This year marks the first time The Daily News has recognized an Employer of the Year, so named to better emphasize the kind of positive impact stable jobs, and those who provide them, have on the local economy and the community in general.
When you consider the criteria, it becomes clear why the University of Texas Medical Branch is the perfect choice for this first-of-its-kind award from the paper.
When our Employer of the Year opened for instruction in 1891, it had 13 faculty members. Today, however, the organization is by far the county’s largest employer, with 8,000 employees here in Galveston County and nearly 12,000 employees statewide. Its payroll totals about $1 billion annually.
Anyone who questions the type of impact our Employer of the Year has on the community should consider this: What if those 8,000 good paying jobs didn’t exist locally anymore? What would the market in Galveston and Galveston County look like then?
That was a real possibility following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike in 2008, as attempts were made to move UTMB to the state capital. That effort was thwarted, however, with the help of local and state officials, and now UTMB is in the process of investing a combined $1.5 billion into its island and mainland campuses in order to rebuild and expand its services.
No other organization locally has the combination of size, history and importance to the community as the hospital, which is why we have named UTMB our very first Employer of the Year.
We offer our congratulations to UTMB, and like our other honorees, you can read more about our Employer of the Year in today’s Profiles section.
Patrick Graham is president and publisher of The Daily News.