OCT | NOV | DEC 2016
“Many of our employees tend to be fairly new college grads. They are new to the business, and we pride ourselves on training them from the ground up to be experts in our industry.” Sheri Murphy VP, Services & Administration
Photo: Sheila Barabad
heri Murphy has seen the insurance company Acuity evolve for 27 years. When she first started, people came in, did their work, and went home. Now, in the 18th year of a new management team and culture, she sees that employees are finding a deeper meaning in their work. Murphy works as the company’s vice president of services and administration, and when she was tasked with a major expansion of the company’s headquarters, she made sure the reworked facility reflected the attitude of its employees. She saw the need for a multifaceted space that reflected a dynamic and collaborative team. It all started in 2004 with a massive addition to Acuity’s existing headquarters. She worked with Eppstein Uhen Architects when planning the structure, and that initial experience catapulted Murphy into Acuity’s current project, a multitier expansion at a cost of more than $150 million, which increases the building to more than 1 million square feet—not including parking structures. This project started almost four years ago and has been as multifaceted as the company itself. In 2014, Murphy’s team started by putting up stand-alone structures and additions to the headquarters, building a redundant data center, constructing a parking lot, and erecting the world’s tallest pole—upon which visitors can see the American flag. As of press time, the entire project was slated for completion in mid-2017, and the East Element is just one of many forays into Acuity’s sense of collaboration and creativity. Within the East Element is a 2,000-seat auditorium called “Theater in the Round.” Murphy hopes it will foster a communicative culture and serve as a functional space for the company’s quarterly town hall meetings. The theater has a stage in the center, so audience members surround the speaker on all sides. No seat is more than 70 feet away from the speaker. There are also display panels inside the auditorium and a Jumbotron above the stage, which allows everyone to see what’s happening on the round stage. The segment also includes a new office wing, another parking structure, and a training complex on the west side of the building.