On Sept 6th, 2011, I started working at Umbrella. At the time, there were 8 other people supporting 30 clients. The office was in a really old building at 505 Walnut Street. I was there a few months previously to visit with Heath and remember thinking, what a cool place to work. The space feels comfortable and the guys look like they enjoy their job.
There was a Foosball table near the front door and a big screen TV on the wall across from Heath and Trent’s desks. A mini fridge with a microwave on top defined “the kitchen”. Everyone was seated on the first floor. Our servers were in the basement along with some filing cabinets. We occasionally used the 2nd floor for meetings, as it was unoccupied but unfurnished. Two more guys were hired before the end of the year.
In March 2013, a furry creature joined our family. I adopted a puppy – Jenny who has since been coming to work with me.
As more staff were hired, we created a tiered service model. It made sense to separate the job functions and spread out. The front portion of the second floor was walled off to create offices for TJ & Trent. The NOC team and Project Engineers moved to the second floor. There was a kitchen counter & sink, as well as a dishwasher on the second floor, and more cabinets were installed. Eventually a full size fridge was added too. We had a break area!
One of my fondest memories in this space was a Christmas breakfast. You’ve heard of pot lucks, right? Well, we like doing things a bit differently. We brought breakfast food and cooked a big meal using electric skillets, griddles and waffle irons. All while wearing ugly Christmas Sweaters. The office smelled of bacon for days!
In 2016, we’d run out of room. Our staff was sitting closer together and there was no space for meetings. This made it difficult to conduct interviews, have a private conversation or host group events.
Heath and Trent began to search the metro for a different office building. This was no small task. How do we stay in a central location for our employees? We love the River Market/Downtown area, but everything needed updating. There was nothing as unique and full of character in the ‘burbs as our current space.
Ultimately, we decided to stay at 505 Walnut and agreed on a lease for the 3rd floor.
A huge sigh of relief could be heard from the staff when this was announced as the monumental chore of moving was a bit daunting. Immediately, we began to use the new space as a conference room. Quarterly meetings are held with all staff in attendance. In fact, we like the space so much, our 2016 Office Christmas party was also held here. Within a few months 5 staff members are seated in the back portion of the office.
505 Walnut is fully occupied by Umbrella with 27 employees, servicing almost 90 clients.
A lot has happened in my 6 years at Umbrella. I’m excited to see what the future holds!