Stellar to make COVID-19 work-from-home model permanent

stellar headquarters jacksonville
Stellar's Jacksonville headquarters (Google Street View)

Jacksonville-based Stellar, an integrated international design, engineering, construction and mechanical services business, says it has celebrated its 35th anniversary on July 1 with the announcement that the majority of its workforce will shift to a full-time work-from-home model. The moves make Stellar one of the first firms in the industry to make the shift on a large scale, after many businesses and practices quickly pivoted to the model during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The transition will start this fall, with the majority of employees — including those at the Jacksonville corporate headquarters and other regional offices — working from home offices, while on-site crews and essential support staff continue working at job sites and other locations across the country.

“This move comes at a pivotal moment as we celebrate our company’s 35th anniversary and look ahead to a new decade of change and progress both in our industry and the world,” said Brian Kappele, Stellar president/COO. “This was a careful, strategic decision made after serious consideration by our firm’s leadership and by listening and collaborating with stakeholders across the company. It’s a monumental shift that will ultimately benefit our clients and our employees for years to come.”

Under the new policy, employees will be permitted to work from a consistent home office location and will maintain a regular work schedule during traditional operating hours.

“As an award-winning company already known for its work culture and environment, Stellar will now be able to offer even greater flexibility and work-life balance to its employees,” CEO Mike Santarone said in a statement. “Plus, this will allow for more innovation as we focus on the future and offer more creative solutions for our clients.”

Stellar will maintain ownership of its current headquarters near San Jose Blvd. and I-295 in Jacksonville.

The firm originally leased office space at the current campus before expanding it over the years. Stellar would eventually add a two-story building, a main entrance/atrium, a three-story building, and a four-story building to its headquarters between 1991 and 2007.

Stellar’s LEED Silver office building for its Commercial Group was one of the first LEED-certified structures in Jacksonville.

“Although the majority of our corporate employees will work from home, Stellar’s corporate office location will continue to operate as a resource for employees, partners and clients,” said Kappele.

The company was established in 1985 with just 12 people, and initially specialized in refrigeration contracting, maintenance, service and parts supply. Annual revenues doubled in each of its first three years as Stellar branched out into other fields, fulfilling the founders’ vision of becoming a comprehensive contracting firm.

Today, Stellar has grown into a full-service firm with more than 700 employees, offering multifaceted design and construction services to businesses around the world.

In 2006, the company established the Stellar Foundation to formalize its commitment to giving back to the community. Employees form the heart of the Foundation, donating their time, talent and energy for worthwhile causes across the First Coast and beyond. To this day, the Stellar Foundation has donated millions of dollars and countless hours to local charities, non-profit organizations, hospitals and schools.


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