First Quality Enterprises
It's not easy winning big investment projects, especially in a recovering economy where states are desperate for jobs and competing fiercely with incentive packages, tax breaks, and work force development programs. Successful economic development leaders must make every effort to understand the drivers behind a company's expansion or relocation, match their assets to the company's needs, and make quick decisions. Only then can they survive the often-strenuous due-diligence process and close deals on high-value investment projects that lead to long-term economic growth, job creation, labor stability, and trustworthy relationships - and even the possibility of national or international recognition as a place to do business.
With that in mind, Area Development's annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize individual states for their achievements. This year, three states that were top achievers - Indiana, Michigan, and South Carolina - are being awarded Gold Shovels in recognition of projects undertaken in 2010 creating a significant number of high value-added new jobs as well as investment. Silver Shovels are being awarded to nine runner-up states in three population categories. The Silver Shovel Award recipients are Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia in the greater than 9 million population category; Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Louisiana in the 4 to 9 million population group; and the fewer than 4 million population category is represented by Mississippi and Kansas.