“It’s exciting to finally have everyone under one roof,” said Lawrence Webster, CEO. “We took our time moving department by department and allowing everyone time to settle in and make any logistical adjustments,” he said. All headquarter-level functional departments now reside at this facility.
The new General Office houses around 200 of the company’s 1,900 employees (the rest operate out of processing plants and distribution centers). Webster cited the need for more space and a centralized location with all of the modern amenities.
“The eco-friendly building was in very good shape when we purchased it,” he said, referring to the former WNY office for Ecology & Environment, a global consulting firm. “But there were some modifications we had to and wanted to make to ensure we were providing our team with a comfortable and copasetic workplace.”
Since the building is LEED-certified, it adheres to the standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council, which include environmentally-conscious design features and building materials, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, water and power systems.
“We know firsthand how important it is to be good stewards to the earth,” said Webster. “Just as our farmer-owners employ sustainable practices at their dairy farms, we are committed to being as green as possible at our facilities.”
The 60,000 square-foot, two-story structure was built in 1988 and sits on 119 acres that include hiking trails within the surrounding wooded lot. Skylights, indoor plants and trees spaced out along the tall atrium contribute to a light, airy atmosphere. There’s also an employee cafeteria which includes Market C, managed by AVI Foods, and abundant meeting room space, equipped with the latest video-conferencing equipment, to allow for team connectivity within the entire organization and interaction with business partners.
“We wanted to provide our employees with a workplace that enables safe collaboration and creativity,” said Webster. “Another huge added benefit is having a sizeable outdoor patio for everyone to spread out and have access to fresh air whenever they like.
“The pandemic has further underscored how essential a healthy work/life balance is, and we’re always looking for ways to provide that to our team,” he said.
For more information about Upstate Niagara Cooperative, including the Upstate Farms, Intense Milk, Milk For Life and Bison Foods brands, visit upstateniagara.com.