Apple, Inc. is building upon its already significant presence in Austin, Texas, where it’s constructing its Americas Operations Center. The $304 million investment is slated to add 3,635 jobs to its operations there, the largest single jobs announcement ever in Austin. The first phase, now under way, comprises about 200,000 square feet in two buildings that should be completed by the end of 2015. According to Apple planning documents, “Phase II will be up to 800,000 square feet in several buildings,” and that’s to be finished by 2021.
The company is tightlipped about many things, and has made little public comment about the Austin project. But Apple did e-mail a statement to Wired last December, offering a bit of detail: “Our operations in Austin have grown dramatically over the past decade, from less than 1,000 employees in 2004 to more than 3,500 today. We’re looking forward to building a new campus in Austin, which will more than double the size of our work force there over the next decade.”
San Jose, California
The Samsung Semiconductors presence in San Jose is making a giant leap forward, thanks to a $300 million investment that is expected to translate into 2,000 jobs where about 300 exist presently. The company is working on a 1.1 million-square-foot sales and R&D headquarters at the current site of its semiconductor and display panel operations.
The subsidiary of Samsung Electronics had considered a move to another state but was persuaded to stay and grow, thanks in part to local economic development incentives. “We are now ready to prepare for the next generation by expanding our current facilities here in San Jose,” Jong-Joon Kim, Samsung’s president of device solutions, told the local media in making the announcement in August 2012.
The San Jose project is not the only Samsung investment in Silicon Valley. Also in the works is a major Mountain View project that will house Samsung Information Systems America.
Metro Atlanta, Georgia
The demand for plasma-based pharmaceutical products is the driver behind Baxter International’s new plant investment plans in Georgia. The company says it will spend a billion dollars building new manufacturing capacity near Atlanta to create treatments for immune disorders, trauma, and other medical needs. Baxter will create up to 1,800 jobs as the facilities begin production over the next five years.
In announcing the investment, Robert Parkinson Jr., Baxter chairman and CEO, told analysts that there’s a huge need for the kinds of products Baxter will produce in Georgia, noting that the investment “represents our confidence in the long-term global growth of the plasma protein business. Over half the world’s population remains undiagnosed and certainly under-treated for many of the conditions that are treated with therapeutics proteins.”
Nissan North America
Within two years, Nissan hopes that 85 percent of the vehicles it sells in America will be built domestically. To get there, more capacity is needed, and its plant in Smyrna is a logical place to add it. The plant turns out more than half a million vehicles a year and provides work for more than 6,000 people, and the company has added some 2,000 jobs in Tennessee in the past couple of years.
“Our investment in creating hundreds of new jobs demonstrates Nissan’s longtime commitment to our employees, Smyrna, and the state of Tennessee,” Bill Krueger, Nissan vice chairman, said in a news release last October as the company added a third shift in Smyrna for the first time in the three decades it has been there.
Meanwhile, in May 2012, Nissan broke ground on an expansion to its Decherd engine plant. All told, Nissan’s latest expansion plans will add some 2,200 jobs in the state.
GE Consumer & Industrial
Back in the recessionary days of 2008, GE pondered getting out of the appliance business, and had its Appliance Park complex in Louisville on the market. But a couple years later, the company had reversed course and was pumping new money into its Louisville operations, hiring more people and adding products to the mix. GE started making a water heater based on heat-pump technology last year, and added a new refrigerator with French doors, a new dishwasher, and a new washing machine. Next, it started making front-loading washers and dryers in Louisville.
GE’s $649.8 million expansion created 1,214 jobs. It’s part of an even bigger picture — the company has invested about $800 million in Appliance Park since 2010 and added about 3,000 jobs. GE Appliances President and CEO Charles “Chip” Blankenship addressed the media when production of the new refrigerator launched in 2012. “When businesses, unions, and employees work together, we can deliver innovative solutions to the marketplace and demonstrate that U.S.-based manufacturing can be competitive. GE Appliances is a shining example of what is working in U.S. manufacturing.”
2013 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States
2013 Gold Shovel Awards: Projects of the Year
||San Jose, CA
|Nissan North America
|GE Consumer & Industrial
|Xactware Solutions Inc.
MethodologyArea 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 2012 (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 2013 Gold Shovels in four population categories: 10+ million, 5+ to 10 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners up in each of these population categories are awarded 2013 Silver Shovels.