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Case Study Seven

DLR Group

When Griff Davenport, Chief Executive Officer of the DLR Group, was faced with the task of finding new offices for his firm’s Minneapolis location, he had two primary goals: to diversify DLR’s employee base and grow the business. 

DLR Group is a full service firm offering architecture, engineering, planning and interior design services.  It had a broad range of public sector clients in Minnesota and throughout the country.  But Griff realized that a downtown Minneapolis location would provide ready access to private sector business opportunities as well.

Equally important, a downtown location was key to recruiting the human talent that DLR would need to meet their goal of expanded business opportunities.  In the past, when it was time to add staff, many potential employees were not interested in working at DLR’s suburban location. Their response;   “Call me when you come downtown.”

DLR Group’s move to a Nicollet Mall location in downtown Minneapolis has paid off: the firm has been successful in expanding their business and they have tapped the wealth of talented employees through connections to area educational institutions. “We have found that the access to young professionals and interns – from the University of Minnesota and other local design schools – is much better downtown.  There is a larger pool of skilled employees that we can now access and mass the availability of mass transit including light rail and buses, has made the commute to our office much easier and enjoyable.”

Access to transit has not just been important for daily commuters; DLR employees working on projects at the Mall of America can take light rail to on-site meetings.  And when DLR  has frequent regional meetings in Minneapolis, drawing associates from DLR offices in other cities, the trip from the airport to downtown Minneapolis is   a safe, clean, quiet and speedy ride on Metro Transit’s Blue Line light rail trains.

“We originally thought the commute and parking would be the biggest obstacles in relocating our employees to a new downtown location from the southwest Minneapolis suburbs.  But we offered a parking/transit allowance to help employees adjust – and we didn’t lose a single employee in the move,” explained Griff.

To orient employees to downtown, DLR Group had scavenger hunts and scheduled meetings on the other end of downtown so that people could learn the skyway system.  Employees found that the diversity of food and entertainment choices were lifestyle amenities that made their work experience much more satisfying.

An added but very real benefit – the leadership at DLR feels much more a part of the business community in its new downtown location than they did in their former suburban offices.  “The local business community is based on personal relationships.   Downtown Minneapolis provides a place to grow those relationships.  A simple walk through the skyways is a meeting opportunity!” And that leads to business growth.

December 27, 2013