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2008 Silver Shovel Awards Under 3 Million Population

At the other end of the population range, three states with populations under three million - Arkansas, Kansas, Utah - also received 2008 Silver Shovel awards.

Jun/Jul 08
Arkansas - Headquarters for several Fortune 500 companies, including Alltel, Murphy Oil, Tyson Foods, and Wal-Mart, Arkansas' diversified economy is anchored by well-established industries such as aerospace, automotive assembly, food, bioscience, logistics, and ICT/data centers.
India-based manufacturing conglomerate Welspun Industries has chosen Little Rock for its $100 million tubular steel pipe facility - to date the largest manufacturing investment in central Arkansas. The 300-employee plant will produce 300,000 tons of pipe for the oil and gas industry. Welspun chose Little Rock over Memphis, St. Louis, and Tulsa because of its location, transportation infrastructure, and work force.

Another oil and gas-related investment is England Oilfield Services $2 million, 33,000-square-foot facility in the town of England. Besides manufacturing field equipment for natural gas and oil drilling, the plant will provide steel blasting and welding services. The state of Arkansas provided more than $1.3 million to improve the site infrastructure.

Strateline Industries, which manufactures products from recycled fabric materials, is opening a $63 million manufacturing facility in Rogers, creating 150 new jobs. `'Sustainability is a key component of our economic development strategy,'' says Governor Mike Beebe. `'Companies like Strateline help us sustain our natural resources while bringing high-quality jobs to Arkansas.''

Kansas - Kansas is a manufacturing stronghold, as indicated by its steady increase in industrial employment. Kansas gained 3,439 industrial jobs from March 2007 to March 2008 - the third straight year of gains. During FY 2007 the Kansas Department of Commerce participated in 43 location, expansion, or retention projects that resulted in $780 million in capital investment and 6,800 new jobs.

One of these is Hill's Pet Products' 300,000-square-foot plant in Emporia, which is creating 150 new jobs. The company took advantage of Senate Bill 240, new legislation that offers tax breaks to manufacturers that invest at least $100 million in a facility and employ 100 workers at higher-than-average wages.

There is no question the word is out about Kansas as a customer-service and data center destination - new operations include Convergys ($6.5 million, Wichita), U.S. Bank ($100 million, Olathe), Capgemini ($10 million, Junction City), and Alorica ($3 million, Topeka). "We decided on Topeka because the work force is known for its excellent service and strong work ethic," says Andy Lee, Alorica's CEO. "Another factor in our decision was the repeal of personal property tax on new investments in business machinery and equipment."

Utah - According to The Pew Center's Government Performance Project's Grading the States 2008, Utah is the best-managed state in the country. Utah's state government has launched a number of pro-business initiatives, including the Economic Industry Cluster Initiative, which supports key clusters such as advanced materials, aerospace, logistics, high tech, life sciences, and manufacturing.

Procter & Gamble is establishing a $540 million paper-products manufacturing plant in Box Elder County, about 14 miles west of Brigham City. The plant, which is creating 1,185 jobs, is the company's first U.S. greenfield site (farmland) in 30 years.

A $4 million economic incentive package offered by the Governor's Office of Economic Development helped convince FiberTEK Insulation to locate its $32.5 million, 300,000-square-foot distribution plant in Nephi. The incentive package helped Utah beat the competition from Arizona, Idaho, and Nevada. A $1.25 million Industrial Assistance Fund grant will also be given to FiberTEK.
Germany-based Fresenius Medical Care AG is expanding its Ogden production facility to meet increased demand for its medical products. The $340 million expansion will increase capacity from 27 million to more than 33 million dialysis filters annually and require more than 1,100 new workers.

2008 Gold & Silver Shovel Award Sponsors

The following organizations can provide more information about the projects mentioned in this report.

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