lighting, dynamic/smart glass allows words to be programmed in the skylight glass as well as controlling the level of light, acoustical metal decks improve sound absorption, and glue-laminated (glulam) wood columns and beams bring the texture of trees and nature indoors.

An important design theme for the building was a variety of spaces for a variety of work. “We had four to five collaboration spaces in our old space; we now have 65 collaboration spaces in our new space,” said SMC3‘s Chief Financial Officer Tom Monheim, who led the construction process. The team is energized by the abundance of spaces to fit their needs. Whether they want to spend part of their days at a workstation, in a one-person focus room, the café, or in a variety of other size rooms, the SMC3 team has plenty of options. Collaboration is an essential component to the SMC3 business model. The “3” in SMC3 stands for data, technology, and education. These are the three service pillars they use to break down barriers and connect different industry stakeholders such as shippers, logistic service providers, and motor freight carriers. Collaborating internally and externally is key to keeping their customer base and the entire team working together to continue the seamless movement of goods across North America.

The SMC3 leadership team is excited about the future and utilizing their new facility to its full potential once the pandemic is in the past. From having employees back onsite to hosting training conferences for their customers, their new work environment is beaming with opportunities. SMC3‘s Chief Commercial Officer Brian Thompson noted, “We are only limited now by our imagination and not by the restrictions of the physical structure. We need to think differently; we are trying to become a new company.” When asked about the biggest takeaway from the project, Monheim answered, “We had an ‘A-team’ throughout the whole process. When you have a great team, it makes it a joy. We knew we could count on the expertise to be there as we needed it.” The people involved in the project gave SMC3 confidence that when an issue emerged, it would be handled with care and professionalism. 

Not only known for its commitment to the freight transportation industry, SMC3 also provides generous philanthropic support to its local communities. With locations in Peachtree City, Ga., and Louisville, Ky., they contribute to numerous nonprofit organizations within these communities. In the Fayette County and Peachtree City area, they support Bloom, Promise Place, the Peachtree City Optimist Club, Southside Support, and are a lead sponsor at the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater. “We are a company with heart. We truly do care and it is an important part of what we do,” Slusher said. “We place people first.” SMC3 exhibits their commitment to placing people first as they have implemented many safeguards to ensure the health and safety of their employees. While many of their employees have been working remotely during the pandemic, a large number of employees decided to work part of their week in the office once they toured the new facility and saw the safety measures in place, along with the great amenities.

SMC3 built a new headquarters but they were also building new relationships, strengthening existing relationships, and creating a culture woven into their new workspace. Care and compassion are spread throughout the SMC3 culture and extend far beyond the walls of their brick-and-mortar building. To learn more about the history of SMC3 and its logistics technology and education expertise, visit http://www.smc3.com/.

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