December 12, 2004
In October 2002 the Tribune compiled the first-ever list of the top 40 private-sector employers in the East Valley, identifying the firms that were driving the regional economy.
Updating the list 26 months later reveals more interesting data — this time at how the local economy is changing.
High-tech manufacturers are less significant than they were two years ago, a reflection of the economic slowdown of the past few years.
But retailing (including auto dealers), health care, tourism, and finance and insurance have expanded their employment to make up the manufacturing losses. Overall, the top 40 firms are employing slightly more people today than they did two years ago — 118,678 from 117,994.
On the negative side, many of the new jobs are not as high paying as the manufacturing jobs that have been lost. Retailing is one sector that often has low pay and lack of benefits, said Tom Rex, an economist at Arizona State University. "Having a lot of retail jobs is not something that any city should take pride in," he said.
Intel Corp., the world’s largest semiconductor company, continues to rank as the largest nongovernmental employer in the East Valley, even though it shed about 500 positions in the past two years. Its latest head count of 9,500 is more than 2,500 ahead of Banner Health Systems, which moved one notch to number two on this year’s list.
Motorola, which ranked No. 2 in 2002, dropped far down the list this year as the company downsized its operations and spun off its semiconductor business into a separate company called Freescale Semiconductor. Freescale alone now ranks as the 15th largest employer in the region, while Motorola’s remaining plants in Tempe and Chandler keep the Schaumburg, Ill.-based cell phone maker on the list at number 25.
The combined employment of Motorola and Freescale today, however, is far below Motorola’s local employment two years ago.
Meanwhile, the East Valley’s largest retailers have grown even bigger, reflecting the population growth that supports more grocery, drug and department stores. Bashas’ ranks as the East Valley largest retail firm, nosing out Wal-Mart. Both companies have expanded their work forces in the past two years.
Target Corp., which was the East Valley’s largest retail employer two years ago, has cut its local employment nearly in half because the company sold its Mervyn’s division. But it is expanding again with two new SuperTarget stores under construction in Gilbert.
Also ranking among the East Valley’s top 40 employers are Albertson’s, Walgreen’s, Kroger Corp. (owner of Fry’s groceries), Home Depot, Safeway and Dillard’s.
Also figuring in the retail picture are auto dealer chains, three of which — AutoNation, Earnhardt and United Auto — are among the top 40. AutoNation and United Auto are new to the list this year, reflecting their expansion and purchases of local auto dealerships.
Collectively, retailers on the list added more than 8,000 employees in the past two years.
In the health care arena, Banner Health System is the largest East Valley player with nearly 7,000 workers at its hospitals and medical centers.
Also making the list were Scottsdale Health Care; Mayo Clinic; Caremark, a mail-service pharmacy; Catholic Healthcare West, operator of Chandler Regional Hospital; and Rural Metro, operator of paramedic and fire services.
In the financial and insurance sector, Wells Fargo is the top dog, operating bank branches, operations and support center, private client services and business banking offices in the region. J.P Morgan Chase & Co. has nearly doubled the size of its East Valley presence following its acquisition of Bank One.
Tourism, another sector prominently represented on the list, expanded its employment by about 1,300. The largest player remains Marriott International, owner of the Camelback Inn and Desert Ridge resorts. Also important are Starwood Hotels & Resort, owner of the Phoenician and Westin Kierland resorts, and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, owner of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, which is new to the list this year.
Also new to the list is DHL, a growing package delivery service that has set up major operations in the East Valley.
Dropping off the list were ConocoPhillips, the former owner of Circle K, which pared the company’s headquarters staff and sold the convenience-store chain to Alimentation Couche-Tard of Canada; TRW, which consolidated air bag manufacturing at one location in east Mesa; Avnet, the Phoenix-based electronics distributor, which restructured its businesses and closed a warehouse in Chandler; and Nordstrom.
1. Intel Corp.
East Valley employees: 9,500 Local address: 5000 W. Chandler Blvd. Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif. What they do: The world’s largest semiconductor company has two large manufacturing and research complexes in Chandler at Ocotillo and Price roads.
