Like most small businesses, we started Insight out of our homes. We worked from our cars, with cell phones and our “official” phone number forwarding to the appropriate people. There were blurred lines, so to speak, between “work” and fun – it was all passion, really.
Before long we realized that we needed more immediate, face-to-face communication and a home base. We found an office in downtown Appleton in the historic, 12-story Zuelke building on College Avenue. It came with charm: Art deco façade, a marble foyer, men’s and women’s restrooms on every other floor and funky elevators that required a stop on the 10th floor. The ghost stories were delightful (especially the ones we could blame for missed deadlines). We outfitted the place with furniture from large companies that had downsized— there were some upsides to launching a business during the recession.
Last year we celebrated five years in business. When people asked, “How’s it going?” we sometimes replied that since we were no longer a startup, it felt like we were lanky teenagers, eager to take on a lot of exciting things and sometimes a little awkward as we experienced growing pains. We began to feel as if we had outgrown the place we grew up in.
And now, I’m pleased to say that as of June 1, we’ve moved into a fresh, new space at 400 North Richmond, just a few blocks north of College Avenue. The space was built out new for us, and we instilled a little Insight flair, drawing from our brand’s bright color palette for accent walls. We have free parking right outside our door and a large conference room with floor-to-ceiling windows where we hope to bring in visitors as often as possible.
The move feels symbolic of new beginnings for us. Shedding old stuff and starting over in a new space is invigorating! Our new office is designed for more collaboration. Though our new furniture will arrive after we’ve moved in, our team is up for the challenge of getting the work done in creative ways until we’re settled. Projects we had identified as priorities are making their way back on our list.
The move came on the heels of our recent THINC! event. We were pleased to announce the first ever Insight Innovation Awards at our third annual Technology & Human Innovation Networking Conference in May. Click here for details and photos.
Planning the move while reviewing so many excellent award nominations caused us to reflect on what successful companies do right, as well as what we’ve accomplished and where we’re going. You’ll find this theme runs through our cover story about the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and retiring Chancellor Richard Wells.
One important change at Insight is the addition of a new staff member, Sean P. Johnson, as our senior associate editor. A seasoned regional reporter and editor who has also done a stint in public relations, he’ll coordinate content for Insight, while Nikki Kallio, associate editor, will continue working with Insight on Manufacturing. Both will report, write and edit for both magazines as well as our special issues.
What we’ll miss most about the Zuelke building is the quick ride up the elevator to our layout and design gurus at A2Z Design. A few extra blocks won’t stand in the way of a great partnership.
Our team was thrilled to help celebrate with our friends at A2Z Design when they won the first Business of the Year Award at the LGBT Chamber of Commerce in Milwaukee in early May. Check out my Face Time interview with A2Z Principal and Creative Director Jeff Amstutz on page 15. I think you’ll agree, what matters most in business is having the right people on your bus, and a 360-perspective that includes a wide variety of viewpoints is healthy not only for communities but for the bottom line. Like the colors on the walls of our new office, we’re inspired.