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Area Development’s 17th Annual Shovel Awards Recognize State and Local Economic Development Efforts — First Two Platinum Shovels Awarded

Area Development’s annual Shovel Awards highlight the nation’s swift post-pandemic economic recovery in 2021 with many projects being initiated that represent billions of dollars in investment and thousands of new jobs.

Q2 2022

Area Development’s annual 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 2021. 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 company investments, the number of new facilities, and the diversity of industry represented — five 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. The runners-up in each of the above population categories were awarded Silver Shovels. This year, two states were awarded our new Platinum Shovel awards in recognition of the fact that they went beyond the Gold standard for job creation and investment.

2022 PLATINUM Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • North Carolina (8 to 12 Million Population)
  • Tennessee (5 to 8 Million Population)

2022 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • Texas (12+ Million Population)
  • Virginia (8+ to 12 Million Population)
  • Arizona (5 to 8 Million Population)
  • Kentucky (3 to 5 Million Population)
  • Kansas (Under 3 Million Population)

2022 Silver Shovel Awards

12+ Million Population Category

  • Florida

8+ to 12 Million Population Category

  • Georgia
  • Ohio

5+ to 8 Million Population Category

  • Alabama
  • Indiana
  • South Carolina

3+ to 5 Million Population Category

  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana

Under 3 Million Population Category

  • Idaho
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
The national news headlines in 2021 shifted dramatically, from wall-to-wall pandemic coverage to stories of extraordinary economic growth and recovery. After a dramatic downturn in 2020, the economy came roaring back with unexpected gusto — and that enthusiasm is reflected in the economic development activity that was bringing smiles and applause across the country last year.

The 2022 Shovel Awards recognize the best of all that good economic development news from the past year. These state honors are based on information provided by economic development officials, and though it’s always possible for plans to be revised or delayed by unforeseen circumstances, the information was current at the time it was provided.

As usual, we’ve identified states whose project activity has been exceptionally strong with Silver Shovel and Gold Shovel awards. In fact, the activity in a pair of states has gone even beyond what we would consider the Gold standard in terms of job creation and investment — hence, our first two Platinum Shovel winners, North Carolina and Tennessee. Please read on for some very welcome upbeat news from 2021.

Platinum: Beyond the Gold Standard
When you look at the charts listing the top projects in North Carolina and Tennessee, you’ll notice lots and lots of digits. We’re talking projects with job counts in the four-digit range — and investments with 10-digit dollar figures, with billions here and billions there, billions all over. With news like that, it was clear that we’re going to need a bigger award — not just Gold, but Platinum.

Tennessee’s list from the past year includes five projects promising a thousand or more jobs, three of them with investments topping a billion dollars, in diverse sectors. Two are linked to the fast-growing electric vehicle sector, which you can read more about further into this article. Ford Motor Co. is building much of its EV future in Tennessee and neighboring Kentucky — the Tennessee development is a $5.6 billion project in Haywood County, with 5,760 jobs in the crystal ball (see the sidebar on Ford’s Blue Oval City for more details). General Motors and joint venture partner LG Energy Solution, meanwhile, are doubling EV battery production with their Ultium Cells LLC announcement in Spring Hill. That $2.4 billion project promises 1,300 jobs when it comes online in 2023, bringing advanced and efficient battery cell manufacturing processes.

Tennessee’s biggest job promise comes from Oracle America, planning what has been dubbed a second headquarters in Nashville. That’s a $1.4 billion project that ultimately could create as many as 8,500 jobs (see the Oracle sidebar for more details). In the community of Lebanon, 1,400 jobs are on the way with a Life Technologies Corp. (which is owned by Thermo Fisher Scientific) project that will produce bioprocess containers and fluid transfer assemblies. And pet products retailer Chewy Inc. is planning a regional e-commerce fulfillment center in Mount Juliet that is to create 1,200 jobs. Also, in the business of fulfillment and distribution, Amazon announced a pair of Tennessee expansions, in Alcoa (800 jobs) and Clarksville (500 jobs).

Platinum honoree North Carolina, meanwhile, collected four billion-dollar-plus deals. Apple is turning to the Research Triangle area to land a big East Coast presence, a billion-dollar project worth 3,000 jobs (see the Apple sidebar for more details). Toyota Motor North America will create 1,750 jobs in EV battery manufacturing in Randolph, a $1.3 billion deal (see the Toyota sidebar for more details).

