Arguably Newark element14 is the oldest electronics distributor in North America, with 80 years of presence in Chicago. After 34 years in Ravenswood, the company has moved downtown. The Chicago-based distributor of electronics parts and engineering solutions now occupies all of the 22nd, as well as part of the 23rd floor, of their new location at Riverside Plaza totaling 65,000 square feet.
“The project was on time, and a little bit below budget,” said Tom Hudak, Business President of Sales and Marketing. “We hired one of the best architecture firms in Chicago, SCB, and we let them do their work. We asked them to take us to the edge, not over it, and they did just that.”
“We kind of took off on the whole idea of a printed circuit board,” Hudak continued. “So we have the graphics and design running throughout the entire building. It really came out world class. It’s quite a unique space, and drives the energy that we were looking for.”
All 350 employees were transferred to the new location and the company hopes to make several new hires to the sales and engineering teams.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure that we retain our existing associates, and attract the best new associates in our downtown location. So it’s a big transition for us after 34 years. We’re retaining our best people and want to attract some of the new, young, talented people that we need to continue to invest in our business. So in essence we’re doubling down.”
As of late, there’s been a renewed focus on Chicago’s growing tech sector and its transformation of some of the city’s oldest buildings. Newark element14 is not alone— several notable companies have taken addresses in the downtown market, and are breathing new life into these buildings.
“I think what we’ve done with our open office concept is pretty cool,” Hudak said. “We put all the senior managers in the center of the building so that our associates have the best views, as well as the best natural light throughout the building. Some of the views are spectacular, and people were thrilled.”
Another cool thing, Hudak says, is that the building is unique in that one floor is about 50,000 square feet. “With 50,000 square feet, we can get most of our associates on one floor. So there’s greater collaboration and opportunity for us to do a great job at servicing our customers. Our mission statement really talks about working with our customers and suppliers, to drive innovation and move the world forward.”
“A lot of this space has walls you can write on,” he continued. “So if someone has an idea they can write it down. People can look at it, and we can service our customers, and try to move the world forward.”