It’s not terribly common for a 65-person company to dedicate a specific space within its 12,000-square-foot production and decoration facility to training. The IceBox, though, isn’t your typical company. It introduced IceBox University earlier this year, in an effort to ensure all of its employees had the proper knowledge they needed to do their jobs successfully, but also that they shared that experience and knowledge with each other.
So, the company has a classroom that can easily hold 25 people at a time on the second floor of its production center, complete with curriculum books, blackboards, and desks. There are weekly training classes that are mostly for salespeople, but The IceBox also hosts all-company training sessions as well as impromptu department meetings in the training center. “Every person in our company is critical to our success and we created this training program so that people have the tools they need to do their jobs well,” says Scott Alterman, who founded The IceBox along with his partner Jordy Gamson in 2001, as he leads the Road Tour crew around his company on Tuesday morning. “We really need knowledge-share across the whole company if we’re going to continue to grow this business.”
The IceBox, though, is far more than an employee training center. Rather, it’s a breeding ground for promotional ideas. The office, which is set in the up-and-coming Inman Park area of Atlanta, is designed as kind of a wide open warehouse where staffers can easily interact with each other and brainstorm client concepts and ideas. “We’re set up like this by design,” Alterman says. “We want a lot of collaboration among our people.”
And, there’s certainly no shortage of that here. On this morning, there’s one employee who just returned from her honeymoon telling stories in the middle of the office, and others mingling with cups of coffee before they get busy for the day. Plus, the company’s employees often participate in Fitness Fridays in which they walk as a group together outside or rent bikes from a nearby shop and ride around the neighborhood. “I describe our culture as casual with accountability,” says Donnie Brown, COO of the company, which features casual attire every day, including this one where jeans and t-shirts are the clothes of choice and one designer even wears workout gear while sitting on a stress ball at her desk. “We all get along really well, work hard, and take joy in doing good, creative work.”
That work is showcased all throughout the office, as well. There’s a winding, large showroom that’s an impressive showpiece to visitors and clients, as well as a wall of t-shirt self-promos that the company has done over the years, a section of the office dedicated to the work the company has created for two major non-profit clients, and a room that showcases the hundreds of different possibilities that The IceBox can create with caps and hats.