2012 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Investment Projects of the Year
"Projects of the Year" were selected based on the fact that they created a large number of high value-added manufacturing jobs in new or expanded facilities. Most of these were in the automotive or transportation-related sector, which has seen a comeback from the Great Recession. From auto assembly to parts, from locomotives to carbon fiber composites to semiconductors, manufacturing is leading the U.S. economic recovery - and the projects selected are among those making a strong contribution to this growth.
Area Development Special Presentation
THE GOLD & SILVER SHOVEL WINNERS
Hover over the winning states in the above tabs to see the top 2011 investment projects, creating high value-added jobs in new or expanded facilities, which lead to that state being recognized as a Gold or Silver Shovel winner.
GE Transportation will build a $96 million locomotive manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, resulting in 775 new, high-tech manufacturing jobs. GE will manufacture and assemble rail and transportation-related products there, including their Evolution Series locomotive, which reduces fuel use by 5 percent and emissions by approximately 40 percent.
"GE Transportation is experiencing strong U.S. and global growth and we need to increase our manufacturing capacity and flexibility," explains GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt. "The Texas Enterprise Fund investment [$4.2 million] will help create our state-of-the-art plant in Fort Worth, expand our service and repair capability, and create hundreds of new high-tech manufacturing jobs."
Gentex Corporation is building a $160 million, 125,000-square-foot expansion that will link two existing facilities in Zeeland, Mich. The company manufactures auto-dimming rearview
mirrors and camera-assisted rearview mirrors. Gentex has experienced about 19 percent compounded annual growth in recent years and continues to expand; the company expects to hire an estimated 1,110 workers over the next five years.
Four other expansions are planned at the company's facilities in Zeeland and Holland Township, including a new production facility. "We're going to need more space if we stay on our current growth trajectory," says Gentex Director of Corporate Facilities Scott Heerema.
GM Spring Hill Manufacturing,
According to the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development, GM is investing a total of $235 million in re-activating and expanding its assembly plant in Spring Hill, which was idled in 2009. The first phase of the investment - $61 million - will be used to design a flexible assembly operation that is capable of building any GM car or crossover. Production will start with the Chevrolet Equinox in the second half
of 2012. When fully operational the expansion will have created about 2,350 jobs.
"Spring Hill is one of GM's most innovative and flexible plants," says Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM Labor Relations. "We're pleased that we can build on that history and develop a plan to resume production. This won't be a typical plant with just a few dedicated products - the flex operation can change products frequently based on what we need to do in the market."
Continental Tire the Americas (CTA) is constructing a new tire manufacturing plant in Sumter County, S.C., to meet growing demand from the automotive industry. The $500 million project will create more than 1,600 new jobs in South Carolina over the next 10 years.
"This new facility is part of Continental's growth strategy worldwide, especially for the Americas' market," says Nikolai Setzer, director of Continental's global tire business. "Increasing demand for our passenger and light truck tires in the United States, as well as the improved business results for CTA, has made this investment possible."
Navistar International Corporation, a top manufacturer of school buses and trucks, will establish a two-million-square-foot facility in western Colbert County, Ala., that will generate 1,800 jobs during the next four years. This expansion will help the company increase its annual revenue from
$14 billion to $20 billion.
Governor Robert Bentley believes the economic impact this project will have on Northwest Alabama will be similar to the impact Mercedes had on the Tuscaloosa area in the 1990s when it built a plant in Vance. "This is exciting for the entire Northwest Alabama area," says Bentley. "We're not just talking about creating jobs at the plant, but also about spin-offs. There's no telling how many jobs altogether will be generated."
Intel Corporation will invest $5 billion in a state-of-the-art production facility in Chandler, Ariz., to create highly sophisticated semiconductors. When the facility opens in 2013 it will be one of the most advanced high-volume semiconductor manufacturing plants in the world, producing transistors as small as 14 nanometers. Some 1,000 new jobs will be created.
The plant will be the company's third facility in Chandler. "One thing critical to my
citizens is new jobs and this goes a long way," says Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. "Intel likes the partnership it has with Chandler, likes doing business in Arizona, and they're a very good corporate citizen."
ITT Corporation will bring about 2,700 new jobs to Utah over the next 15 years - the result of the expansion of its Salt Lake City composites engineering and manufacturing facility (carbon fiber composites). The company plans to invest more than $120 million in infrastructure and equipment to complete the project.
"With this new facility, ITT
is responding to the rapidly growing need for next-generation aircraft materials and strengthening Utah's economy," notes Jim Barber, vice president of ITT's Integrated Structures
Silver Shovel Awards
POPULATION OF 9+ MILLION
POPULATION OF 5+ TO 9 MILLION
POPULATION OF 3+ TO 5 MILLION
POPULATION OF 3 MILLION OR FEWER
Area Development's annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities. We collected information from all 50 states about their top-10 job-creation and investment projects initiated in 2011 (only those projects that actually had monies invested, "broke ground," began an expansion, started new hiring, etc. were considered). Based on a combination of weighted factors - including the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state's population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities, the diversity of industry represented - four states achieving the highest weighted overall scores are awarded Area Development's 2012 Gold Shovels in four population categories: 9+ million, 5+ to 9 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners up in each of these population categories are awarded 2012 Silver Shovels.