Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fortunate Rankings

Fortunate Rankings

How much does it matter how many Fortune 500 companies, or other similar rankings, are located in your city? Does it matter if the number goes up or down?

I have to say, the Google Maps applications on the CNNMoney website where Fortune magazine is hosted, are pretty cool.

I'm not sure how to link directly to the map, but you can zoom in yourself and see just where these companies are located. Granted, size is not everything; some of the best companies are, in fact, small businesses.

Regardless, the number of major companies headquartered in a community does impact the national reputation, the self-image, and most definitely, the scope of philanthropy.

In these days of multi-headquarters companies, constant mergers and acquisitions, and frequent threats of relocation both of corporate headquarters and of day-to-day operations, any listing and mapping effort like the Fortune 500 will inevitably be outdated the next day.

While I respect the work and mission of the RCGA, they do something slightly -- if unintentionally -- deceptive on their website.

On the "Business Snapshot" page you'll find this link:

"Greater St. Louis is home to 20 Fortune 1000 companies, nine of which are in the Fortune 500. It's also home to some of the country's largest privately held corporations."

However, clicking on that link leads you to the page "Major Employers." In the first section -- more than 10,000 employees -- zero of those entities are Fortune 1000 firms based in St. Louis.

  • BJC Healthcare -- That's a nonprofit organization; a very large one, yes, but exempt from many taxes (not necessarily all)

  • Boeing Integrated Defense Systems -- Divisional HQ yes, but Corporate is based in Chicago

  • Schnuck Markets Inc. -- They are privately held, most stock is held by the family members

  • Scott Air Force Base -- A growing operation to be sure, with numerous military commands vital to national defense and the war efforts, but a tax-exempt government installation

  • SSM Healthcare -- Another large nonprofit

  • United States Postal Service -- A quasi-governmental, largely tax-exempt corporation

  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc. -- Of course, they're #1 on the Fortune 500, but their HQ is in Arkansas

  • Washington University in St. Louis -- Yet another large nonprofit

  • In the 5,000 to 10,000 employees range, we finally start to find some Fortune 500 & 1000 locally-based firms. Indeed, RCGA does have a separate page that lists them in descending order. But in keeping with my city focus, I'll list them in order of location.

    Fortune 500 HQs in downtown St. Louis:
    Ameren (#339)
    Peabody Energy (#431)

    Fortune 500 HQs elsewhere in the City of St. Louis:
    Anheuser-Busch Companies (#146 -- 2nd highest in STL, and the only one in South City!)

    Fortune 500 HQs in North St. Louis County:
    Emerson (#115 -- the highest ranking of any STL firm; I have to give them credit for keeping their corporate HQ here, in the same location on West Florissant Ave on the Jennings/Ferguson border, for nearly 60 years now)

    Express Scripts (#132 -- they too deserve some credit for relocating from the Riverport area to the new research park at UMSL, a sign of potential for that area, even if the site plan is a huge missed opportunity for transit-oriented development)

    Fortune 500 HQs in Clayton and points west:
    Smurfit-Stone Container (#303 -- not on the map because of dual HQs; located in Creve Coeur)
    Monsanto (#323 -- also Creve Coeur)
    Charter Communications (#409 -- Des Peres area)
    Graybar Electric (#450 -- the only one in Clayton, surprisingly enough)

    Fortune rankings 501 to 1000, based in the City of St. Louis:
    Laclede Group (#860 -- Downtown; holding company for Laclede Gas)
    Ralcorp Holdings (#905 -- Downtown; makes cereals under Ralston name; not to be confused with NestlePurina Pet Care, the division HQ for pet food, cat litter, etc. still located at the former Ralston Purina HQ on Checkerboard Square)
    Sigma-Aldrich (#924 -- based in Midtown at Spruce and Ewing, a surprisingly inconspicuous HQ location)

    Fortune rankings 501 to 1000, based in St. Louis County:
    Olin Corporation (#625 -- Clayton; with the sale of their metals unit, ranking might change)
    Energizer Holdings, Inc. (#636 -- moved from Checkerboard Square to Hwy 40 a few years ago)
    Solutia (#659 -- also along Hwy 40 in Maryville Centre)
    Arch Coal (#744 -- little-known locally, runs many coal mines; based in Creve Coeur)
    Brown Shoe (#752 -- Clayton-based, but rumblings of relocation are in the news lately)
    Furniture Brands International (#764 -- Clayton-based, used to be International Shoe Co.)
    Centene Corporation (#792 -- coming downtown soon, but of course still in Clayton for now)
    Kellwood (#841 -- another Hwy 40 west corridor firm, the company behind many familiar clothing brands, mostly manufactured in China though)

    No comments: