Case Studies

David Martinson – Wells Fargo & Co.

Wells Fargo construction leader accounts for changing workplaces

When the new Wells Fargo corporate campus is completed in mid-2025, its twin 10-story buildings will loom large over the Las Colinas community in Irving, Texas, just outside Dallas.

Their tinted exterior windows will literally reflect the growing community surrounding them, while helping heat and cool the 6,000 employees working there. The employees will also enjoy amenities such as wellness centers and outdoor event space.

Development began on the new $570 million campus in January, and it’s the largest of the projects David Martinson is now overseeing as Wells Fargo’s global head of workplace experience, design and construction management.

David Martinson | Senior Vice President and Global Head of Workplace Experience, Design and Construction Management | Wells Fargo & Co.

David Martinson | Senior Vice President and Global Head of Workplace Experience, Design and Construction Management | Wells Fargo & Co.

He does have other projects to lead, however, including an accelerated schedule for refreshing and refurbishing more than 4,500 Wells Fargo branches.

“Ultimately, the goal of this team is to deliver workplaces meant to inspire creativity, facilitate collaboration, elevate performance, increase efficiency and attract and retain both top talent and clients,” Martinson says. “But we also face a unique challenge as real estate professionals in a post-pandemic world: how to transform the workplace from an obligation to a destination.”

A global portfolio

The enduring symbol for Wells Fargo & Co. is the stagecoach drawn by a team of six horses rumbling across a western landscape. Indeed, founders Henry Wells and William G. Fargo used stagecoaches (and steamships) to deliver money and valuables when the company launched in 1852. At the time, work on the transcontinental railroad hadn’t even begun.

Since then, the company has grown into an international banking giant, with more than 5,500 properties and more than 70 million square feet of offices, branches and data centers. Of that, 65 million square feet is in the U.S.

Wells Fargo’s international properties include offices in financial centers such as London, Paris, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Toronto. However, much of the international portfolio is in India and the Philippines; these countries house much of the company’s tech operations employees.

David Martinson | Senior Vice President and Global Head of Workplace Experience, Design and Construction Management | Wells Fargo & Co.

Wells Fargo operational headquarters at 30 Hudson Yards in New York, New York.

Martinson is responsible for a $3 billion budget and oversees a team of 150 design and construction professionals who typically have 2,500 projects underway at any time.

His team collaborates with other corporate real estate partners at Wells Fargo such as strategy, transaction management and property management, as well as the firm’s technology, security, finance, supply chain and marketing teams. Martinson’s team also works with hundreds of external partners who provide design, estimating and construction services as well as supply office furniture and equipment.

Comfort, environmental awareness

Wells Fargo’s new corporate campus in Irving, scheduled to be finished in 2025, is built on a 22-acre site. Martinson says its Class A office space is designed to meet the demands of changing workplaces while also earning the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, platinum certification and achieving net-positive energy use.

The buildings are designed to generate more energy than they consume with features including rooftop solar panels and exterior tinted glass that can draw or diffuse sunlight to help heat and cool. Automated controls will turn lights on and off and regulate HVAC systems to reduce heating and cooling in unoccupied areas.

David Martinson | Senior Vice President and Global Head of Workplace Experience, Design and Construction Management | Wells Fargo & Co.

Wells Fargo Design and Construction Management leadership team.

The 850,000-square-foot facility will include covered parking for 4,000 vehicles, state-of-the-art teleconferencing technology and well-being and clinic space. It will also provide parking for food trucks, an outdoor terrace and cafe seating, a pollinating and kitchen garden, Amazon lockers and a secured bike room.

The campus is accessible by light rail. Its location along Lake Carolyn adds local amenities including walking and bicycle trails, stand-up paddle board rentals, a cycling studio, and four golf courses, Martinson adds.

Not your grandparents’ bank branch

All of Wells Fargo’s bank branches are in the U.S., and Martinson says Wells Fargo’s goal is to refurbish each of them by the end of 2027. Following that, he wants to establish an ongoing five-year refurbishment cycle. That will require tripling the current number of annual refurbishments from 300 branches to 900.

Branch refurbishments include adding or replacing furniture, lighting, carpeting, paint and wall coverings. Ceilings are refinished and digital marketing displays, exterior and site signage, and interior branding and marketing elements are refreshed. Floorplans are changing as teller lines are replaced by collaborative areas to meet with customers.

“A fresh and modern space can have a tangible and positive impact on the customer and employee. The opposite can be true if a space is tired and dated,” Martinson says.

David Martinson | Senior Vice President and Global Head of Workplace Experience, Design and Construction Management | Wells Fargo & Co.

Newly constructed Wells Fargo retail branch in Durham, North Carolina.

He and his team need to plan workplaces that entice employees back to the office, too. That includes adding outdoor amenities, enhancing food and beverage services, and likely adding more flexible office and collaboration spaces.

He and his team measure employee experience using surveys from Leesman, a workplace consultant. They also get feedback through Wells Fargo’s “Loudspeaker” online tool, but with as many as 236,000 employees participating, he says trends aren’t always easy to measure.

Indeed, Martinson is no stranger to addressing changing trends in workplaces—though he adds the pandemic has accelerated that dynamic, in part because it established that people can work remotely.

“Our priorities are to enable the bank’s operations, drive cost savings and create collaborative and inspirational workspaces,” he says. “I want people to walk into our locations and say: ‘Wow, I want to be part of this.’”

Leading and teaching

Martinson has more than 20 years of experience in the construction and real estate industry, managing projects for contractors and advising companies that engage them.

A native of Reading, Massachusetts, he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tufts University and an MBA from Boston College. He also studied civil engineering at Queen Mary University of London and has real estate brokerage licenses in New York and Massachusetts.

David Martinson | Senior Vice President and Global Head of Workplace Experience, Design and Construction Management | Wells Fargo & Co.

Wells Fargo operational headquarters at 30 Hudson Yards in New York, New York.

He now works in New York City and has taught graduate level courses in construction management as an adjunct professor at Fordham University and New York University for more than a decade. Before joining Wells Fargo in May 2021, Martinson held similar executive-level positions in New York City and London at companies including CBRE, JP Morgan Chase, EY and PwC.

“Real estate is about finding cost-effective solutions that meet the needs of a business and create a positive user experience,” Martinson says. “We have the best design and construction professionals in the industry. While working for one of the world’s largest banks, this team has an extraordinary opportunity to lead the way in workplace design, employee satisfaction and environmental stewardship.”

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. IV 2023 Edition here.

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