Area 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 asked for information from all 50 states about their top-10 job-creation and investment projects initiated in 2018. 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, and the diversity of industry represented — six states achieving the highest weighted overall scores were awarded Area Development’s 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 Silver Shovels
2019 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States
- Texas (12+ Million Population)
- Georgia (8 to 12 Million Population)
- Virginia (8 to 12 Million Population)
- Arizona (5 to 8 Million Population)
- Alabama (3 to 5 Million Population )
- Mississippi (Under 3 Million Population)
2019 Silver Shovel Awards
12+ Million Population Category
- New York
8 to 12 Million Population Category
- North Carolina
5 to 8 Million Population Category
- South Carolina
3 to 5 Million Population Category
Under 3 Million Population Category
- Rhode Island
“Nashville is a place that has great talent, great educational skill sets — huge higher education opportunities with Vanderbilt, MTSU, Tennessee Tech and…the University of Tennessee. We think it’s a great location to grow this new Center of Excellence,” said Holly Sullivan, one of the leaders on Amazon’s location team.
E-Commerce Creating Jobs Across the Country
While the HQ2 saga was the big national focus, Amazon was busy making comparatively smaller investments all over the country — but really big deals in the places where they landed. Indeed, the 2019 Shovel Awards highlight numerous Amazon-related major projects, in addition to HQ2 and Nashville.
- A 1,500-job fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, set to open next year;
- A 1,500-job facility in Tucson, Arizona, that will handle a variety of functions, from customer returns to light assembly to 3D printing to customer pickup;
- A distribution facility in the Indianapolis suburb of Greenwood, Indiana, adding 1,250 jobs to its 8,500 existing Indiana jobs at more than half a dozen facilities;
- Two new facilities in North Carolina, near the Charlotte airport and in Garner, both worth about 1,500 jobs;
- A fourth distribution facility in Michigan expected to ultimately employ 2,025 in Kent County;
- A new distribution center in Dallas, which is slated to employ 1,500;
- And Amazon’s first Mississippi fulfillment center in Marshall County that will employ 850 people.
The top online retailer of musical instruments and audio gear — Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, Indiana — is building two new facilities and adding a thousand jobs. Meanwhile, Wayfair has made it convenient to order furniture and home goods online. The company promised as many as a thousand jobs in Chatham County, Georgia, with a brand-new warehouse. And speaking of furniture, Ikea opened a high-tech Joliet distribution center in Illinois, and Overstock.com’s new Kansas City fulfillment center will allow it to reach 99 percent of U.S. customers within two-day shipping.
Financial Services & Info Tech Job-Creators
While Amazon was clearly the biggest cumulative job creator of 2018, there were plenty of other headlines that included noteworthy employment counts. Numerous projects were announced last year with promises of at least a thousand new jobs, many in the financial services or IT sectors.
The state of Arizona, in particular, basked in a wealth of location announcements with job totals of a thousand or more apiece. Financial services and IT were particularly strong winners in the Grand Canyon State. Allstate, for example, pledged more than 2,500 jobs and a planned corporate campus in Chandler, while Voya Financial will add a thousand there. Freedom Financial is expanding with 1,000+ jobs in Tempe, and The Money Source is growing with 500 new jobs in Phoenix. Big Arizona news in IT also included Deloitte with 2,500 new jobs in Gilbert and Infosys with 1,000 in Phoenix.
Infosys is also adding thousands of jobs in Indiana, another big example of IT growth. The company opened a Technology and Innovation Hub last year and broke ground on its U.S. Education Center. Salesforce, meanwhile, is adding a thousand jobs in Chicago. And Texas landed at least three big-job-count deals in the world of IT: Okin Business Process Services’ U.S. headquarters in San Antonio, Cognizant Technology Solutions’ tech and service delivery center in Irving, and Paycom Software’s location in Grapevine, for a combined total of nearly 3,500 jobs.
The insurance and financial services sectors were good to Indiana, with a massive Geico project in the works in Indianapolis. More big financial services projects around the country include four-figure employment totals at RoundPoint Mortgage and ServiceMac in South Carolina. And in the financial technology sector, BlackRock Inc. is expanding in a big way in Atlanta, while Charlotte is welcoming a major expansion at the AvidXchange corporate headquarters.
