KEITH opens new headquarters
For decades, offices at KEITH Manufacturing Co.'s world headquarters, in Madras, have been spread out among half a dozen modular units. This week, that changes, as team members move into a spacious new facility.
The recently completed two-story, 12,454-square-foot building on Northwest Adler Street will replace six modular units, which will be removed from the property as soon as the 54 current team members finish moving into their new quarters.
"By the end of the first week in February, everyone should be moved over," said Laura Crocker, media director for KEITH, which sells its patented KEITH Walking Floor unloader throughout the world.
With the move, President Mark Foster expects to increase efficiency. "The main benefits are having team members working together and collaborating in a centralized location," he said. "The new building is an exciting opportunity to bring our departments closer together. It is an effort to implement workplace flow, in line with our Lean Manufacturing efforts."
"It is also a chance for our team members to better know fellow team members with whom they may not currently work on a regular basis," he continued. "It is also an opportunity to increase our efficiency — heating, cooling, maintaining one main office location, as opposed to multiple modular offices."
Foster's father, Keith, who died in 2006 at age 83, founded the business, and introduced the first Walking Floor in the 1970s. The unloader is used around the world to move agricultural and mining products, solid waste, asphalt and aggregate, scrap metal, and bulk products for large grocery stores, among other uses.
"The most popular use of our Walking Floor unloading system continues to be in the waste and recycling industry," said Foster, whose company focuses on adapting its product offerings to meet customers' changing needs.
"Many of our customers in this sector are branching out to haul related products, like compost or construction and demolition materials," he said. "Therefore, it is important they have a versatile unloading system, which is what our product can offer."
The company, which is owned by the Foster family, has offices in The Netherlands, Canada and Mexico, and salespeople or distributors in the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, India, South America, Japan and South Korea.
Currently, the company employs 204 people in Madras, at its 62-acre site, and another 46 internationally.
For the coming year, Foster said, "We anticipate continued measured growth. Over the past year, we have added 14 team members, across production, engineering, sales and administration. We also are focused on some new geographic markets and new products that we hope will promote added growth."
The contractor, R&H Construction, broke ground on the new building on Oct. 13, 2016. Final cost of the project is expected to be between $2 million and $3 million.
The first phase of the project includes the masonry building and paved parking area, which will accommodate 88 cars. The building has a total of 64 workstations, with room for another 20.
"It's modern and classic, with a kind of casual, comfortable feel," said Crocker, who assisted Lindsay Foster-Drago, Foster's daughter and a co-owner of the company, with selecting the interior and exterior finishes, including the wooden walls, polished concrete floors, fixtures and furnishings.
In addition to the open office spaces for engineering, service, sales, media and marketing staff, the building has stairways on opposite sides and an elevator, three conference rooms, a computer room, coffee rooms, and several restrooms. The western wall of the large lunchroom has a roll-up windowed door that opens to a concrete patio for employee get-togethers. The lunchroom has views of the Cascades in the distance, and Desert Peaks Golf Course in the foreground.
The chief financial officer's and controller's office, accounting, information technology, and human resources offices are all located upstairs, in addition to Foster's large office, and desks for visitors.
Dana Signs, of Redmond, is working on a new sign for the building.
In the spring, the second phase will be completed, including grass for the bioswale in front of the building, and other landscaping.
Crocker, who was hired by Keith Foster in 1999, said that the company's founder had talked about a building for years, "but there was always something in his mind that was a better investment."
Mark Foster thinks his father would be impressed by the new facility. "He knew we needed something different," said Foster. "He was working on a different office project and idea before he passed away; this office is different than what he had in mind. I am sure he would be pleased."