Welcome to the second RBJ 75. Last year marked a significant new direction for this annual special section. After publishing the 20th edition of Rochester's Top 50 in 2008, we decided to reinvent the supplement by broadening it to include not just the leading private and publicly held companies but also the area's top 25 non-profit organizations.
As I noted here a year ago, this change actually was just the latest in an evolution stretching more than two decades. In the beginning, our goal was to measure systematically the performance of the Rochester area's publicly held companies. In 1996, however, we grew the publication to rank public and private companies, in separate listings.
In 2004, we added a comparative look at the leading non-profits in terms of employment. But the Top 50 remained "a report on the region's leading homegrown public and private companies."
With last year's change, we treat the top 25 companies in all three sectors on an equal basis. That's not to say we think one yardstick is sufficient for both for-profits and non-profits; obvious differences exist. But non-profits' role in the local economy is too important to exclude from a publication dedicated to the region's leading enterprises. Employment is one way you can make an apples-to-apples comparison, and by that measure, non-profits stand out. In fact, the top 25 non-profits employ more people than the top 25 public and top 25 private companies combined-by a large measure.
To take stock of companies' annual performance, we examine sales, earnings, return to shareholders and changes in employment, among other measurements. The publicly held companies are all homegrown: firms based in Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Wayne and Wyoming counties, as well as out-of-town corporations founded in Rochester that have not been sold. Eligibility was determined by each company's status at the end of 2009. To determine which publicly traded firms made the list, we used market value.
Here's how the main RBJ 75 lists are ranked:
- For the public companies, net income is the primary performance measure.
- For the private firms and non-profits, total local employment determines the ranking order.
Each year, the centerpiece of this special section is an interview with a top chief executive. This time around, we spoke with Antonio Perez, Eastman Kodak Co.'s chairman and CEO. While Kodak no longer ranks as the region's No. 1 employer, it continues to loom large in the local economy. And Perez's bid to transform Kodak into a resurgent, profitable digital enterprise is one of the most compelling business narratives ever to play out locally.
We continue to look for new and better ways to help increase your understanding of the public, private and non-profit companies that make such a large contribution to the health and wealth of the community. And we are open to all ideas; please let us know what you think of this section and how we might make next year's edition even more valuable. Contact us by phone at (585) 546-8303 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7/23/10 (c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail email@example.com.