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2017 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Illinois, Georgia, Arizona, Kentucky and Mississippi Awarded Gold Shovel

Q2 2017

Illinois — 12+ Million Population Category It’s hard not to win a Gold Shovel award when Amazon is digging into multiple locations around the state, spending more than $350 million and promising work for 4,500. The company had little significant warehouse presence in Illinois as recently as two years ago, and since then has announced projects that eventually will total as many as 7,000 jobs.

Illinois is a solid manufacturing state, and historically has had strong ties to the automotive sector. That link shows up in its 2016 projects, with the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant in Belvidere landing a $350 million, 300-job investment as it retools for assembling the Jeep Cherokee. Also in Belvidere is a significant Magna Exteriors investment. Illinois’ more mysterious automotive story involves a Michigan startup called Rivian Automotive, which hopes to enter the electric car business and acquired the shuttered Mitsubishi plant in Normal. Details are few and there are no public prototypes, but the company has said it could ultimately employ as many as a thousand at the Illinois plant.

2016 Top Projects: Illinois

Population: 12.83 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles BelvidereE 300 $350 million Automotive
2. Rivian Automotive Normal N 1,000 $175 million Electric Vehicles
3. Magna Exteriors Belvidere N 443 $42 million Automotive Parts
4. Amazon Edwardsville, Romeoville, Monee, JolietN 4,500$355 millionFulfillment Centers
5. Vetter Des Plaines N 300 $320 million Medical Devices
6. Target Dekalb E 450$50 million Distribution Center
7. AAR Corp. Rockford N 500 $40 million Aircraft MRO
8. Paylocity Schaumburg N 500 $29 million Headquarters
9. Berner Food & Beverage DakotaE 200 $70 million Food Processing
10. American Academy of PediatricsItasca N 480 $50 million Headquarters

Other projects run the gamut from a Target distribution center in DeKalb to headquarters headlines in the Chicago region. Also, German medical device/pharmaceutical firm Vetter has made a deal in Des Plaines. How sustainable is the state’s good news? Economists and pundits are not in agreement. The state’s political climate is not always predictable, leading to uncertainties about the future of various incentives that have helped fuel positive headlines. And a U.S. News series of rankings gave Illinois low marks in terms of growth in GDP, jobs, and overall employment. But the gains announced in 2016 are welcome news in many parts of the state.

Georgia — 8+ to 12 Million Population Category Georgia is on a roll, according to economists, growing faster than the nation as a whole and on a trajectory for continued improvement. A U.S. Senate report last summer found Georgia among the top states in terms of private-sector jobs created since the Great Recession, with the tally up 12.6 percent. And that was before the impact of most of the stellar announcements of 2016 that earned the state a Gold Shovel.

Leading the list of announcements was NCR, which shared plans to grow its world headquarters campus in midtown Atlanta with a second office tower. The company’s chairman and CEO, Bill Nuti, promised its campus would “become a technology landmark in one of the city’s fastest-growing neighborhoods.” Adding 1,800 jobs can only help with that landmark status. Insurance giant Anthem pledged a similar number of jobs at the Atlanta technology hub it announced last October, several months after announcing it would add more than 400 call center jobs in Columbus.

2016 Top Projects: Georgia*

Population: 10.31 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. NCR Atlanta E 1,800 $145 million Financial Technology
2. Sentury Tire Troup County N 1,000 $530 million Automotive
3. Anthem Atlanta N 1,800 $20 million Information Technology
4. UPS Atlanta N 1,250 $400 million Logistics/Distribution
5. Home Chef Dekalb County N 1,200 $3.4 million Packaging/Delivery Services
6. Honeywell Atlanta N 800 $19 million Information Technology
7. Kaiser Permanente Gwinnett County E 800 $51 million Customer Service Center
8. Amazon Jackson CountyN 500 N/A* Fulfillment Center
9. Dollar General Butts CountiesN 500 $85 million Logistics/Spalding Distribution
10. Voxpro Athens-Clarke County N 500 $4 million Information Technology
* confidential
Represents a state/local sponsor

Information technology, in fact, is growing rapidly, with Honeywell and Voxpro among those making big announcements. But the state’s prime Southern location and strong infrastructure also helped fuel multiple logistics, distribution, and delivery projects with hundreds of additional jobs promised.

There was still room on the list of top projects for manufacturing, too, with Chinese tire producer Sentury Tire’s LaGrange plans for a production and research center employing a thousand or more. In making the announcement, Sentury Executive ?Vice President Rami Helminen noted that “the education systems and ?high-quality workforce complement our leading-edge technology.”

Arizona — 5+ to 8 Million Population Category When it comes to economic development success stories, Arizona is a regular near the top the list of states with population counts between 5 million and 8 million. Its Gold Shovel performance is the result of major projects in finance and insurance as well as business services, mixed with a number of highly diversified manufacturing highlights.

