Yesterday June 6th, 2018 Autodesk held a series of events to officially open the new Portland office and introduce ourselves to Portland.
An employee event was held in the afternoon led by Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost with Autodesk’s entire CEO staff in attendance.Later in the evening we gave media tours and then held a grand opening event and ribbon cutting with invited guests including local leaders, the architect and contractor of the renovated building, media, and the Mayor of Portland Ted Wheeler.
About 200 employees relocated 6 weeks ago to this new renovated downtown office from our office located in the suburbs. Autodesk has had an office in the Portland area for over 25 years but many weren't aware that we were here so we made it very obvious we are Portland and proud to be a member of this city.
Special thank you to our local architects Mackenzie (Mackenzie Autodesk Project Page) and our construction company Fortis Construction amazing job creating an amazing new office space for our employees and partners. This office has character and a Portland feel in every single square inch and the employees are so very proud of it. One awesome Autodesk fact is Rusty Gesner of Mackenzie was Autodesk’s 4th customer back in the early 80s.
Aerial view of the ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration.
Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost held a customer discussion during our internal employee event called “Andrew on Air” and broadcast to all worldwide employees live. The customers were asked about their business, their challenges in industry, and what they liked about Autodesk, and what Autodesk could improve. It was a highly informative.
The customers on the panel were:
Greg Howes of CutMyTimber and AEC Hackathon
Adam Ellison CEO and Founder of Modbot
Todd Alsdorf Senior Vice President of Innovation of SSOE
Thank you for participating and your open feedback.
Mayor Ted Wheeler welcomed Autodesk to downtown Portland. He gave an amazing and passionate talk about the city and building community for everyone by helping lift everyone up with education and well paying jobs.
Had the pleasure of hanging out with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler last evening. The mayor gave a very passionate speech about the city, the importance of community, and welcoming Autodesk to downtown Portland
Autodesk CEO visited with FIRST Robotics students about robotics, design, education, and philanthropy in the community. In this photo are Team 1540 The Flaming Chickens showing the JuiceBox they design and built to provide solar generated power and light to local homeless residents. The competition robot was deigned using Autodesk Fusion 360 and I have been a mentor on this amazing team for 3 years.
The stairs from the lobby to the second floor. More on the stairs in the future but the design was inspired by stepped cut paths in the metal machining process.
Views of the grand opening party on the 6th floor deck overlooking Portland.
Me showing Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost the live screen of the drone flying just off the west face of the building while capturing a photo of us.
We had yummy ice cream from our Portland handmade ice cream rockstar neighbors Salt and Straw.
Here is Autodesk VP Greg Fallon had to say.
How do you stay on the forefront of tech innovation? You make sure you are in a place where you can both build empathy with your customers and be inspired by people solving similar tech challenges. Sometimes that means picking up and moving; which is exactly what we did at Autodesk Portland.
The big tech companies in the Silicon Forest have traditionally been located on the fringes of the city; either in large suburban campuses or in large suburban office parks. Meanwhile, our customers and peers – the product designers and manufacturers and the upcoming cloud software community – are increasingly found in evolving urban cores.
We decided to join them. Specifically, we wanted to be in the epicenter of the ‘making things’ world and that was – and is again – the Central Eastside.
Next, we found a building that embodies the history of making things. The Towne Storage Building is a beautiful red brick building that is an icon illustrating Portland’s industrial history. A highly visible landmark that is seen by tens of thousands of people every day was the perfect place to start the next chapter of Autodesk in this city.
We used our own tools – ReCap, 3ds Max, InfraWorks, BIM 360, Revit and Revit Live – to create a virtual prototype of the building to guide the design and buildout of the interior. Through this process we developed customer empathy – especially for the architects and builders! We even identified and avoided several potential problems in the construction process.
While the outside of the building was getting a facelift, we wanted to make the inside a place where people wanted to come and work. To make it even more compelling, we decided to bring the employees into the design process.
How do you get 200 employees to help guide an architect on design without driving them crazy? We relied on human-centered design practices to get feedback on all aspects from colors and themes to the use of space.
It became apparent that employees wanted to create an environment that represented both Autodesk’s culture and the unique character of Portland. To do this, we engaged local makers and used locally sourced materials, including Doug fir reclaimed from Centennial Mills across the Willamette River. Reclaimed wood was also used by a local, semi-retired couple to design and build a set of picnic tables that have become a popular feature in our new space.
Going even further, interior features were inspired by what Autodesk customers do. The main staircase, for example, is based on a rough machined metal part.
Beyond the ability to bring ourselves closer to this community, we found a unique way to bring them even closer to us. One floor is dedicated to the PIE Shop, a residency program formed in collaboration with Portland design and product agency Uncorked Studios and the accelerator Portland Incubator Experiment. Startups in the program have access to our employees for help and inspiration, can use our space and technology to imagine what their products will look like, and figure out what machines and tools will be needed to make them.
We have also agreed to be the home base of the Innovation Quadrant in Portland. This group brings together a diverse community of innovators, educators and creators who are committed to designing and creating products that improve the world. This dovetails nicely with Autodesk’s vision to imagine, design, and make a better world.
I am so inspired by the connection between Autodesk’s mission and the proud industrial history of our new neighborhood.
All of us here are excited to see what comes next.
I will be telling more stories about our Autodesk Portland office in the near future.