Skullcandy turns up volume at new digs | ParkRecord.com

Skullcandy turns up volume at new digs

Headquarters seen as potential lure to Park City Tech Center

For Skullcandy CEO Jason Hodell, the news that the company would be making its long-awaited move to its new headquarters this spring was music to his ears.

Now that Skullcandy, known for its line of headphones and audio gear, is mostly moved into its shiny new building at 6301 N. Landmark Drive in Kimball Junction, Hodell said the facility doesn't disappoint. Located at the foot of the Utah Olympic Park, in the Park City Tech Center, the building features floor-to-ceiling windows with 360-degree views and comes complete with a half-court basketball court, a putting green and a skateboard half-pipe.

Hodel, who took over as Skullcandy's CEO last fall but has been with the company since 2013, called the move a milestone and said getting acquainted with the new digs has been invigorating for employees.

"It's transformational for our company," he said. "Skullcandy was born in Park City as a startup, and it grew up and kind of went through adolescence. And now, with the new headquarters, it definitely feels like we're a grown up company now. You can feel the energy. Everybody has been buoyed and picked up just because it's such a beautiful view and there's so much sun that comes in."

To Hodell, the defining feature of the new space is its openness. It's in stark contrast to the company's old headquarters in Newpark that was dark and cramped, with employees cloistered off in their own departments. The new space is more conducive to creativity and collaboration.

"I can see probably 100 people, and they can see me too," he said. "We're all in this together. Whenever you get a group like that in a space like this, the energy just picks up. … Ideas and energy feeds off other ideas and other people's energy. People are bouncing ideas off each other."

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In addition to being a boon for Skullcandy, the building is seen as an important hub in the Tech Center. The headquarters is the second major project in the large-scale development — owned by The Boyer Company — that has long been touted as a potential lure to bring technology companies to Summit County. Jeff Jones, the county's economic development director, said in an email to The Park Record that officials are optimistic that Skullcandy's presence will help the vision for the area eventually come to fruition.

"We feel grateful for the past contributions they and their employees have made to our community and hope that their new building serves as a catalyst for additional private investment and development in the Park City Tech Center," he said.

Hodell said that representatives from several companies have already toured the building and walked away impressed. The success of Skullcandy, which has become one of the most recognizable headphone brands in the country, could convince other companies that Park City is a viable area for big business.

"This tech corridor has a lot of potential," he said.

He added that the company had several opportunities to move its headquarters elsewhere, but ultimately chose to stay in Summit County.

"What we kept going back to was the DNA of the company," he said. "It's clear to us that, because this is where we were born and a lot of us have made our lives here, being part of Park City and this community was very important to who we are. It's part of our identity."

The move comes amid a time of change for Skullcandy. The company was acquired last fall by the private investment firm Mill Road Capital — right before Hodell replaced Hoby Darling as CEO — and has since undergone a transition from being a publically owned company to one that's privately held.

Hodell said the transition has made Skullcandy more focused, reduced administrative work around the edges and has generally been positive for the company. That, along with the new headquarters, means Skullcandy's future is bright.

"You're accountable to a single owner, not many shareholders," he said. "Whenever that happens, absolutely the level of detail that you get into with that owner (increases). It amps up the level of conversation that's going on between the management team and ownership. But it's been a good change."

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