Arizona economists are expecting a red-hot 2017, economically speaking — they’re fired up after the state celebrated a massive, multibillion-dollar announcement by Intel barely a month into the new year. But 2016 was hardly shabby, with economic growth that topped 2 percent, surpassing the nation’s 1.6 percent gain in GDP. Population in Arizona continues to rise, unemployment is dropping, and job growth ranks highly.

2016 Top Projects: Arizona*

Population: 6.93 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Raytheon Missile Systems TucsonN 1,975 $352.3 million Areospace
2. Lucid Motors Casa Grande N 2,213 $735 million Electric Vehicles
3. ADP Tempe E 1,500 $33.8 million Business Services
4. Oscar Health Insurance Tempe E 1,250 $5 million Insurance
5. Wells Fargo Chandler E 1,200 $25 million Financial Services
6. Farmers Insurance Phoenix N 1,188 $41.3 million Insurance
7. CIOX Health Phoenix E 2,820 $15 million Business Services
8. Dexcom* Mesa E 500 $60 million Biotechnology
9. Huhtamaki Goodyear E 300 $119 million Consumer Products
10. SK Food Group Tolleson E 550 $29 million Food Products
*Represents a state/local sponsor

A major feather in Arizona’s cap was the decision by Lucid Motors to build a $735 million electric car factory in Casa Grande. A dozen other states wanted the project that’s due to create a couple thousand jobs and start production as early as next year. And nearly 2,000 aerospace workers are expected to join the Raytheon payroll in Tucson.

Big announcements in the business services realm came from CIOX Health, manager of health information that’s planning growth of more than 2,800 jobs in Phoenix, and ADP, the payroll firm that’s moving 1,500 new hires into the former US Airways headquarters building in Tempe. Three major moves in finance and insurance together are bringing roughly 3,600 jobs. There are many new jobs in food products, consumer products, and biotech — it’s a diverse set of headlines, which helps explain why Arizona does so well on these rankings year after year.

Kentucky — 3+ to 5 Million Population Category It was a hot year in the Bluegrass State, as companies announced more than 300 new facility or expansion projects, with investment totaling more than $3 billion and job creation pegged at more than 16,000. More and more customers around the world are tapping into Kentucky products, as exports grew 5.8 percent to nearly $30 billion in 2016, led by aerospace products.

That said, the financial services sector had a healthy impact on the list of significant projects that earned Kentucky a Gold Shovel award in its population category. Between projects announced by ComputerShare Inc. in Jefferson County and Alorica Inc. in Daviess County, some 1,700 jobs are on tap. Computershare is in the business of stock and investor relations services, and announced that it would grow its Louisville operations from 250 to 1,100. Alorica, meanwhile, is bringing hundreds of customer-service jobs to Owensboro.

2016 Top Projects: Kentucky*

Population: 4.40 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. General Motors Warren County E 620 $290 million Automotive
2. FedEx Ground Package Systems Boone County E 62 $199.3 million Distribution/Logistics
3. Safran Landing Systems Boone County E 84 $150.3 million Aircraft Systems
4. Thai Summit Kentucky Corp. Nelson County N 216 $110.1 million Automotive
5. ComputerShare, Inc. Jefferson County E 850 $19.9 million Financial Services
6. Alorica, Inc. Daviess County N 830 $6.4 million Financial Services
7. Clinical Trial Services, Inc. Kenton County N 500 $36.4 million Biotechnology
8. More Than a Bakery Woodford County N 310 $57.1 million Food & Beverages
9. Toyotetsu America, Inc. Pulaski County E 100 $63 million Automotive
10. Lakeshore Learning Materials Woodford County N 262 $47.4 million Distribution
*Represents a state/local sponsor

Kentucky’s healthy economy also owes a lot to the automotive sector, and 2016 qualifying announcements totaling half a billion dollars and a thousand or so jobs are already giving way to even more great news in 2017. Auto investments have powered Kentucky’s Shovel award honors in many recent years, and in 2016 it was General Motors leading the way. Even so, the state’s growth is broad-based, with victories in a diversity of sectors, including distribution, biotech, and food processing.

Mississippi — Fewer Than 3 Million Population Category Diverse economic-development successes put Mississippi in the Gold Shovel category among states with fewer than 3 million in population. Recent major projects range from tire manufacturing and shipbuilding to the creation of furniture and the bottling of water.

February 2016 was a banner month for the state, when the legislature gathered for a special session to approve incentives for two massive projects — the $1.5 billion Continental Tire project proposed for a site in Hinds County and a $68 million Topship development at the inland Port of Gulfport. In announcing the tire plant, Continental executive vice president Paul Williams touted the site’s “significant advantages for a future tire plant in terms of its large skilled workforce, as well as its ideal location and infrastructure.” The Topship facility will make vessels to serve the offshore oil and gas exploration industry.

