In general, I suppose, a "World Tech Center" would be the global center of technology for an organization or company. Unfortunately, I refer not to the general meaning of this term, but to the specific nature, when pre-fixed with FedEx.
The FedEx World Tech Center is located off of Bailey Station Road in Collierville, Tennessee. It certainly stands out, because of it's Silicon Valley architecture in Collierville's suburban surroundings. The complex is comprised of 10 buildings housing over 2,000 employees, on hundreds of acres of land. At first glance, it is certainly a sight to behold. The front gate is adorned with beautiful landscaping and a bold, chrome FedEx logo underscored with "World Tech Center."
This building draws thousands to it each day, returning to work, doing their job. There is a magic feeling one gets walking into this huge place. Suddenly, you feel important, you are part of something big. Every kind of technology is represented at the World Tech Center, from barcode scanners to SOAP web services. One of the things you immediately notice about the technology here is that FedEx has an affinity for Sun & HP products. A managing director explained this phenomenon to me, simply put, "They ship alot of packages." Employees range from "Administrative Assistant" to "Senior Vice President." This shows you how much of a key role technology plays in this kind of company.
Security is tight however, you cannot simply just waltz right in. Using my nepotistic connections, I became an employee of FedEx Services, an Intern of sorts. Although security is very suspicious on the weekends, the facility is pretty much open during the day. Don't let this fool you, their camera system is watching you, believe me. After several weeks of going the same route to my desk, I am still uncertain about undiscovered pairs of digital eyes watching my every move. For physical access, Human Resources issues each employee a photo ID card and a magnetic proxy card, which allows you to gain access to the facility. You need this card to enter the parking lot and enter the buildings.
Now that I have exposed my employers security system, I will move on. Despite the opportunity for FedEx to make each building stand out, they have chosen to simply go for a cookie cutter design. Once you have seen a single building in the campus, you have seen them all. Their are two unique buildings, however. Building 50, the public entrance, houses large meeting rooms, an Aramark-powered cafeteria, and the obligatory public bathrooms/telephones. Building 25 is another unique one, built after the construction of the other 9 buildings. It is much more secure, with a dedicated lobby complete with guards and an alarm-wired magnetic entry system. Due to the sensitive nature of this building, I won't talk about it any further. Although the architecture is visually pleasing, they did not make any effort to make it classic or lasting. It is already starting to look visually dated, despite it's design in 1998.