A few memories from Technology Blvd.
Technology Blvd was the classic one-story industrial office complex where you could have any combination of companies by just adjusting where the walls and doors were. When I started at NI in 1987, NI was primarily down on the one side of the building. During this time as NI was growing, many companies were struggling and other occupants of the building we were in would close down and/or move. As NI grew, we would punch a hole in the adjoining wall, place a door and expand into the adjoining space. The spaces were all different as they were originally designed by the first companies to take that space. We didn’t bother redesigning the space, we just took it as it was. The focus was on growth and punching through to an adjoining space was a great internal signal that we were growing. As we would expand into new spaces at Technology Blvd. there would be times that multiple people would have to work out of a larger office, and in many cases all the members of a team wouldn’t always be able to co-locate. I had one instance as a Product Manager where I was moved into a space that clearly had been a closet for a prior company in that space.
Dr T was clearly MBWA – management by walking around. He would always be cruising around to see who he could find to discuss his ideas of the day. He continued that style throughout his leadership at NI, even as we became much larger.
Another funny memory from Technology Blvd was Nila, our front door receptionist. She would great vendors and take calls that came into the company, and then over the paging system announce who had a call or a guest waiting. At one point in the expansion at Technology Blvd we basically had two separate phone systems, and if you wanted to call someone on the other side of the building you would have to call the outside number that Nila would answer, and then ask her to connect you to the employee you wanted to speak with. She was effectively a switchboard operator.
Manufacturing was in the back of the Technology Blvd space, and often the shaded parking spots were behind the building, so walking in you would just walk right through the manufacturing benches, occasionally stopping to see what products they were building (and perhaps asking if you could grab one to use).
Written by John Graff