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High-tech hub celebrates opening

Logistics provider’s Rogers offices offer innovative concepts by Nathan Owens | July 16, 2021 at 2:04 a.m.
Transplace employees work Thursday in one of the new office spaces at the company’s new building in Rogers. More photos at (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Spencer Tirey)

ROGERS -- Transplace, a Dallas transportation management and logistics provider for shippers around the globe, celebrated Thursday the opening of its $50 million, high-tech, 150,000-square-foot office building.

The company's center of excellence, which overlooks Interstate 49, was designed to be a showcase office for Transplace workers in the area that fosters innovation and growth in the company.

The building has open-concept office spaces, breakout rooms, soundproof booths for private phone calls and meetings, among other amenities, including a gym and locker room.

Along with enhanced technology and features throughout the building, the location is ideal for a company that wants to be closer to notable retailers, suppliers and shipper customers.

"We're in 25 other locations, but this is the largest investment we've made in a single location," said Transplace chief executive Frank McGuigan.

Gallery: Transplace opens new building in Rogers

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While many companies struggled financially through the coronavirus pandemic, Transplace saw growth in its core technology business and had a record sales year in 2020 by helping companies navigate through supply-chain pitfalls.

"The pandemic slowed us down a bit, but not by that much," McGuigan said when asked how the construction process was affected by the virus.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson attended Thursday's event, before speaking with the Northwest Arkansas Council and traveling to Texarkana for a community coronavirus talk that evening.

He congratulated Transplace on its efforts to grow and do business in the region, underscoring the state's future in technology.

"I've wanted to have Arkansas as a microhub of technology companies. This represents that. It's going to attract a lot of talent to our state," Hutchinson said. Transplace plans to hire University of Arkansas graduates.

"We love the values of this community, we love what the university is doing in terms of supply chain and technology, science, etc., so we are going to continue to invest in this community," McGuigan said.

While Transplace is based in Texas, the company has roots in the region dating back more than 20 years.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. founded Transplace in 2000 with five other trucking companies, all of which merged their logistics units to create a web-based market for businesses looking to outsource logistics functions, The New York Times reported. Customers could be retailers and department store chains, as well as electronics, beverage or paper companies, among others.

After years of declining returns on their investment, the companies sold Transplace to a New York private-equity firm in 2009.

Transplace is responsible for one of the largest managed transportation and logistics networks in the world, overseeing more than $11 billion of freight and 62,000 users.

The company has more than 3,400 workers across 25 sites, including offices in Little Rock and Stuttgart.

About 800 people work in the Rogers building, at 4909 W. Magnolia St., with room to hire 300 more.

As the U.S. economy continues to reopen, many businesses are facing pressures from employees who are resistant to office life and have grown accustomed to working from home during the pandemic.

Unlike some, Transplace began encouraging employees to work in the Rogers office this spring. After establishing social-distance measures, sanitation areas and a mask policy, McGuigan called it one of the safest places workers could be. The company has been more flexible with people with preexisting conditions.

"If you're going to the grocery store, you might as well come to work, was ultimately the message," he said.

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