Set on 40 acres in Camden, NJ, the Campbell Soup Company world headquarters complex has been undergoing a variety of changes over the past several years. This food manufacturer and marketer was founded in 1869 in Camden, located on the banks of the Delaware River, and the global company recently recommitted to the city it has called home for more than 140 years. A new 80,000 square foot building not only houses the company’s employee services and amenities, but it also serves as the new main entrance to the Campbell’s campus.
Jim Schunder, program manager, engineering for Campbell’s and project manager for the new employee center construction, says, “Our world headquarters facilities were built in the mid 1950s have been expanded upon through the years. The new Campbell Employee Center (CEC) was designed to provide services to all employees. The company wanted to create a signature building that would be the centerpiece of our campus. This building also helps us achieve our mission of ‘building the world’s most extraordinary food company by nourishing people’s lives everywhere, everyday.’ To achieve that mission, the company needs to attract, retain, and develop the best employees in the food industry.”
A Chat With Jim Schunder, Program Manager, Engineering, Campbell Soup Company
What are your responsibilities at the Campbell Soup Company?
I am senior project manager in the company’s Global Engineering Systems department. And I also acted as project manager for the Campbell Employee Center construction project.
How long have you worked for the Campbell Soup Company?
I have worked here for 17 years.
What is your favorite aspect of the new Campbell Employee Center building?
My favorite aspect of the employee center project is the pride you can see on employees’ faces when they see the building. We held a Family Day when the building opened where we hosted a barbeque and employees brought their families to see the new building. When people see the glass curtainwall and the larger than life red Campbell’s logo, their faces just light up. It really is a special place.
Employees also enjoy the outdoor courtyard during the spring, summer, and fall. Community organizations also use the facilities for their meetings—another way that Campbell gives back to the city. We conduct classes at Campbell University and the new fitness center is always in use.
What’s In The Building?
Designed by Philadelphia-based architects KlingStubbins, the new facility is situated on two levels, with an additional level partially underground. It accommodates departments and amenities geared toward Campbell’s employees. The employee services housed in the new building previously existed at the company, but this new facility provided the opportunity not only to consolidate those services, but also to modernize and upgrade those spaces.
The services that moved from older buildings into this new facility are: a cafeteria (referred to as the “café,” which features a 10 station soup bar as its centerpiece; a fitness center; the employee credit union; and a company store.
Meanwhile, the CEC building would also serve as the new main entrance to the headquarters campus, and the Campbell’s team wanted the building to make a visual impact. To that end, the company’s red and white logo is displayed prominently through a 38′ high glass curtainwall that spans the length of the front of the building. The logo was created on a red backpainted glass backdrop measuring 250′ long x 30′ high. It is fabricated from 140 separate panels, and the Campbell’s script is outlined by thousands of LED lamps.
Just inside the front door, a wide daylit hallway that runs the length of the building contains the reception desk and an exhibit space that provides a common space for employees and visitors to become acquainted with the building. They can also learn more about the company through the materials exhibited in the vast lobby area. For instance, there are awards and other recognitions Campbell’s has received through the years.
Also located in the lobby area are the employee credit union and the 2,600 square foot company store. Meanwhile, tables and chairs are placed in the lobby to accommodate guests and encourage interaction between employees.
As might be expected at the headquarters building of a major food manufacturer, the café is a major focus of the building. The food service area provides numerous meal options, including a soup bar. And there’s also a demonstration kitchen where the company promotes its products to chefs who work all over the world.
As another space that benefits from natural daylight, the café’s dining area is designed to encourage informal interactions between employees. For specific purposes, the space can be divided for small gatherings, but it also can double as a large conference space equipped with lighting controls and audiovisual systems.
While the new CEC revitalized offerings already available at the company, its construction also brought about a new amenity—a 27,500 square foot outdoor courtyard. With tables, chairs, and low walls for sitting, this area is often accessed through the café but can also be reached from other points. Employees can enjoy a meal in the courtyard, take a break among the greenery (which includes a fruit and vegetable garden complete with oversized soup bowl planters), or bring work out there (the space is equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities).
For more formal purposes, the courtyard can be arranged to accommodate company and public functions, including large gatherings that require special lighting, audiovisual capabilities, and a stage. The courtyard is also equipped with fixtures that will accept a tent to cover the area when desired.
Surrounded on all four sides by building structures, the new outdoor courtyard can be viewed from numerous interior spaces, which benefits occupants with outdoor views throughout the day.
