EVERETT — Fortive opened its corporate headquarters in Everett Thursday morning and instantly became one of the state’s largest companies.
President and CEO Jim Lico welcomed dozens of employees at a celebration that included pastries, a barista bar, a selfie wall and, yes, a giant pair of scissors with a Fortive-green-colored ribbon.
“We’re open for business and taking orders,” Lico said. “Enjoy the day, it’s a great day. It’s the first day of our future and we only have one of those.”
Fortive separated as a new company from Danaher Corp. earlier this month. It took with it about 25 businesses including the Everett-based Fluke Corp. Fortive has established its offices at the Fluke campus at 6920 Seaway Blvd.
The companies under the Fortive umbrella had total revenues of about $6.2 billion last year, big enough to earn the overall company a spot on Fortune 500’s annual list of largest U.S. corporations.
Or to put it another way, when it separated from Danaher and landed in Everett, Fortive became the eighth-largest publicly traded company in the state behind Paccar and ahead of Expedia based on market capitalization, according to a Nasdaq listing. Market capitalization is the value of a company factoring the price of its shares compared with the total number of stocks.
Civic leaders are thrilled with Fortive’s arrival.
“I think it’s truly awesome,” said John Monroe, Economic Alliance Snohomish County’s chief operations officer. “The state of Washington has a number of Fortune 500 companies, but for Snohomish County and the city of Everett to land one is truly a big deal.”
Fortive’s businesses are focused on professional instrumentation, automation, sensing and transportation technologies. Fluke fits into that as a test- and measurement-equipment company.
Fortive’s headquarters brings only a small number of employees to the community, just more than 50. Will the company add more jobs to the area? Lico noted that Danaher did acquire businesses and combined them with Fluke in recent years.
Fortive as a company expects to grow through mergers and acquisitions, Lico said. Each transaction will be different.
“We’re a global company and we’ll grow in a variety of places around the world,” Lico said. “I think we’re committed to global growth. I think that’s always hard to tell what it means for any one particular city or a state. I know that’s always what folks want to hear about what it looks like. We’re committed to being here and being an important part of the community, but we’re also committed to growing around the world.”
Fortive will house the corporation’s in-house training and leadership courses — what it calls the Fortive Business System University — at the Fluke campus. Any number of the corporation’s 24,000 employees worldwide will travel to Everett for training.
Fortive, which is trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FTV, chose to locate in Everett because of Fluke’s long-standing relationship with the city. The company also wanted to co-locate its headquarters with one of its existing businesses.
Fluke is one of the bigger companies in Fortive’s portfolio. Fortive companies do a lot of business in Asia so Washington state is well placed globally.
Lico also worked as the president of Fluke from 2000 to 2005. Even after he went to work at the Danaher Corp. in Washington, D.C., Lico kept an office in Everett.
“I like to say that I kept more of my office at Sea-Tac than anywhere else,” Lico said. “I spent a lot of time on the road.”
Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said the city worked hard to make a strong business case for Fortive to locate in the city. He thinks that Fortive will help with future recruiting efforts.
“I think the fact we have a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Everett, I think that other companies will definitely view that as a positive,” he said.
The state’s Department of Commerce spent $150,000 in incentive money to attract Fortive to Everett. Fortive fits in with the county and the state, said Brian Bonlender, the Department of Commerce’s director.
“As a leader in industrial technologies worldwide, Fortive is an outstanding match for our advanced manufacturing sector,” he said. “Fortive will further strengthen this community and the state’s overall economy well into the future by bringing new jobs and business opportunities in this high-demand field.”
In the business world, Danaher has a strong reputation, said Monroe of Economic Alliance Snohomish County. For a spinoff company from Danaher to choose to move its headquarters to Everett is nothing but positive, he said.
Just as importantly, Monroe said he expects that Fortive executives will make a commitment to the area. He’s had conversations with Fluke and Danaher executives in the past and those conversations always led to discussions about what’s going on around town and how could they help.
“This is a great community-minded company,” Monroe said. “And they’re ours. They’re just down the road.”
Lico said that “over time, maybe less through our words and more through our actions, I think that you’ll see we’ll be an important part of the community.”
“We’re glad to be here,” Lico said. “I think we’re exceptionally excited about being in the community. We’ve moved a number of people here to take a part in the business. I think almost our entire corporate team in some way, shape or form moved to the state of Washington. I think they’re excited about the future of Fortive, that’s what today’s all about.”
Reporter Jerry Cornfield contributed to this report.
Jim Davis: 425-339-3097; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @HBJnews