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Jenna Gaudio (second from left) with her former intern Lauren Masterson (at left) and Leann Burns and Albert Holguin, current Vydia Interns. Masterson was one of Gaudio’s first interns at Yashi who rose through the ranks and is now head of marketing at video production company Postcreatives in Asbury Park.
You’ve heard the stereotypes of Millennials, that can’t use a land line, that they need prizes for showing up. Tough to manage, difficult to to motivate, and lacking in loyalty, just a few claims against them. But are they accurate? And now that this generational workforce has flooded the office, how do you get them to be productive? Bean bag chairs? A French bulldog for the office?
For expert Millennial advice we turned to Jenna Gaudio, director of marketing at Vydia,a high tech startup located at Bell Works, and a member of vi Collaboration Hub the coworking space here. Vydia provides musicians the ability to monetize, promote, and distribute their music video content. It’s also home to Millennials whom Gaudio hires, trains and manages with success. She doesn’t just deal with this generation in the workforce, she embraces it.
“Don’t discredit the potential of your entry level workers, including your interns,” Gaudio said who previously worked for the ad tech company Yashi, where curating young talent was key to helping build (and sell) the company.
“I quickly learned after onboarding my first ‘dream team’ of interns that they had a lot to offer and could contribute in big ways if presented with the right opportunity. Given the right training and attention, they successfully converted to full time employees upon graduation and quickly rose through the ranks. Those that put in the extra work and showed outstanding performance even took on management positions within the span of a year or two.”
Here are Gaudio’s insights on how to hire, retain and motivate Millennials:
Every single employee is an investment. Aside from salary, the cost of each team member is increased by the price tag of recruitment, onboarding, training, equipment, team perks and ongoing industry education. To minimize that cost, turnover clearly must become the enemy.
But retention tactics aren’t going to improve by blaming a misunderstood generation, but rather tapping into what actually motivates them to stay. To continue to benefit from the allstars you handpicked to work for you, there are a few things you need to understand about this generation.
Look around. Do you feel inspired at work, or do you feel like you’re in jail? Setting up an work environment that makes people happy will yield many desirable results with your employees. Bright, motivating surroundings trigger inspired work output. Comfortable chairs encourage endurance for those that produce results in front of a phone or computer all day. Coffee and tea make the afternoon slump more productive and healthy snacks will prevent your staff from conceding to a empty stomach in lieu of staying late to get ahead of a few projects.
Seating arrangements are important to. There’s nothing worse then being out of the loop and having zero pulse on what’s going on with the company because your workstation is isolated. Collaborative setups stimulate conversation and a collaborative culture. When everyone is more accessible problems get figured out faster, brainstorming adds insight in making better decisions, and a couple minutes of football talk Monday morning, or watching the latest viral video helps decompress the stress of powering through the week. Maybe private cubicles and fluorescent lights were the standard for previous generations, but with modern companies iterating on the work environments of Google and Apple, it’s not hard to find a place you look forward to spending your 9-5.
As Vydia’s CEO plans out the design of our new office, he’s mindfully designed an office that gives the illusion of being outside (you should see our floor to ceiling windows) with collaborative work stations on grass-like flooring, rustic furniture made of wood and lots of bright, creative colors. The office will have Silicon Valley-like supplies like walls covered in idea paint and a variety of seating and workspace options to fit the project and position that makes you feel most productive. Put some thought into making your workplace more welcoming and you’re on your way to welcoming a loyal Millennial workforce.
Millennials get criticized for their never ending multitasking, but it’s a premium quality that employers search for when hiring new talent. The number one way to kill multitasking momentum is lack of purpose and boredom. Analyze the capability and competency of each person and make sure you are maximizing it. This doesn’t mean fill their time with busy work. There is a stigma that Millennials think they are too good for small tasks or they deserve more than they’ve earned, but give your employees a fair and balanced workload of necessary tedious tasks and assignments that challenge and require personal input, and you’ll be amazing at how well they perform.
Vydia is growing quickly in all departments so everyone needs to be a self-starter, including the interns. We communicate ideas, progress and completed tasks through Trello boards. First thing in the morning, I’ll set the interns up with several tasks, prioritize them and check back in when I get notified that they’ve made progress or completed a task or two. I make sure that they have a well-balanced plate of responsibilities and that they understand the importance and impact of each project they work on. If you’re not giving them enough interesting responsibilities at work, you can guarantee they spend their days dreaming of their next job.
