Environment Powers Employees at Southwest Power Pool

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 12:00 am  

A plush campus complete with a cafe exists for Southwest Power Pool employees.

The work being done at Southwest Power Pool impacts everyone.

SPP is one of the nation’s regional transmission organizations — an “air traffic controller” of the bulk power grid in the nine-state region it serves covering parts of the central and southwest U.S. It is among a handful of such organizations serving more than two-thirds of the U.S. population.

That kind of urgency might not seem to lend itself toward laid-back work environments. But Southwest Power Pool has provided the kind of atmosphere — physical and otherwise — that makes it easy to retain employees. Its efforts to accommodate employees, and its move last year into a $62 million headquarters campus in west Little Rock, have made Southwest Power Pool one of Arkansas Business’ 2013 Best Places to Work.

“We are honored to be on the list of Best Places to Work,” said Nick Brown, Southwest Power Pool CEO. “From a people perspective, our investment in personal development and focus on long-term retention differentiate us from other employers, as well as our encouragement of community involvement.”

At SPP, a priority is placed on community involvement.

The organization likes to see its employees out in the community, even providing free tickets to sporting events, plays and concerts, and strongly encourages volunteerism and sponsorship of charitable activities. Company-sponsored employee activities include an annual SPP employee night at an Arkansas Travelers baseball game, an annual picnic, an annual golf tournament, ice cream socials in the summer, and casual dress days to benefit local charities. Plus, SPP provides an on-site masseuse and stress workshops in addition to flexible hours and various employee assistance programs.

And then there is the new 20-acre campus that replaces three SPP locations spread across the Little Rock metro.

“The campus itself is a shot in the arm for the central Arkansas community,” Brown told Arkansas Business. “And it’s just amazing, the difference. You wouldn’t think a building or a campus would have an impact on the morale of employees, but it’s amazing to me how excited the population is about the move. Consolidating our campuses and not having to drive across town for meetings, the efficiency alone, I think, will be good.”

Cutting Edge Cafe

Its new, $62 million corporate campus in west Little Rock is close to many popular lunch destinations. But employees of Southwest Power Pool don’t have to leave the 20-acre site to enjoy a good lunch, whether they brought it from home or not.

The SPP Café takes break rooms to a new level. Flat-screen TVs and an outside patio afford employees the opportunity to eat and unwind. During the week, food vendors set up shop inside the café, and food trucks do the same outside.

Plus, Tunes on Tuesdays streams music to the outside patio from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.



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