By Seth Daniel
When Now Business Intelligence (NBI) needed space to grow its customized software development company, they used a special way of finding a new place – a way that they, in fact, use to develop custom software so that all preferences are considered.
When they rolled the dice on that complex and accurate process, the dial landed, surprisingly to most, on Everett.
A couple of other nearby cities were also in the running, however, but it was the open arms and willingness to work with NBI, owner Matthew Nowosiadly said, that tipped the scales towards Everett. That relationship led to a very noteworthy build out of the top two floors of the office building at 425 Broadway in Everett Square – space that was vacant and hosted pigeons rather than software developers.
“It was so seamless here,” said Nowosiadly, 49, a long-time Bostonian who hails originally from Michigan. “I never heard a peep or had to compromise what we needed in our build out. I’ve done a lot of build outs and I have never, not had a problem or not made a concession. This was no hold ups waiting for an inspector or anyone from the City saying we couldn’t have certain lighting or the stove we wanted. I am still shocked and I know it wouldn’t have gone that way in any other community.
“I am ecstatic to be in Everett and so are our employees and I think we got in at the right time,” he continued. “If the City keeps making the decisions they’re making and helping business with open arms, this will just be the beginning…Everett doesn’t make it as hard as other places do.”
Nowosiadly and NBI Chief Financial Officer Joseph Warrino sat down with the Independent recently in their Everett Square headquarters to discuss how their business has been blossoming since locating to Everett about one year ago.
The two executives said they are a nimble business and needed a lot of space close to Boston, but at a lower cost than Boston and in a community that understood the eccentricities and unique working conditions required at a software development firm.
For some years, the company – now 10 years old – was located on Atlantic Avenue in Boston, but the costs were excessive and the space was very limited. There was also no real open arms from the City to help them find a place to expand as it was a situation of being just another fish in a big pond.
For a little while, however, they did find a space in East Boston, but when bigger jobs began to come in and they had to ramp up hiring to deliver software products, that space quickly became too small.
That’s when they began searching.
Using a process for which they use to develop custom software, called SCRUM methodology, the company surveyed its employees and had them provide what they call “stories.” Within their software development process, the “stories” are simply preferences that the users – or in this case – the employees have. When the employees registered all their preferences, such as having a large, cool workspace, a place that’s easy to park, that has bike paths nearby and that is close to Boston, Everett came up at the top of the list.
As things were whittled down, it came down to a space already built out in Somerville and the space in Everett, which required extensive renovations. Even with the renovations, Nowosiadly said they were ready to make the jump.
That came in part due to the great rents per square foot, and even though he sometimes gets puzzled looks from those in the software industry when he says he relocated to Everett, when he shares the price he paid per square foot, how much space he has on two levels and how easy it is to park and, also, to get into Boston – those puzzled looks begin to become envious, he said.
“There’s more coming to Everett,” he said. “I still get the strange looks when I tell them we’re in Everett. They say, ‘Why Everett?’ I ask them their price per square foot, and they say they have a space in an incubator in Boston. That means they share a conference room with a lot of other people. We have our own conference room and I tell them my price per square foot and they’re shocked. It’s a hidden gem for a company like us. I can’t believe it’s here.”
Part of the unique aspect of software development companies, Nowosiadly said, is that workers often go for long periods of time without rest or leaving work. At times, workers will stay around the clock to capitalize on the “flow” of their work – as it isn’t work that one can just leave and pick up again without losing a lot of momentum.
That ‘around the clock’ work means that Nowosiadly needed some different things in his headquarters, such as a shower, a full kitchen with an exhaust vent and large spaces for a golf simulator other such recreational activities.
His employees, he said, don’t require direct supervision and no one is clocking in or clocking out. They are faced with a task, and they solve problems, he said.
“We had some different and unique things we needed for our office,” he said. “We asked the landlord if he thought we could do these things. He said it would likely be no problem. I said, ‘Oh yea, wait until they find out I want a full kitchen with an exhaust fan.’ In the end, it wasn’t a problem. Everett was like, what can we do to get your business here? Everything was up to code and everything was safe, but it wasn’t difficult.”
Now that they’ve settled in, the company has begun reaching out to the community. The City has plans to conduct a ribbon cutting at the offices and NBI has recently reached out to Everett High School to talk about fellowship and internship opportunities.
“We are really interested in getting involved in the community and giving back – seeing what we can do here,” said Warrino. “That’s important to our business and to us.”