Georgia received a Gold Shovel in 2007 and Silver Shovels in 2009-2010. Georgia continues to recover steadily from the recession, with a projected growth rate of 2.9 percent for 2011. The renewable energy sector is especially poised for significant growth and is supported by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy, a vital resource for companies seeking to produce renewable energy and alternative fuels in Georgia.
Recently announced projects include SKC's $100 million, 200,000-square-foot expansion of its facility in Covington to produce film for solar panels, creating about 120 jobs. In another alternative energy development, RWE Innogy of Germany and BMC of Sweden will construct a $150 million bioenergy plant in Waycross, creating approximately 75 direct jobs by manufacturing wood pellets for power plants in Europe. It will operate as Georgia BioMass, LLC.
"We are excited to develop a world-class biomass facility to provide the power industry with a tailored pellet with coal-like characteristics for efficient conversion to electricity," says BMC founder and managing partner Mats Lindstrand. "The location in Georgia is perfect for us and we feel very welcomed in the local community."
North Carolina received a Silver Shovel in 2009 and continues to be at the forefront of economic development. In 2010 Forbes.com ranked North Carolina as the third-best state in the country for business. Research Triangle Park is well known for its high-tech research and development. In recent years Charlotte has become an emerging energy cluster, with a number of alternative-energy and nuclear energy companies locating there.
Despite its high-tech reputation, North Carolina still depends on its traditional manufacturing base, such as natural resources, plastics, textiles, logistics, and heavy equipment/machinery. For example, Caterpillar Inc., the largest maker of construction and mining equipment in the world, will build a $426 million lower power-train facility in Winston-Salem that will create 392 jobs over the next five years.
"Caterpillar has worked hard with many local partners during the site selection process," says Hans Haefeli, vice president of Caterpillar's advanced components and systems division. "This location will improve our supply-chain efficiency and allow us to better serve our customers while reducing operating costs."
Texas has been a winner every year, receiving a Gold Shovel in 2008 and Silver Shovels in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010. Its diverse economy is the eleventh-largest in the world, led by petroleum refining and chemical products, information and computer technology (ICT), biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing. Texas added more new manufacturing jobs than any other state in 2010; hot sectors include biotech, distribution, call centers, ICT, and electronics.
Dallas and Austin are known as centers for high-tech R&D, especially in the fields of ICT, electronics, and semiconductors. TriQuint Semiconductor will invest $100 million in its Richardson plant and hire 165 new employees to expand the production of its advanced radio frequency technologies, which are in high demand for mobile devices.
Samsung continues to invest heavily in Austin, recently announcing a $3.6 billion expansion of its Fab 2 semiconductor manufacturing plant. The project, the most expensive by any company in Austin history, will provide temporary construction jobs for nearly 3,000 workers and be operational by late 2011. "Our investment ensures Austin's premier status as a center for semiconductor research and manufacturing," states W.S. Han, president of the company's Austin subsidiary.
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 2010 (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 - three states achieving the highest weighted overall score are awarded Area Development's 2011 Gold Shovels. Runner-ups
in three population categories - over 9 million, between 4 and 9 million, and under 4 million - are awarded 2011 Silver Shovels..