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Our 3-D Scrapbook

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SWA_lobby.jpg  (click on the photos to enlarge) Those of us who work in Southwest's Headquarters building are surrounded by a veritable (gosh, I like that word) treasure trove of Southwest memorabilia and "stuff."  Every hallway is a three-dimensional scrapbook of this great Company, and the building holds 35 years of memories.  Trust me, those memories generate a lot items to be framed and displayed.  I didn't know how many until I began doing research for a special edition of Airways Magazine about our 35th Anniversary, and I asked my Executive Office Coworker Jon Shubert for some details about the displayed items. Jon is the "curator" of the building, and at the time I did my research, there were about 20,000 framed items on the walls, and hundreds of items in the 21 display cases scattered throughout the building.  That was a few months ago, and the number continues to grow.  Alan Potts, who is on Jon's Team, gets the primary job of hanging those new objets d'art. SWAHallsWide.jpg So what kinds of things are on display in the building?  For one, there are mannequins wearing almost all of the previous Flight Attendant uniforms, including those famous hot pants.  The main entrance of the building is an airy atrium with giant scale models of our aircraft wearing all of Southwest's liveries suspended from the ceiling.  One wall contains almost all of our print advertisements; others hold photos of Employees, Employees with their pets, and of Employees who came to us from other airlines; one wing of the building is filled with Southwest mementos; and scattered throughout the building are framed newspaper and magazine articles about Southwest.SWAframed clothing.jpg And of course, there are airplane photos throughout, along with unusual Southwest clothing items.  In the newer part of the building, the elevator lobbies contain bigger than life 3-D displays.  On the first floor is the "Big T-shirt," and it consists of a giant T-shirt in front of framed displays of the various commemorative Southwest T-shirts.  On the Big T-shirt itself is printed an inside Southwest joke:  "How many Southwest Employees does it take to change a light bulb?"  The answer is "Four.  One to change the bulb and three to make the T-shirt."  On the second floor is a depiction of the famous Malice in Dallas event, where Herb wrestled the CEO of Stevens Aviation for the right to us the slogan "Just Plane Smart." SWA_malice in dallas.jpg I can't even begin to list all of the items on display, but the most impressive thing about how the building is decorated is that it makes the building a home.  When the walls were repainted last year, they were bare for about a month, and the building seemed so sterile.  It looked like an office building, not Southwest Headquarters, and working here that month made it seem like a job instead of an adventure.
27 Comments
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Having been to the SWA headquarters building several times, I can add a hearty "amen" to Brian's comments. It literally is a living museum to the people and ideas that have made Southwest such a great company. Having grown up in Dallas, I can still remember seeing a large ad in our newspaper for a start-up airline that wanted to hire women who looked like Raquel Welch, and I certainly recall figuring out right then that this new company was NOT going to be like any other airline I was familiar with! Going places through the halls of the SWA HQ takes an incredible amount of time, not because it is a huge building (it IS pretty big), but because the trip is taken in two and three step increments as you read and enjoy the things on the walls! Seeing all of those mementoes was just a delight, and yes, they do have a framed copy of that Raquel Welch ad! Its like taking a step back in time and having your memory jogged by snippets of SW's history and the places where it intersected with your own past. The first picture shown above does not do those plane models justice, because its hard to get a sense of the size of those things. Without some scale to relate to, you can't quite tell that they are HUGE! (Brian, did you hire Spiderman to crawl across the ceiling to take that picture??!!) While the management and atmosphere of Southwest has never been about "things", and is definitely centered on "people" , having all of these really neat things on display is a great visual reminder of all of the terrific people who have implemented some fantastic ideas in the last 35 years. Thank goodness the building is NOT normally a sterile place, because that would never match the mood of the awesome employees of Southwest Airlines! Kim
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So Brian - how can us mere passengers get to tour this wonderful building?
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Hi Jim, Unfortunately, the building isn't open for general public tours because besides being a "scrapbook," it is a working office building. (Sometimes, Employees will bring friends or family here to show off the building.) However, if you look around at a lot of our stations, especially in gate areas and jetbridges you will see the local equivalent. And by the way, you are never a "mere passenger." Our Customers are the reason we exist!
