In 2006, when Birk opened up its news 18,000 square foot addition to its existing building, it was decided that Engineering would move its offices from the front of the building to the new extension.  We had chosen the middle office at the rear of the new building because it was one of the larger rooms and we needed to house between five to seven people.  We were approached as to how we wanted the room arranged with regards to placement of desks, filing cabinets and shelving units, and then were asked how many cubicle walls we would need in order to separate the room.  We said none.

When working with the Birk Engineering Department, you are assigned to an engineer who will oversee your application and design engineering needs in order to deliver your final product.  Even though you are assigned to a particular engineer and may have only direct contact with one of us, in essence you are working with the whole team.  We have an open office floor plan because we believe the only way to provide you with the optimal design for your end need is to have an open forum. In this way we can all share our ideas with each other.  We always have open discussions about current projects and encourage this practice so that everyone can share their ideas and bring in past design experiences in order to solve our easiest and most difficult applications.

If we were to have cubicles and close ourselves off from each other, we would be doing ourselves an injustice.  We would have to schedule meetings in order to discuss design ideas and the free flow of thoughts would be stifled.  The worst result that would come from this is that we would not be providing the best possible solutions to our customers and that would violate rule #1 around here.  Since we do not want to be the perpetrators of that, we choose to live in a cubicle-free environment.

Mark O’Connell

Engineering Manager

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