Big Business

Cobb County is known for many things: top-notch schools, well-preserved historical sites and great parks. It is also a hub for many businesses, both large and small. The county’s low tax rate and educated population base make it the perfect place to start a business or to seek a job with one that is already well-established. As the headquarters for such globally recognized brands as The Home Depot and the Weather Channel, Cobb County is known throughout the Atlanta metro area for being pro-business. In addition to being the hub for some of the world’s most innovative companies, Cobb also boasts more than a few business that employ a large number of county residents, making it the perfect place to live, work and play. Here is a list of the 10 largest employers in Cobb, as compiled by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.

Employer: The Home Depot
Industry: Retail, home improvement
Number of employees: 20,000
Founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank opened their first one-stop do-it-yourself home improvement store in Atlanta in 1979. Despite its humble beginnings, The Home Depot now has 2,200 stores in the U.S., Canada, China and Mexico and is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer. Its 2013 retail sales totaled some $78.8 billion. With more than 300,000 employees worldwide, it ranks No. 34 on the Fortune 500 list and is one of the many Fortune 500 companies to call the metro area home. Having its headquarters in the Vinings area of Cobb has undoubtedly been a boom to the entire metro area.

Employer: Cobb County Public Schools
Industry: Public education
Number of employees: 14,027
It takes more than 14,000 employees to keep the 112 schools in one of the state’s top school systems running at full speed. The system boasts a 76.5 percent graduation rate and has received numerous regional and national awards, including Georgia Schools of Excellence and National Blue Ribbon Schools designations.

WellStar Health Systems
Industry: Health care
Number of employees: 11,785
Cobb County residents have many choices when it comes to health care, but many of them choose WellStar doctors and hospitals. With its five hospitals, seven urgent care centers and a host of other facilities and specialists across the county, WellStar’s employees take good care of residents’ health.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Industry: Aeronautics, manufacturing
Number of employees: 7,568
Though it is based in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin’s sprawling Marietta complex serves an important role in providing IT services and training to the Department of Defense and other vendors. Among other jobs, the more than 7,000 employees at the Marietta facility help to manufacture important parts for the military’s F-35 fighter jets.

Employer: Cobb County Government
Industry: Local government
Number of employees: 5,223
From running the county’s senior centers to helping residents figure out how to pay their property taxes, the more than 5,000 employees who make up the county government are focused on making Cobb a great place to live.

Kennesaw State University
Industry: Education
Number of employees: 3,400
The state’s third largest university is also one of Cobb’s largest employers. Including all full- and part-time workers, KSU employees more than 3,400 people to support is 24,600 undergraduate and graduate students.

Industry: Retail, grocery
Number of employees: 2,973
One of the more ubiquitous grocery stores in the metro area with 181 stores statewide, this Florida-based chain employees nearly 3,000 people in Cobb County alone. Publix also has manufacturing facilities in the cities of Atlanta (bakery) and Lawrenceville (dairy).

Six Flags Over Georgia
Industry: Amusement park
Number of employees: 2,386
While most of Six Flags’ employees are seasonal, they help operate the largest theme park in the Southeast. Six Flags has 11 roller coasters, three interactive kids’ areas and water rides, as well as entertainment venues and seasonal events like the annual Halloween Fright Fest.

Industry: Retail
Number of employees: 2,750
The Bentonville, Ark., discount retailer employees 1.3 million people in the U.S., and has a large presence all across Georgia. Of its 53,000 employees statewide, nearly 3,000 of them are in Cobb County alone.

The Kroger Company
Industry: Retail, grocery
Number of employees: 2,150
Since the mid-1800s, this Cincinnati-based grocery chain has been providing customers with fresh foods. It now has more than 2,400 stores in 31 states and its annual sales top $96 billion. Kroger has more than 170 stores in Georgia, and many of its 2,100 employees are based on Cobb County.