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2014 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana Awarded Silver Shovels - States with 3 to 5 Million Population

Q2 2014

Alabama Alabama is a leading exporting state — according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, it ranked 23rd for dollar value of exports in 2013. That total value — $19.3 billion — was just shy of the record high of $19.6 billion set in 2012.

In 2013 the leading export was transportation equipment ($8.3 billion, 8.6 percent growth), followed by chemicals ($2.5 billion, 3 percent growth) and primary metal manufacturing ($1.5 billion, 3.9 percent growth). In fact, vehicles and parts have been Alabama’s top export since 1998.

The large number of automotive projects announced in 2013 reflects the huge contribution transportation equipment manufacturing makes to the state’s economy. These projects include Mercedes Benz’s plans to build a $70 million logistics hub in Vance, Tuscaloosa County, creating 500 new jobs. As automobile production increases, so does pressure on suppliers to deliver parts and components. DAS North America, a manufacturer of seat components, will invest nearly $40 million to expand its operations in Montgomery to supply Kia Motors. North American Lighting, which makes taillights and headlights, will undertake a $36 million expansion at its Muscle Shoals factory, creating 275 jobs. In Auburn, Donghee America is building a fuel-tank manufacturing plant to supply the Hyundai assembly plant in Montgomery. Phase one represents a $48 million investment and 80 jobs, but Auburn economic development officials say investment will ultimately grow to $90 million and 400 jobs.

Top projects in other sectors include Boeing Research and Technology ($6 million, Huntsville) and Pharmavite ($16.5 million, Opelika). AlphaPet, a leading manufacturer of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins, announced it would build a $190 million manufacturing plant in Decatur, producing about 500,000 tons of resin per year. “We strongly believe in the future of manufacturing in the USA and believe Decatur is an excellent choice for our current expansion plans,” comments Aloke Lohia, group CEO of Indorama Ventures, parent company of AlphaPet.

Projects of the Year : Alabama

Population: 4.82 Million

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Marine Well Containment Mobile Bay N 50 $1.4 billion Oil & Gas Extraction
2. AlphaPet Inc. Decatur E 75 $190 million Chemicals & Allied Products
3. Mercedes Benz U.S. Int’l. Inc. Vance N 500 $70 million Logistics Management
4. DAS North America Montgomery E 400 $36.8 million Automotive
5. North AmericanL ighting Inc. Muscle Shoals E 275 $36 million Automotive
6. Pharmavite Opelika E 17 $16.5 million Chemicals & Allied Products
7. Commercial Jet Inc. Dothan N 500 $4.8 million Aerospace
8. Children’s Place Fort Payne E 400 N/A Distribution/Fulfillment
9. Donghee America Auburn N 400 $90 million Automotive
10. Boeing Research & Technology Huntsville E 350 $6 million Professional Services/R&D


Manufacturing is Kentucky’s third-largest employment sector (13 percent) and contributes about 17 percent to the state GDP. Kentucky exports reached a record $25.3 billion in 2013, with products and services shipped to nearly 200 countries. Therefore it is no surprise that seven of the state’s top-10 job creation/investment projects for 2013 are in manufacturing — and, as usual, automotive leads the way.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing recently announced plans to expand its Georgetown assembly plant to build the Lexus ES. The $531 million investment will add about 750 jobs. Germany-based Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems is building a $29 million manufacturing operation in Russell Springs to produce high-end vent and trim systems. In Florence, Mubea recently opened a state-of-the-art, $44.5 million tailored rolled blank facility, which will use new techniques to manufacture automotive parts for lighter-weight vehicles. “This facility is the only one of its kind in North America,” says Doug Cain, CEO of Mubea North America. “The innovative technology we’ve brought to northern Kentucky is a key factor in our continuing successful growth.”

Other major industry announcements include Custom Food Products in Owingsville ($44.4 million, 200 employees) and PTC Seamless Tube Corporation in Hopkinsville ($102 million, 283 jobs). Two of the largest job-creation numbers in the state come from new support centers, a growing market in Kentucky. General Dynamics Information Technology plans to hire up to 1,000 workers at its new customer-care center in London, which represents an $18.5 million investment. Also in London, Serco recently opened a $15 million Medicare/Medicaid support center that will employ about 1,000 workers.

