Ferguson Enterprises’ new $82 million office building in Oyster Point is now operating at full capacity. The 260,000-square-foot building, which stands eight stories tall on the northern edge of the fountain in City Center, welcomed a full complement of more than 1,400 staff beginning this summer.
Construction began on the site in 2018, and the project was completed in early 2021. However, according to Denise Vaughn, Ferguson’s vice president of communications and sustainability, the building was complete for some time before it became fully staffed in mid-summer. “We received the certificate of occupancy in January of 2021. Because of COVID, we waited until June to have a soft opening of the building and welcomed all associates back July 12,” says Vaughn.
“The majority of our headquarters functions that support our branch network (1,400 locations across all 50 states) are housed in HQ3,” says Vaughn. Those include human resources, communications and sustainability, finance and accounting, sales and marketing in addition to several other departments. Ferguson is making use of the entire building, leaving no space to rent to other companies. This, according to newportnewsva.com, makes HQ3 the largest structure in Oyster Point to be used by a single occupant.
About the decision to locate the new headquarters in City Center, Vaughn elaborates, “We liked the idea of an urban campus while also remaining in close proximity to our current headquarters campus. Ferguson associates will now have the ability to live, play, shop and work all at City Center.”
Regarding the building itself, Vaughn says, “HQ3 is designed to be light-filled with a multi-level glass atrium, open lobby space and monumental staircase connecting multiple levels. Exposed ceilings along the corridors and open workspace areas emanate a modern, industrial character.”
The state-of-the-art building has everything one would expect from a modern office complex and more. According to Vaughn, the building is equipped with “workstations [featuring] adjustable standing desks], conference rooms, flex offices and huddle spaces as well as an event space/training facility.” She continues, “On the sixth floor, there is a green rooftop with a terrace designed for ad-hoc meetings, eating lunch and special events.”
Ferguson Enterprises, the nation’s largest wholesale supplier of residential and commercial plumbing materials, also services Newport News Waterworks, HVAC/R and other industrial needs. The company began in 1953 and has grown to include more than 1,600 locations in North America. The company has long been headquartered in Newport News.
The opening of the new building may have taken six months longer than originally expected, but the construction timeline itself was only delayed by about 30 days. Vaughn credits that small delay to “material shortages and reduced contractor labor.” The decision to delay the building’s opening after completion, she says, was primarily about Ferguson protecting its employees. “Every decision we made during and after the pandemic was/is ‘associate-first’ — how can we be there for our associates and still serve customers and maintain the business,” says Vaughn.
About her experience within the company, Vaughn says, “I blinked and before I knew it, I celebrated 15 years with Ferguson in March.” In that time, Vaughn has grown the communications and public relations function. Of her own role in that growth, she says, “We have expanded the communications function to include Ferguson Cares, our Corporate Social Responsibility Program and Environmental Sustainability.”
Providing an important role for a company with branches in so many locations, Vaughn gets to travel a lot for work. “When I have the opportunity to be in a Ferguson location, be it in Alaska or Mississippi, it is always a joy to feel a part of the team. We have incredible camaraderie and a true sense of family in our headquarters and branch locations,” she says.
Vaughn also travels for pleasure. She has visited more than 30 countries. “But,” she says, “I like to stay close to home and enjoy my summers on the water in Hampton Roads.” Vaughn is also passionate about animal advocacy and rescue.
When asked what she likes most about Ferguson Enterprises, Vaughn’s answer reflects the company’s “associate-first” mentality. “Ferguson has the most amazing associates dedicated to serving more than 1 million customers and doing good in communities across America. I am genuinely wowed by the incredible stories we have the good fortunate to share. There isn’t a day that goes by that don’t learn something new. I am continually impressed by the expansive work we do,” she says.
TO THE POINT:
Address: 751 Lakefront Commons, Newport News, VA 23606
Business: Wholesale plumbing, HVAC/R, industrial supplier