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Guest Article - Unlocking the Potential in People

Updated: Mar 20, 2019

How Ash Brokerage inspires employees to innovate

Tim Ash, CEO of Ash Brokerage, the nation’s largest independently owned insurance brokerage firm, always wanted to return his company to its roots in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was passionate about bringing together the company’s 200 employees, clients, and the Fort Wayne community in a space that:

encouraged energy and inspirationenhanced culturedrove innovationsupported effective collaborationcreated energy

After a visit to Haworth’s Global Headquarters suggested by Ash Brokerage’s architecture and design partner MSKTD, an impressed Tim Ash announced that Haworth would be added as a partner on the new office project. Haworth’s Workplace Strategy services were deployed to collect data and work with the project design team, helping to facilitate and develop concepts for Ash Brokerage’s future workplace.

Haworth conducted a workplace assessment survey to help pinpoint Ash Brokerage’s organizational culture type. The results showed a heavy slant toward the Collaborate (doing things together) and Create (doing things first) culture types, based on The Competing Values Framework™ described in Haworth’s white paper on creating a successful workplace culture.

To create a workplace that better supports Ash Brokerage’s culture and its Collaborate and Create tendencies, Haworth strategists concluded that the largest opportunities for improvement were:

  • Providing access to natural light

  • Ensuring work area effectiveness

  • Providing access to meeting rooms for collaboration and group work

  • Reducing auditory distractions for focus

  • Improving furniture quality

  • Improving storage capacity and location


Our people should be inspired to do their best work in a space that represents who we are. - Tim Ash, CEO, Ash Brokerage


Using Tim Ash’s quote as a guiding principle, the design team created multiple concepts to demonstrate how the workplace could support Ash Brokerage’s culture, as well as the Haworth research findings around workstyles and individual satisfaction. Each unique concept pushed the boundaries of the traditional corporate office, while embracing the energy and passion of Ash Brokerage’s employees.

The chosen workplace design includes various spaces for individual work, collaboration and team work, and a social hub—all imitating the comforts of home. Some of the spaces were even named with home in mind:

  • The Kitchen: Just like the heart of every home, the Kitchen is where good times are shared over meals, and where meaningful conversations take place.

  • The Family Room: This comfortable, intimate space is centered around “family” activities, developing relationships with co-workers, and personal relaxation between meetings and work.

  • The Den: This secluded space is designed to provide a quiet, comfortable, and informal atmosphere for private conversations, brainstorming, and developing innovative ideas.

  • The Dining Room: More than just a casual space for shared meals, the Dining Room is also a gathering spot for socializing and informal meetings, as well as a get-away for group or individual focus work.

  • The Studio: When a small, private space is needed, the Studio provides a retreat for one or two employees to develop ideas, focus on specific tasks, or relax and recharge.

Knowing that people are his company’s greatest asset, Tim Ash needed an office that was designed to help employees feel connected with the company, culture, and work environment. He wanted a new workplace that provides people with a variety of inviting, comfortable spaces to choose where they do their best work—spaces that feel like home. With Haworth’s expertise and unique culture/workstyle tools, Tim Ash was able to see his vision for the Ash Brokerage office come to life, with a world-class work environment that nurtures culture, enhances collaboration and innovative ideas, and demonstrates its investment in their employees and clients.


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