April 6, 2018
4 min read

STS News, Spring 2018 -- After a chaotic few weeks immediately following the STS Annual Meeting, the Society opened its doors to a newly constructed headquarters office on February 20.

The street address is the same (the American College of Surgeons building in Chicago at 633 N. Saint Clair St.), but the difference between the old space on the 23rd floor and the new space on the 21st floor is significant.

“We worked with some terrific architects and a team that included an experienced project manager, contractors, and building management to create a workplace that is both attractive and, what is most important to our members, conducive to employee satisfaction and productivity,” reported STS Executive Director & General Counsel Rob Wynbrandt. “The design utilizes every square inch effectively, such that we have increased the number of ‘seats’ by 19 and still enlarged key common areas like our new Boardroom and café. Special recognition is due to Director of Finance and Administration Keith Bura and Administrative Manager & Executive Assistant Cheryl Wilson for their contributions to this long-term project.”

Visitors are greeted by a large, backlit STS logo and a pedestal that features the President’s Gavel.

The process actually started in 2015 when STS surgeon leaders and senior staff looked ahead to an April 2018 lease end date and began considering how to accommodate the Society’s continued expansion; the number of STS employees had grown significantly—from 9.5 full-time employees in 2002 to what is now a budgeted 76 in 2018. After working with real estate brokers to review a few other locations in downtown Chicago, the decision was made to stay at the ACS building.

STS then retained an architectural firm to design a space that not only would fit the growing staff over the course of a new 11-year lease term, but also have a modern and sophisticated appeal. The final design includes a gray, white, and blue color scheme, accented with wood tones and glass that allows in a lot of natural light.

In the weeks leading up to the move, after initiating a document digitization process that still continues, staff packed up dozens of orange moving crates, recycled hundreds of pounds of paper, shredded hard copies of sensitive documents, and sent boxes of files to offsite storage in an effort to reduce clutter in the new space.

The café features a wall of windows and ample space for employees to enjoy their breaks and lunches.

The entire move was completed in just one long weekend. 

“I can’t deny it; for some of us on the staff who are admitted dinosaurs—wedded to paper—the lead-up to our move was time-consuming and stressful,” said Wynbrandt. “Now that we’re through the hardest part, though, it was all worth it. And we even benefitted from the secondary gain of team-building that comes with any difficult shared experience.”

An important goal for the new design was to make the Society’s branding more prominent. Upon entering the reception area, visitors are greeted by a large, backlit STS logo and a pedestal that features the President’s Gavel made from a cherry tree on the Michigan estate of John Alexander, MD, recognized by many as the founder of American thoracic surgery. Photos of all STS Presidents, past and present, will be featured on nearby walls.

The Boardroom is now large enough to host surgeon leaders for important meetings.

Just beyond the reception desk is a large Boardroom with exterior windows (something the previous headquarters office lacked), which will host STS surgeon leaders for important meetings such as the Annual Meeting program planning meeting in September. A new and improved Founders Room still pays homage to the past by memorializing the surgeons involved in the formative activities of the Society, while a redesigned Library houses a complete collection of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and other important STS documents; all of the conference rooms, including three new “huddle rooms,” have advanced IT capabilities.

The entire Chicago staff looks forward to greeting members and showing off the new headquarters space. The next time you are in Chicago, staff would be happy to give you a tour!

Take a video tour of the new space at sts.org/HQvideo, and see more photos at sts.org/HQphotos.