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2018 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Alabama, Louisiana and Utah Awarded Silver Shovels - States with 3 to 5 Million Population

Q2 2018

Alabama — 3 to 5 Million CategoryIt was a good year for manufacturing in Silver Shovel recipient Alabama, with major investments in a diverse collection of projects, most of them brand-new. Additional jobs are driving in by way of logistics and distribution.

For example, more than a thousand automotive-related jobs were tied to two announcements. Autocar is investing $120 million to turn a million-square-foot complex in Center Point into a heavy-duty truck manufacturing plant, creating more than 700 jobs in the process. Hundreds more jobs are tied to the plans by Mercedes-Benz U.S. International to expand into the Bibb County part of the Birmingham area and build a Global Logistics Center and an after-sales hub. The $280 million projects represent just a quarter of Mercedes’ Alabama investment plans.

2017 Top Projects: Alabama

Population: 4.89 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. International Paper Co. Selma E 0 $552.7 million Paper Products
2. Mercedes-Benz U.S. Int’l. Bibb Cty. N 502 $281.5 million Automotive
3. James Hardie Building Products Prattville N 205 $220 million Fiber Cement
4. Blue Origin Huntsville N 342 $200 million Aerospace
5. Walmart Irvington N 550 $135 million Distribution
6. Autocar Center Point N 746 $120 million Automotive
7. Bocar Tanner N 305 $117.1 million Aluminum Die Casting
8. John Soules Food Valley N 500 $110 million Food Products
9. Wayne Farms LLC Jack E 400 $105 million Poultry Processing
10. Aerojet Rocketdyne Huntsville E 805 $46.5 million Aerospace

Hundreds of additional jobs are tied to the Huntsville aerospace sector, including projects from rocket engine builder Aerojet Rocketdyne and Blue Origin, the aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services firm that has ties to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. More manufacturing projects reflect growth in the food and poultry, aluminum, paper, and fiber cement industries, and Walmart has promised delivery of 550 distribution jobs.

Louisiana — 3 to 5 Million CategoryThe largest Louisiana job-creating project arrived just in time for the winter holidays, when DXC Technology announced plans to create up to 2,000 jobs across the street from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Governor called the project “one of the most significant in the history of our state.”

Some of the other major initiatives were tied to the state’s prominent chemical and gas sectors, including a pair of billion-dollar deals involving a new plant from China’s Wanhua Chemical Group and a plan by Korean-owned Lotte Chemical USA to establish U.S. corporate offices alongside its new monoethylene glycol plant in Lake Charles. Among other wins that led to a Silver Shovel award, the state announced plans involving a fertilizer plant and an industrial gas operation, and deals involving prefabricated building manufacturing and paper milling.

2017 Top Projects: Louisiana

Population: 4.68 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Boeing Orleans Parish E 200 $500,000 Aerospace
2. Champion Homes Vernon Parish E 200 $1.3 million Prefab Wood Buildings
3. DHL/Graphic Packaging Ouachita Parish N 93 $274 million Warehousing
4. DXC Orleans Parish N 2,000 N/A Computer Programming
5. Energy World Corp. Plaquemines Parish N 50 $800 million Industrial Gas
6. Lotte Chemical Louisiana Calcasieu Parish E 130 $1.13 billion Organic Chemicals
7. PCS Nitrogen Fertilizer Ascension Parish N 6 $290 million Fertilizer
8. Select Comfort Corp. Jefferson Parish N 225 N/A Business Services
9. Wanhua Chemical Group T/B/D N 170 $1.12 billion Organic Chemicals
10. WestRock Jackson Parish E 0 $320 million Paper Mills

Utah — 3 to 5 Million CategoryUtah last year celebrated the growth and commitment of a homegrown technology player. Pluralsight, an online education provider, will relocate and expand its headquarters south of Salt Lake City. The state further solidified its “Silicon Slopes” technology credentials with several other noteworthy projects, such as Adobe’s 1,200+-job expansion in Lehi, a Collective Medical Technologies expansion in Salt Lake City, and expansion plans by the fast-growing customer-interaction software provider Podium in Lehi.

2017 Top Projects: Utah

Population: 3.10 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Pluralsight South Jordan N 2,464 $371.8 million Information Technology
2. Adobe Lehi E 1,260 $90 million Information Technology
3. Collective Medical Technologies Salt Lake City E 587 $10 million Information Technology
4. Stryker Corp. Salt Lake City E 540 $100 million Biotechnology
5. Earnest Salt Lake County N 500 $5.6 million Financial Services
6. Varo Money, Inc. Salt Lake City N 331 $2.8 million Financial Services
7. Amazon Salt Lake County N 130 $200 million E-Commerce Fulfillment
8. Biomerics Salt Lake City N 380 $38.5 million Biotechnology
9. Podium Lehi E 426 $10 million Information Technology
10. eShares, Inc. Salt Lake Ctiy N 464 $5.7 million Financial Services

The Silver Shovel-winning state’s financial services sector is growing nicely, too, with last year’s headlines including projects from high-tech California-based loan provider Earnest Inc. and mobile banking startup Varo Money Inc. More Salt Lake City jobs were announced in biotechnology, too, including at neurovascular tech provider Stryker and cardiovascular medical device maker Biomerics.

