Matthew Johnston – TI Fluid Systems
Not long after Matthew Johnston joined TI Fluid Systems in 2010, the company’s CEO Bill Kozyra embarked upon a project to dramatically improve its workplace, believing a new corporate office would have a powerful and positive effect on employees.
The goal was to create a corporate setting in Auburn Hills, Michigan, that would inspire employees and highlight its proud, almost 100-year automotive history as a company. Johnston, the global real estate director, says the project also reflected a new vision for an employee-focused workspace to usher in a new era of opportunity and growth.
“The new corporate office supported a culture that improved engagement for all of us,” Johnston says.
A distinctive history
Originally called Bundy Tubing, based in Warren, Michigan, the company first made its name by outfitting parts for the original Model T. Then TI went on to design, develop and manufacture automotive systems for all the major car manufacturers.
Given the company’s rich history, Johnston was only too happy to help with the construction of its new corporate headquarters, situated in Auburn Hills near other automotive companies.
Completed and occupied on January 4, 2016, the three-story, 150,000-square-foot hypermodern building made quite a statement—with two wings, lots of glass and a commanding and highly visible presence from the I-75 highway.
With 125,000 feet of the space now built out, there’s extra room for future growth—a useful proposition for a company that builds and supplies a variety of parts —from thermal systems to hybrid fuel tanks to serve all major OEMS.
Inspired by Google’s work-related cultural initiatives, the space is a welcome site for TI’s 330 employees, exhibiting the company’s effort to attract and retain talent with amenities such as a state-of-the-art gym; food service in a cafeteria that showcases a jumbo television screen; a barista bar; and common areas for collaboration.
The lobby showcases the company’s history—highlighted by an actual Model T—while an acrylic car and other vehicles display the company’s product lines. Big-screen videos help tell the story from a visual perspective.
“The project was also about creating brand awareness of who we are and what we do in this high-profile area with neighbors like Fiat-Chrysler and many of our peers,” Johnston says.
Commitment to excellence
Once built, a small team of facilities professionals works to ensure everything looks brand new and ‘show ready’ every day.
Partnering with TI to help make the biggest impact on its clients and visitors was Saber Building Services/Transparent Window, which provided full janitorial services, carpet and window cleaning to the space.
“One of our core values is ‘committed to excellence’ which is exactly what TI expected and what we both stand for,” says Saber’s owner, Anthony Saber. “TI’s headquarters is a beautiful example of a premium office facility, and we were thrilled to be a part of it.”
According to Johnston, TI also wanted the space to make a positive impact on the community. By featuring the corporate slogan “One TI,” the company set out to perpetuate a culture of collaboration and oneness.
“It’s been a great experience pulling this all together,” he says. “We wanted a nice building and great working space for our employees.”
After Johnston—as part of a small team—helped bring the headquarters project across the finish line, he moved into overseeing TI’s global real estate portfolio, a book that includes 111 facilities and in 28 countries.
As Johnston says, his background in construction—together with his transition from residential to commercial buildings—has proven to be a fit for TI and this project. Johnston’s building experience added value to what was already a very capable project team. In just nine years, his role has evolved from facilities management to global real estate director.
“I like making a difference, finding opportunities and getting our company in the best position for future growth,” Johnston says. “That’s easy to do with the great people and management team we have here.”
For Johnston, the evolving job description and development of TI’s real estate program is reflective of the opportunities cultivated by the company as it continues to grow.
“TI recognizes talent and hard work and helps each individual make a path for themselves. In fact, I’m proud to say that each of us on the corporate offices project team has been promoted since the project was completed,” Johnston says.
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