Mickey's Mail - January 24, 2018

  Mickey's Mail - 1/24/18 - MGM There and Here, Big and Bigger in CT

MGM Resorts International: Making it Real

Our December Annual Dinner was punctuated with MGM Resorts International Chair and CEO Jim Murren regaling with what his MGM Bridgeport entertainment development would mean for our region. It was an inspirational speech with our Bridgeport waterfront the focal point for the extraordinary development plans MGM has with Bridgeport Landing Development. 

This week, MGM Resorts International began moving into its corporate offices in Springfield, Massachusetts. And in September, they will open a $960 million casino and entertainment complex. Eventually, MGM will be employing 3,000 workers covering three downtown blocks in Springfield. MGM intends to hire 35% of its workforce from Springfield itself and 90% from the city and surrounding region. In addition to the casino, there will be a boutique hotel, a six-screen theater, a bowling venue, an outdoor skating rink in the winter, and an outdoor marketplace in the warmer months.

Thanks to the Hartford Business Journal and to Connecticut By the Numbers author Bernard Kavaler, we can review Connecticut’s largest employers, and even consider which ones have the most impact on our greater Bridgeport region. The largest employer of all here in CT is the State of Connecticut itself, but we’re going to concentrate on the ten that follow the state in workforce size within our state borders.

Working the Top 10 backwards, in what we can still claim as the “Insurance Capital of the World”, we have The Hartford coming in as the tenth largest Connecticut employer and Travelers coming in slightly higher at the ninth spot.  

Up one spot at number eight is our own Sikorsky Lockheed Martin, the premier helicopter maker in the world, with Lockheed Martin’s largest location anywhere, right here in Stratford at Sikorsky’s headquarters. Sikorsky has been a BRBC member for 76 years, and its S-76 helicopter graces the logo of our own Stratford Chamber of Commerce.

In the number seven spot is an employer which just happens to be the number one private employer in 22 states, including New Hampshire, here in New England, and the largest private employer in America with 1.5 million employees. In the state of Arkansas, it employees 53,310 employees, including 18,600 people in the otherwise small town of Bentonville. By now, you know we’re talking about Walmart, which has a big store right here in Stratford.

The University of Connecticut weighs in at number six although we don’t really have much of a UCONN presence right here in greater Bridgeport. Interestingly, in eleven states, higher education institutions like UCONN are the largest employer in the state, including nearby New York and Pennsylvania.

Emphasizing the importance of the defense industry here in Connecticut, General Dynamics Electric Boat sits as the fifth largest Connecticut employer with its huge submarine base in Groton. Right ahead of it in fourth place is United Technologies Corporation, with its Hartford headquarters and its Pratt & Whitney plant in East Hartford.

Yale University, our Ivy League higher education institution, with its sprawling New Haven presence sits at number three. We are very proud of our four colleges that are BRBC members, the University of Bridgeport, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield University and Housatonic Community College, but all of them together don’t equal the size of Yale.

My career has mostly been in health care delivery, and I came to Connecticut over four decades ago when there were 35 independent hospitals all competing against each other in our relatively small state. Over the next 30 years there were a few hospitals that were taken over by other hospitals (Including Park City Hospital being taken over by Bridgeport Hospital) but mostly the status quo prevailed.  

However, merger and acquisition activity in the hospital market has been rampant since then, and the two largest hospital systems that have emerged are Hartford Health Care or HHC (with its flagship Hartford Hospital), and Yale New Haven Health Systems or YNHHS (with its flagship Yale New Haven Hospital). HHC is the now the second largest private employer in Connecticut while YNHHS has emerged as the largest private employer in the state. Here in our region, Bridgeport Hospital is part of YNHHS with its large hospital on the east side of Bridgeport, and its new Park Avenue Medical Center in Trumbull. We are proud of the leadership roles both Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent’s Medical center play within the BRBC.  

Connecticut is not alone with a dozen states now having healthcare institutions that have taken over as the largest private employers in their state. Here in New England, that includes Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont. In Maine, by the way, the largest employer is Hannaford Supermarkets, and in New Jersey it is Wakefern Food Corporation, better known here in Connecticut by their ShopRite and PriceRite brands.

One thing you could count on: MGM Bridgeport in a few years cracking that CT list of top ten private employers!