State Farm COO: New Richardson hub move-in ahead of schedule

By Candace Carlisle | Staff Writer
Dallas Business Journal
Jake Dean / Dallas Business Journal 
State Farm President and COO Michael Tipsord seemed happy Tuesday. After all, the move into the company's regional hub in Richardson is ahead of schedule and the company's operations haven't been impacted by the phased move.
The Bloomington, Illinois-based insurance company began moving the first of its 8,000 expected North Texas employees into its regional hub at CityLine inRichardson in mid-January.
"The move has gone extremely well,"Tipsord told the Dallas Business Journal after Tuesday's Richardson Chamber Annual Meeting at the Renaissance Hotel Dallas-Richardson. "We've visited with some of our employees that were the first move-ins and they were so excited about the location.
"Also, what's exciting is what's going on around it," he added. "You can see theWhole Foods going in, the hotel going in and all of those things that are being built around the hub — that's what we are excited about."
State Farm already has a move-in plan in place for its Atlanta and Phoenix hubs, which are currently under construction,Tipsord said. The employees in those hubs are being housed in temporary office locations.
Tipsord dashed rumors that State Farm Insurance planned to move its headquarters from Illinois at Tuesday's Richardson Chamber Annual Meeting at the Renaissance Hotel Dallas-Richardson.
"It has been our headquarters from the beginning and we have substantial investment in Bloomington, Illinois," he told me, putting an emphasis on the word substantial. "And its just our roots of the organization."
The Illinois corporate offices will have the single largest employee base for State Farm, he said, despite the company building major employment hubs in Richardson, Phoenix and Atlanta.
Essentially, State Farm will have four multifunctional hubs in the United States, including its corporate headquarters in Illinois, he said. But the Illinois corporate hub will have more than twice as many employees and be the largest center.
In Richardson, the company plans to employ about 8,000 employees. The corporate headquarters in Bloomington there's roughly 15,000 employees. The company employs 65,000 people worldwide.
The Richardson hub includes a data center, which is currently under construction, and sets it apart from other hubs that won't have that component on the regional campus. Tipsord said the new data center will replace an existing data hub in North Texas.
The stability of the company's basic operations are a critical part to State Farm's move into the three new regional hubs, he said. For Richardson, about 600 employees already are in the first tower (actually named CityLine 3), with the next two buildings (CityLine 1 and CityLine 2) expected to be operational in phases later this year.
Next year, State Farm plans to begin moving into the fourth tower (CityLine 4). The company has leased 2 million square feet of office space within four towers at CityLine, a massive mixed-use development being orchestrated by Dallas-based KDC.
Tipsord said he's seen two floors of the CityLine campus. State Farm has yet to roll out the red carpet for the Dallas Business Journal to tour, but he offered us some insight into the new hub.
"The utilization of the sunlight coming in through the windows — no offices are going up against the windows — gives it a more open environment," he told me. "It has an interesting architecture, with reclaimed wood, exposed concrete and open duct work in places.
"We also have some interesting chairs," he said, laughing. "They are ergonomically correct, or have a twist. They are just different."
The Carter Group in Dallas is heading up State Farm's relocation of employees. The company's leader Steve Carter told me the move has gone phenomenally well.
"When you think about the complexities of a call center with multiple shifts and them needed to know where and when they should show up, it can be difficult," Carter said. "All things have worked out well."
Carter said the Richardson move-in could set a precedent for State Farm's other regional moves. State Farm's Phoenix employees are slated for move in during the first quarter of 2016. Atlanta is expected to follow in the first quarter of 2017.   
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