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As a long time SWA employee (since 1978) and long before we built this beautiful building and new Corporate Home, I can tell you how much we appreciate the "eye candy" in our HDQ hallways. It helps us remember the battles we have fought and won and the subsequent celebrations! A hearty thanks to Jon, Allen and everyone that contributes to our hallway and HDQ decorations. -Pam
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I'd LUV to take a tour! I saw a little bit when I was there for my group interview (GI) last month, & I heard that during FA training, I get to go on a tour. This reminds me. A flight attendant who sent a referral letter for me also sent pictures (of which I got doubles, as always, so I have some for myself!) of me I mailed to her back in late March or early April this year. Two of them are of me with flight attendants, & another is of me holding up bags of peanuts. She mailed them to HDQ; I'm just curious if anybody knows what was done with the pictures. 🙂 My prints are in my special SWA pictures (photo) album.
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Hi Brian - Great article - but I have one little comment to make. I was at your HQ on April 20th for my GI, and although I was REALLY impressed with the wonderful things I saw - what really impressed me the most was the PEOPLE!! It was so awesome because everyone I came in contact with was SO very nice - and they were having FUN at work!! Yes - there were wonderful things displayed everywhere; but there were SMILES and LAUGHTER everywhere as well! I didn't know at the time how things were going to work out for me - but I came back to Oklahoma and told everyone that I found the place I would like to work!! Well-----turns out------I will be there September 25th for Class 227 Inflight Training!!! 🙂 Yippee!! Brian - I definitely hope to say "howdy" when we make our tour. 39 days and counting!! PLM
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Whenever I meet my girlfriend at HDQ, she has to make me walk faster through the halls because I'm always looking at the pictures. It's pretty cool to see those old pictures of Love Field and the old ads. I always ask if we can walk on a different floor so I can see more stuff as we make our way back to her office.
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Hi PLM, you are right. Southwest's People make the difference in everything we do. Our building is a reflection of our People, not the other way around. Congratulations on joining the Southwest Family. Brian
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well PLM...Will see you there...Am certainly looking forward to making the trip from Phoenix to Dallas for class at the end of September....Have to say that everyone that I've met thru this entire process has bent over backwards to help...Nice to see in a company this size....See you in Dallas...
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As I mentioned in my original post above, and has been reiterated by some of my fellow bloggers, while the things on display ARE really cool, they don't begin to approach the level of coolness displayed by everyone of Southwest's terrific employees. (even Brian, our BlogMaster, isn't such a bad guy once you get to know him!) For many years, I have been a student of people's behavior in the workplace along with the dynamics of corporate relationships. It is my firm belief that you can learn a lot about a company by observing its employees, and this opinion is rarely as dramatically proven as it is by spending time at D/FW Airport and then spending time at Love Field. At "the big airport", where there is one dominant airline (which shall remain nameless so I don't appear to be pointing fingers AAt AAny pAArticulAAr competitor of Southwest...), I have repeatedly watched as "their" employees pass each other in the terminal in complete silence. Rarely is a nod or wave seen, and the facial expressions certainly reveal a lack of enthusiasm at working for that company. Then, step over to Love Field, where I regularly see SWA's people smiling, chatting with each other, hugging fellow employees and shouting greetings to workers that they know. This friendly familiarity does not acknowledge any sort of 'class society', since I see pilots high-fiving baggage handlers, flight attendants hugging gate agents, various coverall-wearing nobby-knee protected folks hanging out with ticket counter people and out of uniform employees being recognized and welcomed. Southwest employees do not 'see' different levels or importance on the organizational chart, what they see are their FRIENDS who share their love of Southwest and its passengers. Speaking of which, that friendship isn't restricted to just the folks who get a paycheck from SWA. In the last week, on two separate trips out of Love, I was recognized by SWA employees who didn't know my name but knew I was a 'regular" and who spoke to me. Pictures, framed mementoes and displays of hot pants are great, but it is DEFINITELY the people who make Southwest the greatest airline in the world! Kim
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well, at least I have a "cool quotient" even if it doesn't rate very high. Brian
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Don't let Brian's false modesty fool you -- he is a legend at SWA. Once, I was patiently waiting for my flight at Love when Herb Kelleher walked up to me. He said that he had heard that I knew Brian Lusk and when I admitted that, in fact, I did, he asked me for an autograph. I've had buxom, bikini-clad women come up and ask me what the 'real' Brian is like. He clearly has a HUGE fan base and loyal following! Kim 🙂
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As a member of the official Brian Lusk fan club, I can attest that he is truly one cool dude. Brian's work on the Airways feature will go down as one of the greatest literary and visual peices in Southwest's history. In fact, I can guarantee it will end up framed and on the very walls that he so LUVingly describes in the article.
