Rawlings opens doors

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By Elizabeth Troutman

By Elizabeth TroutmanOldham Era staff writer

Those who walk through the main entrance of the shiny new TheRawlings Co. building on Eden Parkway are greeted with the ear to ear smile of Marilyn Ferguson. Ferguson, a resident of La Grange who works the front desk, won't hesitate to share how George Rawling's $20 million building, which opened for business last week, has changed her life.

"Mr. Rawlings made a wish come true for me," said Marilyn Ferguson, who celebrated her Oct. 2 birthday at the new location. "This has always been my dream." 

For many of the 550 Rawlings Co. employees, the move from Waterfront Towers in downtown Louisville to Oldham Reserve, formerly Eden Park, was a transition to a more "serene" work environment. The building features new amenities, an in-house coffee shop, a workout facility, a bathroom with showers, flat screen televisions and a cafeteria.

About 20 volunteers from the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce handed out goodie bags filled with coupons, maps, water bottles and other small items on Oct. 10. Deputy Judge-Executive Paula Gish shook hands with each employee as they walked through the doors.

"I think people are really getting a good impression of Oldham County," said Tori Favier, office manager for the Chamber.

Joan O'Brien, vice president of human resources for The Rawlings Co., said the gifts prompted many employees to explore downtown La Grange. "I know they're venturing out," she said. "So many people don't know anything about Oldham County." 

The Rawlings Co. specializes in data mining and claims recovery of health insurance, The new three-story building opened for business on Oct. 8 and has room for nearly 900 employees. Rawlings' move to La Grange was announced two years ago, and since the company has hired more Oldham County employees. About 60 employees live in Oldham County.

Jenny Armstrong, who has worked for Rawlings for three years, has spotted deer outside the window of her new office in the mornings. She lives in Prospect and said her drive to work is easier.

"Overall, people have been pleased with the change," she said.

Employees expressed relief of parking downtown Louisville and waiting on elevators. Kim Thornsberry, an audit specialist, thinks the building is a drastic change from what she's used to.

"No more traveling up 17 floors," she said. "And the windows make it very nice to look out and relax." 

Chief Kevin Collett of La Grange Police said there was an increase in traffic on Ky. 53 last week, but the additional traffic flowed smoothly.

O'Brien hopes the plans to construct a ramp off of I-71 to New Moody Lane, which county government has proposed for completion in 2009, will move forward. She said there is a significant back-up in La Grange during the peak commute hours. Other than the traffic, she said the company's move was a success.

"We are a workplace that's very focused, so the move caused minimal disruption," she said.

E-mail us about this story at: elizabeth@oldhamera.com.