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JDA Software's future-ready, high-tech space

I want it to be like a spaceship

Known as the world leader in supply chain tech, JDA Software decided it was time to make a space that made a proper first impression. Tom Mulherin, VP of business administrative services headed up the mission. He and the team put it all on the line to turn their Scottsdale, AZ headquarters into a high-tech, high-function, jaw-dropping Client Experience Center they’d call “JDX.” Tom told the team he wanted it to “be like a spaceship.”

Hanging monitors on drywall with hardwired power wouldn’t cut it.

“In the technology space, it’s always a race to come out with the next big thing,” says Tom. “We have a lot of very talented people in the company, coming up with new products all the time – we needed a space where we’d be able to showcase the technological lead we have over our competition.”

JDA worked with design firm Corgan on previous projects and chose them for the JDX project from the start.  The team attended JDA’s annual show to get inside the minds of their clients. “We really immersed ourselves into their world to understand what this Experience Centre had to portray to clients,” said Karah Tennyson, a senior associate at Corgan.

It was a complex project with high expectations. In addition to exuding technology and performing as good as it looked, the JDX had to hit these marks:

  • Elegant integration of technology;
  • Long-term adaptability;
  • Flexible power/data installed an existing building already filled with other tenants;
  • Initial construction in line with budget and schedule;
  • Flex-space: “It’s got to multipurpose,” said Tom.

As technology changes, we need to incorporate it at very little cost

The team at Corgan knew it was going to require unconventional construction. Karah Tennyson said, “Something that offered flexibility to change with technology as it changes.”

“We started looking at what was out there to solve all our challenges,” said Tom. “And that’s what brought us to DIRTT.”

Trip to DIRTT Calgary

Tom reached out to the DIRTT Partner in the Scottsdale area: Corporate Interior Systems, or CIS for short. Together, JDA and CIS made the trip to DIRTT’s headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, for a deeper dive into the how, what and why of DIRTT. 

“Tom’s built workspace for a lot of different tech companies over the years,” said Asa Plum, an architect who works with CIS in the role of DIRTT Champion. “He’s a guy who’s hard to impress. He wants to meet the people on the line, the people actually doing the research and development.”

And that, he did. Since tech is the exact thing JDA is a leader in, their physical JDX needed to keep up. Tom set out to learn about how DIRTT could meet their building challenges and support JDA’s mission.  

The Calgary trip included time in one of DIRTT’s virtual reality sessions. It was a chance to explore and modify the initial designs for the JDX. As soon as the whole team had their goggles on, they realized they were inside the model as avatars. They experienced their first views of what the space could look like built with DIRTT and start developing the design together in real-time.

Like all virtual reality experiences, the ICE® software at DIRTT gives stakeholders an immersive 3D tour of their design. What’s different about the platform is it contains the data required for simultaneous and precise pricing, engineering, manufacturing and construction. As the team went from room to room as avatars, they made changes to the design and instantly saw the effect on everything from price to constructability.

“Not only was the technology superior to anything else that we have seen, but it was the culture I saw at DIRTT. It seemed akin to the culture we have here at JDA,” said Tom. “We’re very collaborative. We’re always trying the next great thing that’s coming around.”

Start with the tech

The decision was set: DIRTT was it, and the Corgan design team agreed. “I knew in my gut from the get-go that DIRTT was right for this project,” said Karah.

JDA had also previously worked with Immedia, a company considered the premiere full-service integrated technology company in the southwest. Their expertise is audio-visual and control systems and low voltage appliances such as network connected devices, access control, building and sound systems.

Zach Toporek is a sales engineer at Immedia. “What typically happens to us is, the entirety of the project gets designed, and then right before they start building, somebody says, ‘Oh, wait. We need some A/V,’” explains Zach. “The beauty of this project was that it was very concept driven.” Asa at CIS made Immedia the first team he spoke with to find out what they needed to make the project perfect.