You set goals and benchmarks for your employees and you hire the people you think can achieve them. Your employees choose to accept this mission with the understanding that you will set them up for success. Providing the right tools and technology are an absolute MUST DO if you plan on keeping Millennial talent. If you don’t know what the latest technology is then it’s time you utilize your new Millennial talent to show you.
I thought I was well read and connected on the latest technology, but it was my interns that pointed out my lack of perspective when Snapchat broke onto the scene. I joked about the juvenile concept at first, but once they explained the upside of video as a fast and dataless communication medium, inclusive of video moments and messages from friends and family, nearly in real-time, I began to see it as tool, not just a Millennial novelty.
That opened me up to its potential as a platform for professional and amature journalism. Now I was getting a front row experience of political debates and exotic vacations. Snapchat’s use of video is a perfect example of how video disrupted the digital landscape and we (the over 25 crowd) didn’t even see its full potential. It was our interns who educated us.
Distributing old, dirty computers with easily infected operating systems, riddled with out-of-date software that lack proper easy interoffice communication won’t just hurt your Millennials’ motivation. It will hamper your profitability by self sabotaging your chance to optimize your entire team. Simply asking new employees what kind of technology they prefer and fulfilling their reasonable requests shows that your support and motivates them to give you their best work.
Offering a job and starting salary isn’t enough to have this generation’s workers churn increasing workloads week after week. The stereotype that Millennials think they deserve a promotion before putting in the work is false, and a clear indication that you’re not managing their expectations and needs properly.
Millennials are educated, motivated young people that want to know where they stand, how they can improve and what it will take for them to grab onto that next rung on the ladder. Giving them a job function and disappearing will make Millennials feel like they lack visibility in the company. Micromanaging them makes them feel like you don’t trust their judgement and capabilities. Providing timely feedback on projects and honest performance tips keep Millennials on the right track and feeling like the job you’ve given them is helping them grow personally and professionally.
As a manager, I like to earn the trust of my employees by showing them that I can relate to them and that I was once in their shoes. I illustrate mistakes I’ve already made so they don’t have to. I make myself accessible if they have questions that are stalling their work progress and make sure they know that I care about their personal and professional growth.
If they don’t feel the magic and are lacking motivation, I let them know I’m willing to help them find their purpose, but if they don’t see it here then they should chase those dreams. No need to hold on to something that’s not a win-win for everyone.
Incentives are a great way to yield better results, but empty promises equal high turnover. No one wants to work for someone they don’t trust. An enjoyable environment and proper perks are great, but making sure your staff feels valued and respected is the only way to keep them long term. The internet exists, which means your employees know what the average salary is, they also know what kind of perks and benefits other companies provide.
Each company is different so you don’t have to offer everything that everyone does, but figure out what your value proposition is to your employees. Communicate what is important, explain your expectations, and be honest when you have issues with them. Also, make sure you compensate them for the amount of work they churn out, which can include a combination of salary, benefits, equity, education and fitness programs, flexible hours, catered meals, etc.
The most important part of your offerings is follow through. If the company falls on tough times and culture activities have to get rolled back until revenue efforts come through, be transparent with your team and they will respect you more for it.
Working for a company that has the right culture is one of the most important factors assessed when a Millennial picks a job. We will spend over a third of our life at work and no one wants to spend that much time avoiding crude colleagues and and cringing at a lack of company guidelines. The company you work for is an extension of who you are as a person, the same way your employees are brand ambassadors for your company. Morals and values matter and vary person to person. Make sure your team works well together. Don’t hold on to bad seeds that breed a toxic, negative environment.
I’ve found that both big and small companies will put you in a position that ask you to do something outside the scope of work that was on your offer letter. Having a workforce that enjoys the team win more than the personal win is an important mantra embedded in Vydia’s culture up front. If someone ever tries to say, “That’s not my job” to a task they’ve been handed, you better believe we’re going to have a sidebar. If you were asked to do something, you’re the right person. Make sure to always lead by example too. When I set up team building events and the workshop is underway, I don’t make the intern’s pick up lunch and miss out on activities.
There’s plenty of tedious tasks for them to do, but don’t do it at the expense of their growth with the company. Set your expectations up front and reward the ones that work to exceed your standards. You’re only as strong as your weakest Millennial so make sure they’ve got a good attitude and good intentions on elevating your brand.
We talk a lot about how Millennials can add or detract from a company, but let’s not overlook that they are shopping employers as well. Each candidate is also analyzing their investment of their time spent working for an employer. In order to get your money’s worth of each Millennial, you have to start by treating them like individuals instead of assets. Every employee brings a different perspective to your company, adding depth and value to your workforce. Millennials are ready to show you a new and improved definition of loyalty, if you learn what makes them feel fulfilled.