2. Banner Health Systems
East Valley employees: 6,982 Local address: 1441 N. 12th St. Headquarters: Phoenix What they do: Operate Banner Desert Medical Center, Banner Mesa Medical Center, Banner Baywood Medical Center, Banner Heart Hospital and Banner Homecare and Hospice
3. Wells Fargo
East Valley Employees: 5,500 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: San Francisco What they do: East Valley presence includes bank branches and operation centers, private client services and business banking offices in Scottsdale, Home Mortgage and Finance locations, and support centers. Also, major operations center in south Chandler
East Valley employees: 5,271 Local address: 22402 S. Basha Road, Chandler Headquarters: Chandler What they do: Supermarket chain. Includes stores, distribution and warehousing operation
East Valley employees: 5,130 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: Bentonville, Ark. What they do: The world’s largest discount retailer
East Valley employees: 4,500 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: Boise, Idaho What they do: Albertson’s supermarkets and Osco drug stores. National pharmacy headquarters in Scottsdale
7. Scottsdale Health Care
East Valley employees: 4,500 Local address: 7400 E. Osborn Road, Scottsdale Headquarters: Scottsdale What they do: Operates two major hospitals, Scottsdale Healthcare 0sborn and Scottsdale Healthcare Shea, along with related facilities
East Valley employees: 4,405 Local address: 5000 E. McDowell Road, Mesa Headquarters: Chicago What they do: Makes Apache attack helicopters at plant in north Mesa. Maintains military aircraft at Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa and has small homeland security and information technology groups in Chandler
9. Marriott International
East Valley employees: 4,360 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: Bethesda, Md. What they do: Operates hotels, resorts, extended-stay inns and time-shares. Properties include JW Marriott resorts Camelback Inn in Paradise Valley and Desert Ridge in northeast Phoenix
10. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
East Valley employees: 4,200 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: New York What they do: JPMorgan Private Client Services in Scottsdale, Chase Card Services, Chase Home Finance loan center and Bank One Telephone Banking in Tempe, and 55 Bank One branches
East Valley employees: 3,920 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: Deerfield, Ill. What they do: Drug store chain
12. Mayo Clinic
East Valley employees: 3,878 Local address: 13400 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale Headquarters: Rochester, Minn. What they do: Operates Mayo Clinic Scottsdale and Mayo Hospital at Desert Ridge, near Loop 101 and Tatum Drive
13. Kroger Corp.
East Valley employees: 3,871 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: Cincinnati What they do: In Arizona, owns and operates Fry’s supermarkets
14. General Dynamics
East Valley employees: 3,712 Local address: 8201 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale Headquarters: Falls Church, Va. What they do: Site of of C4 Systems division, which develops communications systems for the military, is in Scottsdale. Also operates in Gilbert for satellite development
15. Freescale Semiconductor
East Valley employees: 3,500 Local addresses: 1300 N. Alma School Road, Chandler and 2100 E. Elliot Road, Tempe Headquarters: Austin, Texas What they do: The company makes silicon and galium arsenide chips at its two East Valley fabs. It also has design, sales and research and development labs at the two sites
16. Home Depot
East Valley employees: 3,200 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: Atlanta What they do: Do-it-yourself warehouse retail stores with 15 East Valley locations, plus Home Depot Expo home furnishings superstore
16. Salt River Project
East Valley employees: 3,200 Local address: 1521 N. Project Drive, Tempe Headquarters: Tempe What they do: Electricity utility and water management company. Operates headquarters in Tempe and power plants in Tempe & Gilbert
East Valley employees: 3,100 Local address: 2750 S. Priest Drive, Tempe Headquarters: Pleasanton, Calif. What they do: Supermarket chain. Also has distribution warehouse in Tempe
19. Target Corp.
East Valley employees: 2,825 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: Minneapolis What they do: Target department stores and Tempe call center
East Valley employees: 2,500 Local address: 4121 E. Cotton Center Boulevard Headquarters: Nashville What they do: Mail-service pharmacy operation near Tempe-Phoenix border handles 50,000 prescriptions a day
21. Starwood Hotels & Resorts
East Valley employees: 2,500 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: White Plains, N.Y. What they do: Owns several well-known names, including Sheraton and Westin. East Valley sites include the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort in Gila River Indian Community, the Phoenician and the Westin Kierland Resort
