By Fran Daniel
When Avid Solutions recently built its new corporate office in Winston-Salem, sustainability was a key factor in the construction process.
The building’s roof is covered with 400 solar panels, producing more than 50 percent of the company’s energy supply. In the lobby is an energy-monitoring system designed by the company to constantly check energy usage.
Avid Solutions Inc., a systems integration company that provides automation, industrial information technology and smart-manufacturing solutions, held a grand opening Thursday, providing tours of its new building at 2975 Cole Road. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and Robin Coger, the dean of the College of Engineering at N.C. A&T State University, were the guest speakers.
Landmark Builders, the general contractor for the new building, helped choose an architect and design team that worked with a dozen of Avid Solution’s employees to understand how they work in order to create the building’s design.
PC Romano, Avid Solutions’ president, said company officials wanted a design that would accommodate the company’s growth and provide a great place for its employees to work.
“We created this office based on the themes that we feel passionately about including sustainability, wellness, open, airy, natural light, technology, equity and an industrial feel, which reflects the work that we do,” Romano said.
All the lights inside and outside the buildingare LED lighting, aimed at providing quality light with low power consumption. The LED lighting also allows for light sensing and harvesting as well as motion sensing.
Avid Solutions has four offices in the United States and Brazil and more than 100 employees.
Romano said the company’s sales rose 20 percent in 2015 over 2014, and he expects sales to rise by the same percentage this year over 2015.
Avid Solutions was founded in 1987 by Romano’s father-in-law, Harold Robinson. In 2001, when Robinson died, Romano became president.
With a growth strategy of 15 percent to 20 percent a year, the company ultimately outgrew its old building, resulting in the search for new space.
“We looked around at existing buildings and looked at expanding that building,” Romano said. “Ultimately, we decided we really wanted to be in this area, in this corner of Winston-Salem with good access to (U.S.) 52 and I-40.”
Employees moved into their current 20,000-square-foot building, which sits on 6.5 acres, in November 2015.
For sustainability reasons, instead of sending a house that once sat on the property to a landfill, the company sold it to an employee for $1.
“He moved it 15 miles away to his property and will live in it,” Romano said.
Two of three oak trees in the construction area on the property were taken down but the wood was repurposed into conference room tables and a receptionist desk.
Romano said company employees try not to generate a lot of waste.
“For example, we don’t have bottled water as our primary water source,” Romano said. “We have water purifiers and bottle fillers. We don’t use a lot of Styrofoam or paper plates, cups or silverware. We use all real plates and (plastic) silverware.”
Other technology and innovative features in the building are six conference-training rooms with video conferencing and touchscreen reservations connected to Microsoft Exchange, 80 sets of sit-to-stand work surfaces, and cloud-based phone, access control, security and solar management systems.
Avid Solutions is already prepared for future growth. The company has enough land to add an additional 20,000 square feet, plus parking at its new corporate office.
According to the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, there are 76 solar-power systems in Forsyth County — 62 residential, 13 commercial and one utility-scale solar farm — and 7.2 megawatts of installed solar electric capacity.