This article was published in the Spring 2019 edition of Silicon Slopes Magazine.
By Nathan Lenahan, WeWork VP/General Manager for Mt. West/Texas territories
Utah is a state of tremendous beauty. As WeWork prepares to open one of its newest markets here in the Beehive State, our thoughts surrounding the opportunity to support this already thriving ecosystem start there.
From Zion to Arches National Park, one need only spend a few moments in those narrow canyons or in the shadow of massive rock formations intricately hewn by time to understand that this is a truly unique place which has always played host to and inspired great things. Spread across the Wasatch, high on those (silicon) slopes, are the quaking aspen whose dulcet sounds of fluttering leaves in a summer wind are as soothing as their colors are inspiring in the fall. Yet it’s the relationship to what lies beneath their tall splendor that is the most apt metaphor for the Utah of today and the partnership WeWork aims to fulfill.
In a poem written by Nikita Gill, she states that “In the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, there is an Aspen Grove made of 47,000 trees. Until they discovered that it was not a forest of trees but one single organism, joined together by a single root system connected so strongly, so intimately that it forms an entire forest, tough, breathing, beautiful. . .”
Like the aspen, it would be hard not to notice all of the incredible things being built here in Utah. Less visible, however, is the shared undercurrent of industry, ruggedness, innovation, and community that has made such thoughtful, seismic growth possible. It is that spectrum of impressive work, the connective tissue and the creative developments that results, which WeWork is excited to support.
WeWork provides more than 400,000 members around the world with space, community, and services through both physical and digital offerings. Founded in New York City in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, WeWork currently has more than 400 physical locations in 100 cities and 27 countries around the world. We transform buildings into dynamic environments for creativity, focus, and collaboration. From mothers rooms to kombucha, classrooms to boardrooms, communal spaces to heads-down private offices, this is more than just a new way of working. It’s a movement toward a new way of living, a generation of “We” over “me”, but Utahns figured that one out a long time ago.
While WeWork is a global company, we operate each building using a hyper-local playbook by working with key partners across the community to create a WeWork experience that connects and supports local needs. Each WeWork location serves as a platform focused on meeting our members where they are today — from a two-person startup to a Fortune 500 company — and helping them grow to where they want to be tomorrow, in a year, over the course of a decade.
We empower companies of all sizes to find and build community in thriving, innovative spaces in the cities of their choosing without sacrificing global reach and connectivity because when you’re a member of one WeWork you’re a member at all, from Bogota to Ho Chi Minh City, Lehi to Singapore. With a global workplace on tap in 100 cities and 27 countries across the planet, you can start and build teams in Utah that will never have to pack up and ship out when they reach a certain scale, if they don’t want to.
As my colleague Dave Fano, WeWork’s Chief Growth Officer, said on stage at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, “We’re using data to help companies deliver an optimal workplace experience anytime, anywhere.”
Our first action in Utah was to acquire an amazing Utah-founded and -based company, Teem, which is a leading SaaS platform that provides enterprises with tools to help optimize places and analytics to unleash their potential. At WeWork, we understand the power of technology to connect space and people. Whether we’re serving members in WeWork locations or supporting Powered by We clients in their spaces, our focus has always been to create a workplace that improves productivity, encourages collaboration, and creates an engaging environment that makes people excited to come to work each day. Together, WeWork and Teem will be able to help companies deliver an amazing employee experience everyday and everywhere.
Not only does Utah have Teem, the best skiing on the planet, and play host to one of the US’s leading tech summits, but it’s also had the fastest-growing labor force -- more than triple the nation’s 0.6% pace -- of any US state since January 2010 and forged an economy capable of producing the nation’s fastest job growth over the last 12 months.
It’s clear that Utah is already home to a thriving ecosystem of innovative companies, each like the aspen growing above but connected beneath by a strong and interconnected support network. As a platform focused on empowering companies and creators of all stripes do their best work, WeWork cannot wait to help Utah’s innovators grow taller while at the same time more interconnected.
That is why, as our Chief Growth Officer announced on stage, we’re excited to open not fewer than four locations across Salt Lake City and Lehi in 2019, providing companies of all sizes and stages of growth the resources they need to build, stay, and grow here in Utah. Our first location will open in June in Lehi, followed quickly thereafter with two additional locations in Salt Lake City. You can learn more about our Utah spaces online.
The We generation is entrepreneurial, the creators, leaders, and self-starters trying new things without being afraid to fail. It’s tenacious, never willing to settle and full of perseverance. Above all, it’s community and family, place and purpose. From the nature that surrounds to the people building the future of Utah, this is a truly unique place which has always played host to great things and individuals.
WeWork is redefining the employee experience to pursue an intention greater than ourselves. Space, community, local and global connectivity, “We” over “me.” This is Utah, this is WeWork, and we’re excited to build better, together. We’re just getting started.