Friday, June 12, 2015

Toyota's Jim Lentz: Plano headquarters expected to be magnet for young workers

When Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentztalks about the automaker's new $350 million, 100-acre headquarters in Plano, he gets excited. After all, the campus will help determine Toyota North America's future for the next half-century.
Even though the size of Toyota's corporate campus has yet-to-be determined, Lentz said he has a vision for Toyota's new campus that ultimately will attract a young workforce.  
“If you look at what young people want in companies, you’ll see they want an environment they can collaborate in, brainstorm and share different ideas,” Lentz told the Dallas Business Journal in an exclusive interview. “We want to create a campus that harkens back to what many of our new hires are used to in college.”  
Lentz, who started the Toyota Scion division, has studied the Gen Y generation for 13 years, and wants to make Toyota’s new 100-acre corporate campus appeal to up-and-coming business executives.
Toyota North America, which has about 60 employees, or "pioneers" on the ground in North Texas, expects to bring about 400 to the region by the end of the year. By the end of 2016, Lentz said about 600 Toyota employees will be on the ground.
By the time the campus is completed in 2017, Toyota North America, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), will bring roughly 4,000 jobs from throughout the country -- California to New York -- to Plano to begin its operations under one roof. Toyota does not know how many employees will relocate to North Texas as part of the company's consolidation into Plano.
“Most people see us as one company here in North America, but, in fact, we are four separate corporations,” Lentz said. “I have a sales company, a finance company and I have a manufacturing and engineering company and I have corporate offices.”  
According to city filings, the campus is expected to total at least 1.78 million square feet of office space in five or six buildings that are six stories tall. Lentz said the plans are still being developed for the campus.
He said he envisions Toyota’s new headquarters will also feature a three- to four-acre park in the center of the campus, which will be a place for the automaker’s employees to share ideas and collaborate with each other.
“We want something informal, where people can be outside meeting, or talking near a stairwell or other part of the building,” he said. “We want them to have conversations on what they can be doing to better serve our customers and that’s what it’s all about.”   
Candace Carlisle/ Dallas Business Journal