Jenna Gaudio is director of marketing at Vydia. Jenna’s love for video technology started while studying Communication & Film Studies at Monmouth University where she remains an active mentor. Click here to learn about Vydia job openings.
It’s 7:30 a.m. and the aroma of roasting chicken and fresh soup turns heads as people begin to walk in the doors of Bell Works. You can also smell eggs, bacon and Booskerdoo coffee. It’s still quiet, except for the sounds of Sarah Shields and Richard Carroll moving behind the display counter, in between the open kitchen oven and refrigerators, cooking and getting set up for the day.
Welcome to Cafe Bell.
When you walk into the main doors of Bell Works, you can see the bustle of people around the Cafe’s glass cases and counter at the far end of the building. Some stop to talk with Sarah and Richard, co-managers of Cafe Bell, trading casual greetings or catching up on the latest Bell happenings.
Cafe Bell is in the center of the hum and buzz of the place.
Open since February 2016, it wasn’t long before Bell Works tenants began to refer to the space, affectionately, as The Big Bang Cafe — a salute to the iconic building’s former life as Bell Labs and the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation that led to the Big Bang Theory. During the first few months it was open, Sarah greeted every person by name as they walked through on their way to their offices. Now, Sarah has to pause and think sometimes before coming up with a name. During the last nine months, the traffic into the building has increased exponentially. Quiet time is the exception rather than the rule, now.
It’s no accident — the Cafe’s place at the heart of this emerging mini city nestled in the suburbs. (Here they call it a metroburb.) Capitalizing on the very powerful role that sharing a meal plays in building community, the cafe’s physical location was a very deliberate decision on the part of the design team to give a space for the Bell Works community to come together to support and inspire each other. Under the aegis of David Ellis Events, the cafe is both an anchor and a magnet in the Bell Works metroburb concept.
As the lunch crowd begins to pick up near noontime, pioneers and start ups like Springboard Public Relations and Wisdom + Craft (a UX/UI agency) stand with established innovators like McCann Systems and Symbolic IO and trade weather reports, casual banter that turns into animated storytelling about weekend errands and pastimes. Often, that turns into sharing a table for lunch and, somehow, that seamlessly segues into recommendations for meeting other professionals who are working on similar projects and goals. Phone numbers and emails are exchanged before the budding colleagues take off, back to their respective desks.
David and Sarah see it every day. Cafe Bell is one of the places in Bell Works where serendipity shakes hands with opportunity and new ideas are sparked — and partnerships begin.
Cafe Bell is open from 7:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and serves breakfast and lunch to more than one hundred people each day. Most are working at Bell. They’re entrepreneurs. They’re team members at one of more than a dozen innovation start ups and established industry leaders in the building. They’re members of the construction teams working nearly around the clock to rehab office space and transform common spaces. Maybe its you and me. Cafe Bell is open to the public.
Visitors may enter the building through the front door and sign in at the guest book. Though much of the building is under construction (and thus, off limits) visitors can spent time in the grand atrium and hang out in the cafe as long as they want.
Soon, Sarah and Richard will be bringing on another full-time staff member. As Bell Works signs more and more new businesses, traffic at the “Big Bang” Cafe has picked up. Some afternoons, the line wraps around the counter as regulars and new customers wait to put in their order for one of the fresh, stacked sandwiches, or a salad, soup or one of several mouthwatering sides.
“We’re working on adding hot items to the menu,” Richard says. “Meatloaf, all kinds of parmesans and curries. Something special for all tastes.” Daily Specials are posted on a big white board and change depending on which fresh ingredients Richard and Sarah source each day. “It’s all fresh and it’s made by us — right here— to order,” Richard asserts. “Our goal is to provide quality food and quick service in a familiar, warm and welcoming environment.”
And it is warm, and it is welcoming…by design. Paola Zamudio, owner of NPZ Syle & Decor, chose each detail for Cafe Bell with intent, and a commitment to serving the community well through each stage of growth at Bell Works. There is a space for every mood. All furnishings and arrangements are part of a purposeful plan to cultivate a feeling of inspiration that honors the building’s past as the center of innovation for the entire world.
“People who work here, they enjoy getting up and walking out to the cafe area which looks more like the great room in a lodge or a resort than any cafe you might think of,” Sarah comments. “If they’re looking for some quiet time alone at a table with their laptop, they can find that. If they’re looking for a more traditional, interactive experience with co-workers, friends or a potential project partner, we have tables for those people, too.”
