Pittsburgh's Fortune 500 companies topped by U.S. Steel, PNC

| Friday, May 6, 2011

U.S. Steel Corp. is the top Pittsburgh-area company on the latest Fortune 500 list, followed closely by last year's No. 1, PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

The same eight locally based companies as last year, in fact, appear again on the magazine's 2011 ranking of publicly traded businesses by revenue, which was released Thursday.

But nonprofit giants such as insurer Highmark Inc. and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are absent. So are dozens of other vibrant, growing companies, meaning the much-anticipated annual list tells just part of the region's story, said Jim Futrell, vice president at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, which promotes the region.

Fortune's list "speaks to the continued appeal of the region as a corporate headquarters," he said, even though Pittsburgh figured more prominently in the rankings through the 1980s when the magazine focused only on manufacturers.

Fifteen Pittsburgh companies once were part of the Fortune 500. Downtown-based U.S. Steel jumped by 63 spots to No. 148 this year based on its 2010 revenue of $17.37 billion.

Wal-mart Stores was first overall on the current list with $421.8 billion in revenue, followed by energy producers Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp. Chevron bought Atlas Energy Inc. of Moon in February for $4.3 billion, gaining a foothold into Western Pennsylvania's natural gas-rich shale formations.

Pittsburgh once was considered third behind New York City and Chicago for its tally of corporate headquarters, "and that was great -- it suggested we had economic strength and vitality," Duquesne University marketing professor Audrey Guskey said.

When Gulf Oil and others merged with other companies or moved, "it was a tough thing to swallow. We were used to being a leader," she said.

Still, eight companies on the Fortune 500, combined with accolades the region has collected for its quality of life and affordability "suggests Pittsburgh is still a player," Guskey said.

New York is the state with the most Fortune 500 companies, at 57, followed by California with 53, Texas with 51 and Illinois with 31. Pennsylvania, with 23 companies on the list, is in the No. 6 spot just behind neighbor Ohio, which has 27.

Six of the eight local companies rose on this year's list. Glass and coatings maker PPG Industries Inc. gained nine spots to reach No. 181, while foods producer H.J. Heinz Co. gained one spot and is No. 232.

Drug maker Mylan Inc. dropped slightly, while coal and natural gas producer Consol Energy Inc., industrial supplies distributor Wesco International Inc. and retailer Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. all advanced.

"One of the great things about the Fortune 500 list for the region is companies like Mylan and Consol and Dick's. They all grew onto the list" in recent years, Futrell said, and that signals Pittsburgh is a good place to build a business.

On the other hand, Allegheny Technologies Inc. fell off the Fortune 500 but remains a strong company, he said. The steel maker is installing a $1.16 billion hot rolling mill at its Brackenridge plant.

Business management as an industry sector added 12,300 local jobs in the past five years -- the types of positions typically found at corporate headquarters, Futrell said.

The Allegheny Conference typically includes a list of Fortune 1,000 companies when it makes a presentation touting Pittsburgh. That list has about 13 local companies, he said.

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