Deloitte LLP summoned some Lone Star ambition in planning its Westlake campus.
“When you get down to it, that same pioneering spirit is the pulse behind Deloitte University,” said Barry Salzberg, chief executive officer of the New York-based accounting and consulting firm.
Amid applause and chilly temperatures, the Brooklyn native celebrated the groundbreaking of the company’s $300-million training facility on 107 acres bounded by Dove, Ottinger and Precinct Line roads and State Highway 114.
Known as Deloitte University, the campus will serve as the company’s primary training facility. Thousands of visitors are expected to learn on the sprawling campus while feeding the local economy.
“The economic impact associated with bringing people from the outside is big,” said Blaine L. Nelson, managing partner with the company’s North Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma region.
When classes adjourn, trainees are expected to patronize area restaurants, enjoy sporting events and discover other local diversions.
In short, officials predict that visitors and their families should help enliven the local economy.
About 1,000 jobs are expected to be created for the construction phase, with 100 Deloitte jobs and 400 operations positions, as well.
And with thousands of visitors expected each year, the economic impact becomes clear.
Building such a mammoth facility amid the nation’s wobbly economy underscores the company’s fearlessness when it comes to development. While other companies delay or scrap projects, Deloitte forges ahead.
It foresees a bullish employment market just around the corner and the need to train tomorrow’s workforce.
“The whole Dallas area is incredibly important to our market,” said Salzberg, chatting with the Times-Register minutes before taking the podium. Reasons for the company’s North Texas commitment are many; namely, the region’s central proximity, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and quality of life.
“That makes it extraordinarily conducive to learning and developing,” Salzberg said.
Westlake Mayor Laura Wheat drew similarities between the company and her town. While Deloitte pursues distance learning and technology in keeping its growing workforce educated, Wheat said that Westlake Academy also embraces innovative learning concepts.
And both are moving from the Information Age to what Wheat called the Conceptual Age.
“Thousands and thousands of Deloitte employees will come together to learn, to share lifelong learning experiences … to incubate new ideas,” said Wheat, next referring to academy students. “Their students will be doing the exact same thing.”
When complete in 2011, the 750,000-square-foot campus will boast 800 guest rooms, classrooms and conference areas, business and fitness centers and a ballroom.
Deloitte will brings Westlake another major employer in a community already known for Fidelity Investments, DaimlerChrysler and First American Real Estate Information Services.
The town’s next major employer cheered as Salzberg enjoyed the moment but looked ahead.
“Let this great and never-ending journey begin today.”