In the bio-pharmaceuticals arena, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plans to create 725 jobs through a $2 billion project in Holly Springs. It would be the continent’s biggest end-to-end biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility, and that together with an Amgen project creating 355 jobs are great feathers-in-the-cap for the Research Triangle region’s prominence in the life sciences. And in Cabarrus County, a beverage manufacturing hub is bringing together beverage makers Red Bull and Rauch along with container and packaging giant Ball Corp. Altogether, the project is worth more than a billion dollars and more than 600 jobs.

SlideshowTop 2022 Projects By State

2022 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Projects Of The Year (2021)

Company City # Jobs Investment
The J.M. Smucker Company Jefferson, AL 750 $1.1 billion
Intel Chandler, AZ 3,000 $20 billion
U.S. Steel Osceola, AR 900 $3 billion
Ford/SK Innovation Glendale, KY 5,000 $5.8 billion
Regeneron Tarrytown, NY1,000 $1.54 billiony
Toyota Motor America, Inc. North Randolph, NC 1,750 $1.3 billion
Canoo, Inc. Pryor, OK 1,500 $1.1 billion
Ford Motor Company Haywood County, TN 5,760 $5.6 billion
Samsung Taylor, TX1,800 $17 billion
Blue Star Manufacturing Wythe County, VA2,464 $715.3 million
Company City # Jobs Investment
Fiserv Berkeley Heights, NJ 1,927 $105 million
Apple Wake, NC3,000 $1 billion
Oracle America, Inc.Nashville, TN 8,500 $1.4 billion
CoStar Group City of Richmond, VA 1,984 $460.5 million

2022 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Top 2021 Projects By State

  • 2021 Top Projects - Platinum: North Carolina

    Population: 10.4 million

    CompanyCityN/E# JobsInvestmentIndustry
    Apple ** *Wake N 3,000 $1 billion Software Engineering/AI
    Toyota Motor North America, Inc.*** Randolph N 1,750 $1.3 billion Auto/Lithium- Ion Batteries
    Fujifilm Diosynth *Wake N 725 $2 billion Biotech/ Biotechnologies Pharmaceuticals
    Ball Corp., Red Bull, and Rauch Cabarrus N 633 $1.1 billion Food & Beverage
    Credit Karma Mecklenburg N 600 $13.3 million Financial Services
    Victra *Pitt E 592 $1.5 million Information Technology
    MasterBrand Lenoir E 540 $13.8 million Furniture/ Cabinets Home Furnishings
    Bass Pro Shops Craven N 500 $24.3 million Boating and Marine
    Robinhood Mecklenburg N 389 $11.8 million Business/ Financial Services
    Amgen * Wake N 355 $553.5 million Life Sciences
    States with populations 8+ to 12 million
    Sponsors: Pitt County Development Commission;
    Greenville ENC Alliance; Town of Holly Springs (Wake County);
    Nash County Economic Development;
    Rockingham County Economic Development
    **Non-Manufacturing Project of Year
    ***Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2021 Top Projects - Platinum: *Tennessee

    Population: 6.91 million

    CompanyCityN/E # Jobs InvestmentIndustry
    Oracle America, Inc. Nashville N 8,500 $1.4 billion Information Technology
    Ford Motor Company ***Haywood N 5,760 $5.6 billion Automotive/County EVs
    Life Technologies Corp. Lebanon N 1,400 $182.8 million Medical Devices
    Ultium Cells LLC Spring Hill N 1,300 $2.4 billion Automotive Batteries
    Chewy, Inc. Mount Juliet N 1,200 $100 million Distribution
    Amazon Alcoa E 800 $200 million Fulfillment Center
    Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. Maryville N 750 $124.5 million Firearms/Headquarters
    Puritan Medical Products LLC Orlinda N 632 $220 million Medical Devices
    The Gap Inc. Gallatin E 601 $83.1 million Distribution
    Amazon Clarksville E 500 $100 million Fulfillment Center
    States with populations of 5+ to 8 million
    *Sponsors: Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
    Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2021 Top Projects - Gold: Texas