In the corporate sector, Inspire Brands picked the community of Sandy Springs, Georgia, for its new headquarters. It’s a big, multi-brand player in the restaurant business, with such names as Arby’s, Sonic, and Buffalo Wild Wings, and its project is worth some 1,100 jobs. AllianceBernstein, a global investment management firm, picked Nashville for its new headquarters. That’s a $70 million+ investment yielding 1,050 jobs. The company plans to build a private wealth group there, and potentially a local investment team. And Honeywell will locate a headquarters facility in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, a 750-job deal.
2019 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Billion Dollar(s) Projects Of The Year (2018)
|Mazda/Toyota||Huntsville, AL||4,000||$1.6 billion|
|Nikola Motor Co.||Coolidge, AZ||2,062||$1 billion|
|Bigelow Aerospace||North Las Vegas, NV||30||$6.6 billion|
|FedEx||Memphis, TN||0||$1 billion|
|Formosa Plastics||Point Comfort, TX||340||$5 billion|
|Cheniere Energy||Corpus Christi, TX||430||$3 billion|
|Lyondell-Basell||Channelview, TX||160||$2.4 billion|
|Covestro||Baytown, TX||75||$1.72 billion|
|Micron Technology||Manassas, VA||1,100||$3 billion|
2019 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Top 2018 Projects By State
2018 Top Projects: Texas
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Amazon Dallas N 1,500 $90 million Distribution 2. Okin Business Process Services San Antonio N 1,400 $23 million IT Headquarters 3. Cognizant Technology Irving N 1,090 $2.7 million Regional Tech & Service Delivery Center 4. Paycom Grapevine N 1,000 N/A IT 5. Gartner, Inc. Irving E 800 $12 million Software 6. Formosa Plastics Point Comfort E 340 $5 billion Plastics 7. Cheniere Energy Corpus Christi N 430 $3 billion Energy - LNG 8. LyondellBasell Channelview E 160 $2.4 billion Chemicals 9. Covestro Baytown E 75 $1.72 billion Chemicals 10. Braskem La Porte E 50 $675 million Polymers
2018 Top Projects: Florida
Population: 21.29 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. PGA Tour St. Johns County E 307 $86 million Headquarters 2. Webstaurant, Inc. Hillsborough County N 305 $1 million IT 3. Baker McKenzie Hillsborough County N 300 $3.3 million Headquarters 4. Nucor Corp. Polk County N 250 $238 million Steel 5. Pratt & Whitney Palm Beach County E 215 $100.4 million Aircraft Parts 6. Jinko Solar Duval County N 200 $50.5 million Solar Panels 7. Wyndham Destinations, Inc. Orange County E 200 $7.5 million Headquarters 8. Steelco Florida, Inc. Hillsborough County E 195 $130 million Steel Mill 9. McLane Company, Inc. Marion County N 125 $59 million Distribution 10. CAE USA Hillsborough County E 100 $48 million Simulation/Training
2018 Top Projects: Illinois
Population: 12.80 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. World Wide Technology Belleville N 500 $115 million Technology Services 2. Ikea Joliet N 200 $80 million Distribution 3. Pinnacle Foods St. Elmo N 110 $54 million Food Mfg. 4. Salesforce Chicago N 1,000 $475 million Software 5. Illinicare Health Carbondale N 400 $5.7 million Insurance 6. S&S Activewear Lockport N 360 $37 million Distribution 7. Carl Buddig & Co. Montgomery N 350 $30 million Food Mfg. 8. Berner Food & Beverage Cherry Valley N 200 $25 million Food Mfg. 9. Bystronic Hoffman Estates N 140 $30 million Machinery 10. Neuco, Inc. Bolingbrook E 130 $11 million HVAC Parts
2018 Top Projects: New York
Population: 19.54 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Applied Materials Albany N 300 $600 million Semiconductors 2. Away New York City E 249 $3 million Headquarters 3. Blink Health Group LLC New York City E 323 $3 million Healthcare Technology 4. Broadway National Group Hauppauge E 150 $10 million Headquarters 5. Green Empire Farms LLC Oneida N 118 $70 million Food Mfg. 6. NextGen Power Syracuse N 292 $150 million Electronics 7. Norsk Titanium Plattsburgh N 383 $50 million Aerospace 8. SungEel MCC Endicott N 86 $23.3 million Batteries 9. Topiderm Inc. Amityville E 110 $122 million Skincare Products 10. Regeneron* Rensselaer E 1,500 $837 million Biopharmaceuticals *Project of the Year
