Carlson School of Management News

Flyover Country? Not for Fortune 500 HQs

Thursday, December 08, 2011

From the fedgazette Roundup

For most people, the words "Fortune 500" conjure up images of Manhattan, maybe Silicon Valley or southern California, even the gleaming office towers of Dallas. So here's a heart-warming economic stocking-stuffer for the holidays: You should be thinking "Minnesota."

In spite of real and perceived obstacles--from weather to business environment--the Gopher State has been a decades-long powerhouse in nurturing Fortune 500 companies, according to recent research by Myles Shaver, a professor of strategic management at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Shaver is a Twin Cities transplant. He said he was aware of the fact that the Twin Cities metro area was home to a number of major corporations, but once here, "I soon found out that the extent of HQ activity was much more than I thought." So he began to look into the matter "with the recognition that such things evolve over decades. I wanted to start with getting a picture of what this looks like now and what things have looked like over the last 50 to 100 years."

Today, Minnesota has 20 companies on the Fortune 500 list--almost double the number (11) from 1955--and is tied with New Jersey and Virginia for eighth-most in the country. These companies represent such diverse industries as health care (Medtronic and UnitedHealth Group), food (Land O' Lakes and Supervalue), retail (Best Buy and Target), energy (Excel Energy), finance (Ameriprise and U.S. Bancorp), manufacturing (3M) and mining/agriculture (Mosaic).

Read the rest of the Federal Reserve's article here.

A powerpoint presentation of Shaver's research is available here.

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