1/29/16 Business First Centric Consulting (Jason Pohl and Chad Caldwell) Centric Consulting LLC has increased its work force by 55 percent this year – but no one reports to an office. There's not even a headquarters for the data analytics and IT consulting firm.Centric was incorporated in Kettering, but the CEO is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and President Larry English is in Columbus. All 700 employees are virtual, working from home or embedded at the offices of clients including insurers, hospitals and retail chains. There's an "office" in the Brewery District, but really it's a collaboration and meeting space. “It is a lot harder to build a culture and maintain a culture when you’re virtual,” said Gina Heffner, Columbus business unit lead who's been with the 15-year-old company seven years. Especially as it's been hiring more recent college grads alongside experienced engineers and data scientists, the company has worked harder at making sure every employee feels a part of Centric, not a contractor to a client. Something's working: Centric has appeared three years running on Columbus Business First's Best Places to Work list, even if there's no one "place" to work. Many from the Central Ohio work force of about 100 gather Tuesday mornings at a favorite coffee shop, and for a holiday party earlier this month. The office schedules occasional bowling nights and volunteer events. The entire company gathers for meetings or parties about three times a year. And every year Centric takes employees and their guests on a trip – in January they’re spending a weekend in Puerto Vallarta, a resort destination in Mexico. “It’s a celebration of who we are,” Heffner said. Centric leaders also seek out innovative ideas from employees, she said. “We strive to have a culture of entrepreneurship,” Heffner said. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve been here 15 years or just joined – every voice in this company really, truly counts.”

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