2018 Top Projects: Georgia
Population: 10.52 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Inspire Brands Sandy Springs N 1,100 $32 million Headquarters 2. BlackRock Atlanta N 1,000 $42.2 million FinTech 3. Wayfair, Inc. Savannah E 1,000 $45 million Distribution 4. Norfolk Southern Atlanta N 850 $575 million Headquarters 5. Fox Factory Holding Corp. Gainesville N 800 $50 million Bicycle/Vehicle Parts 6. thyssenkrupp AG Atlanta N 650 $200 million Hdqtrs./Innovation Ctr. 7. Salesforce Atlanta N 600 $12.3 million CRM - Regional Hdqtrs. 8. Hanwha Q Cells Korea Dalton N 500 $150 million Solar Cells 9. Social Circle N 100 $750 million Data Center 10. Starbucks Atlanta N 500 $16 million FinTech
2018 Top Projects: Michigan
Population: 9.99 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Ford Motor Company Wayne County E 2,500 $738 million Automotive/Engineering 2. Amazon Kent County N 2,025 $190 million Distribution 3. Stryker Corporation Kalamazoo County E 260 $109.8 million Medical Devices 4. Ashley Capital Oakland County N 613 $85 million Distribution 5. Loc Performance Products, Inc. Wayne County E 700 $71.5 million Defense/Military 6. KLA Corporation Washtenaw County N 500 $71.1 million Semiconductor Eqpt. 7. United Shore Financial Services, LLC Oakland County E 600 $69 million Financial Services 8. The Kroger Co. Macomb County N 377 $24.9 million Distribution 9. Morley Companies, Inc. Saginaw County N 525 $5.2 million Professional Services 10. Nexient Washtenaw County E 300 $4.2 million Information Technology
2018 Top Projects: North Carolina
Population: 10.38 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Amazon Mecklenburg County N 1,500 $200 million Distribution 2. Amazon Wake County N 1,500 $200 million Distribution 3. AvidXchange Mecklenburg County E 1,229 $41 million FinTech 4. Mountaire Farms Chatham County E 580 $86 million Food Processing 5. House of Raeford Farms Duplin County E 488 $75 million Food Processing 6. Polywood Person County N 384 $35.3 million Furniture 7. Honeywell Mecklenburg County N 750 $248 million Headquarters 8. Sonic Automotive Gaston County N 500 $11.2 million Automotive 9. National General Insurance Forsyth County E 626 $12.2 million Financial Services 10. Albaad USA Rockingham County E 302 $45 million Personal Care Products
2018 Top Projects: Virginia
Population: 8.40 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Micron Technology* Manassas E 1,100 $3 billion Semiconductors 2. 1901 Group Fairfax & Montgomery Counties E 805 $4 million IT 3. KPMG Fairfax County E 521 $31.4 million Business Services 4. Monogram Foods Henry County E 300 $30 million Food Products 5. Discovery, Inc. Loudoun County E 240 $16 million Media Technology 6. WillowTree, Inc. Albemarle County E 200 $12.3 million Software Development 7. Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Smyth & Washington Counties N 160 $35 million Stave Mill & Cooperage 8. TemperPack Henrico County N 141 $10.4 million Thermal Insulation 9. England Furniture Lee County N 79 $1.3 million Furniture 10. Service Center Metals Prince George County E 58 $45.2 million Aluminum Extrusions *Project of the Year
2018 Top Projects: Arizona
Population: 7.17 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Allstate Chandler N 2,530 $38.9 million Banking/Finance/Insurance 2. Deloitte Tax LLP Gilbert N 2,500 $37.5 million IT 3. The Money Source Phoenix N 500 $7.5 million Banking/Finance/Insurance 4. Nikola Motor Co.* Coolidge N 2,062 $1 billion Commercial Trucks 5. Amazon Tucson N 1,500 $145 million Logistics/Distribution 6. Freedom Financial Network Tempe N 1,100 $20 million Banking/Finance/Insurance 7. Voya Financial, Inc. Chandler N 1,060 $60.6 million Banking & Finance 8. Infosys Phoenix N 1,000 $18.3 million IT 9. Cognizant Technology Solutions Phoenix E 921 $4.6 million IT 10. Nationwide Realty Investors Scottsdale N 514 $139 million Banking & Finance *Project of the Year