2018 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • Wisconsin
  • Kentucky
  • Nevada
Read More

2018 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Billion Dollar(s) Projects Of The Year (2017)

Project Location Jobs Investment
Switch Lithia Springs, GA 65 jobs $1 billion
Apple Inc. Waukee, IA50 jobs $1.3 billion
Amazon Hebron, KY2,700 jobs $1.5 billion
Toyota Motor Manufacturing KY Georgetown, KY1,209 jobs $1.3 billion
Lotte Chemical Louisiana Calcasieu Parish, LA130 jobs $1.13 billion
Wanhua Chemical Group T/B/D, LA170 jobs $1.12 billion
Ford Motor Co. Flat Rock, MI 700 jobs $1.2 billion
Invenergy LLC, GE, American Electric Power Texas County, OK0 jobs $4.5 billion
Denso Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc. Maryville, TN1,000 jobs $1 billion
ExxonMobil - SABIC Portland, TX 600 jobs $10 billion
Facebook Henrico County, VA100 jobs $1 billion
Foxconn Mount Pleasant, WI13,000 jobs $10 billion

2018 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Large Job-Creating Projects Of The Year (2017)

Project Location Jobs Investment
Chewy, Inc. Goodyear, AZ1,200 jobs $30 million
Bank of the West Tempe, AZ1,000 jobs$25 million
Concentrix Tempe, AZ 1,538 jobs $14.5 million
General Motors San Francisco, CA 1,163 jobs $14 million
Amazon North Haven, CT1,800 jobs $255 million
Charter Communications Stamford, CT1,100 jobs $100 million
ASOS Union City, GA 1,620 jobs $42 million
Luxottica Group NA McDonough, GA 1,000 jobs $78 million
Amazon Jefferson, GA 1,000 jobs N/A
Infosys Ltd. Indianapolis, IN2,000 jobs $8.7 million
XPO Logistics Supply Chain, Inc. Lebanon, IN 1,160 jobs $49.4 million
Amazon Hebron, KY 2,700 jobs $1.5 billion
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Georgetown, KY 1,209 jobs $1.3billion
Diversified Consultants Inc. Louisville, KY 1,000 jobs $6.7 million
DXC Orleans Parish, LA2,000 jobs N/A
Amazon Baltimore City, MD1,500 jobs $225 million
Amazon Romulus, MI 1,600 jobs $140 million
Centria Healthcare Farmington Hills, MI1,200 jobs $10 million
Amazon Shelby Charter Twp., MI1,025 jobs $40 million
24/7 In Touch Clark Cty., NV 1,200 jobs $1.3 million
Amazon Staten Island, NYC2,250 jobs $100 million
Amazon Manhattan, NYC2,000 jobs $55 million
Strategic Financial Solutions Amherst, NY1,547 jobs $2.1 million
Tesla - Solar City Buffalo, NY1,460 jobs N/A
Spotify Manhattan, NYC 1,050 jobs $200 million
EY Manhattan, NYC 1,152 jobs $279.8 million
Allstate Mecklenburg Cty., NC2,250 jobs $22.6 million
Infosys Wake Cty., NC 2,000 jobs $8.7 million
Credit Suisse Wake Cty., NC1,200 jobs $65 million
Amazon North Randal, OHl 2,000 jobs $100 million
Ensemble HP, LLC Blue Ash, OH 1,100 jobs $34 million
Volvo Car USA, LLC Berkeley, SC 1,910 jobs $620 million
BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC Spartanburg, SC 1,000 jobs $600 million
Arthrex, Inc. Anderson, SC1,000 jobs $69 million
Tyson Foods Inc. Humboldt, TN 1,500 jobs $320 million
Denso Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc. Maryville, TN 1,000 jobs $1 billion
Textile Corp. of America Pikeville, TN 1,000 jobs $27.1 million
NTT Data Corp. Plano, TX 6,377 jobs $28.8 million
Nutri Biotech USA Garland, TX 1,600 jobs $100 million
USAA San Antonio, TX 1,500 jobs $70 million
United Parcel Arlington, TX1,400 jobs$22.7 million
C3 McGregor, TX 1,200 jobs $1.35 million
Pluralsight South Jordan, UT 2,464 jobs $371.8 million
Adobe Lehi, UT1,260 jobs $90 million
Navy Federal Credit Union Frederick Cty., VA 1,400 jobs $100 million
Favor Tech-Consulting, LLC Fairfax Cty., VA 1,200 jobs $1.7 million
Foxconn Mount Pleasant, WI 13,000 jobs $10 billion


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 2017 (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 2018 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 2018 Silver Shovels.

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