by Thomas Dworetzky
, Contributing Reporter | February 27, 2017
The Chicago footprint of GE Healthcare continues to expand.
It has now announced that it will move an undisclosed number “in the hundreds” from its Barrington, Illinois, facility to the Windy City, according to the Chicago Tribune
Plans call for the shift to begin in the third quarter 2017.
“More and more, you really want to be in an area where it’s not just your employees,” GE Healthcare CEO John Flannery noted. “The fundamental premise of this move is to increase the intensity of our investment in the digital platform and do it in downtown Chicago, where we think there’s a really top-tier technology ecosystem.”
There are 600 workers there at present, made of the management of GE Healthcare and its Transportation Group's Digital Solutions personnel. This latest move will up that number above 1,000. The Chicago-destined jobs are mostly in the IT and software fields.
There are no plans to reduce jobs as part of the relocation, according to the CEO.
If anything, it will be the reverse. “I think, net-net, we’re going to be adding jobs on the digital side of things here,” he said, noting that, “digital technology, data and analytics can radically change the capability of the industry to manage those issues,” he said. “This is an industry at a tipping point in terms of starting to really embrace digital technology in the practice of the industry.”
“This move is a vote of confidence in our city, and I look forward to watching GE continue to build an exciting future here,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement emailed to the Tribune by GE.
Chicago has established itself as a digital mecca in the past several years, and gives companies like GE the opportunity to take advantage of the growing high-tech labor pool and synergies to be found in a startup-rich environment.
The city was ranked as the 12th most technologically advanced in the world in July, 2016, by Business Insider
, which noted it was among the top five for high-tech jobs in the U.S.
That the Windy City is a hub of digital activity is not lost on GE Healthcare workers, like Madhuri Sebastian, who has worn a number of hats at the company, and at present is involved developing deep learning projects. She is also one of the hundreds relocating from Barrington in the big move.
“GE is an amazing place for nurturing talent, especially diverse talent, and Chicago is a great central location that gives access to innovation, technology and customers across the U.S., which makes it faster to co-ideate and innovate,” she told GE Healthcare's The Pulse.
This latest shift of workers comes on the heels of last year's decision
to move its HQ to its downtown Chicago Monroe street offices from the U.K.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner called that decision "a tremendous win” for his state.
“We are excited to strengthen [GE Healthcare's] roots in Chicago, where we will continue our focus on being the leading provider of outcome-based solutions for the health care industry," Flannery noted at the time.