    Population: 29.53 million

    CompanyCityN/E # Jobs InvestmentIndustry
    Samsung ***Taylor E 1,800 $17 billion Semiconductors
    Nacero Inc. Penwell N 350 $6.5 billion Oil & Energy
    Leprino Foods * Lubbock N 600 $870 million Cheese Products
    Walmart Stores, Inc. Lancaster N 1,300 $800 million Distribution/ Warehouse
    Corrigan OSB, LLC Corrigan E 50 $211 million Oriented Strandboard
    Knauf Insulation, Inc. McGregor N 151 $210 million Insulation
    Great Lakes Cheese Co. *Abilene N 500 $184 million Cheese Products
    Cacique, LLC *Amarillo N 187 $88 million Cheese Products
    Wagners Composite Fiber TechnologiesCresson N 300 $40.7 million Composite Fiber Materials
    Optimus Steel, LLC Vidor E 55 $40 million Rebar & Coil Handling
    States with populations of 12+ million
    *Sponsors: Amarillo Economic Development Corporation;
    Lubbock Economic Development Alliance;
    Development Corporation of Abilene
    ***Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: *Florida

    Population: 10.0 million

    CompanyCityN/E # JobsInvestmentIndustry
    Terran Orbital Cape Canaveral N 2,100 $300 million Aviation/Aerospace
    Microvast Inc. Lake Mary N 110 $25 million Lithium-Ion Battery Tech
    Chewy, Inc. Plantation N 500 $25 million Corporate Headquarters
    Dun & Bradstreet Corp. Jacksonville N 500 $75 million Financial Services Hdqtrs.
    HackerUSA, Inc. Coral Gables E 454 N/A IT Headquarters
    United Parcel Miami Gardens N 422 $123.3 million Logistics/ Service Co. Distribution
    Codeboxx Technology Corp. St. Petersburg N 375 $350,000 IT Headquarters
    Fincantieri Marine Systems North America Jacksonville N 300 $77.4 million HomelandSecurity/Defense
    West Marine Broward N 225 $3 million Corporate County Headquarters
    Green Rhino Energy, LLC Apopka N 170 $14.4 million Energy Storage Systems/Hdqtrs.
    States with populations of 12+ million
    *Sponsor: Enterprise Florida
  • 2021 Top Projects - Gold: *Virginia

    Population: 8.6 million

    CompanyCityN/E # JobsInvestmentIndustry
    Blue Star Manufacturing ***Wythe County N 2,464 $715.3 million PPE (Nitrile Gloves)
    CoStar Group ** * City of RichmondE 1,984 $460.5 million Corporate Services
    Amazon * Henrico County N 1,000 $340 million Fulfillment Center
    Guidehouse Inc. Fairfax County N 900 $12.7 million Corporate Services
    CMA CGM City of Norfolk E 415 $36 million Freight Transportation
    Tyson Foods, Inc. Pittsylvania County N 376 $295.5 million Food Products
    Schock GmbH Henry County N 355 $85 million Quartz & Granite Products
    Civica RX City of PetersburgN 186 124.6 million Pharmaceuticals
    Crown Holdings, Inc. Henry County N 126 $145 million Metal Packaging
    Nestlé Purina County King William E N/A $182 million Pet Care Products
    States with populations of 8+ to 12 million
    *Sponsors: Virginia Economic Development Partnership;
    City of Richmond; Stafford County Economic Development;
    Henrico County Economic Development Authority
    **Non-Manufacturing Project of the Year
    ***Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: *Georgia

    Population: 10.7 million

    CompanyCityN/E # JobsInvestmentIndustry
    FanDuel Group Atlanta N 907 $17.3 million Software
    Danimer Scientific Bainbridge E 400 $700 million Biodegradable Materials
    Amazon Pooler N 1,000 $260 million Fulfillment Center
    Remington Firearms LaGrange N 856 $100 million Firearms/ Headquarters/ R&D
    Vanderlande Industries *Marietta E 500 $59 million Headquarters
    Cisco Atlanta N 700 $41.5 million Hardware Technology
    Visa Atlanta N 1,000 $31.9 million FinTech
    Intuitive Peachtree E 1,200 $500 million Surgical/ Corners Medical Instruments
    Spring Mountain Winder N 205 $45 million Plumbing Center Fixtures/ Cabinetry
    Roper Corporation Lafayette E 600 $118 million Appliances
    States with populations of 8+ to 12 million
    *Sponsors: Georgia Department of Economic Development;
    Cobb Chamber of Commerce
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: *Ohio

