Economic development departments and teams have a tremendous responsibility — their states depend on their guidance, vision, expertise, networking skills, and marketing savvy to grow the state economy and create good-paying jobs. With tough competition from other states, and even countries, having the right combination of site selection factors just isn’t enough these days. Economic development teams must, at a deep level, truly understand the needs of the prospect and craft the winning proposal.
Economic development teams often consult with governors and state legislatures to put business-friendly policies and tax incentives in place. They also hustle to find strong prospects for their targeted growth industries that also fit the skills of their workers. And now, seven years after the Great Recession, with an improving economy, companies are getting more serious about expanding — and, after seven years of wage stagnation, workers are eager for new companies and better-paying jobs.
So there is a lot of pressure to out-perform the competition — and the recipients of Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards know exactly how to do it. The states receiving this year’s Shovel Awards are being recognized for their large numbers of high-impact economic development projects, including $1 billion+ deals with thousands of new jobs. This year, we honor 22 states for their achievements in winning new business investment in 2015 and job creation. Many of these states are repeat winners, which is no surprise — their economic development leaders make it a point to develop personalized, long-term relationships with the businesses and industries in their states that go long beyond the ribbon-cutting.
2016 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States
- South Carolina
2016 Silver Shovel Awards
12+ Million Population Category
8 to 12 Million Population Category
- North Carolina
5 to 8 Million Population Category
3 to 5 Million Population Category
Under 3 Million Population Category
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Small Cities’ Projects of the Year
|Liberty Mutual Insurance||Plano, TX||5,000||$355M|
|Capital One Financial||Plano, TX||1,200||$35M|
|Mars Candy||Joliet, IL||500||$130M|
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Automotive Projects of the Year
|Polaris Industries||Huntsville , AL||2,000||$140M|
|Tesla||Fremont , CA||4,426||$239B|
|Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.||Lafayette, IN||1,204||$140.2 M|
|Ford Motor Co.||Louisville, KY||2,000||$1.3B|
|Faraday Future||North Las Vegas, NV||4,500||$1.4B|
|Volvo Car Group||Berkeley, SC||2,500||$500M|
|Mercedes-Benz Vans Manufacturing, LLC||Charleston, SC||1,300||$500M|
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Solar Projects of the Year
|SolarCity||Utah County, UT||4,000||$94M|
|Vivint Solar||Utah County, UT||3,143||$91M|
2016 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: E-Commerce Projects of the Year
|Amazon||San Marcos, TX||1,000||$191M|
|Amazon.com||Etna Township, Village of Obetz, OH||2,000||$180M|
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 2015 (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 — six states achieving the highest weighted overall scores were awarded Area Development’s 2016 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 2016 Silver Shovels.