Projects of the Year : Kentucky

Population: 4.38 Million

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Georgetown E 750 $531.2 million Automotive
2. PTC Seamless Tube Corp Hopkinsville N 283 $102.4 million Steel
3. Carriage House Companies, Inc. Buckner E 225 $96.8 million Food
4. Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc. Berea E 200 $63 million Automotive
5. eBay Enterprise Louisville E 153 $45 million E-commerce
6. Mubea, Inc. Florence E 230 $44.5 million Automotive
7. Custom Food Products, LLC Owingsville E 200 $44.4 million Meat Processing/Pkg.
8. Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems, Inc. Russell Springs N 155 $29.9 million Automotive
9. General Dynamics Information Technology London N 1,000 $18.5 million Customer Care Center
10. Serco London N 1,000 $15 million Medicare/ Medicaid Support Center

Louisiana In 2013, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Louisiana as the top export state in the country and second for export growth. Louisiana had its best year for business development in the last six years. The company expansions and relocations announced in 2013 account for about 27,000 new jobs and $26.4 billion in new capital investment, along with hundreds of millions in new sales for suppliers and other smaller businesses across Louisiana.

Much of this impressive growth is driven by the energy sector. In fact, in 2013 Louisiana announced several big energy projects worth $1 billion or more — including BG Group and Energy Transfer Partners’ $9 billion facility in Calcasieu Parish that will employ 250 workers. Another impressive project will be Houston-based G2X’s $1.3 billion natural gas-to-gasoline facility (also in Calcasieu Parish), creating 243 new direct jobs and 748 indirect jobs. At The Port of Lake Charles, Magnolia LNG plans to invest $2.2 billion to develop a natural gas liquefaction production and export facility, producing about four million metric tons of liquefied natural gas per year. “Southwest Louisiana’s attractive infrastructure and strong workforce made Lake Charles an ideal location for our planned facility,” indicates Maurice Brand, managing director for Magnolia LNG. Other sectors with strong projects in 2013 include chemicals (Russia-based Eurochem, $1.5 billion), information technology (IBM, $55 million), and engineering (ISC Constructors, $7 million). In aviation, AAR Aircraft Services will establish a $2 million maintenance, repair, and overhaul operation in Lake Charles, hiring 500 workers.

“In 2014, Louisiana will be well-positioned to secure a healthy share of new business investment projects in the U.S.,” says Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret. “Moreover, Louisiana’s economy will experience significant job growth from projects announced in 2008 through 2013 that have not yet fully ramped up.”

Projects of the Year : Louisiana

Population: 4.60 Million

Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
1. BG Group Transfer Partners and Energy Calcasieu Parish N 250 $9 billion Oil/Gas Support Operations
2. Magnolia LNG Avoyelles Parish N 45 $2.2 billion Industrial Gas
3. Eurochem Iberville Parish N 200 $1.5 billion Nitrogeneous Fertilizer
4. G2X Green Tech Gas Calcasieu Parish N 243 $1.3 billion Chemicals
5. South Louisiana Methanol St. James Parish N 63 $1.3 billion Organic Chemicals
6. Honeywell International East Baton Rouge, Ascension, and Caddo Parishes E 291 $1.2 billion Industrial Gas
7. IBM Design/Services East Baton Rouge Parish N 800 $55 million Computer Systems
8. Danos Supplies Terrebonne Parish E 426 $30 million Oil/Gas Field Services
9. ISC Constructors East Baton Rouge Parish E 1,600 $7 million Engineering Services
10. AAR Aircraft Services, Inc. Lake Charles N 500 $2 million Aviation MRO Services

2014 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • Texas
  • Georgia
  • Missouri
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
Read More

2014 Gold Shovel Awards: Projects of the Year

Project Location Jobs Investment
MSC Aerospace Cedar City, Utah 1,200 $400M
Boeing North Charleston, South Carolina 2,000 $1B
Cerner Corp. Kansas City, Missouri 15,000 $4.3B
Nissan North America Smyrna/Decherd, TN 2,200 $325M
Engineered Floors Whitfield and Murray Counties, Georgia 2,000 $450M
Global Foundries Malta, NY 1,000 $2B
Read More

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.

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