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Aw guys, come on now. I am a moderately cool if that middle-aged guy. However, most of you don't know that Angela, see above, is the reason you are enjoying Nuts About Southwest. Thanks to her efforts, this blog is a living creature. Brian
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OK, we all LUV the special three-letter abbreviations that SWA uses. We know that POS is Positively Outrageous Service. We know that Brian and Angela's offices are right next to DAL. And now, we have a perfect example of MAS. No, I am not referring to Manus Island Momote airport in Papua, New Guinea. I'm talking about Brian and Angela's Mutual Admiration Society!! LOL Kim 🙂
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Hi Brian. I need some help with a college project and i can't find any info on this at all. Does Southwest Airlines have an Organizational chart? If there is no chart then please let me know how you identify the people that are responsible for the Major decisions? Any info would be greatly appreciated/ Thanks Bill
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Brian, I'm in the same boat as William above... I'm doing a graduate research project and cannot find a recent organizational chart anywhere. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Ashley
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Hello; I am in the same situation as the last 2 posted comments. I am trying to find an organizational chart of Southwest Airlines for a post-graduate project, and there does not seem to be one available. If that is not available, is the organizational structure primarily heirarchical, matrix style or flat? I assume it is the later, but any additional insights on that would be helpful. Thank you for your time; Carl
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Good morning, interesting to see how many case studies and research projects are built on the magnificent example of Southwest Airlines!! Personally I'm particularly impressed by how much the company "give back" to communities, throug Adopt-A-Pilot, Ronald McDonald and so on! 6 months after Carl and the two other previous comments I am also looking for an organisational chart of SWA, to fulfill another part of my paper. May I ask where I could find a list of managers, or an organisational chart (to know who is reporting to who) ?? Thanx for your time & answer Leo
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also would like to find an organizational chart. I am doing a paper on of course this airline for my strategic management class. This would help out alot. thank you so much for you help. hilary
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I too am looking for an organizational chart for SWA for college paper purposes. Can you please help?
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I'm facing the same problem as the earlier posting, looking for SWA organization chart for my research report. Can someone advise on where I can get the information?
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I am too facing the same problem as the previous postings. I am looking for a current organizational chart for a marketing research paper. Can someone advise on where I can get the information?
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Hello! I too just like alot of the people above that are commenting, am trying to find an organizational chart. It seems as if there are specific departments that each has a supervisor but other than that it seems as if the employees are given a sense of empowerment to make SouthWest Successful. This chart is needed for my Hospitality and Tourism Class that we are doing a research paper on. This paper is due on November 25, 2008. If you could possible get back to me as soon as possible I would so greatly appreciate it!
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I too am looking for an organizational chart for SWA for college paper purposes. Can you please help? Thanks, Billy
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I am also looking for an organizational chart for Southwest for a college paper. My paper is due in a week and I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks! Carol
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I want to thank all my friends at Southwest Airlines who made my visit to their headquarters building a most memorable experience! Thank you especially to Paul Thompson who hosted me and to Christi Day for the amazing tour! I know I'm going to have to come back for more! I luved seeing the treasure trove of art and memorabilia that represented thousands of Southwest Airlines' employee's hard work, dedication, unity, and sacrifices! All I need to do to remember my Oct 2, 2009 visit is read a few chapters of "NUTS: Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success" and I'm back in the halls of Southwest Airlines' Headquarters! To all my Southwest Airlines' friends on twitter and abroad, THANK YOU for your encouragement and support! Julie Vessigault