    Population: 11.69 million

    CompanyCityN/E # JobsInvestmentIndustry
    Ardagh Metal Beverage USA Huron N 211 $411 million Metal & Glass Packaging
    Gabriel Brothers, Inc.Springfield N 833 $35.9 million Logistics/ Distribution
    First Solar, Inc. Walbridge E 500 $599.5 million PV Solar
    Amgen, Inc. *New Albany N 400 $299 million Biotech/ Pharmaceuticals
    Royal Canin U.S.A., Inc. Harrison N 224 $336.9 million Pet Food
    AquaBounty Farms Ohio, LLC Pioneer N 112 $222.1 million Food Sciences
    Bath & Body Works Direct, Inc. * Commercial E 500 $110 million Fulfillment Point Center
    American Nitrile Operations, LLC * Grove City N 400 $54.5 million PPE (Nitrile Gloves)
    Bitwise, Inc. Toledo N 378 $20 million Information Services & Software
    Protiviti Inc. Cincinnati N 450 $1.5 million Information Services & Software
    States with populations of 8+ to 12 million
    *Sponsors: : JobsOhio; One Columbus
  • 2021 Top Projects - Gold: *Arizona

    Population: 7.29 million

    CompanyCityN/E # JobsInvestmentIndustry
    KORE Power Buckeye N 3,150 $942.6 million Lithium-Ion Batteries
    Intel ***Chandler N 3,000 $20 billion Semiconductors
    Gulfstream Aerospace *Mesa N 225 $86.3 million Aircraft MRO
    Kroger Phoenix N 692 $89 million Fulfillment Center
    Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. Yuma N 660 $27.2 million Distribution
    Ashley Furniture Tolleson N 518 $135.9 million Furntiture
    Electra Meccanica * Mesa N 500 $33.6 million Automotive/ EVs
    MLILY USA Goodyear N 424 $33.1 million Bedding
    Chang Chun Chemical Corp. Casa Grande N 343 $508.4 million Chemicals
    Zero Electric Vehicles * Gilbert N 566 $59.9 million Automotive/ EV
    States with populations of 5+ to 8 million
    *Sponsors: Arizona Commerce Authority;
    Gilbert Office of Economic Development;
    City of Mesa; Salt River Project
    ***Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: *Alabama

    Population: 5.05 million

    CompanyCityN/E # JobsInvestmentIndustry
    The J.M. Smucker Company ***Jefferson N 750 $1.1 billion Food Processing
    Amazon Montgomery N 500 $100 million Fulfillment Center
    Hanwha Holdings (USA) Inc. Opelika E 265 $130 million Chemicals & Allied Products
    FedEx Dothan N 200 $57 million Logistics
    KBR Huntsville E 166 $10.8 million Research & Engineering
    Alabama Graphite LLC Processing Kellyton N 100 $602 million Graphite Products
    Amazon Huntsville N 500 $100 million Fulfillment Center
    Rehau Automotive LLC Cullman E 125 $50 million Automotive
    Landing Birmingham E 816 $13.7 million Information Technology
    Northrop Grumman Huntsville E 125 $25.2 million Aerospace
    States with populations of 5+ to 8 million
    *Sponsor: Alabama Department of Commerce
    Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: Indiana

    Population: 6.79 million

    CompanyCityN/E # JobsInvestmentIndustry
    Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc.Princeton E 1,323 $803.1 million Automotive/EVs
    Alliance RV, LLC Elkhart E 650 $33.3 million RVs
    Kennected, LLC Indianapolis N 405 $2.1 million Software Publishing
    Amazon Fort Wayne N 1,000 $200 million Fulfillment Center
    Grand Design Middlebury E 1,350 $49.4 million RVs/Trailers
    Master Spas, LLC Fort Wayne E 893 $17.3 million Hot Tubs/Spas
    Kaiser Aluminum Warrick, LLC Newburgh N 829 $241 million Fabricated Metals
    Legacy RV LLC Goshen N 768 $58.9 million RVs
    Ruoff Mortgage Company, Inc. Fort Wayne E 455 $65.8 million Finance & Insurance
    Catalent Indiana, LLC Bloomington E 2,378 $350 million Pharmaceuticals
    States with populations of 5+ to 8 million
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: South Carolina

