Johnson Controls is the largest private business employer in Norman, coming in behind the University of Oklahoma (12,446 employees), Norman Regional Health System (2,962 employees), and Norman Public Schools (1,880 employees.)
Johnson employs 950 people at its Norman location which is the company’s Unitary Products Headquarters. The company has been a recipient of the Norman Chamber of Commerce’s Greenovation Award and participates in local events such as the annual Christmas parade.
Johnson Controls was founded by Warren Johnson in 1885 when he established the company to “explore new ways to harness and conserve precious energy resources,” according to the company’s website.
Johnson’s presence in Norman began in 2005 when it acquired York International. At the time of its acquisition in 2005, York was reportedly the world’s largest independent manufacturer of air conditioning, heating and refrigeration machinery. The company was sold to Johnson Controls for $3.2 billion in August 2005.
Johnson invented pneumatic tower clocks, electric storage batteries, wireless telegraph business and steam-powered luxury cars and postal service trucks even before he founded Johnson Controls. Johnson eventually became a global company serving 150 countries.
In 2015, “Corporate Responsibility Magazine” recognized Johnson as the No. 14 company in its annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens” list.
Global company acts locally
Hitachi Computer Products (America), Inc is another global company that has made Norman home. With 526 employees as of this time last year, it is Norman’s second largest private employer. Hitachi has grown during its years in Norman and now occupied 365,000 square feet on a 70 acre site. A production and distribution facility, Hitachi continues to upgrade and reports more than $5 million invested in new equipment in the past year.
Hitachi has become known for its community involvement and “green” initiatives. Last fall, Hitachi Computer Products won the 2015 Chamber Greenovation award for Large Business Recycling for donating more than 200 pallets to Dreamer Concepts, a local nonprofit. The pallets will be recycled and used in the construction of an outdoor stage, as well as other projects throughout the space.
Virtually every year, Hitachi captures a Greenovation award for an environmentally friendly investment of some sort.
In 2013, Hitachi donated $80,000 to Kennedy Elementary for a state-of-the-art outdoor learning space designed to be interactive with a human sundial, butterfly garden, vegetable gardens, rock garden, solar panels and agrobiology features. Hitachi’s gift also included the company’s volunteers helping maintain the outdoor classroom.
For six years now, Hitachi has sponsored the Run for the Next Generation 5K and Kids Fun Run to benefit the Center for Children and Families Inc., an initiative that’s in line with the corporate statement: “Inspire the Next.”
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