2018 Top Projects: Indiana
Population: 6.69 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. GEICO Indianapolis E 1,474 $16.5 million Insurance 2. Amazon Greenwood N 1,250 $80 million Distribution 3. Sweetwater Sound, Inc. Fort Wayne E 1,009 $76.4 million Warehousing 4. Infosys Ltd. Indianapolis N 1,000 $224.1 million Professional & Technical Services 5. U.S. Steel Corp. Gary E 0 $750 million Steel 6. Lehigh Cement Co. LLC Mitchell E 52 $548 million Cement 7. United Collection. Bureau, Inc. Jeffersonville N 621 $2.5 million Business Support Services 8. Fulcrum Centerpoint, LLC Gary N 163 $567 million Petrochemicals 9. SF Motors, Inc. Mishawaka N 467 $159.1 million Automotive 10. Indiana NAP LLC Hammond N 45 $201 million Data Processing/Hosting
2018 Top Projects: South Carolina
Population: 5.08 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Berkeley County E 0 $600 million Data Center 2. Keurig Dr. Pepper Spartanburg County N 500 $350 million Packaging 3. Roundpoint Mortgage York County E 1,100 $34 million Financial Services 4. JW Aluminum Berkeley County E 50 $255 million Aluminum 5. Becton, Dickinson and Co. Sumter County E 125 $150 million Medical Equipment 6. Zeus Industrial Products Calhoun County E 350 $76 million Polymers 7. ServiceMac, LLC Lancaster County N 1,000 $24 million Financial Services 8. W International Berkeley County N 600 $35.2 million Welded Metal Products 9. Draexlmaier Automotive of America Spartanburg County E 460 $42.7 million Automotive 10. Samsung Electronics Greenville County N 400 N/A Customer Service
2018 Top Projects: Tennessee
Population: 6.85 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Amazon Nashville N 5,000 $230 million Corporate Offices 2. AllianceBernstein L.P. Nashville N 1,050 $71.5 million Corporate Offices 3. FedEx Memphis E 0 $1 billion Freight/Trucking 4. DENSO Athens E 320 $190 million Motor Vehicle Parts 5. Van Hool Morristown N 640 $47 million Heavy Duty Trucks 6. Indigo Ag, Inc. Memphis E 700 $6.6 million R&D 7. Asurion, Inc. Nashville E 400 $288 million Insurance & Pension Administration 8. Oshkosh Corp. Jefferson City N 359 $30.6 million Automotive 9. Keep Truckin, Inc. Nashville E 386 $3.5 million Software Publishing 10. Ernst & Young LLP Nashville E 600 $22.7 million Business Services
2018 Top Projects: Alabama
Population: 4.90 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Mazda/Toyota* Huntsville N 4,000 $1.6 billion Automotive 2. Amazon Bessemer N 1,500 $325 million Distribution 3. Mercedes-Benz U.S. Int’l. Bibb County N 325 $268 million Automotive 4. Haier U.S. Appliance Solutions, Inc. Decatur E 255 $115 million Appliance Manufacturing & Distribution 5. Airbus Mobile Mobile E 432 $264 million Aerospace 6. Huntsville N 100 $750 million Data Center 7. Shipt Birmingham E 881 $10 million e-Commerce/Distribution 8. Kimber Manufacturing Inc. Troy N 366 $38 million Firearms 9. Lockheed Martin Corp. Troy E 60 $130 million Aerospace 10. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC Montgomery E 75 $388 million Automotive *Project of the Year
2018 Top Projects: Kentucky
Population: 4.40 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Beam Distillery Bullitt County E 5 $585 million Distillery 2. Nucor Steel Gallatin County E 70 $650 million Steel 3. Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc. Marion County E 24 $463.8 million Distillery 4. Novelis Corp. Todd County N 125 $304.9 million Aluminum 5. GE Appliance Park Jefferson County E 400 $200 million Household Appliances 6. Global Win Wickliffe, LLC Ballard County N 500 $150 million Paper Packaging 7. Century Aluminum Hancock E 250 $116.5 million Aluminum 8. Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls, Inc. Hart County E 134 $74 million Food Processing 9. Independent Stave Co. Rowan County N 220 $66.5 million Wood Barrels 10. Kobelco Aluminum Warren County E 115 $48.5 million Aluminum