The partial underground level of the CEC contains a fitness center and some storage areas. Current employees and retirees enter the fitness center by swiping an access card, and they can use the facility anytime throughout the day. The center contains strength training equipment and cardiovascular machines. There is also an aerobics room (where classes are offered), a massage room, and locker rooms with showers. A small office accommodates the fitness center staff.
Notes Schunder, “The CEC is a great tool to recruit talent. The building presents Campbell as a modern, forward looking company and makes candidates want to work here. The facility is also a great retention tool; it shows how much we value our employees.”
Getting Down To Business
The CEC is also home to Campbell University, the company’s training and development platform for new and existing employees in a variety of job types. “Campbell University, our learning and development center, provides dedicated classroom space so we can develop our employees’ skills and enrich their careers,” explains Schunder.
Campbell University existed previously, but the CEC construction provided the opportunity to upgrade these facilities into a fresh environment. The University, located on the upper level of the building, is comprised of a mix of training rooms and smaller break out areas. The training rooms are equipped with audiovisual systems which are capable of accommodating interactive distance learning through cameras, projectors, speakers, and microphones. Furniture in all of the rooms is computer ready with built in power and network connections.
Campbell University offers classroom based courses, webinars, podcasts, computer based training, and other tools designed to foster a variety of professional skills. This combined learning approach is designed to meet the needs of Campbell’s global workforce by allowing each employee to choose the learning method best suited to his or her needs.
New to the Campbell University facilities is a lobby type space where those attending seminars can informally gather. This common area also serves as a gathering space for snack, meals, or receptions related to the training center activities.
Sharing the CEC upper level with Campbell University is the company’s new boardroom. This space is furnished with a 24 person table, fabric wall panels, and banquette seating for guests. The room is supported by a projection suite with a glass rear projection system as well as teleconferencing capabilities.
Crafting The Existing Site
Actual construction of the CEC took less than one year—from October 2009 to the grand opening in June 2010, but planning for the project had been in the works for several years prior. Determining the particulars of the project required coming to agreeance on key points, both externally and inside the company.
Externally, the Campbell’s team worked with several government partners, since the endeavor was a private-public partnership with the State of New Jersey, Camden County, and the City of Camden. Those public entities invested approximately $23 million to improve road, water, and sewer infrastructure in the area.
For its part, Campbell’s made a $10 million pledge to Camden, which includes $2 million in public benefits to support professional development opportunities for residents; $5 million in grants from the Campbell Soup Foundation to continue its philanthropic work in the city; and $3 million through the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program, which provides businesses with a tax credit for funds given to non-profit entities carrying out revitalization programs in New Jersey.
Roadways surrounding the Campbell’s campus were improved, which benefited the community as well as the company’s site. Explains Schunder, “The work that took place included major road renovations surrounding our campus. And when combined with the reconfiguration of several roadways to the north, the new building serves as an inviting gateway to the campus, welcoming visitors, job candidates, and employees.”
Internally, the company decided on the design of its new building largely with a group approach. Says Schunder, “The process was very collaborative and dynamic. And Campbell’s CEO Douglas R. Conant was intimately involved in the process with a steering team of executives.”
The architectural firm, construction manager, and general contractor were also key, especially to Schunder’s daily work. As project manager, Schunder worked with Greyhawk, the construction manager, and Torcon, the general contractor, to keep the schedule on track. He also interfaced with all internal stakeholders.
“The single biggest challenge with the project,” Schunder says, “was the fact that construction of the building took place on our existing campus and in close proximity to all of our other buildings. We had to manage the project in such a way as to minimize disruption to business operations.”
Necessary safety precautions were put into place during construction, and heavy work was scheduled for off hours when possible. In one instance, a change that reduced costs also resulted in a quieter installation. Driven timber piles were originally specified for the building foundation, but Torcon later recommended using augured cast piles instead. The quieter installation proved to be less disruptive to employees working in nearby buildings.
Comments Schunder, “For me, a major highlight was the building was completed on time and under budget.”
LEED Silver Achieved
In designing the CEC, another goal for Campbell’s was to achieve LEED certification for the structure. “From day one, we kept in mind that we wanted this building to qualify for LEED certification,” says Schunder. The strategies used to lessen environmental impact in construction and operation included the use of natural light and daylight harvesting, installation of water conservation fixtures, specification of energy efficient HVAC equipment, and a choice of materials with reduced environmental impact. These and other efforts paid off when, in early 2011, the U.S. Green Building Council recognized the building with LEED Silver certification.