If long, family-style tables and smaller, more intimate round tables don’t call to you on any particular day, there are also couches you can curl into and sit looking out of the enormous windows at the trees.You can watch the birds perching and swooping by in every season.
In addition to Cafe Bell’s breakfast and lunch service, under the umbrella of David Ellis Events, Sarah and Richard also work with clients to design and execute corporate events and charity galas in the Bell Works building. Both managers have an impressive background in the culinary arts and the food services industry. Sarah came to Cafe Bell from Somerset where she managed the cafe in the Somerset YMCA. Richard, a 25 year veteran of culinary services and a long-time private chef and caterer with David Ellis, was most recently working with a short list of exclusive clients in Montauk, NY.
From office lunches to community events welcoming hundreds of guests, Richard and Sarah work with their David Ellis Events team to provide memorable experiences for every occasion.
During the last two months, Sarah and Richard have both seen more and more people touring the building to see what’s going on. “They’re excited to see the work in progress,” Sarah observes. Often, they stop and get something to eat, taking time to sit and talk about the future of the building and how Bell Works is bringing the iconic architectural masterpiece built by Eero Saarinen back into the spotlight as a magnet for business — including retail and entertainment.
The building’s reinventor Ralph Zucker of Somerset Development, envisions the open spaces inside the building as a public street, and it’s atrium a piazza where people can get together and meet each other, whether they work in an office here or shop in one of its future stores or just live in the community.
“Our vision has always been to give Bell Works back to the people, to open it as a public space,” Zucker said. “Typical office buildings say, ‘Keep out.” Our philosophy is, ‘Come in.’ It’s not just a place for tenants. It’s a place for everybody.”
Richard smiles and looks around the room during a brief lull in service. “We have quite a few old Bell Lab employees who come in to eat with us. They like to check on what’s happening now and what’s happening next. They walk up to see the space where their labs used to be. They sit here in the cafe and talk with their old partners and friends about where they are now and what they’re working on. They’re all so impressed and happy to see the place coming alive again, getting busier and busier. It’s amazing.”
2016 Major League Hacking Annual #Hackathon with Viacom interns, iCIMS and many others.
There is a shift in the suburban landscape as millennials and other established professionals search for perfection — the best of urban life including walkable neighborhoods and easy access to routine destinations like grocery stores, clinics and restaurants — all in a suburban location that offers plenty of what’s best in suburbia like trees, hiking trails, and lots of open space. At Bell Works, Somerset Development’s Ralph Zucker is turning that dream into reality for thousands of local residents and businesses.
Set back in the trees of Holmdel, New Jersey on the site of the former Bell Labs complex, Bell Works is taking shape as a tiny city neighborhood housed in a 2 million square foot building.
“It’s the same size as the Empire State Building, just on its side,” says Zucker.
Somerset is preserving much of the architectural legacy of Eero Saarinen’s mid-century masterpiece with a European style piazza inside it’s glass walls. It’s five stories of office space are quickly filling up with established tech companies McCann Systems and iCIMS, as well as plenty of pioneering start ups like NVIDIA and WorkWave.
But it’s the ground floor that’s likely to change the way New Jerseyans live.
NPZ Style + Decor co-working space for vi Innovation Hub
Crews are working day and night here (especially at night), renovating spaces for new tenants right alongside offices already occupied by start-ups and firms in marketing, architecture, technology and entertainment. They’re also rehabbing common spaces that tenants and the public alike are invited to enjoy.
Just outside the affectionately dubbed Big Bang Cafe, construction crews work to build an expansive rooftop patio that overlooks Japanese gardens originally designed by American landscape architects Sasaki, Walker & Associates. Inside along the quarter mile pedestrian walkway between the connected buildings, workers swap out another 1980’s panel wall for the clear glass partitions that will be retail storefronts, restaurants, bars, a coffee shop, even a hair stylist. There’s likely to be a doctor’s office and a daycare, too, along with a gym and maybe your lawyer’s and accountant’s office.
What’s happening at Bell Works, says Zucker, the visionary behind the project, is a metroburb.
“Metroburb”, a term coined by the New Urbanist movement, is an urban hub, a core, a little metropolis in a suburban location. Zucker describes it to visitors like this, “A large-scale mixed use building, with great access, office, retail, entertainment, hospitality, residential, health, wellness, fitness, everything you would find in a metropolis but in a great suburban location. Think Red Bank, Morristown and New Brunswick.”
