Working for the Man

Data for 2007 shows that Lockheed Martin Space Systems, a division of the Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corporation, tops the list with more than 10,000 employees.

Almost all of the top private-sector employers are based on the Front Range of the state in places like Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and the Denver metro area.

Lockheed Martin, in Littleton just south of Denver, is shown to be the only employer in the area with more than 10,000 full-time workers on staff. That makes a numerical list of the state’s top entities a bit difficult because of how the state tracks the numbers.

"Unfortunately, the list of companies with 5,000 to 10,000 employees isn’t in a rank order," says Bill Thoennes, spokesman for the labor department, who notes that "it’s a nine-way tie for second place." We just know that [the employers] employ between 5,000 and 10,000 workers," he says.

Here are the state’s top hiring entities:

Lockheed Martin Space Systems – 10,000 + workers

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is a subsidiary of the aerospace and weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corporation. The corporation specializes in the design and production of outer space technology and missile systems.

Other Top Employers In The State – 5,000-10,000 workers Colorado State University

More than 24,000 students are enrolled at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The school attracted nearly $300 million in research funding last year, according to recent figures from the university.

Denver International Airport

Officially opened for business in 1995, the airport has become one of the busiest in the world according to the Airports Council International, an association of the world’s airports. The association named DIA the fifth busiest airport in the word in 2007, with more than 614,000 aircraft movements.

Exempla Occupational Medicine

Headquartered in Denver, Exempla provides a variety of services pertaining to workplace health care, including drug-screening, rehabilitation clinics and physical examinations.


With a branch office in Boulder, the international computer-manufacturing giant made more than $1 billion in cash investments for 12 acquisitions in 2007, according to company information. IBM was also issued the most U.S. patents for the 15th consecutive year in 2007.

Peterson Air Force Base

Located in the military hub that is Colorado Springs, Peterson is home to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Air Force Space Command.

Pioneer Pork

Pioneer Pork specializes in pig farming, where the animals are "free farmed" on a 4,000-acre property in the southeastern Colorado town of Springfield.

St. Joseph Hospital

St. Joseph Hospital in Denver treats approximately 55,000 patients a year. The hospital is also owned by Exempla Health Care.

Transportation Safety Office

A state agency of the Colorado Department of Transportation that works to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities. The main office is in Denver.

University of Colorado School of Medicine

A medical school in the Denver area that offers degrees, including advanced degrees, in nursing, pharmaceuticals and dental care.

Click here for a brief history of labor. Tomorrow: Tune in for a compilation of Colorado’s top employers for full and part-time employees.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at