Immedia used DIRTT’s software to test ideas and receive feedback in the moment. “Working with the DIRTT team was great,” said Zach. “It was just as easy as saying, ‘This is the technology we want to apply in these spaces. Here’s the spec sheets. Here’s an elevation.’” As an example, there’s a 165-inch diagonal display in the JDX board room. “It was like, ‘this is going to move,’ or ‘the dimension of that is going to change.’ Done!” he continued, as he snapped his fingers. “It was happening in real time in these collaboration meetings.”

Keeping up without messing up the place

Because the speed in which technology advances and becomes out-of-date is breathtaking, DIRTT is designed and engineered to integrate and adapt to any current, legacy and future technologies. “A lot of times, people sell you something and they say it’s plug and play, but it’s not.” says Tom. “When we saw DIRTT in Calgary we made sure it was going to be something we could maintain ourselves afterwards.” In fact, Tom asked to take apart a wall they happened to pass during a tour of the DIRTT factory. He was handed the tool for the job and set to disassembling and rebuilding it by himself.

When technology changes, JDA will be able to cleanly and quickly make the upgrades and finish without disrupting the JDX client presentation calendar. The Immedia team is also pleased they won’t have to tear into drywall when their components need maintenance. “With DIRTT, they pull off a pane of glass in front of the display,” said Zach. “I can get in there, service it. They slap the glass back on. It doesn’t get a lot easier than that.”

Integrating with other trades

The power and data in the new JDX is easily accessible and adaptable, too. The floor below the JDX is home to a trendy retail store with high tenant improvement costs. So JDA wasn’t approved to core for their cabling needs. With conventional construction, this would have been an issue, but DIRTT’s low-profile access floor was the perfect solution. It also wouldn’t affect ceiling heights or the feel of the JDX. The access floor now houses JDA’s plug & play infrastructure. “The raised access floor offered us the flexibility for future proofing the space,” said Karah.

The general contractor on the project was Jokake, a Contractor of the Year in the southwest. Even with their experience, the Jokake site superintendent knew this build would require a new kind of thinking. “I actually had to gear up my contractors,” said Carl Politico, Jokake’s site-super. “I told them that this could be the way of the future.”

Sub-contractors, including the flooring team at Wholesale Floors, were the first to embrace the new method. Once they got their heads around the different timing. As soon as the access floor is down they go to work, laying the floor finish in a wide-open space, rather than coming in at the end to cut around all the walls and floor boxes. “Our crew’s happier,” says Brad Bergen, Wholesale Floors’ director of sales. “There’s not as much detail work involved. They’re much more efficient in their costs. They make more money. We get to keep our schedule shorter. It’s a win-win.”

The result

The high-tech space includes:

  • large and small meeting rooms;
  • tiny private rooms for clients to make calls;
  • a large reception area;
  • 12 multi-media walls;
  • two kitchens; and
  • a 30-person board room with a DIRTT bespoke ceiling

JDA says that by using their new space as a business tool, it’s already a boon for the company. They’re seeing deals closing faster and more excitement in the market. Even when they’re inviting C-level people to Scottsdale, Arizona in the summer – when it’s 110 degrees – JDA uses the space to encourage them to come.

“If we had tried to do this project with drywall and ceiling tiles it wouldn't have had a tenth of the effect that it's had on people,” said Tom. “One of the comments made to me after the opening was ‘this is going to be a game-changer for our sales force.’”

This is going to be a game-changer for our sales force

Tom Mulherin, VP of business administrative services at JDA

Julie Pithers

DIRTTbag since (almost) day one, Julie cultivates communities who love DIRTT as much as she does. She cares about environmental sustainability, optimism and finding things funny.


DIRTT is a building process powered by technology. We use our proprietary 3D software to help design, manufacture, and install fully customized interior environments. This same software provides clients with certainty around cost, schedule, and the final outcome. With modular components and a streamlined construction process, complete interior spaces are constructed faster, cleaner, and more sustainably. The Company works with over 70 partners throughout North America. DIRTT trades on Nasdaq under the symbol “DRTT” and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “DRT”.