It’s Good to Be Big

The region’s biggest private companies cast a wide shadow, but none of them is guaranteed that status permanently.

By Joe Sweeney

Of the variety of rankings Ingram’s researchers and journalists produce each year, I believe The Ingram’s 100 may be the most interesting. For starters, private companies by nature are protective of their revenues. Trust is hard-earned in the data and publishing space, and we appreciate that trust placed in our team. We do believe companies know we’re committed to accurately reporting data we have received from each of them and in a few instances from reputable agencies and sources such as the FDIC, SEC and NACU.  

Some long-time hold-outs won’t provide revenues, but we keep open the invitation, and hope they’ll come to trust the Ingram’s team to report their performance responsibly.

What we should do more often is get into the analytics of data over time, and will here. I’m confident you’ll find the 14th annual ranking of The Ingram’s 100 quite interesting, as well.

A Few Observations

Business leaders, by definition, are focused on what lies ahead: How to get their companies to reach a given growth target. Sometimes, one can gain perspective by looking in the rear-view mirror. It’s often a powerful indicator of just how far you’ve come.

• First, we note a few milestones. This  year’s Ingram’s 100 includes 41 companies that posted revenues of more than $1 billion for the reporting  year. That’s almost double the 21 who crossed that threshold in the first year of this project—there were 26—and you can get there only by adjusting for inflation, which pulls five others past $1 billion, based on where they were in 2011.

• One thing worth noting is that, with its recent merger of BJC HealthCare in St. Louis and Saint Luke’s Health System, we were unable to obtain combined Kansas City-area revenues that would have included their clinics as well as hospitals. For purposes of this year’s ranking, we have broken out the revenues of each of Saint Luke’s four main hospitals—all but Saint Luke’s North ($920,800,185) have revenues above $1 billion.

• Turner Construction recorded local revenues of $517 million  in 2022, but soared into the Billion-Dollar Club with a massive $2.143 billion in 2023, largely through its work on the $4 billion Panasonic  Energy EV battery plant near De Soto, Kan.

• Another interesting metric: The aggregate revenues of the 2011 field—about $80.63 billion—is the equivalent of $114.14 billion today. But this year’s combined field is far past that, to nearly $175.5 billion. That’s some impressive growth.

And one more note of interest, especially in a climate where big business is often derived as a vulture preying on the weak. Four of the top 10 companies in that inaugural list, and six of the top 20, are no longer operating in this market. Some have been acquired, gone public or moved out of the region, relocating those hometown revenues to other states.

But like an NFL team with a “next man up” mentality, when one player goes down, others have stepped up. This year’s additions to the Billion-Dollar Club were Herzog Enterprises, the St. Joseph rail-services powerhouse; DH Pace, the Olathe construction supplier of doors and other products, and Olathe Ford Lincoln. Liberty Hospital and Saint Luke’s South also surpassed 10 figures.

You might wonder, beyond bragging rights, what the real value of this list is, given all the work that’s gone into producing it. I think you’ll find an answer if you read between the lines of a monthly report issued by our good friend Ernie Goss, an economist at Creighton University. 

His latest report on banking conditions in a 10-state area of the Midwest, called the Rural Mainstreet Report, showed that economic conditions overall remained below growth-neutral for a seventh straight month. One in three banks is tightening farm credit standards.

That—right there—is why we think it’s important to spotlight the performance of the region’s biggest companies. They are, figuratively and financially, the pillars of the regional economy. As they go, so go many other companies who will probably never see their names etched in this list.

About the author


Joe Sweeney

Editor-In-Chief & Publisher


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