(Today’s article by guest writer Heather Ryerson, Also photos by Heather off Brown Appliance)
We first told you about Axle Logistics in 2019 when they purchased the North Knoxville property, began construction on Central Ave in 2020 and then again in 2021 when they opened that location roughly 18 months ago. By the time they moved into their current building, the Hull Dobbs Building, they were overcrowded and needed to quickly expand the basement development to provide more open office space.
The company was recently named a Top Workplace Award winner by Knox News. The award is based entirely on employee feedback and the surveys are independently administered. This is in addition to being named to Inc.’s top 5000 list of growing businesses. in 2022. This marks their 7th inclusion on the list since their inception just 10 years ago.
In recent months, they purchased the adjacent block where the former Brown Appliance building, at the corner of Pruitt and Central, now stands. Design Innovation Architects and Denark Construction, which worked on the Hull Dobbs Building project, are scheduled to complete this project as well. I sat down with Ali Fraley, VP of Learning and Development, who has been with Axle for eight years and has been part of the company’s exponential growth. We talked about plans for this project and more.
He said while they don’t have a construction start date, they do have outdoor renderings and know they plan to build a five-story building that will house 900 employees. It will include many of the employee-friendly amenities they have in their current space, but on a larger scale. The new construction will have a half-court basketball court with a walking track on top, a sauna and a larger workout space with plans for a rooftop outdoor space with large office floors and glass windows. wall to show the transparency and openness they developed at Axle.
One obstacle that they face in this new project and this area of Central Ave is parking for those new employees. Axle is working with the city to figure out how they can safely and affordably bring more parking to the area. They realize this is a meaningful development and plan to continue to maintain their value of giving back and making a positive impact on surrounding businesses.
I was intrigued by the many things I saw as I toured the building, and I might have thought of requesting a job application when I saw the money booth that is now set up as an incentive/reward for a lucky employee. There are other things they do to boost morale and recognize the hard work the staff do every day. I personally like the gongs on 2 of the floors. Unfortunately, I didn’t hit one myself because that privilege is reserved for employees to share and celebrate new partnerships and sales.
Other amenities that you don’t see every day in an office building are a putting green, fire pit area and game room that are popular not only for blowing off steam, but also as alternative places to do things. call to sell and break some of the monotony of sitting. on a table. A large fish tank in the basement and a water feature on the entry level are also calming and peaceful ways to revive the spirit of the workplace. The day I walked in, there was a food vendor out front for the employees to enjoy and they bring food trucks to the area every week to provide lunch, while encouraging staff to cross the street on Fridays and support the food truck park, Central Filling Station.
Another exciting development is their partnership with UT’s Haslam College of Business to create and maintain the Axle Logistics Performance Sales Lab. This partnership gives UT students the opportunity to earn 3 credit hours while learning about the Axle Logistics business model as well as serving an internship that can become a job after graduation. Axle sees the potential to keep the talent that UT is developing in the business department in our community, but also wants to give students the opportunity to get real-life, hands-on experience in the logistics field, even if they use it locally or to further their career elsewhere.
While the Brown Appliance construction project is in the works, a place to house their growing staff can be found on Magnolia Ave. The building owned by John Macready and John Roethlisberger is renovated and houses about 200 employees in a 14,000 sq foot area. This will allow them to add more staff to their team and bring back the accounting department that is currently out of place. Axle thoughtfully developed the space with an open concept that matches their current building layout with the hope that it will attract another tenant when Axle moves out of the temporary location.
Premier Construction worked on this project and DIA is the architect who designed the space. They plan to have this space ready for employees in January 2023.