Winning economic development projects is hard work. Having the right combination of site selection factors isn’t enough these days — with tough competition from other states and even other countries. Making a company’s short list really depends on the location’s marketing skills, truly understanding the needs of the prospect, and being able to quickly customize incentives packages to make a winning offer. Above all, successful states take the time to develop relationships — sometimes years in the making — with industries, companies, and location consultants. This also means following up with companies to see how they are doing, or if they have any specific needs or concerns — long after groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting.
Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize individual states for their economic development prowess. In this feature we honor 20 states for their achievements in 2013 in garnering company investment and job creation. These states and communities understand economic development. Their governors and legislatures work tirelessly to improve infrastructure, reduce taxes, provide reasonable incentives, and — most of all — establish a cooperative business environment that creates sustainable, good-paying jobs for future generations.
2014 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States
- South Carolina
2014 Gold Shovel Awards: Projects of the Year
||Cedar City, Utah
||North Charleston, South Carolina
||Kansas City, Missouri
|Nissan North America
||Whitfield and Murray Counties, Georgia
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 2013 (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 are awarded Area Development’s 2014 Gold Shovels in five population categories: 15+ million, 8+ to 15 million, 5+ to 8 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners up in each of these population categories are awarded 2014 Silver Shovels.