The most apparent use of illuminating with natural light appears in the main lobby with the vast curtainwall that fronts the structure, but the building design also lets daylight into other spaces. These include the café, the training rooms, and even the partially underground fitness center. Harvesting this natural light was another “green” move; in certain areas, lighting controls are programmed to turn off artificial lamps when enough outside light is available.
Meanwhile, the project team also focused on reducing water usage in the building. Plumbing fixtures and landscaping strategies are expected to use 20% less water than a similar building without such fixtures and strategies.
To ensure healthy indoor air quality (IAQ), carbon dioxide sensors were installed throughout the building. Additionally, strict codes were followed during construction to make sure the indoor air environment was not affected negatively.
Materials and resources were another area that Campbell’s focused on while pursuing LEED certification. All wood products used in the building are FSC certified, and carpeting and countertops are made from recycled materials.
On the exterior, the building features a reflective roof aimed at lowering heating and cooling energy needs. Another strategy used to gain LEED points was the selection of outdoor lighting fixtures that reduce light pollution.
Another focal point for sustainable actions was the CEC café, and there are numerous opportunities to be “green” in a food service operation. Several strategies used here: replacing take out disposable containers and trays with reusable containers; serving all “eat in” meals with china and silverware; and distributing a reusable mug to employees, which they receive discounts for using in the café.
In terms of employee commutes, the company had already been providing free shuttle service to and from mass transit depots in Camden and nearby Philadelphia, PA, and this practice continues. But new bicycle storage, showers, and changing rooms in the fitness center also encourage some to bike to work.
The project team also achieved LEED points through characteristics of the site. Explains Schunder, “Our decision to stay in Camden and redevelop an existing urban site with access to public transportation earned points toward the LEED certification process.”
The CEC earned a LEED point for Innovation and Design as well, since LEED-accredited professionals played integral roles on the design and construction teams. One of those team members, Tejoon Jung, AIA, LEED AP, design principal with KlingStubbins, comments, “Working with Campbell Soup on the design and realization of this building was highly rewarding from our perspective. We had the opportunity to create a building that embodied the pride of the Campbell’s brand and history while substantially improving the employees’ daily lives.”
Commenting on the sustainability measures Schunder says, “Qualifying for LEED certainly added discipline to the planning and construction process. But all of these efforts will save us money and help us further our sustainability goals. I am glad we’ve embraced this as a company and am excited for employees to be able to take advantage of everything the new building offers.”
The CEC is a striking example of the revitalization of Campbell’s campus and its surrounding community, but the company is making changes to its older facilities as well. For instance, the spaces that previously housed the cafeteria, credit union, and company store for employees are being renovated for other purposes. A renovation to the former fitness center was recently completed, and the company has also revamped numerous entrances and exits on its campus.
But getting back to the CEC, Schunder says, “The building is a tremendous success. It has changed the way that we work and has helped improve employee engagement. The café is filled every day, and employees enjoy the outdoor courtyard. It is everything we thought it would be and more.”
Project: Campbell Soup Company World Headquarters (Campbell Employee Center). Location: Camden, NJ. Type of Project: New Construction (and related renovations). Function of Facility: World Headquarters and employee services building. Owner: Campbell Soup Company. In House Project Management Team: Jim Schunder, program manager, Engineering, Campbell Soup Company. Square Footage: 80,000. Construction Timetable: October 2009 to June 2010. Architect and Electrical/Mechanical/Structural Engineer: KlingStubbins. General Contractor/Construction Manager: Greyhawk; Torcon. Interior Designer: KlingStubbins, with Herman Miller. Lighting Designer: KlingStubbins. Landscape Architect: KlingStubbins.
Furniture: Herman Miller. Seating: Coalesse; Davis; HBF. Tables: Geiger; ICF; HBF; Herman Miller; Prismatique. Carpet: Atlas; Milliken. Ceiling System: Ecophon. Cork Rubber Flooring: Zandur. Office Equipment: Avaya; Canon. Signage: Nordquist Sign Company. Surfaces: DuPont; Icestone; Zodiaq. Fabrics: Arc Com; Designtex; Knoll Textiles; Luna; Maharam; Textus. Drapery: Knoll Textiles. High Performance Coating: MAB Paints. Curtainwall Glass/Structural Steel Curtainwall Support: RA Kennedy & Sons, Inc. Wall Panels: COR Products, Inc.