Meeting the Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny.
On September 26th, 2011 (last year), EA and BioWare opened up our official building location in Galway, Ireland.
It was a great occasion for everyone involved, had significant press coverage, and included the 2nd visit from Ray and Greg (BioWare Co-Founders) as well as a special guest visit by the Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny. In addition to the corporate communications on the announcement, the additional 200 jobs we announced publicly on that day, and the extensive invitations given to key leaders in the community and greater Ireland and Gaming world – we also invited a significant number of gaming press. Some of their articles on the event can be found here:
I moved over to Galway in June of the previous year.
I spent that first year and a half working out of our temporary offices in the Mervue Business Park. I remember clearly getting up that first morning and walking over from the hotel to the co-lo temp office building. It was actually sunny, which is a rare exception in Galway. I started that first week by myself, and many more weeks after that, as well. I walked into the building on Monday, picked up the key from the receptionist, and opened the door to that first tiny little office that was the incubator for the start of something very special.
I spent that first week trying to do my day job, while playing the role of facilities, IT, office manager, and everything else in between – as I got the office setup, found out where to get some basic supplies, secured desks, chairs, etc. I even figured out how to get the phones working, and emails flowing. They were great days – days, I will never forget.
Things grew rapidly from there, and on September 26th we opened the doors to the former warehouse assembly floor that we’d transformed into something amazing. I was heavily involved in the design and layout of our facility, working hard to capture the best of everything I’d seen in the nearly 200+ customer contact sites that I’ve visited over my career. The creative artist side of myself came out in securing the pictures, designing and selecting the graphics located on our doors, frosted on the glass, and placement of every piece of art within the entire building.
Everything about the facility is designed to foster the absolute best environment for operating the best customer contact organization possible. The way the agents desks are aligned, open to foster communication, in functional rows with coach pods capping the ends to allow for review and 1:1 meetings with their team members. Each and every desk was placed intentionally, every corner planned, and each chair and pattern approved. It was a huge day for me, and I have an incredible sense of pride in what we accomplished there.
Today, it is thriving and is performing.
It’s the headquarters of BioWare’s SWTOR support, and the hub of our global support operations. I have an office right on the floor, and follow the Napoleonic principle of bivouacking with the troops. I believe that engagement is key – and one full wall of my office is glass. At times I feel like a fish in a bowl, but my door is always open, and when it gets too bad…I get up and go out and spend time talking with the team.
Yesterday, after months of asking by my wife, the photographer from the event sent over a couple of pictures from the event of me, my significant other, and Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny engrossed in a conversation. Seeing these brought back the feelings of that day, and helped remind me of the incredible accomplishment that we achieved there…starting alone in that little office, and then watching a 400 person facility spring to life over the next two years!
Here are the pictures: