2017 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Alabama, Iowa, South Carolina and Utah Awarded Silver Shovels - States with 3 to 5 Million Population
Geraldine Gambale, Editor, Area Development Magazine (Q2 2017)

AlabamaIt’s almost like a stuck record in Alabama, but it’s playing beautiful music that economic development officials will never tire of hearing. Automotive and aerospace manufacturing continues to drive healthy economic activity, enough for yet another Silver Shovel honor covering the news from 2016. It was not so much a huge win but a combination of good victories, including five automotive projects that together add up to the promise of about 1,400 jobs.

2016 Top Projects: Alabama

Population: 4.88 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Lear Corp. Brookwood E 535 $27.7 million Automotive
2. The Boeing Co. Huntsville E 470 $78 million Aerospace
3. UTC Aerospace Systems Foley E 260 $20.4 million Aerospace
4. Gerhardi Kunststofftechnik GmbH Montgomery N 235 $37.9 million Automotive
5. Mollertech Woodstock N 222 $46.3 million Automotive
6. Car Tech, LLC Opelika N 200 $71.8 million Automotive
7. Eissmann Automotive North America Inc. Pell City E 200 $14.5 million Automotive
8. Yulista Management Services, Inc. Huntsville E 200 $13.5 million Aviation Services
9. Kronospan U.S. LLC Eastaboga E 160 $362 million Forest Products
10. CAE USA Dothan N 100 $75 million Aviation Technologies

For example, Lear Operations makes seats for the Mercedes plant, and its local employee count will be more than four times bigger once its expansion is up and running in a couple of years. Meanwhile, a German company named Gerhardi Kuntstofftechnik is planning its first North American plant to supply Alabama’s Hyundai plant. Good automotive news keeps building upon itself.

Four more top projects are flying in from the aerospace and aviation technologies industry, led by Boeing’s plans in Huntsville. It’s part of a restructuring of its Strategic Defense & Intelligence System division that will transfer some jobs in and potentially create more, according to company officials. Altogether, the top aviation/aerospace-related projects will add a thousand jobs to the state’s economic picture.

IowaThose who know of Iowa as an agricultural state are certainly not wrong, as evidenced by the list of top 2016 projects that helped land the state in Silver Shovel territory. Four major projects were tied to food processing, led by the announcement that Prestage Foods of Iowa will build a pork processing plant in Eagle Grove and create more than 900 jobs. Ron Prestage, of the family that owns the company, notes that “Iowa is the nation’s leading pork-producing state and currently produces more pigs than it can process.”

2016 Top Projects: Iowa*

Population: 3.13 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1.Farmers Energy Cardinal, LLC Atlantic N 49 $189.9 million Ethanol Plant
2.Templeton Rye Co. Templeton E 27 $25.9 million Food/Beverage Processing
3.Simply Essential, LLC Charles City N 254 $29.9 million Food Processing
4.LightEdge Solutions, Inc. Altoona E 6 $30 million Information Technology
5.Cognizant Solutions Des Moines E 1,014 $9 million Technical Services Technology
6. Keokuk Mills, LLC Keokuk N 200 $4.5 million Steel Castings
7.Microsoft Corp. West Des Moines E 57 $417.7 million Information Technology
8.Prestage Foods of Iowa Eagle Grove N 922 $239.3 million Food Processing
9.Wells Enterprises, Inc. LeMarsE 81 $40.4 million Food Processing
10.IMT Insurance Co. West Des Moines E 33 $36.7 million Financial Services/Insurance
*Represents a state/local sponsor

Simply Essentials, meanwhile, announced plans to reopen a poultry facility in Charles City and put more than 250 people to work. And not to neglect the importance of corn to the state’s economy, Farmers Energy Cardinal unveiled plans for a corn ethanol plant in Cass County that would be a nearly $190 million investment.

All that said, there’s much more than agriculture in Iowa, which benefits from a diverse economy featuring a healthy share of manufacturing, biotechnology, and finance and insurance operations. Three of the state’s major 2016 announcements were in technical services and information technology, including a thousand-job project from Cognizant Technology Solutions in Des Moines.

South Carolina A roster of big-dollar and well-balanced projects made 2016 a fine year in South Carolina. Even as automotive giants Mercedes and Volvo work on new or expanded plants that promise significant rewards in the next few years, Michelin is adding to the auto-related excitement with plans for a tire distribution center in Spartanburg County that will add 350 jobs. Also in Spartanburg County, Magna International broke ground for an automotive seating facility that’ll be worth about 480 jobs.

2016 Top Projects: South Carolina

Population: 4.94 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. China Jushi Richland County N 400 $300 million Fiberglass Products
2. Teijin Ltd. Greenwood County N 220 $600 million Carbon Fiber
3. Michelin North America Spartanburg County N 350 $270 million Tires
4. Robert Bosch LLC Dorchester County E 150 $175 million Technology Services
5. Blackbaud Berkeley County E 300 $154 million Software & Services
6. Magna International Spartanburg County N 480 $29 million Automotive
7. PL Developments Greenville County N 450 $45 million Pharmaceuticals
8. Ritrama Spartanburg County N 150 $85 million Adhesive Materials
9. Techtronic Industries Anderson County E 250 $75 million Industrial Products
10. Tower International Greenville CountyN 140 $75 million Engineered Structural Metals

Noteworthy, though, is how much activity is outside the hard-driving automotive sector. China Jushi, for example, is creating 400 jobs in the fiberglass arena, joined by 220 more in carbon fiber technology, courtesy of Teijin Ltd. In making the Teijin announcement, Wayne Trotter, the company’s director of government relations, hailed “the diversity of Greenwood’s citizens, the community’s rich history of welcoming foreign investment, and the excellent training opportunities available at Piedmont Technical College.”

South Carolina’s top projects also showcase a growing software and technology presence, plus pharmaceuticals, adhesive materials, and engineered metals. As automotive operations continue to gain strength, so do many other parts of this diverse economy.

UtahAdd a Silver Shovel to Utah’s growing list of business accolades. The state is adding investment and jobs in a variety of highly desirable sectors, with software and information technology leading the way. It’s one of a half-dozen sectors that make up the strategic industry clusters pursued by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which has had noteworthy success promoting the “Silicon Slopes.”

2016 Top Projects: Utah

Population: 3.05 Million


Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Honeyville, Inc. Weber County N 115 $23 million Food Processing
2. SoFi Salt Lake County N 400 $8 million Software/IT
3. Entrata Property Utah County N 191 $6 million Software/IT Solutions
4. Duncan Aviation Utah County N 700 $53 million Aircraft Maintenance/Painting
5. UPS Salt Lake County N 195 $207 million Logistics/Transportation
6. PillPack Salt Lake County E 300 $32 million Pharmacy Services
7. Connexion Point Salt Lake County E 221 $9 million Software/IT
8. The White Wave Foods Co. Salt Lake County N 105 $70 million Food Processing
9. Lucid Software Salt Lake County N 339 $11 million Software/IT
10. Packsize Salt Lake County N 354 $9.2 million Packaging Systems

SoFi, for example, brings high-tech savvy to the lending arena (also known as financial technology or fintech), and made a 400-job announcement. Hundreds more Salt Lake County jobs were promised by cloud-based web tool provider Lucid Software and the healthcare analytics firm Connexion Point. And Entrata’s property management software is creating nearly 200 more in Utah County.

What else is the state seeking? Aerospace and defense jobs are on the strategic list, and last year’s top projects include a major win there. Energy is an area of interest, along with life sciences, financial services, and outdoor products/recreation.

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.