    Population: 5.19 million

    CompanyCityN/E # JobsInvestmentIndustry
    Walmart Lyman N 400 $450 million Distribution
    E & J Gallo Winery *Fort Lawn N 496 $423 million Food Processing
    Oshkosh Defense Spartanburg N 1,000 $155 million Automotive
    Arthrex, Inc. Pendleton E 500 $100 million Pharmaceuticals
    Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. *Lexington County E 250 $100 million Pharmaceuticals
    Prestage Farms of South Carolina *Camden N 292 $150 million Food Processing
    Shaw Industries Group, Inc. Aiken E 300 $400 million Flooring/Materials
    Pall Corp. Duncan N 425 $30.2 million Pharmaceutical Devices
    T-Mobile North Charleston E 540 $10.2 million Back Office Operations
    TELUS International North Charleston N 1,200 $3.4 million Information Technology/Back Office Operations
    States with populations of 5+ to 8 million
    *Sponsors: : Central South Carolina Alliance;
    County of Lexington;
    Chester County Economic Development
  • 2021 Top Projects - Gold: *Kentucky

    Population: 4.51 million

    CompanyCityN/EJob CreationInvestmentIndustry
    Ford/SK Innovation *** Glendale N 5,000 $5.8 billion Automotive/EV Batteries
    GE Appliances Louisville E 1,000 $450 million Household Appliances
    Pratt Paper Henderson N 321 $500 million Paper Products
    Tyson Foods Bowling N 450 $355 million Food & Green Beverage/Meat Processing
    Ball Corp. Bowling Green N 198 $305 million Aluminum
    Wieland North Shelby County N 75 $100 million Copper & America Copper Alloy Recycling
    Wieland North America Louisville N 75 $8.8 million Headquarters
    KCC Manufacturing Simpsonville N 700 $60 million Fabricated Metal Products
    Consumer Cellular Louisville N 486 $15.5 million Customer Support Center
    Firestone Industrial Products Williamsburg E 250 $50.9 million Automotive Parts
    States with populations of 3+ to 5 million
    *Sponsor: Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
    ***Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: *Arkansas

    Population: 3.03 million

    Company City N/E # Jobs Investment Industry
    U.S. Steel ***Osceola N 900 $3 billion Steel
    Trex Company Little Rock N 500 $400 million Outdoor Living Products
    Mars Petcare Fort Smith E 260 $262 million Pet Food/Care Products
    Westrock Conway E 250 $100 million Coffee Coffee Company
    Owens Corning Fort Smith E 5 $100 million Industrial Materials
    Vista Outdoor Lonoke E 450 $22 million Firearms Ammunition
    Custom Craft Poultry Little Rock N 290 $10 million Poultry Products
    Wipro Sherwood E 400 $3 million Information Technology
    Hytrol Conveyor Fort Smith E 350 $20 million Conveyors Company & Eqpt.
    Butterball Huntsville & Ozark E 360 $8.7 million Poultry Products
    States with populations of 3+ to 5 million
    *Sponsor: Arkansas Economic Development Commission
    ***Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: *Louisiana

    Population: 4.62 million

    Company City N/E # Jobs Investment Industry
    Venture Global *Cameron N 200 $10 billion Liquified Natural Gas
    Air Products Burnside N 170 $4.5 billion Blue Hydrogen
    Louisiana Green Fuels Columbia N 76 $700 million Renewable Biofuels
    Shintech Plaquemine E 30 $1.2 billion Polyvinyl Chloride Resins
    SafeSource Direct Broussard N 245 $773 million PPE Equipment
    PBF Chalmette Chalmette E 20 $240 million Petroleum Refining
    Bia Energy Operating Company Port of Caddo-Bossier N 75 $550 million Blue Methanol
    Amazon Baton Rouge, Shreveport N 2,000 $400 million Fulfillment Center
    Hunt Forest Products/Tolko Bienville Parish N 130 $240 million Lumber Mill
    BioLab Westlake N 82 $170 million Chlorine
    States with populations of 3+ to 5 million
    *Sponsors: Louisiana Economic Development;
    Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance
  • 2021 Top Projects - Gold: *Kansas

