This was my first blog story for Movement Mortgage and my first venture into brand journalism. I became the company's in-house reporter, covering significant events - such as the debut of its National Sales Support Center - with the same diligence and tenacity as any journalist. This story originally published on the Movement Blog on Mar. 11, 2016.
Channeling the same patriotic fervor you might find at a presidential rally (or baseball game), Movement Mortgage on Friday celebrated the debut of its new $22 million headquarters in Fort Mill with speeches, shouts and a whole lot of red and white.
More than 900 Movement team members, guests and media filled the first floor of the National Sales Support Center, a 104,000-square-foot facility that includes a state-of-the-art processing and underwriting floor, café, training and conference rooms, prayer room and fitness center.
To the backdrop of raucous cheers, Movement CEO Casey Crawford dedicated the new building, cut a ribbon and yelled, “Welcome home, Movement Mortgage!”
He took the stage alongside S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley.
Her rising profile in the Republican Party led to her delivering the GOP response after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in January.
She also earned accolades after spearheading the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse following the killings of nine people in a Charleston church last summer.
Against the backdrop of a contentious presidential race, Crawford praised Movement’s partnership with the governor as a show of “what it could look like when we think not what’s best for us but what’s best for all.”
Haley followed in the same vein, drawing strong comparisons between Movement’s mission and South Carolina, including a dedication to servant leadership and excellence in customer service.
“To see this beautiful building and to see the energy, you totally get why Movement Mortgage is one of the fastest growing mortgage companies” in the nation, she said.
Over 600 Movement team members will occupy the new campus, just off S.C. 160 and across the state line from Movement’s former operations center in Charlotte’s Ballantyne area.
Plans call for Movement to add 100 new employees to the headquarters this year, and unveil upgrades and expansions to operation centers in Phoenix and Virginia Beach.
Before Friday’s ceremony, Trey White, a 20-year mortgage industry veteran invited to the celebration, lounged in the cafe with a cup of coffee.
“I thought I was walking into Google,” he said of the facility, teeming with Movement community members sporting red and white grand opening T-shirts. “I’m in awe. I feel like I’m on a movie set. It’s special.”
Next to him sat Chris Blevins, Movement’s regional director in Austin, Texas. He’s been with Movement for a little over a year and said he’s most impressed with its progression.
“To see how we can grow so fast and support everything that we’re doing is amazing,” he said.
But that growth has left Crawford with one regret. “It’s been the velocity,” he said during his speech.
“The velocity of what we’ve done has caused us to sometimes not stop and sit in awe…and thankfulness.”
So he raised his hands and shouted thanks to God. Then, he told stories of his father and a church member, using those anecdotes to symbolize Movement’s commitment to service.
“I hope that our legacy will be one of leadership through service by serving our fellow man through love,” he said.
As they took questions from reporters, Crawford and Haley referred to themselves as partners in boosting South Carolina’s economy.
“When we’re recruiting companies, it’s about a partnership,” Haley said. “It’s all about our brand in South Carolina, and Movement Mortgage is a special part of that.”
Crawford is not ruling out even more growth in the Palmetto State.
“We do have a little more real estate next door,” he said. “We’re going to be talking about what we can do in the future to continue to attract jobs to this great state.