Top 10 Heroes of the American Economy
Introducing the 10 biggest job creators in America. They've created an astounding 33,413 jobs in three years, and top Inc.'s inaugural Hire Power Awards. Some are already well known; others you may not have heard of yet. But together, they are all helping to rebuild the economy and put Americans back to work.
#10. SolarCity: 989 jobs created
San Mateo, Calif.
CEO: Lyndon Rive
Founded in 2006, SolarCity has been growing rapidly by becoming a one-stop shop for solar power installations—the company installs, monitors, and repairs solar power units for homeowners and businesses in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Thanks to a partnership with Walmart to install solar units on Walmart stores in California, Colorado, and Arizona, as well as an initiative to provide solar energy to 120,000 military homes, SolarCity’s growing workforce will be kept quite busy for the foreseeable future.
#9. Smashburger: 995 jobs created
CEO: David Prokupek
Smashburger is one of the fastest-growing of the new breed of fast-casual, burger joints. The company, which gets its name from the way their burgers are smashed during cooking, has more than 170 locations across the United States, as well as restaurants in Canada and Kuwait. Smashburger’s founder, Tom Ryan, is a legend in the fast-food industry, having created such stomach-churning creations as Pizza Hut’s stuffed-crust pizza and McDonald’s McGriddles breakfast sandwiches.
#8. Talk2Rep: 1,043 jobs created
CEO: Jim Ryan
Founded by former AT&T Call Center executives, Talk2Rep provides U.S.-based call center services and consulting for corporations and government entities, including American Express and General Electric. The company’s workforce is made up of employees who work at the company’s call centers as well as a number of agents who work remotely from their homes.
#7. Chobani: 1,083 jobs created
CEO: Hamdi Ulukaya
Founded on a whim in 2005 when Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya bought an aging Kraft yogurt plant that was in the process of being shut down, Chobani has grown to become the top selling yogurt in the United States with $634 million in revenue in 2011 and more than 1,200 employees. The company has been a boon for the local farmers and community in upstate New York where Chobani is based. Speaking to Inc. earlier this year, Ulukaya said, “I don't believe that any business has the opportunity to go forward without paying attention to its surroundings. From the beginning we tried to be a part of the community rather than take it over."
#6. Heartland Dental Care: 1,150 jobs created
CEO: Richard Workman
One of two dental services companies in the Top Ten, Heartland Dental Care provides support services such as staffing and marketing to more than 370 dental practices in 21 states. The company recently announced that it has agreed to sell a majority stake of the business to the investment division of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for an undisclosed sum. Heartland’s CEO Richard Workman will remain with the company and retain a minority stake.
#5. GoDaddy.com: 1,403 jobs created
CEO: Scott Wagner
To the general public, Go Daddy is probably best known for its racy Super Bowl commercials and controversial founder, Bob Parsons. Among its employees, however, the company is famous for the fun perks and bonuses it offers. Go Daddy, which offers domain name registration and website hosting services, rewards its top performers with time in a cash-grab machine and a chance to spin a prize wheel which doled out over $750,000 in prizes to employees in 2011.
#4. Pacific Dental Services: 1,451 jobs created
CEO: Stephen Thorne
Founded in 1994, Pacific Dental Services provides administrative and HR services to nearly 300 dental practices. Founder and CEO, Stephen Thorne, learned the ins-and-outs of dental administration while working in his father’s dental practice after graduating college. After putting in a new computer system and modernizing his father’s practice, Thorne was inspired to strike out on his own and create his own company.
#3. RuffaloCODY: 1,700 jobs created
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
CEO: Al Ruffalo
RuffaloCODY provides marketing services and software products that help nonprofits and universities with their fundraising and enrollment management. With more than 3,800 employees, CEO Al Ruffalo takes pride in creating long-lasting employment opportunities. “If we hire someone, I want to make sure there’s a career for them, not just a job,” he says. “It gives me a sense of pride creating good-paying jobs with a lot of longevity.”
#2. Air Serv: 6,269 jobs created
CEO: Thomas Maran
If you’ve ever flown anywhere, you’ve likely benefited from the services of Air Serv employees. The company provides baggage handling, cabin cleaning, security, and a handful of other services to the airline industry. Founded in 2002, the company’s roster of clients includes Delta, United Airlines, and FedEx.
#1. Universal Services of America: 17,330 jobs created
Santa Ana, Calif.
Co-CEOs: Steve Jones and Brian Cescolini
With more than 20,000 employees, Universal Services of America is one of the largest providers of security and janitorial services in the country. To help foster the leadership skills of the company’s janitors and security guards, co-CEOs Jones and Cescolini launched Universal University, an internal training program for employees with management potential. “We’re creating leaders,” says Jones. “If we don’t promote them fast enough, we’ll end up losing them."