    Population: 2.93 million

    Company City N/E # Jobs Investment Industry
    MCI BPO Wichita N 500 $1.5 million Back-Office Operations
    WellSky Corporation Overland Park E 593 $9.9 million Healthcare Software
    Charter Communications, Inc. Overland Park N 510 $18.9 million Back-Office Operations
    Torch Research, LLC Leawood N 490 $55 million Computer Programming Services
    Netsmart Technologies, Inc. Overland Park E 425 $11.4 million Computer Programming Services
    TriRx Pharmaceutical Services Shawnee N 250 $70 million Animal Pharmaceuticals
    Hilmar Cheese Company Dodge City N 247 $459.2 million Food Processing
    Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. Tonganoxie N 85 $251.5 million Pet Food Processing
    Bartlett Grain Company, LP Cherryvale E 50 $322.8 million Soybean & Oilseed Processing
    Summit Sustainable Ingredients, LLC Phillipsburg E 55 $251.4 million Food Processing
    States with populations under 3 million
    *Sponsor: Kansas Department of Commerce
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: *Idaho

    Population: 1.79 million

    Company City N/E # Jobs Investment Industry
    Lamb Weston American Falls E 180 $400 million Food Processing
    AZEK Boise E 146 $107.6 million Outdoor Decking
    Jervois Mining Ltd. Salmon N 164 $180 million Minerals/Metals
    Shell Wendall N 12 $100 million Renewable Natural Gas
    Morton Buildings American Falls N 25 $7.2 milion Manufactured Buildings
    Bare Beans Company Rupert N 63 $2.9 million Food Processing
    Artisan Labs Hansen N 170 $1.9 million Cosmetic Prep
    WASCO Emmett E 35 $2 million Measurement Equipment
    Hempitecture Jerome N 20 $3.7 million Hemp Insulation
    Revelry Ketchum N 29 $1 million Promotion/Branding
    States with populations under 3 million
    Sponsor: Idaho Commerce
  • 2021 Top Projects - Silver: *Mississippi

    Population: 2.97 million

    Company City N/E # Jobs Investment Industry
    Biewer Lumber Winona N 150 $130 million Agribusiness
    Milwaukee Tool Grenada N 1,200 $60 million Tools
    Jones Hattiesburg N 230 $40 million Headquarters
    Tyson Foods Vicksburg E 44 $60.9 million Food Processing
    Edelbrock Olive Branch N 200 $14.4 million Automotive
    New Way Trucks Booneville E 120 $4 million Automotive
    Leisure Pools Picayune N 100 $3.3 million Swimming Pools
    Waste Management Tupelo E 330 $660,000 Customer Service
    Aerosafe Global Olive Branch N 100 $2.5 million Pharmaceutical Packaging
    Voyant Beauty Olive Branch E 80 $13.2 million Personal Care & Beauty Products
    States with populations under 3 million
    *Sponsors: Mississippi Development Authority; Mississippi Power
  • 2021 Top Projects - Gold: *Nebraska

    Population: 1.96 million

    Company City N/E Job Creation Investment Industry
    Nucor Corp. Norfolk E 500 $58 million Steel
    Instinct Lincoln E 120 $180 million Pet Food
    Duncan Aviation Lincoln E 75 $18 million Logistics/Transportation
    Vericred Omaha N 40 $23 million Health & Data Services
    Wholestone Farms Fremont E 1,000 $225 million Food Processing
    Kawasaki Motors LincolnE 550 $200 million Rail Car & Manufacturing Aerospace Corp.
    Viridis Chemical LLC Columbus N 50 $44 million Bioscience & Renewable Chemicals
    Facebook Papillion E 100 $400 million IT & Data Service
    Heartwell Renewables Hastings N 50 $350 million Bioscience
    States with populations under 3 million
    Sponsors: Omaha Public Power District;
    Nebraska Public Power District
  • 2022 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Projects Of The Year (2021)