Other metroburbs, like Huntington Beach, California — Surf City — are proof of that the concept thrives. Established metroburbs boast a very high percentage of white collar workers (74% of total workforce on average) and some of the lowest crime rates and best performing schools (The Demand Institute). Metroburb communities are stable, safe and attractive places to live and work, constantly generating and attracting opportunity.
And millennials aren’t the only influential demographic demanding a better life balance and more effective integration of work and home responsibilities. Take Christian DiMare, Founder of Bridge Technology and one of the newest members of the Bell Works community. DiMare recruits highly skilled tech talent and places them with industry leaders who are pushing business forward through innovative digital platforms. He works with both millennials and veteran professionals with established reputations as highly valued employees, placing them in highly desirable job opportunities.
“These are people who can pick and choose where they work, and with whom they work,” says DiMare. “More and more, they’re coming to me with aspirations that include not spending three hours a day commuting to the City (New York). Oh, they still want all the opportunity and the excitement of working in a place like New York, but they want it closer to a home that offers them a chance to live around parks, with views of trees and the chance for backyard barbeques.”
And that’s why Bell Works is winning over tenant after tenant — by offering a near perfect combination of urban and suburban assets. Even local residents, some of whom had serious misgivings when the Bell Works project was first introduced, are becoming more and more excited as the project moves from concept boards and CGI presentations to a reality they can walk through and see in action. In the October 20, 2016, digital edition of The Journal, Eric Hinds, former mayor of Holmdel, affirmed this, saying, “Real companies with real jobs are coming together to create this new ‘live-work-play’ compound that will allow people to have great jobs without having to commute an hour to get to work.”
Jonathan Foster, Design Build Project Manager at Nicholl Field Design, a tenant of vi Collaboration Hub’s coworking space at Bell Works, describes the metroburb appeal using a time-honored liet motif — food, “There is a new planning standard for compressing the distance of live and work and the private sector is following suit with retrofitting spaces like malls. The Pad development that serves the typical hamburger isn’t the desired choice for professionals. Lunch breaks don’t happen often or for a set amount of time. That’s where the convenience comes from, not a crappy hamburger.”
It’s just a coffee stand now inside the Bell Works Cafe but Booskerdoo will grow into a full coffee bar this summer to serve large crowds. And they’re going to need to. Companies like iCIMS aren’t stocking their new office with coffee pots or cafeterias, instead says Deborah Walsh, workplace services executive for the company, CEO Colin Day wants his employees out and about meeting other people when they need a caffeine break.
According to Nancy Erickson, Executive Managing Director of Retail Sales with Colliers International, New Jersey, other tenants are following suit, foregoing in-office kitchens and coffee stations to promote networking and interaction. Bell Works will support this with as many as 2,000 seats scattered throughout common areas where workers can get a change of scenery while they work on their laptop or have meetings in a casual setting.
“The whole building will be open,” she said.
Where completely open offices have failed for some, the open access of the airport sized building at Bell Works – and the built-in city feel – is something Zucker knows is the future of work.
“Millennials are no longer chained to their desks,” he said, “and we can’t force them to go to mind-numbing office parks. We no longer work 9-5, and it has changed the fabric of our society.”
In an interview with NPR this summer Chris Sullens CEO of WorkWave, and one of Bell Works’ first tech lessees, said it was this exact quality that made him choose to move his local software company which employees many millennials.
“They want to work with great technology. They want to work with great people. And they want to do it in an environment that they like to come to work in,” Sullens told NPR’s Joel Rose. “From our standpoint, we get that feel and vibe here at Bell Works.”
By the time most tenants at Bell Works push through the revolving doors to start their day, dozens of tradespeople, still wearing their hardhats, are already eating lunch in the cafe. Transforming the 80’s interiors of Bell Labs into the modern, dynamic spaces for the current and future tenants at Bell Works is a full-time endeavor. “Tradespeople are here nearly around the clock,” says Michael Farrell, account executive and on-site manager for Structure Tone, the international firm tasked with overseeing the entire construction operation at Bell Works.
Structure Tone is at the leading edge of construction management, with extensive experience with big-vision-large-scale projects, but it’s Farrell and his team who are on-site and responsible for coordinating the day-to-day building trades operations and construction work at Bell. “Sometimes, there’s as much going on here at night as there is during the day,” he said. “The first day shift comes in at 7:30 a.m. and heads out around 3:30 or 4 p.m. Then the first night shift of workers come in around 6 p.m. and the last shift wraps up about 6 a.m. the next day.”
