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Silicon Valley Experience in Metro Detroit

Wait, is that title a typo?

No, it is not. Silicon Valley is known for their innovative work spaces and vast compound like headquarters. Creating a culture where employees look forward to going to work and get treated like the most important asset in the company. A concept that for years was considered a waste of money to mainstream corporate giants who had thousands of employees and huge expenses.

Out in the midwest we would hear stories about what Twitter, Facebook and Google were doing to name a few. Free coffee, massages, amazing break rooms, bean bags where there were once structured office desks and vibrant colors on the wall. The exact opposite of what the white collar work place had become...dull and disheartening.

Flocks of young adults would graduate college and migrate out of state in Michigan to find these rewarding work spaces. Nothing like this existed in the midwest...UNTIL NOW.

I can speak first hand on this mortgage giant United Wholesale Mortgage (also known locally as United Shore) in Troy, Michigan that will soon be moving to its brand new 610,000 square foot monster headquarters in Pontiac, Michigan. I have personally watched this company grow from twelve people to over 2,400 team members today. My husband, Mat Ishbia, is the CEO and president of this company. Back when we first started dating over fourteen years ago he was an account executive doing outside sales and slowly worked his way up grinding and fighting everyday to be the best he could for his clients and team. Not to mention Mat has a completely approachable, innovative and forward thinking mindset which sets him apart from other CEOs. Maybe I wasn't physically in the office but I watched from afar as my husband and his team built the largest wholesale mortgage bank in the county. Slowly the United Shore team made changes to the way the industry did business one day at a time. I feel like I have a unique perspective of how this company became what it is today.

Mat always will say the most important thing in the office are the people. They are the number one asset. Without them and their dedication and positive attitude the company is nothing. They have the most amazing culture in their current 250,000 sq ft building in Troy, Michigan where the 2,400 team members are currently working while awaiting the finishing touches on their new home. They have been in Troy for six years now slowly filling the office space until more rooms needed. The walls in Troy are filled with vibrant colors, fun designs, company stories, company updates and photos from company outings and family fairs.

Things like this are special but what is more important is their six pillars that focus on creating an amazing one of a kind work environment that I think would make people in Silicon Valley jealous.

  • Our People

  • Service

  • Relationship Driven

  • Thumb Pointers

  • Continuous Improvement

  • Fun and Friendship

For starters they call the people who work at the office team members, leaders and captains because they understand it is a group effort to get anything done. And underlying that is a focused priority of creating friendship and kindness between the team members and making it a fun and caring environment. Their business goal is to out perform anyones expectations they work with. Do you know what that means? Constant improvement and finding ways to do better by their clients and own team members. Continual changes to stay on top of the game and the goal of being the top choice for their customers. Trainings, team huddles and motivational meeting are a regular part of the weekly routine.

Today in Troy they have wonderful perks like Starbucks, a gym, healthy food options in the cafeteria, limitless volunteer opportunities to do things to support the community, continuous education, fun events throughout the year, daily dance parties, required leader and team member lunches, required get to know each other get togethers, tons of team bonding events and even a private physicians office only for team members in the office. The list goes on to include ice-cream parties, chili cook offs and more all in the office.

In the coming months in their new home in Pontiac, there are even more fun features coming in their new office space. The chief people person and her 250 person team created the most spectacular vibrant office space. A full size indoor basketball court, a hair salon, massage room, an outdoor meeting theater, a huge indoor auditorium for events and meetings and an expansive cafeteria. There will be a huge outdoor eating area with a daily food truck, an "Idea Lab" where you can literally write on every surface in the room and even an escape room to help work on team building and problem solving. All of these things are being installed and created to make the work environment fun, comfortable and desirable for the team members. More importantly than any of these "things" is the culture which lets everyone know their voice is important and being heard. Not only heard but team members are awarded trophies for ideas that get put to use and are given company wide recognition for it with the very famous light bulb trophy. These trophies line countless team member's desks because it was "A Brilliant Idea". This is just the beginning. My husband always tells me that he and his team are just getting started..

This past weekend I felt so fortunate to get a tour of United Shore's future home in Pontiac with Mat. I was blown away...from where things began in Birmingham, Michigan to where they are today is beyond anything I ever could have imagined. I will say Mat always told me for fourteen years that he and his team were just getting started. Ironically he still says that same phrase today. First quarter of 2018, the mortgage industry nationally was down 10% yet United Shore was up 85% year to date for the first quarter. Clearly they are doing a lot of things right!!

So parents, let your kids know they don't need to move to California to get the Silicon experience. It is right here in metro Detroit at United Shore. It seems every single background has an opportunity inside these doors from sales, teaching (yes, team members need continual training and teaching), marketing, hair salon experience, masseuse, exercise and sports specialist, advertising, IT, graphic design, security, maintenance, photography, event coordination, HR and more!

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