So to him, the first official day of business at Tasty Baking's new corporate headquarters in South Philadelphia's Navy Yard meant more than just having a considerably more pleasant place to work.
"All these moves are the first steps in the direction that the company is here to stay," Mandia said yesterday.
"I had a good career," he said. "But I want to see some 25-year-old or 30-year-old come here and make a career out of it."
His new office has huge windows, and a decent view of some ships resting in the Delaware River. "My wife told me to take pictures," he said.
His last office was the windowless closet of a former dress company's showroom in a building used by Tasty Baking for some office space.
Eventually the whole bakery will move nearby to a 345,500 square foot manufacturing and distribution center under construction in the Navy Yard.
Total cost for the move is $75 million, with $32 million in loans coming from the state and the city, said general counsel Larry Weilheimer.
Weilheimer said he's not sure who will buy Tasty Baking's old facilities in Nicetown, but he said the company will continue its relationship with the area and its community partner, the Allegheny West Foundation.
Unlike the existing six-story bakery, the new plant will have one floor, with ingredient delivery on one end and finished peanut butter Kandy Kakes coming out the other.
The logistically challenging move will involve transferring production, doughnut line by pie line, starting later this year and finishing by summer 2010.
Tastykake's corporate crew now occupies a floor and a half, about 36,000 square feet, in an office building built by Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Limited Partnership.
The offices have all the latest in green technology, including "daylight harvesting." That means the lights know when to dim when there is enough available sunlight to do the job.
There are windows everywhere, even though office workers sitting at their desks can only see the view if they stand up and look out over their cubicles.
Weilheimer said the office group of about 100 was excited, simply because they were all in the same place and because their office has the modern niceties that most other office workers take for granted.
In their old quarters, they had to part industrial plastic doorway curtains and cross a warehouse to visit colleagues.
In the new place, meetings will be held in the Krimpet room, one of several fancy conference rooms named after baking products.
Tasty Baking's sales rose to to $174 million last year, although profit margins were down as the price of eggs and grain increased. The company lost $6.8 million in 2008, mostly due to a charge based on pension-funding. The company also discontinued retiree health benefits.
Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or email@example.com.