Jeff Howells, Tech Data chief financial officer, addresses the employees gathered to celebrate the Aug. 8 ribbon cutting of the expansion of Tech Data’s international headquarters in Largo.
LARGO – The Tech Data employees gathered in the international-flag-decked cafeteria were as much a part of celebration as the company leaders who heralded the new 45,000-square-foot expansion during the ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 8.
“We are … ” prompted Joe Quaglia, president of the company in the Americas.
“Tech Data!” the employees shouted back.
About 1,700 people work out of Tech Data’s corporate headquarters at 16202 Bay Vista Drive in Largo. But the company employs about 10,000 people across 100 countries, working in 7 million square feet of property. Still, the new building was a visible investment and commitment to the Tampa Bay area, said CEO Robert Dutkowsky.
“We started here 40 years ago. Our roots are here; our culture is here. Our value is built around Tampa Bay,” he said after the ceremony. “As we’ve grown around the world, we’ve always centered back to Tampa Bay.”
As Tech Data grew, its leaders could have relocated headquarters to a city known for its tech companies.
“Then we’d be competing with other companies that look and feel like us. But here, we’re kind of unique in the ecosystem of Tampa Bay,” Dutkowsky said.
The new building gives the company room to grow as the IT industry changes, he added. Tech Data can’t predict how emerging technologies will dramatically change the industry.
“But we know it will be different. We know it will be dynamic. One of the last things a Fortune 100 company wants to have is: we can’t grow because we don’t have the space,” Dutkowsky said.
Tech Data stays on top of the industry by investing in the best IT systems for its own internal processes,
Dutkowsky said. On a daily basis, the company sells about $100 million in products – from PCs to main frames, color TVs and cellphones, printer cartridges to complex software. Its average order is less than $2,000.
“Think of the amount of information that flies around inside this company every single day, and we do that with the most powerful computer systems that we can find,” Dutkowsky said.
The new addition was designed to accommodate a modern work environment, incorporating details like optimized WiFi, desks exactly 24 inches deep – the length of an average person’s reach – and outlets built into the cubicles above the desktop itself.
“The thoughtfulness and the work environment is really important,” Dutkowsky said. “This is a better answer for our people to make them as productive as possible.”
A covered walkway into the new building seamlessly links it to the Tech Data cafeteria and protects employees from volatile Florida weather as they meet with their colleagues in different parts of the campus.
“We worked hard to make it tie in properly so you can transition from the old building to the brand new building and you don’t really know it,” said Ben Goodwin, senior vice president of real estate and corporate services.
The design allows for the cafeteria and atrium to continue to be well utilized, he said. Green space right outside the walkway, equipped with powerful fans, tables and plenty of shade, provides a comfortable space for employees out of doors.
Goodwin has been a full-time employee with Tech Data for 17 years, but has worked with the company even before that, when he owned his own real estate and construction company. He’s built tons of warehouses and offices for Tech Data.
The new corporate addition is his proudest accomplishment, he said.
Quaglia thanked Godwin, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Howells and the entire facility team for the work they put into the new building.
“I want to thank you for creating such a beautiful addition to our campus and also a pathway to our future,” he said.
Officials broke ground on the new building in January. Quaglia jokingly commented that, given how long it took to complete his addition on his own home, he had his doubts that the addition would get done so quickly.
“I don’t know how you did it in six months,” he said. “But you guys pulled it off.”