“Greening” Facilities: Hermes Microtech, Inc

21 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Andrea Larson

Andrea Larson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Chris Lotspeich

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


The process of identifying more efficient, less costly, and more environmentally friendly ways to build a facility is complicated, especially for a company such as Hermes, a (fictitious) microchip company that uses special “clean rooms” in manufacturing. This case presents opportunities for stakeholder analysis, a discussion of strategic thinking, and an exploration of the complex issues involved in "greening" a physical plant.





Heather Glen* pushed back in her chair in her office at Hermes Microtech, Inc., which gave her a commanding view of the books, binders, notes, and messages piling up around her computer. The sunset was fading out over the Pacific, and as the last of her colleagues left, she welcomed the quiet opportunity to contemplate the task before her. Hermes CEO Alden Torus* had just approved the most important project in Glen's career to date, and she didn't want to waste any time getting started. Glen had one month to organize an initial meeting of all key participants involved in creating and building Hermes's new headquarters. For the first time, the company would bring together professionals from each phase of facilities design, construction, and operation in order to initiate project planning, and Glen would run the meeting. Although she was not the construction project manager, Glen was going to try to change the way her company built and ran its facilities to make them more environmentally friendly—and in the process transform the company itself.

Much had happened in the 18 months since Glen had been appointed special projects coordinator by Sandy Strand*, Hermes's executive vice president of environment and facilities (E&F). Strand had asked her to head up efforts to make environmental quality a higher priority in the company's buildings and facilities, a goal the CEO shared. Glen's work in implementing energy efficiency improvements at one of their microchip factories had produced mixed results. She learned a great deal about the technical potential for improvement from that pilot project. But her most valuable lessons concerned the organizational dynamics of the design–build effort. She realized that the most important factors for success—as well as the greatest challenges—lay in renovating the decision-making process, rather than in different design and technology choices.

As dusk fell and the cubicles outside her office sank into shadow, photosensors increased the brightness of the fluorescent light fixtures above Glen's desk. She sipped another mouthful of coffee to stave off any drowsiness that might follow the meal she had just shared with Torus and Strand. Torus had called the dinner meeting to discuss how best to make the company's next planned facility an environmentally friendly or “green” building. He wanted that to happen because he believed it would benefit the company, and he had supported Strand and Glen's efforts. Yet Torus knew it would be a challenge to change the way the organization went about the design–build process.

. . .

Keywords: design build green building organizational change leadership

Suggested Citation

Larson, Andrea and Lotspeich, Chris, “Greening” Facilities: Hermes Microtech, Inc. Darden Case No. UVA-ENT-0054, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1278389

Andrea Larson (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/larson.htm

Chris Lotspeich

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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