    Company City N/E # Jobs Investment Industry
    The J.M. Smucker Company Jefferson, AL N 750 $1.1 billion Food Processing
    Intel Chandler, AZ N 3,000 $20 billion Semiconductors
    U.S. Steel Osceola, AR N 900 $3 billion Steel
    Ford/SK Innovation Glendale, KY N 5,000 $5.8 billion Automotive/EV Batteries
    Regeneron Tarrytown, NY N 1,000 $1.54 billion Biotechnology
    Toyota Motor America, Inc. North Randolph, NC N 1,750 $1.3 billion Automotive/Lithium-Ion Batteries
    Canoo, Inc. Pryor, OK N 1,500 $1.1 billion Automotive/EVs
    Ford Motor Company Haywood County, TN N 5,760 $5.6 billion Automotive/EVs
    Samsung Taylor, TX E 1,800 $17 billion Semiconductors
    Blue Star Manufacturing Wythe County, VA N 2,464 $715.3 million PPE (Nitrile Gloves)
    Company City N/E # Jobs Investment Industry
    Fiserv Berkeley Heights, NJ N1,927 $105 million FinTech
    Apple Wake, NC N3,000 $1 billionAI/Software
    Oracle America, Inc.Nashville, TN N 8,500 $1.4 billionInformation Technology
    CoStar Group City of Richmond, VA E1,984 $460.5 million Corporate Services
Major Job Creators
The job losses associated with the pandemic have all but evaporated now, with record levels of job creation and low unemployment rates back in the picture. Lots of those new jobs are appearing in the states we’re honoring with Platinum Shovel, Gold Shovel, and Silver Shovel awards. All new jobs are welcome, but we’ll turn the spotlight now on those projects that are creating at least a thousand (and as noted, a number of these big-job deals are also mentioned above in this article and in separate sidebars focused on the year’s top projects).

Needless to say, the biggest projects in the Platinum-winning states outlined above fit into this conversation. One of them, the Ford EV project in Tennessee, has a related development in Gold Shovel-winning Kentucky. That would be the Ford/SK Innovation development that will make batteries and hire 5,000 in the Glendale area (see the Ford/SK Innovation sidebar for more details). Another big Kentucky job creator is the 1,000-job expansion at GE Appliances at Appliance Park in Louisville. The new jobs are expected by the end of 2023, related to the company’s plans to upgrade facilities, increase capacity, and launch new products.

In Gold Shovel-winning Arizona, two projects hit the 3,000-job mark. That’s how many jobs are promised through a $20 billion semiconductor plant investment announced by Intel in Chandler (see the Intel sidebar for more details). In Buckeye, the potential job total is 3,150 when KORE Power Inc. manufactures lithium-ion batteries in what is said to be the first such facility to be wholly owned by an American company. The million-square-foot plant is to be called KOREPlex and it’ll support up to 12 gigawatt hours of battery cell production for electric vehicles, power grids, and other uses.

After a dramatic downturn in 2020, the economy came roaring back with unexpected gusto in 2021. Silver Shovel winner Florida had a project on the list of biggest job creators, tied to an industry for which the state is famous. In Cape Canaveral, satellite maker Terran Orbital is investing $300 million and promising 2,100 jobs by 2025 at a new Kennedy Space Center headquarters facility. The satellite business is huge and growing, and it’s a tremendous advantage to make satellites not far from the launch pad. Terran Orbital plans to make up to a thousand small satellites a year, and a million satellite parts.

Gold Shovel winner Virginia has three projects promising a thousand or more jobs. There’s the Blue Star Manufacturing factory in Wythe County that will make nitrile gloves and employ 2,464 at a $715 million plant (see the Blue Star sidebar for more details). Real estate data provider CoStar Group is spending $460 million and hiring some 1,984 people in Richmond at a research and technology center (see the CoStar sidebar).

Also, Amazon is creating a thousand Virginia jobs at a robotics fulfillment center at the Richmond Raceway in Henrico County. Indeed, Amazon continues to create jobs all over, including some 2,000 at Baton Rouge and Shreveport fulfillment centers in Silver Shovel-winning Louisiana.

Amazon also is promising to hire a thousand people to work alongside robots at a fulfillment center in Pooler, in Silver Shovel winner Georgia. Financial technology giant Visa’s new midtown Atlanta hub will provide employment for another thousand Georgians, working in such areas as product management, software development, and cybersecurity. And Intuitive, which makes robotic-assisted surgical systems, announced plans to expand its operation in Peachtree Corners, investing half a billion dollars and creating some 1,200 new high-paying jobs.

