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Amazing corporate campus

September 10th, 2011

My friend Masaru saw that I was in Madison, Wisconsin on Friday, so he casually asked if I was interested in doing something.

“Lunch,” I replied, adding, “Name the place, and I’ll be there.”

I was expecting somewhere in downtown Madison, perhaps on the famous State Street.  Instead, Masaru invited me to the corporate campus for his employer, Epic Systems.  I’m glad we went with that option, because I was blown away by what I saw.

I drove Sam a few miles west of Madison to where the development of the city began to give way to the rolling farmland of the country.  There, perched on a hill, was the enormous complex of buildings that served as the Epic Systems corporate campus.

A small part of one of the many buildings at the Epic Systems corporate campus. (Photo CC by sarahbest via Flickr)

It was remarkable.  The landscaping was intricate, full of trees, rocks, waterways, and flowers.  The buildings, though large, did not clash with the environment as much as complement it.  The facades were warm-toned brick and wood, with tasteful black metal roofs.  And windows? They abounded.  A masterpiece of architecture.

It wasn’t just a beautiful exterior.  The interior was filled with high-quality fixtures, wood, and art.

The people were all friendly, and the environment was relaxed.

I was concerned that I would be severely under-dressed, as I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  As it turned out, I fit right in: the most-dressed up people were the ones wearing long pants instead of shorts, but even they were wearing sandals.

And security?  None to speak of.  Nobody had badges, and I didn’t even need to sign in as a visitor.  Remarkable.

The whole experience was in stark contrast to the corporate environments I’ve seen in the past.  It felt like something that belonged in California, not the midwest.

As I was walking around the building, mouth agape, I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to work there.  I had no idea what Epic Systems did, but the work environment alone was compelling enough to trigger lust.  That’s the power of a beautiful campus and a friendly corporate culture.

It turned out that Epic Systems built health care software.  Really good, really expensive, really popular health care software.  That has led to meteoric growth, something like 30% per year.

Will Epic be able to maintain its culture as it continues to grow?  Hard to say.  But right now things are looking pretty good.

  1. September 12th, 2011 at 09:45 | #1

    Funny review….I was very interested in working for Epic at one time, but I had enough conversations and saw enough reviews (see http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Epic-Systems-Corporation-Reviews-E35163.htm) to believe that I would not be happy there, ultimately. The most consistent message I heard was that there is very little work-life balance there and many entry-level employees burn out after a couple of years. Funny that in the time since, I see they are now ranked one of the best companies to work for. I guess the jury is still out, perhaps.

  2. Jeff
    September 13th, 2011 at 00:07 | #2

    @Brandon Z I can believe that. The workforce seemed to skew quite young. At one point, I asked my friend, “Does anybody over the age of 30 work here?” Perhaps all of the older people burned out?

  3. Tim
    September 22nd, 2011 at 11:43 | #3

    My Brother and Sister-in-Law both worked there. My Brother for ~2 years and Sister-in-law for ~5 years. I can’t fully speak to the work life balance aspect of working at EPIC, but I know they left to regain some semblance of a balance. They both traveled extensively for work (<50% of the time). However, the company did provide an atmosphere that seemed for the most part positive. I always enjoyed my visits to Madison and the chance to see what new feature/building had been added to EPIC. They are well regarded as a citizen in Verona, and reminded me of RHIT on many levels.

    There are other roles within the company that don't require such extensive travel. Jeff, there are a couple Pike alumni who work there in a role that doesn't require travel. Perhaps you will see them this weekend? Shoot me an email and I can share their names with you.

    Also, how is the tarp tent working out?

  4. Jeff
    September 22nd, 2011 at 14:46 | #4

    @Tim I should probably clarify that I “want” to work there in a
    hypothetical rather than literal sense. Ideally, I won’t have to be an employee anywhere again. 🙂

    The Tarp Tent is working well, albeit with some caveats. I wrote up a quick review, in case you’re interested.

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