Co-Working and Collaboration at TBEIC
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Before being a tenant at the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center OR TBEIC for short, I would go there every Wednesday, during September 2018, and experience their free Co-Work Wednesday event. Despite having an office in downtown Niles, Ohio, co-working at TBEIC offered a change of scenery and also access to a more active downtown Warren, Ohio scene.
The space I’d use for co-working is considered a small conference room. Nicely sized for 1-4 people to work in, the room featured a large glass window divided into sections which also gave you a view to the community space inside the building; and classic and comfortable office furniture. Add the free Wi-Fi and quietness, the room it’s the perfect spot to get things done - I fell in love with it after three weeks of co-working.
Along with being very productive and being a comfortable space, the room reminded me of my grandmother’s living room when she lived in the housing projects - a feeling of comfort, peacefulness, and good energy. And guess what? On the entrance door of the room was a sign that read Sponsorship Available. More on this soon.
During my time participating in the free Co-Work Wednesday events, the building supervisor gave me a tour of and also showed me available office space. At the time, I was considering relocating our office back to Warren but had no idea where. I found the perfect available office-space during the tour. Two weeks later we signed a lease, and shortly after moved in.
Remember the small conference room mentioned earlier? After signing our lease, and getting used to our NEW location, we worked out an agreement with TBEIC’s COO, and secured three-year sponsorship of the small conference room - in my grandmother’s honor. Next, my goal was to create a win-win.
At the time, most would agree that visually, TBEIC’s interior was dull. My goal wasn’t just to sponsor a room it was also to partner with building leadership to add color and brand-identity the main floor. The timing was perfect because they recently changed their corporate colors.
Part of the agreement was including the large conference room, (Conference Room 1), in the design process. Meaning that whatever design we came up with the small conference room, the large conference room needed to match or complement – no problem.
Despite freedom in the creative design process for the small conference room, the final design had to complement TBEIC’s brand throughout the main floor.
The first thing requiring attention was the large windows of each conference room that give a view into the main floor and inside the conference rooms itself. We felt the rooms should offer privacy yet, the feeling of openness. Our solution was to add a translucent vinyl application to the windows. The design also needed to be clean in and work well within the sectors TBEIC is in - energy, technology, and start-ups.
To help bring the idea to life, we partnered with Impression Media out of Hubbard, OH. Aside from our long-term business relationship, their expertise in material application and design would be invaluable. Bringing them on-board would also connect them to TBEIC and show their capabilities for potential business.
Since I had an idea for the design, and we had our vinyl application vendor, next was research on TBEIC and determining things like costs, best window application, and overall project management. The hardest decision was deciding what font to use for the cutout of numbers 1, and 2.
After consulting with Impression Media and deciding on a font, the next step was presenting the final design to TBEIC’s COO and making any modifications.
Call it a well-created design or a stroke of luck; either way, no modifications were needed - the COO liked it as is, and gave the installation process the go ahead. We set the install date two weeks out, starting with the small conference room.
To minimize disturbances from foot traffic or curious people, we did the project during the evening hours. Impression Media came prepared and installed the vinyl designs without error. The project took less than three hours - the next morning, I received a text.
Around 9:30 AM, the Director of Development and Marketing for TBEIC texted how beautiful, and professional the sponsored room looked. I smiled and sent the news to my friend at Impression Media. How great was the work? After completing conference room 1 a week later, The D5 Group was authorized to lead the design and install of additional brand assets to the main floor.
The EARSALINE HILL MEETING CENTER
CONFERENCE ROOM 1
The projects completed were designing and installing brand assets for designated areas:
A large vinyl logo behind the receptionist desk, and event stage
Selected quotes on the walls inside the main space
Enhancing the CO.LAB area (co-working space) with a 10-foot photo and inspiring quote vinyl application
As of June 2019, TBEIC is going through a rebranding phase. Sadly, we didn’t have the opportunity to be a part of the project. The only change connected to our work will be the logo. However, reflecting on the work we executed, the opportunity was appreciative; the experience invaluable, and the project benefited everyone involved.
• Interior design and brand-upgrade that improves the space
• Growing a management-tenant relationship to partner on a project that produces awareness, improvement, and a sense of community within the building
For Impression Media:
• An opportunity to showcase their expertise, and build a relationship with TBEIC
• Expanding their market penetration into the business district of downtown Warren, OH
For The D5 Group:
• Sponsorship of a conference room named after the grandmother of our Founder and CEO
• Ability to lead and demonstrate capability in designing and executing a visual brand identity project • Growing a management-tenant relationship
The feedback from the design has consistently been positive from guests, tenant customers, and city leadership.
To think, it all started with co-working on Wednesdays.