Check Out the New Digs

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The MyHeritage Utah office, which houses the WorldVitalRecords team, moved last week from Provo to Lehi. We’re growing, as is the whole company, but the change is less about space than about moving to a location that will help us recruit top talent from a larger area; the Salt Lake Valley is literally a few minutes away. This, in turn, will help us to provide more and more valuable family history data and an even better experience to our growing subscriber base.

We thought you might like to see the new office and its environs and learn a bit about the area, too.

(To see a higher-resolution version of any photo in this post, click on it.)

The company name and logo on the front door, backed by art on the receptionist's wall

Our Habitat: The Wasatch Front

Utah’s Wasatch Front consists of the Salt Lake City metro area, Utah Valley (the Provo-Orem area) to the south, and the Ogden area to the north. Over two million people — roughly 80 percent of Utah’s population — live along the Wasatch Front.

On a normal day you can drive from one end of this concentration of people to the other in less than an hour and a half. In light traffic, and at the prevailing speed on Interstate 15 — at least 10 mph above the legal speed limit — you can do it in an hour, assuming you’re not pulled over.

The Wasatch Mountains, renowned for their skiing, run north and south just east of the cities and valleys; hence the term Wasatch Front. To the west are the smaller Oquirrh Mountains and the Great Salt Lake.

Local leaders like to call the Wasatch Front “Silicon Slopes,” and it’s not just hype. This is now one of the top ten concentrations of the high tech industry in the United States. High tech and financial companies whose names you would recognize just keep moving in, and new start-ups you will someday recognize just keep, well, starting up.

Our old office in north Provo was nestled up against the mountains, a stone’s throw from the Provo River, a favorite destination of fly fishermen. Last December I snapped this photo out my office window, looking east toward the river and the mountains:

Looking from the old office toward the Provo River and the Wasatch Mountains in December

The old location was picturesque, and we could have found more space there to help accommodate MyHeritage’s growth, but our success and Utah’s pose a major challenge. The high-tech job scene here is definitely a seller’s market. In other words, the competition to hire top programming talent (among other things) is keen. The new office at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi is 16 miles and 30 minutes closer to the Salt Lake Valley. It’s just off a major freeway and adjacent to a commuter rail station. This location allows us to compete much more effectively for top talent in the Salt Lake City area.

Outside

Here’s the new building; we’re on the third floor.

View from the northeast corner. See how we got two corner offices in a single corner of the building?

Here’s the sign out front.

The sign out front has been here longer than we have

Inside

Come on in, and I’ll show you some of the things we like about the new office (besides the competitive location I mentioned, and my own shorter commute).

There’s a common area with a park theme, complete with picnic tables, comfortable patio furniture, and a mural very much like you might see on a MyHeritage flier. We have company lunches and some meetings here, but it’s also a good place to relax — and we keep threatening to watch movies here on a big screen borrowed from the large conference room. (So far, we’ve been too busy for that.)

Local artist Kris Cooper painted the mural.

On the other side of the windows is the call center. The two doors at the far end are to my office and a small conference room.

Here’s a detail of the mural:

Mural detail

Inside Looking Out

We like the views out the windows even better. Here is part of what I see out my own office windows, looking west:

FrontRunner currently runs from Ogden in the north to Provo in the south, and it stops near the new office.

The train is called FrontRunner. It’s the Wasatch Front’s commuter rail service, which is new to Utah County. This train is just pulling out of the station. Beyond the tracks is one end of a driving range at Thanksgiving Point’s excellent golf course. Beyond that are farms and some new homes. Just to the right, outside this picture, are the edge of an army base (helicopters!) and a track local police forces use to practice pursuit driving. There may be binoculars in my future.

Here’s what a colleague sees out his office window, looking east:

Just between you and me, I like my trains. But this is nice, too.

It’s the Same Team

I’ve shown you pictures of things and places, but, so far, not people. The team is the same as before the move. Here’s part of it, listening to MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet brief us on new features, new products, and the progress of the company.

MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet speaks to the WorldVitalRecords team in the new Utah office.

A Bit More Cosmopolitan

There are hotels, museums, theaters, and several places to eat in the neighborhood, with more opening soon, including a Thai restaurant. The newest new arrival at Thanksgiving Point (unless I’ve missed one in the last few days) is Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. It’s a fried chicken chain I first encountered in New York City and the American South. It’s new to Utah, and, judging by the lines at lunchtime, it’s a very welcome addition to the Wasatch Front.

I’m not including an image because photography simply cannot do justice to mashed potatoes with Cajun gravy. Some of you know what I mean. But just to show I’m serious about Cajun cuisine, here’s one of the art prints I’ve hung on my new office wall. I picked it myself at Art.com.

Can you tell I'm writing this at lunchtime?

Happy Ending

In short, we love the new office. We’re looking forward to showing it off to our families sometime soon, once all the art is hung and a few lingering details are tended to. And we’re excited to keep growing.

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