Deloitte, experts in strategic business practices, see their downtown Houston office poised for growth
Deloitte, one of the nation’s elite professional services firms, constantly seeks and dispenses advice on the smartest, most efficient, and successful methods for business in virtually every known industry. Each of the Big Four maintains offices in downtown Houston; Deloitte opened its Houston office in 1946.
“I can’t speak for the other big four firms, but being centrally located makes it easy for our clients to come to our offices as well as being convenient for our workforce,” says Anne Taylor, vice chairman and managing partner for Deloitte’s Mid-America Region. “This location still works well for us. Many of our clients are located downtown. Either their headquarters are downtown or they have a major presence, so that helps us maintain strong relationships with our clients.”
In her position, Taylor coordinates and oversees business operations not only in Houston, but all of Texas, as well as Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and New Mexico. Deloitte’s Mid-America region entails 4,000 workers, more that 1,500 of which are employed in downtown Houston. Taylor also leads Deloitte’s Gulf Coast practice.
She reports that the Houston office is vital for Deloitte nationally (the company has offices in 89 U.S. cities).
“We have doubled in size here in Houston over the past 10 years. Our growth has outpaced other Deloitte offices nationwide.”
Today the firm employs more than 1,550 people in Houston offices – that’s more than one third of Deloitte’s Mid-America Region. A major reason for the impressive growth of Deloitte’s Houston office is its access to leaders in the energy industry.
“When we wanted to figure out the best way to grow our business in Houston, we realized that the answer was to expand our capacity and breadth of services for the energy industry. So we started to build up and add to the services we could offer to the industry,” Taylor says.
This process resulted in a new spectrum of services anchored in the Energy Capital of the World. Established in 2008, Deloitte’s Center for Energy Solutions is headquartered in Houston, but also has offices in Washington DC.
By late 2007, Deloitte had outgrown its office holdings at the time, which included 143,000 square feet of office space in Three Allen Center and 44,000 square feet at Williams Tower in the Galleria area. The search for more office space coincided with the move to establish the company’s Center for Energy Solutions.
“We saw that Houston was a place for investment given the presence of the energy industry,” says Taylor.
Confident their Houston office was poised for tremendous growth, Deloitte invested big. The company signed a 12-year lease for 300,000 square feet in Heritage Plaza, doubling their office space downtown and adding more than 100,000 square feet for their growing workforce.
“The move was a real commitment to the downtown area,” says Taylor.
“We had looked at several other areas of town, but decided downtown was the place to be. It works well for meeting with downtown groups, such as the Greater Houston Partnership, Central Houston and the United Way.”
Taylor explains that downtown’s central location also functions well for Deloitte’s workforce. “Most of our people are service providers and aren’t necessarily coming downtown every day as they work on-site with our clients, but it’s important to make it convenient to all employees.”
Deloitte’s clients in the Houston area are largely in the energy industry and rank in the Fortune 500 in Houston; in fact Deloitte serves 97 percent of the Fortune 500 energy companies. Client examples include CenterPoint Energy, Baker Hughes, Enterprise Products Partners, EOG Resources and Spectra Energy. Familiar, non-energy names from Deloitte’s client list include Hines Real Estate, Weingarten Realty and Imperial Sugar.
Downtown’s selection of meeting spaces is essential to Deloitte’s operations. The company’s quarterly All Hands meetings, which bring together all of Deloitte’s Houston-based employees, require access to large meeting facilities. Additionally, downtown Houston offers a diversity of people and things to do. The company’s recruitment team reports that people don’t always realize this until they move here and witness it themselves.
“Houston is underpublicized — I don’t think we should be a well-kept secret,” says Taylor. “Companies should advertise that Houston is a great place for business. I’m a transplant from New York so I’m a great advertisement.”
When she moved here from New York six years ago, she says she was amazed at how easy it was to get settled, and the welcoming attitudes she encountered. “Houston is very hospitable to newcomers, as well as hospitable towards diversity,” says Taylor. “The ability to settle in quickly is surprising and it’s wonderful how you can easily become part of the community.”
Taylor says she is also impressed with how the community works together. “Groups such as Greater Houston Partnership, the United Way and HISD are very effective at working together – it’s refreshing,” says Taylor. “Community groups are able to speak up about challenges they face and talk through the initiatives to help local businesses and other supporters be proactive for those causes. Groups don’t just go out and pursue solutions independently, but work together to change things for the whole community. This was surprising coming from New York City.”
The collaborative nature of the city also impressed Taylor in that it encourages business to contribute to the community. “Organizations and businesses work to connect and share knowledge even though they might be in competition."
"When there’s a common interest there’s no competition. Strengthening the education system, for example, that helps us all.”
Local Deloitte employees know quite a bit about improving local schools and community facilities. On June 8, Deloitte marked its 13th annual IMPACT Day, a tradition in which Deloitte encourages its 50,000+ personnel nationwide to take the day off to donate their time and talents to local nonprofits. Here in Houston, more than 1,000 participated in more than 40 projects at local schools and nonprofits, such as Reagan High School, Hamilton Middle School, Wharton Elementary School, Memorial Park, and the Houston Food Bank.
“Houston’s vital statistics are very strong – just look at the numbers for job growth and the jobs that have been retained over recent years,” says Taylor.
The Brookings Institution reported in January 2012 that the Houston regional economy grew faster last year than any other in North America. A June 2012 report by the Texas Workforce Commission states that the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area added 85,000 net new jobs, a 3.3 percent annual increase in the 12 months ending June 2012. And in July of this year, the Bayou City landed on top of Forbe’s list of America’s Coolest Cities to Live, noting that Houston’s economy is humming through the recession. Houston enjoyed 2.6 percent job growth last year, and nearly 50,000 Americans flocked there in response – particularly young professionals. In fact, the median age of a Houston resident is a youthful 33.
“As business grows, so do professional services firms,” says Taylor. “Where there’s opportunity for Deloitte, there’s opportunity for others businesses, too. That makes Houston an exciting to be.”
Deloitte is very much a firm within a firm (within a firm, within a firm), offering interconnected layers of business expertise to its clients. Their current location, Heritage Plaza, is a building within a building. The modern office tower, built in 1987, encases the 1929 Federal Land Bank Building, visible within the lobby of Heritage Plaza.