2018 Top Projects: Nevada
Population: 3.03 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Axion Corp. Reno N 511 $27.6 million Engineering/Manufacturing/Distribution 2. Sephora USA, Inc. North Las Vegas N 460 $36 million Logistics 3. MECP1 Reno 1, LLC Reno N 50 $106.8 million Data Center 4. KRS Global Biotechnology, Inc. Henderson N 160 $34.6 million Pharmaceuticals 5. AeroSpec NDT Services, Inc. Lyon County N 85 $124.6 million Aerospace/Defense Services 6. Bigelow Aerospace North Las Vegas E 30 $6.6 billion Aerospace/Defense 7. VM Innovations Henderson E 56 $60.8 mllion Aviation Services 8. Scientific Games Corp. Las Vegas E 300 $2 million Business/IT 9. Design, LLC Henderson N 50 $300 million Data Center 10. C4 Mining Co. Inc. Clark County City N 30 $25.4 million Business/IT
2018 Top Projects: Utah
Population: 3.16 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Clarus Corp. Holladay E 147 $40 million Headquarters 2. GoHealth Lindon N 363 $900,000 Insurance 3. Canopy Tax Lehi E 538 $7.5 million IT/Technology 4. Amer Sports Ogden E 155 $32 million Headquarters 5. HealthEquity Salt Lake Cty. E 500 $29.8 million FinTech 6. Lending Club Salt Lake Cty. N 860 $17.9 million FinTech 7. Bullfrog Spas Herriman E 150 $20 million Hot Tubs 8. Merit Medical Salt Lake Cty. E 1,010 $505 million Medical Devices 9. Sarcos Corp. Salt Lake City E 292 $2.4 million Tech/Robotics 10. Moog Inc. Salt Lake Cty. E 120 $2.2 million Defense/Aerospace
2018 Top Projects: Mississippi
Population: 2.98 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Amazon Marshall County N 850 $45 million Distribution 2. SYNNEX Corp. Desoto County E 600 $20 million Electrical Components 3. Pearl River Foods Leake County E 450 $1 million Poultry Processing 4. Toyota Lee County E 400 $170 million Automotive 5. Williams-Sonoma Lee County E 350 $18.5 million Furniture 6. Raytheon Scott County E 45 $100 million Radar 7. DMC Power Desoto County N 125 $8 million Connection Systems 8. Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi Lee County E 50 $100 million Automotive Parts 9. Peco Foods Clay County E 300 $40 million Poultry Processing 10. Unified Brands Warren County E 250 $9.5 million Food Equipment
2018 Top Projects: Kansas
Population: 2.92 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Element, LLC Colwich N 60 $180 million Ethanol 2. Viega, LLC McPherson E 40 $210 million Valves/Pipe Fittings 3. Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. Wichita E 1,400 N/A Aircraft Parts 4. Resers Fine Foods Topeka E 60 $74 million Food Processing 5. Scavuzzo’s Inc. Kansas City N 70 $100 million Logistics/Distribution 6. Palmer Manufacturing & Tank Inc. Garden Ctiy E 201 $16.6 million Metal Fabrication 7. Orizon Aerostructures, LLC Olathe E 400 $127.3 million Aviation Parts 8. GEICO Lenexa N 500 $9.8 million Insurance 9. Camso Manufacturing USA, Ltd. Junction City E 41 $44 million Rubber Products 10. Overstock.com Kansas City N 200 $14.2 million Logistics/Distribution
2018 Top Projects: Nebraska
Population: 1.92 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Michael Foods Bloomfield E 100 $150 million Food Processing 2. Papillion E 100 $500 million Data Center 3. Becton Dickinson Columbus E 200 $125 million Medical Devices 4. i2c Omaha N 300 $30 million Financial Services 5. Ingredion South Sioux City E 40 $84.2 million Food Processing 6. BuilderTrend Omaha E 300 $8.6 million Construction Software 7. Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm Allen N 12 $470 million Wind Energy 8. LDI Omaha Box Co. Papillion E 20 $45 million Box Manufacturing 9. Sholes Wind Energy Center (Nextra) Wayne N 10 $250 million Wind Energy 10. Wholestone Foods Fremont E 500 $180 million Food Processing
2018 Top Projects: Rhode Island
Population: 1.06 million
Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry 1. Electric Boat Corp.* North Kingstown E 1,309 million $792.1 Shipbuilding 2. Immunex Rhode Island Corp. Kent E 146 $164.1 million Pharmaceuticals 3. Infinity Meat Solutions, LLC North Kingstown N 702 110.2 million Food Packaging 4. iXblue Defense Systems, Inc. Lincoln N 22 $2.9 million Defense 5. Rubius Therapeutics, Inc. Smithfield N 154 $188 million Biopharmaceuticals *Project of the Year
2019 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Billion Dollar(s) Projects Of The Year (2018)
Project Location Jobs Investment Mazda/Toyota Huntsville, AL 4,000 $1.6 billion Nikola Motor Co. Coolidge, AZ 2,062 $1 billion Bigelow Aerospace North Las Vegas, NV 30 $6.6 billion FedEx Memphis, TN 0 $1 billion Formosa Plastics Point Comfort, TX 340 $5 billion Cheniere Energy Corpus Christi, TX 430 $3 billion Lyondell-Basell Channelview, TX 160 $2.4 billion Covestro Baytown, TX 75 $1.72 billion Micron Technology Manassas, VA 1,100 $3 billion
Though not on the same colossal scale as Amazon’s flurry of fulfillment centers, fellow market-capitalization giant Facebook is doing its economic investment part by building more and more data centers. One is a $750 million, 100-job facility slated for the Rocket City of Huntsville, Alabama. Another is an expansion in Papillion, Nebraska, where six data hall buildings will total 2.6 million square feet and a hundred more people will go to work. And the social media company appropriately chose the Georgia city of Social Circle for another 100-job, $750 million data center. It’s one of a number of recent data center developments in and around Atlanta.
Google has lots of data center capacity, too, but is adding to it by expanding its South Carolina data center outside Charleston. It’s a $600 million investment. The Design LLC data center to be located in Henderson, Nevada, is a Google-subsidiary development. Other data center projects beyond Facebook and Google include one in Indiana, the Digital Crossroads of America Data Center planned by Indiana NAP in Hammond. And Nevada is welcoming MECP1 in Reno.
Diverse Manufacturing Jobs
Needless to say, manufacturing projects have always been a feather-in-the-cap for states lucky enough to land them, given that they tend to produce relatively stable, decent-paying jobs. The Shovel Award top project lists include a fair number of 2018 manufacturing wins, including a number of massive projects in terms of four-figure job totals.
In Kansas, for example, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita is planning to hire 1,400 more employees over the next few years to support commercial and defense programs. The company already had announced a thousand new jobs the year before, but the business keeps building, according to the announcement from the company’s president and CEO, Tom Gentile: “The aerospace market is growing as never before, and for us that means we continue to need even more highly skilled people.” The aerospace business is good for Wichita and for Kansas as a whole — another of its headlines was a 400-job expansion at aviation parts supplier Orizon Aerostructures in Olathe.
To the west, the expansion of Merit Medical in Salt Lake County is a half-billion-dollar deal that promises 1,010 jobs in the state of Utah. Merit makes disposable medical devices that are used in intervention, diagnostic, and therapeutic medical procedures. Other medical-device-makers expanding include Becton Dickinson in Columbus, Nebraska, which will add 200 jobs, and Stryker in Portage, Michigan, with plans to add 260 jobs. And biopharma company Regeneron is investing more than $800 million in Renssalear, New York, where it will employ 1,500.
Meanwhile, Ford made big headlines with an interesting site choice for 2,500 of its employees involved in electric and autonomous vehicles: the Michigan Central train station in the Corktown area of Detroit. “It will be the proving ground where Ford and our partners design and test the services and solutions for the way people are going to live and get around tomorrow,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett.
