Just three years ago, two of Hamilton’s Top 5 private employers weren’t open in town, and seven years ago, a third member of that group had only 23 percent as many workers as it does now, according to the city’s 2017 economic development report.
The three companies that have rapidly climbed Hamilton’s list are Barclaycard, STARTEK and ThyssenKrupp Bilstein.
ThyssenKrupp Bilstein, which manufactures highly adjustable shock-absorbers for vehicles, had 185 employees in Hamilton. Today, that figure is 800. That ranks the company as Hamilton’s second-biggest employer, behind Fort Hamilton Hospital, which has more than 950 employees.
Third on the Top 5 list, as compiled by the city, is Community First Solutions, with 625 employees. Community First provides a variety of health-care services, including rehabilitation for people between when they leave a hospital and return home, independent and assisted living, memory care, mental health services and addiction recovery.
Fourth on the list, now with 500 employees, is the Barclaycard customer contact center, which announced plans in August, 2015, to open a 1,500-person center. Officials have noted that marked one of the largest Ohio job announcements in a decade.
Ranking fifth is STARTEK, a 350-person international call center, which in February of 2015 announced plans to locate a 682-person call center at 150 High Street, the former Elder Beerman store.
In the category of further growth, the report projected ThyssenKrupp Bilstein would have 900 employees by the end of this year, which would represent 12.5 additional employee growth.
Although the report states, “Today, TKB employs more than 800 people, with plans to employ up to 900 by the end of 2018,” officials from the company and city economic-development staff distanced themselves from that projection.
But ThyssenKrupp Bilstein spokeswoman Kellie Harris said that figure is “their independent calculations, and they were developed without input from ThyssenKrupp.”
She said the company doesn’t “speculate on short-term employment numbers” and does not make statements about future employment numbers that it isn’t prepared to back up: “When we make a commitment, we live that commitment,” she said. The company has made no such statements about 900 employees, she noted.
She also said: “We are so proud of the investment we’ve made in the community.” And: “We are very, very proud to be in Hamilton.”
City Economic Development Director Jody Gunderson said an employee extrapolated past growth into what could happen in the future.
Gunderson said he believes TKB’s growth says a lot for Hamilton’s business environment: “A true measurement of a community is when you have an existing company that’s growing and continues to grow.”
The city says in the past five years, Hamilton’s downtown has had more than $6o million in investment. Officials expect that growth to continue.