Written by Taylor Martin & Emily Pote
Modea has been in the Blacksburg’s community for almost nine years after two Virginia Tech graduates named David Catalano and Aaron Herrington decided to use their entrepreneurial spirit to start the company in 2006. The company has been in several locations throughout Blacksburg and currently has its headquarters in Kent Square.
Modea, which is a combination of the words modern + ideas, was originally started as an advertising agency, but over the past few years has transformed into a digital consultancy and product studio. On the consultancy side, the company does website strategy and redesign for various clients, including nTelos and Duke Medicine. On the digital product side, Modea creates simulators and emulators for cell phone companies including Verizon and Telus, a Canadian company.
The office space is very modern, but also very inviting. It consists of two floors separated by a spiral staircase. The top floor, where the consultancy sits, is where website design happens, while the bottom floor is where the digital simulators and emulators are made. Both floors have their own distinct features, but everything still ties together. Whiteboard paint is on just about every wall of the office space, and sticky notes cover many the regular walls left. There are two big kitchens in the facility, each packed with complimentary drinks and snacks for the employees to munch on while getting work done. On Fridays, employees enjoy what’s known as FLF, Free Lunch Friday, where the company caters lunch for everyone in the office. As you can imagine, it’s a pretty popular day at Modea and it’s all to show employee appreciation.
One of the most popular spaces in the office is the two game rooms. These rooms were designed with the employees in mind. While on lunch or when they need a break, several employees can join together for a game of foosball or to battle on every game system imaginable from Xbox One to PS4.
The company has several uniquely named conference rooms throughout the office. Upstairs, room names range from THIS ROOM and THAT ROOM, while downstairs, the rooms boast names such as CONFIDENTIAL and TOP SECRET.
Downtown Blacksburg was chosen as Modea’s home for several reasons according to Emily Pote, the company’s Office Manager. “Blacksburg offers a great quality of life and has been rated one of the best places to raise a family.” Emily’s favorite thing about living and working in Blacksburg is “the view of the mountains every day. I’ve been here about seven months and I love that I haven’t gotten used to the gorgeous views yet.”
Employees of Modea, known as Modeans, have a relaxed environment allowing them to get work done in a non-stressful atmosphere. You often find employees sitting in plush chairs throughout the office instead of at their desk. The dress code is casual and varied with folks wearing everything from t-shirts and jeans to dresses and button up shirts. Educationally, Modea hires candidates from the “techy” fields, such as computer science, arts and design, and software engineering. Virginia Tech is a great recruiting source that Modea uses often as seen by the fact that several of their part-time employees are students there.
Modea and its 90 employees love being a part of the Downtown Blacksburg Community. “People are always asking me what Modea does and I’m happy to answer their questions,” Emily said. Modea also enjoys giving back to its home community in various ways including hosting and maintaining the Lyric Theatre’s website. As a member of Downtown Blacksburg, Modea supports the towns’ businesses by shopping and buying locally. In 2014, during Downtown Blacksburg Inc.’s annual Steppin’ Out, Modea made it a point to give each employee $10, of the company’s money, to spend at the festival. Modea loves to be a part of this community and strongly encourages every person and business to support each other.
Modea is a great business to have in our community. It is the type of company you expect to find in Silicon Valley, but instead it is right where it belongs, in the heart of Virginia, in Downtown Blacksburg.
Modea is a member of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.
Taylor Martin is a Junior at Virginia Tech. She is Public Relations Major. Taylor is currently working as a part time work study Intern for Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.