Tennessee’s strong automotive sector also drove a few significant manufacturing projects last year. Belgian bus-maker Van Hool announced a plant in Morristown, with at least 600 on the payroll to begin with and as many as twice that in the next several years. Japanese supplier Denso, in the community of Athens, is expanding with more than 300 new jobs. And truck-maker Oshkosh Corp. is taking over a John Deere facility in Jefferson City, with plans to add more than 300 jobs.
South Carolina also has a strong automotive sector, and that’s reflected in its 460-job expansion project from supplier Draexlmaier Automotive of America, near the BMW assembly plant. A nearly $800 million expansion at Electric Boat Corp. in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, helped make the state a recipient of its premiere Shovel award. The 1,300-job project will allow the company to annually produce three Virginia-class submarines.
In North Carolina, a total of more than a thousand new jobs will result from a pair of food-processing operations: Mountaire Farms and House of Raeford Farms, both in the business of poultry. And several food processing expansions are also on Nebraska’s top projects list: Wholestone Foods, Michael Foods, and Ingredion are all expanding in the state.
Kentucky manufactures many things, perhaps none more beloved than bourbon. Two distilleries made the state’s top projects list for expansion plans. Jim Beam announced an infrastructure investment of $585 million, while Maker’s Mark pledged to invest more than $460 million, and Independent Stave Co. is adding jobs and pumping investment into the business of making wood barrels to age the bourbon. Virtually all of Kentucky’s big 2018 projects were in manufacturing, and they provided a showcase of the state’s diversity. Three different companies are investing and creating new jobs in aluminum manufacturing, and steelmaker Nucor is making a $650 million investment as well.
Mississippi also displayed its diversity in manufacturing and related sectors. Two big projects involve poultry processing: Pearl River Foods is adding 450 workers in Carthage, and Peco Foods will hire 300 at a facility where frozen chicken products will be handled. Two announcements were in the automotive sector, including a $170 million retooling at the Toyota assembly plant in Jackson, where an additional 400 workers will be needed to roll more next-generation Corollas off the line.
Only a handful of 2018 projects entered 10-figure dollar territory. Not surprisingly, a lot of them involved petrochemicals, a sector where it’s tough to do much that’s substantial for less than a billion dollars. Also not surprisingly, the billion-dollar petrochemical activity was centered in Texas.
In the Lone Star State, Formosa Plastics pledged $5 billion on an expansion intended to broaden the company’s line of plastic resins and get into low-density polyethylene resins. It’s a pricey project with a good-sized employee count, adding about 340 to the payroll. Another 430 jobs are part of a $3 billion Cheniere Energy project in Corpus Christi involving liquefied natural gas production. In Channelview, LyondellBasell broke ground on what will become the largest propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol plant ever built. It’s a $2.4 billion project, and by the time it’s done, 160 jobs will be added. Another chemical-related expansion was announced in Baytown, where German manufacturer Covestro is pumping $1.7 billion into its operation to boost production of a key chemical found in polyurethane foam.
Automotive and semiconductor operations also often top the billion-dollar mark. That’s the case with the $1.6 billion being spent by the Mazda/Toyota joint venture in Alabama. Mazda/Toyota’s Huntsville plant will create some 4,000 jobs . But Alabama’s automotive news goes beyond the Mazda/Toyota joint venture. Mercedes-Benz new Bibb County facility is part of its overall Alabama operation, and Hyundai is investing nearly $400 million in an expansion in Montgomery.
The decision by Nikola Motor Co. to build hydrogen-electric trucks in Coolidge, Arizona, also represents a $1 billion investment and the creation of 2,100 jobs. Additionally, having a shovel-ready site helped seal the deal according to a statement from Nikola Motor Co. CEO Trevor Milton: “Coolidge had a shovel-ready 430-acre piece of property with the infrastructure already in place that will shave years off our construction time…We have customers like Anheuser-Busch and US Xpress who are ready for their trucks, and with this move, we’ll be able to deliver much faster.”
Finally, with all of the automotive-related projects, Micron Technology is facing increased demand for its computer chips which are used in the advanced technology found in today’s vehicles. In response to this, it is expanding in Manassas, Virginia, at a cost of $3 billion and will create 1,100 jobs.