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Walmart Labs and Jama Software: Standing, sitting, collaborating

Portland Business Journal

March 8th 2013

Walmart Labs

Centennial Building

210 S.W. Morrison St.

Landlord: Madrona Morrison II LLC/Winkler Development Co.

Executive: Heather Penner, senior manager project management

Size: 8,558 square feet

Employees: 28

What is Walmart Labs? The Portland office supports the mobile applications efforts of Walmart Stores Inc.'s San Bruno, Calif.-based e-commerce division, which in turn supports 10,000 Walmart retail locations worldwide. It arrived in Portland in early 2012 when it purchased Small Society, a 13-person app developer.

The Office: Small Society grew from 13 people to 28 after its acquisition, fueling the need for larger space. It chose the Centennial building, constructed in 1876 to commemorate the country's 100th year, for its ample windows, pre-existing showers and central location. Although it is painted Walmart blue, with corporate logos featured prominently on the walls, the tech-savvy space bears little resemblance to a store.

Cool Factors: Bike parking, a lounge area and treadmill-work station help attract the software designers and developers it needs. There's a cupcake bell in the break room to summon employees for treats. The building lobby opens directly onto a Max stop.

Jama Software

Ziba Building

1060 N.W. Ninth Ave.

Landlord: Ziba Design Inc.

Executive: Eric Winquist, CEO

Size: 13,000 square feet

Employees: 70

Architect: Myhre Group Architecture

Contractor: R&H Construction

What is Jama Software? The company makes collaborative project management software for businesses.

The Office: Jama started with "two desks under a staircase" and has moved five times in its five-year history, most recently in December 2011. Its Pearl District office is the ground floor space at the Ziba building, space originally slated for a retailer. It is one of a handful of Portland offices where pedestrians can - and do - peer in the windows. It's tempting to do so: Jama's legions of bike commuters hang their bikes from custom racks along the exterior windows.

Cool Factors: A ramp leads directly from the front door to the bike wall. There are no private offices, but there are private rooms where employees can conduct private business. Lobster pot-style light fixtures were modeled on furnishings the Jama team admired at Thirsty Lion Pub. The break room has a ping pong table and gongs that clang when Jama books $50,000, $100,000 and $500,000 deals. "We're going for $1 million," Winquist said.