2016 Top Projects: Mississippi*

Population: 2.99 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Continental Tire Hinds County N 2,500 $1.5 billion Tires
2. Topship LLC Gulfport E 1,000 $68 million Shipbuilding
3. Southern Motion Baldwyn E 600 $20 million Furniture
4. Niagara Bottling Marshall County E 38 $78 million Bottling/Packaging
5. Premium Waters Hinds County N 42 $25 million Water Bottling
6. BPI Packaging Olive Branch N 150 $8 million Packaging
7. Ajinomoto Windsor Oakland E 60 $20 million Food Processing
8. BMSI Burnsville N 100 $6 million Industrial Products
9. Delta Furniture Houlka E 100 $432,000 Furniture
10. Bauhaus Ripley E 100 $2.5 million Furniture
*Represents a state/local sponsor

Together the two projects promise about 3,500 jobs as they develop. Groundbreaking for the tire plant was in November 2016, with completion expected in 2019, and the shipbuilding facility is due to be finished in 2018.

Furniture manufacturing often goes hand-in-hand with the timber business, one of the state’s traditional strengths. In 2016, three significant furniture projects — Southern Motion, Delta Furniture, and Bauhaus — combined for the promise of 800 new jobs. Food processing has been a mainstay as well, with two of the three projects in this sector focused on bottled water — Niagara Bottling and Premium Waters. Meanwhile, the contract manufacturing operation announced in Olive Branch by BPI Packaging focuses on industrial coatings and performance chemicals.

2017 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • Illinois
  • Georgia
  • Arizona
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
Read More

2017 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Billion Dollar(s) Projects Of The Year (2016)

Project Location Jobs Investment
Shandong Sun Paper Arkadelphia, AR 250 $1B
Tellurian Investments Calcasieu Parish, LA 551 $11.8Bb
Venture Global LNG Plaquemines Parish 250 $8.5B
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles LLC Sterling Heights, MI 700 $1.5B
Ford Motor Co. Expansion Livonia, MI 500 $1.4B
Continental Tire Hinds County, MS 2,500 $1.5B
Royal Dutch Shell Potter, PA 600 $6B
General Motors Spring Hill, TN 1,431 $1B
ALSAC
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
Memphis, TN 1,800 $1B
Lockheed Martin Fort Worth, TX 1,000 $1.2B
ExxonMobil Beaumont, TX 40 $1.2B
Samsung Austin, TX 250 $1B
       
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2017 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Large Job-Creating Projects Of The Year (2016)*

Project Location Jobs Investment
Cognizant Technology Solutions Des Moines, IA 1,014 $9M
Under Armour Sparrows, MD 1,000 $174M
Continental Tire Hinds County, MS 2,500 $1.5M
Topship LLC Gulfport, MS 1,000 $68M
JPMorgan Chase Jersey City, NJ 2,150 $68.3M
ALSAC
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
Memphis, TN 1,800 $1B
General Motors Spring Hill, TN 1,431 $1B
GM Financial Arlington, TX 1,300 $35M
Lockheed Martin Fort Worth, TX 1,000 $1.2B
McKesson Corp. Irving, TX 1,000 $157M
ADP Norfolk, VA 1,800 $32.3M
CIOX Health Phoenix, AZ 2,820 $15M
Lucid Motors Casa Grande, AZ 2,213 $735M
Raytheon Missile Systems Tucson, AZ 1,975 $352.3M
ADP Tempe, AZ 1,500 $33.8M
Oscar Tempe, AZ 1,250 $5M
Wells Fargo Chandler, AZ 1,200 $25M
Farmers Insurance Phoenix, AZ 1,188 $41.3M
Snapchat Venice Beach, CA 1,194 $32M
Google, Inc. Boulder, CO 1,000 $150M
ADP, LLC Maitland, FL 1,600 $28.4M
NCR Atlanta, GA 1,800 $145M
Anthem Atlanta, GA 1,800 $20M
UPS Atlanta, GA 1,250 $400M
Home Chef Dekalb, GA 1,200 $3.4M
Sentury Tire Troup, GA 1,000 $150M
Rivian Automotive Normal, IL 1,000 $175M
* See e-Commerce Projects of the Year chart for other
large job-creating projects.
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2017 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: E-Commerce* Projects Of The Year (2016)

Project Location Jobs Investment
Amazon Aurora, CO 250 $27M
Amazon Jacksonville, FL 1,500 $198M
Amazon Jackson County, GA 500 N/A**
Amazon Edwardsville,
Romeoville,
Monee,
Joliet, IL
4,500 $355M
Amazon Edgerton & Kansas City 2,000 $292.6M
Amazon Livonia, MI 1,000 $90M
Amazon Shakopee, MN 1,000 $250M
Amazon North Las Vegas, NV 1,000 $18M
Amazon Carteret & Florence, NJ 2,000 N/A**
Amazon Charlotte, NC 1,500 $50M
Amazon Palmer & Pittston, PA 850 N/A**
Amazon Houston, TX 1,000 $136M
* Projects represent Amazon fulfillment centers
**Investment confidential
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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 2016 (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 — five states achieving the highest weighted overall scores were awarded Area Development’s 2017 Gold Shovels in five population categories: 12+ million, 8+ to 12 million, 5+ to 8 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners-up in each of these population categories were awarded 2017 Silver Shovels.

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