22. America West Holdings Corp.
East Valley employees: 1,869 Local address: 111 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe Headquarters: Tempe What they do: Parent company of America West Airlines. East Valley jobs centered at headquarters, reservation center and corporate offices in Tempe. Additional 6,400 workers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
23. Insight Enterprises
East Valley employees: 1,830 Local address: 6820 S. Harl Ave., Tempe Headquarters: Tempe What they do: An electronics distributor, the company has about half of its sales force and all of its support operations in Tempe
East Valley employees: 1,800 Local address: 1616 S. Priest Drive, Tempe Headquarters: Little Rock, Ark. What they do: Department stores in all East Valley malls and financial operation in Gilbert
East Valley employees: 1,750 Local address: Locations in Tempe and Chandler Headquarters: Schaumburg, Ill. What they do: Motorola has downsized through layoffs, the sale of businesses and the spinoff of its semiconductor sector into an independent company. The firm still operates computer group in Tempe and global telecom solutions unit in Chandler
26. American Express
East Valley employees: 1,600 Local Address: 18850 N. 56th St., Phoenix Headquarters: New York What they do: Global travel, financial and network services provider. Arizona operations center is at Desert Ridge area near Scottsdale border
27. Catholic Healthcare West
East Valley employees: 1,600 Local address: 475 S. Dobson Road Headquarters: Northern California What they do: Operates Chandler Regional Hospital, Ahwatukee Foothills Urgent Care, Gilbert Urgent Care, and Sun Lakes Lab and Radiology
East Valley Employees: 1,536 Local address: 1140 W. Washington St., Tempe Headquarters: Plantation, Fla. What they do: Domestic and international shipper. Locally, DHL has a customer service call center in Tempe. In north Scottsdale, DHL the company has a 24-hour data information center. It is one of three worldwide that manages and monitors all the company’s deliveries. The others are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and London
East Valley employees: 1,525 Local address: Multiple locations Headqaurters: Fort Lauderdale Fla. What they do: America’s largest Automotive retailer. With over $19 billion in annual revenue, AutoNation ranked No. 97 on the 2004 Fortune 500. It has 9 stores in Tempe, Scottsdale and Mesa
30. Bank of America
East Valley employees: 1,500 Local address: 201 E. Washington St. Headquarters: Charlotte, N.C. What they do: Arizona’s second-largest bank. Numerous retail banking centers throughout Maricopa and Pinal counties, large operations facility in Tempe
31. Honeywell International
East Valley employees: 1,500 Local address: 1300 W. Warner Road, Tempe Headquarters: Morristown, N.J. What they do: The engine systems and services division in Tempe makes parts and systems for aircraft engines
32. Earnhardt Auto Centers
East Valley Employees: 1,460 Main Offices: 1301 N. Arizona Ave., Gilbert Headquarters: Gilbert What they do: Auto retailer with eight East Valley locations, including Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Apache Junction
33. Microchip Technology
East Valley employees: 1,446 Main offices: 2355 W. Chandler Blvd. Chandler Headquarters: Chandler What they do: Operates administrative and research center in Chandler, produces microcontrollers in Tempe
East Valley employees: 1,325 Local address: 2343 W. Medtronic Way, Tempe Headquarters: Minneapolis What they do: Manufactures high-tech, implantable medical devices
35. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
East Valley employees: 1,300 Local address: 7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale Headquarters: Toronto What they do: Owns and operates Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort and conference center
36. Vanguard Group
East Valley employees: 1,300 Local address: 14321 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale Headquarters: Valley Forge, Pa. What they do: Mutual funds group. Regional operations center in Scottsdale
37. United Auto
East Valley employees: 1,233 Local address: Multiple locations Headquarters: Bloomfield Hills, Mich. What they do: Operates 146 automobile franchises in the United States and 101 franchises internationally, primarily in the United Kingdom. Locally, United has 18 brands in several dealerships in Scottsdale, Chandler and Tempe
38. ON Semiconductor
East Valley employees: 1,200 Local address: 5005 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix Headquarters: Phoenix What they do: Produces analog chips in east Phoenix, has small design center in Chandler
39. Rural Metro
East Valley employees: 1,200 Local address: 8401 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale Headquarters: Scottsdale What they do: Provides emergency and non-emergency ambulance transportation, fire protection and other safety-related services in more than 400 communities in 23 states
40. State Farm
East Valley Employees: 1,150 Local address: 2700 S. Sunland Drive, Tempe. Agency field office in Scottsdale and a zone executive office in north Tempe Headquarters: Bloomington, Ill. What they do: Insurance and financial services provider