1. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
What it does: The center is one of four academic medical centers in North Carolina, affiliated with Wake Forest University. It is comprised of the namesake facility, N.C. Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences.
Counting three hospital facilities outside Winston-Salem, it has more than 1,050 acute care, rehabilitation and psychiatric beds, and 1,246 physicians.
Leadership: Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag as chief executive.
Employees: 12,873 in Forsyth County, representing 7.4 percent of the county workforce. It has 14,271 employees overall.
History: N.C. Baptist Hospital opened in 1923. The university medical school opened in Wake Forest in 1902; moved to Winston-Salem in 1941 as Bowman Gray School of Medicine.
2. Novant Health Inc.
What it does: The parent company of 14 medical centers in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia — primarily in Winston-Salem and Charlotte. It has 2,703 beds, 1,558 physicians and 3,599 medical staff providers.
Leadership: Carl Armato as chief executive.
Employees: 8,145 employees in Forsyth County, 4.7 percent of county workforce; 28,092 employees overall.
History: Twin City Hospital opened in 1891. It became Forsyth Memorial Hospital in 1964. Medical Park Hospital opened in 1971. Kernersville Medical Center opened in 2011. Clemmons Medical Center opened in 2013.
3. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
What it does: It is the fourth-largest system in North Carolina and the 81st largest in the nation. It serves 54,000 students through 43 elementary schools, 14 middle schools and 15 high schools. Nine special schools bring the systemwide total to 81.
Leadership: Beverly Emory, superintendent.
Employees: 6,860, 3.9 percent of county workforce.
History: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools was formed in 1963 with the merger of the Winston-Salem and Forsyth County school systems.
4. Reynolds American Inc.
What it does: The second largest U.S. tobacco manufacturer with the No. 2 market share in traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. British American Tobacco Plc completed taking over full ownership of the company in July 2017.
Leadership: Ricardo Oberlander as chief executive.
Employees: 3,000 employees in county, 1.7 percent county workforce; 5,500 overall.
History: Founded by Richard Joshua Reynolds in 1875, established initially as a chewing tobacco manufacturer. Introduced Camel as cigarette stick brand in 1913. Became Reynolds American Inc. in July 2004. Spent $29.25 billion to buy Lorillard Inc. in June 2015 to acquire top-selling menthol cigarette Newport.
5. Wake Forest University
What it does: Private research undergraduate and graduate university. Oversees of major academic medical center and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem.
Leadership: Nathan Hatch, president.
Employees: 2,784 in county, 1.6 percent of county workforce. There are 1,996 faculty members
History: Founded in 1834 by Baptist State Convention of N.C. Moved to Winston-Salem in 1956.
6. Wells Fargo & Co.
What it does: A full-service multinational financial-services company based in San Francisco. It is the third-largest U.S. bank by total assets. Its main operations in Forsyth County focus on trust and wealth management services, along with retail branches.
Leadership: Timothy Sloan, chief executive and president; Elizabeth Duke, chairwoman.
Employees: 2,745 in county, 1.6 percent of county workforce; 265,700 overall.
History: Founded in 1852 to provide express and banking services to California. Entering Winston-Salem and North Carolina markets through October 2008 purchase of collapsing Wachovia Corp.
7. Hanesbrands Inc.
What it does: One of the world’s largest manufacturers of basic apparel, such as T-shirts, underwear and performance apparel.
Leadership: Richard Noll as executive chairman; Gerald Evans Jr. as chief executive.
Employees: 2,500 in county, 1.4 percent of county workforce; 67,200 overall.
History: Founded in 1901 as Shamrock Hosiery Mills. It became Hanes Hosiery Mills Co. in 1914 and Hanes Corp. in 1965. It was acquired by Consolidated Foods Corp. (later Sara Lee Corp.) in 1979. The branded-apparel line of Sara Lee spun out in September 2006. The company eliminated nearly 2,400 jobs in the first four years following spin-off, but workforce has been stable since 2010.
8. City of Winston-Salem Government
What it does: Provides city government services.
Leadership: City Council, Mayor Allen Joines, City Manager Lee Garrity.
Employees: 2,420, 1.4 percent of county workforce.
History: Founded 1766 as part of town of Salem. Winston was founded in 1849. Communities merged in 1913.
9. Forsyth County Government
What it does: Provides county government services.
Leadership: County Commissioners, Chairman David Plyler, County Manager Dudley Watts.
Employees: 2,275, 1.3 percent of county workforce.
History: Founded as a Moravian settlement in 1753. Became recognized as a county by the N.C. legislature in 1849.
10. BB&T Corp.
What it does: A top-10 U.S. financial-services company with 2,150 branches in 15 states. Its headquarters is based in Winston-Salem with a major customer service operation in Greensboro near Piedmont Triad International Airport.
Leadership: Kelly King as chairman, chief executive.
Employees: 2,134 in Forsyth County, 1.2 percent of county workforce; 36,484 employees overall.
History: Founded in 1872 in Wilson. Moved to Winston-Salem in 1995 as part of merger of equals with Southern National Corp. of Winston-Salem.
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