Kansas City’s Coolest Offices: DSI

A move downtown and a new office space reflect DSI’s forward-thinking business model.

Story By Riley Mortensen and Leah Wankum

New gadgets and a new facility in downtown Kansas City make up the headquarters for DSI, a mobile supply chain company.

Designed by RMTA in 2012, the office is located on the 11th and 12th floors of a 29-story office tower at 1201 Walnut Street. Having already outgrown that original two-floor space, DSI now also lays claim to the 10th floor. The space is currently being renovated, but the company plans to move into it by mid-November, and when it’s completed, DSI will occupy 60,000 square feet, making it the second-largest tenant in the building.

Lara Schneider, RMTA project manager and project designer for DSI’s office, says RMTA came up with design concepts to reflect DSI’s forward-thinking business model.

“When we initially met with DSI, they had a pretty clear vision of what they didn’t want,” Schneider says. “Their previous space was very closed off, so they knew that wasn’t working for them. We were able to sit down with them and work out their needs and goals through visioning sessions.”

The sessions involved meeting with DSI department heads to make sure their visions were aligned, especially with that of DSI CEO Matt McGraw. During the sessions, Schneider says they looked at imagery from other projects and other tech companies with progressive business models.

The two-story office space has a decorative stair, which Schneider says is the centerpiece.

“We had to cut a large opening in the existing floor to allow for the staircase,” she says. “The showpiece of the whole space is the communicating stair that connects the two floors. While it’s very functional, it’s the wow moment.”

The open office and work stations make up the whole southern half, which overlooks the Power & Light District.

McGraw says when it comes to the new and old offices, there’s no comparison. While the previous office was a more traditional, high-walled cubicle environment, the new space features glass walls and sliding glass doors, which McGraw says allows employees to look out in any direction from any point in the office and see the beautiful views of downtown. The space has also had an impact on office culture, he says.

“Being able to have that open environment really fosters collaboration amongst team members and it completely changed the work environment,” McGraw explains.

One of the things DSI had been struggling with was recruitment because the professionals they wanted to hire were looking for a cool place to work. McGraw realized that recent graduates are looking for areas with amenities like public transportation, so the city’s streetcar will come as a huge plus for current and future employees.

“The ability for us to move downtown has proved to be a really, really strong card that we have to play in recruiting talent, not only within Kansas City, but pulling someone from outside to Kansas City because of the great environment that we have here in downtown,” McGraw says. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”