It’s an impressive feat of organization, coordinating all the moving parts needed to keep Bell Works growing. The work required for scheduling and record-keeping alone are Herculean tasks. Farrell says it’s made much easier thanks to the incredibly professional, cordial and hardworking team that has come together on the project. “As construction manager, I’m fortunate to be working with great professionals, including teams from The Garibaldi Group, Alexander Gorlin Architects, Mancini Duffy, NPZ Design and our principal engineers, Becht Engineering, and Stantec. And of course, there’s Somerset Development. Ralph (Zucker) and David (Schreiber) and Tom (Michnewicz) and everyone in their offices have made this whole enterprise, not only possible, but actually, fun. It’s a dream team, really.”
As the photos demonstrate, the interior of the iconic masterpiece by renowned architect Eero Saarinen looks different every day as workers retrofit the older, secluded offices into modern open workspaces, complete with everything a tenant needs to take full advantage of improved work practices and efficiencies thanks to technology.
And these transformations are happening while companies like Spirent and MetTel — as well as boutique firms sharing coworking space in Vi Innovation Hubs like Nicholl Field Design and Silver Style Pictures are all carrying on their workday. At least half a dozen teams are actively working on site and Farrell and his team coordinate everything from the demo of old spaces, to installation of new electric and plumbing, to delivery and setup of furniture for each space. It’s a balancing act; new tenants are excited to move in and current tenants need to be able to continue their work in a fully functional, professional space — without significant disruption.
A crew of over 250 people, including management and tradespeople, are completely overhauling six floors of office, retail, restaurant and meeting space is being completely overhauled. These professionals are work nearly around the clock, six to seven days a week many weeks and nearly every day during the year. Structure Tone has been on site since the end of June 2016, and since taking over as construction manager, the pace has picked up, substantially. Michael’s 16-18 person team works, “Hand in hand — in real time — with the developer and the real estate teams,” he says. “Everything is coordinated and — so far — everything is coming in on time and on budget.”
And there are a couple of things that have worked in favor of the goals for being ‘on time and on budget’. For one thing, Farrell says that the symmetry of the mid-century architectural notable is brilliant in its elegant simplicity, “It doesn’t take long to wrap your head around the bones of the place.”
In fact, the building is is up for consideration for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and to qualify there are some very specific guidelines to follow as the structure is rehabbed. “Honestly, that’s one of the aspects of this job that’s proven how amazing Ralph is as a leader” Farrell said. “He’s so dedicated to preserving and honoring the legacy of this building…he’s asked his team to move mountains and work with us to make that happen.”
Then, there is all the extra time and resources necessary to coordinate the salvaging and reuse of many of the materials. “It comes with its challenges,” Farrell said, “but from a sustainability perspective, it’s well worth it.”
As Farrell walks through the atrium, he watches workers on ladders, moving around in future tenant spaces, working on wiring or walking through the building end to end in pairs talking to each other about the next step of their project. “One of the best things about this project, I think, is that many of the people working on and in the building are people who live right in Monmouth County. This isn’t just another job for them. It’s personal. The work they do here makes their home community a better place to live and work and that’s important to them.”
Whenever possible, crews are salvaging and reusing materials, part of the ongoing commitment by Somerset Development to sustainable practices in new construction at Bell Works.
This increased activity at the metroburb in Holmdel, NJ, is sparking strong reaction from people who’ve followed the Bell Works project from the very beginning.
Lynn Septoff, a member of the David Ellis Events team who was on-site in early 2016 to help set up Cafe Bell, came back recently when the company hosted a pop up event. She was overwhelmed by the changes, “I was here, maybe a year ago ago, and it felt so different. It wasn’t a ghost town, but there were mostly construction workers and just a few people hanging out in the space where we were setting up the cafe.”
Now the cafe is busy from early morning until 2 p.m. with tradespeople, tenants and visitors. During the lunchtime rush the line is sometimes 20 people deep. “Back then I thought, ‘I don’t know if they can pull this off.’ But now — Wow!”
Bell Works has marched through its early life as a concept — an inspiration — and is firmly engaged in the next phase of its growth — the hustling, bustling, buzzing reality of Bell Works, working.
And what’s next? “Crews are working now on constructing a rooftop terrace — it’s going to be gorgeous,” Farrell said. “We’re upgrading all the entrances soon. Also happening now, the lower level, which we’re calling ‘event space’ — we’re rehabbing the conference center and lecture hall. Stay tuned. It’s only going to get more interesting.”