In Gold Shovel honoree Texas, Samsung is creating 1,800 jobs at a $17 billion semiconductor factory at Taylor (see the Samsung sidebar for more details). And Walmart Stores has pledged $800 million to build a pair of facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that would create some 1,300 jobs. The company is planning an automated fulfillment center and an automated grocery distribution center, opening in 2024.

Any time a company promises to invest a billion or more dollars into a particular area, that is a multi-digit vote of confidence. Indiana, which takes home a Silver Shovel this year, has four projects with a thousand or more jobs, one of which has a distinct pandemic connection. In Bloomington, Catalent Indiana has manufactured millions and millions of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and the company is making investments that could ultimately add more than 2,300 jobs, according to economic development officials. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana in Princeton is expanding to add production of a couple of Toyota and Lexus electric vehicles, which will mean some 1,300 new jobs. In Indiana’s RV country to the north, Grand Design is expanding and promising to add 1,350 jobs, making the company’s Imagine lightweight trailers (more on the RV sector later in this article). And Amazon made another thousand-job deal, this time connected to a new Fort Wayne fulfillment center.

South Carolina earned a Silver Shovel honor with a variety of projects, two of which hit the four-digit job creation mark. TELUS International, which provides clients with multilingual digital customer experience and IT solutions, is bringing operations to Charleston County, promising to hire about 1,200 people. And more than a thousand jobs are part of the Oshkosh Defense’s plan for Spartanburg County. It’s a $155 million investment from the tactical vehicle manufacturer, intended to support the U.S. Postal Service’s Next Generation Delivery Vehicle program. The company plans to make battery electric vehicles and fuel-efficient internal combustion vehicles.

Silver Shovel honoree Mississippi garnered a 1,200-job promise from Milwaukee Tool. The company is creating a manufacturing facility in Grenada, where two-thirds of those jobs will be, and it has said it will add another 400 at other Mississippi locations to support its growing power tool and accessories business. And in the Silver Shovel state of Nebraska, Wholestone Farms is adding to its pork processing capabilities in Fremont, which could create as many as a thousand jobs.

Billion-Dollar Projects

Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.
The J.M. Smucker Company Jefferson, AL750 $1.1 billion
Intel Chandler, AZ 3,000 $20 billion
U.S. Steel Osceola, AR900 $3 billion
Electric Boat Groton, CT 1,200 $1 billion
Ford/SK Innovation Glendale, KY 5,000 $5.8 billion
Venture Global Cameron, LA 200 $10 billion
Air Products Burnside, LA170 $4.5 billion
Shintech Plaquemine, LA30 $1.2 billion
Intel Rio Rancho, NM 700 $3.5 billion
Regeneron Tarrytown, NY 1,000 $1.54 billion
Apple Wake, NC3,000 $1 billion
Toyota Motor North America, Inc. Randolph, NC1,750 $1.3 billion
Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies Wake, NC 725 $2 billion
Ball Corp., Red Bull, and Rauch Cabarrus, NC633 $1.1 billion
Canoo, Inc. Pryor, OK1,500 $1.1 billion
Ford Motor Company Haywood County, TN5,760 $5.6 billion
Ultium Cells LLC Spring Hill, TN1,300 $2.4 billion
Oracle America, Inc. Nashville, TN8,500 $1.4 billion
Samsung Taylor, TX1,800 $17 billion
Nacero Inc. Penwell, TX350 $6.5 billion

More Big Investments
There’s no question that job creation is the most important priority in states’ economic development work. But when considering trophy-worthy catches, you can’t ignore billion-dollar projects. Any time a company promises to invest a billion or more dollars into a particular area, that is a multi-digit vote of confidence. With that in mind, we’ll spotlight the billion-dollar deals here — but keep in mind that many of these deals also promise to create a thousand or more jobs and thus have already been highlighted in more detail above or in the accompanying sidebars.

One thing is clear this year — it takes a lot of money to establish semiconductor manufacturing operations. Case in point, the $20 billion Intel project announced in Arizona and the $17 billion Samsung operation announced in Texas, both of which are mentioned above and spotlighted in sidebars. Intel also is investing $3.5 billion on its operations in New Mexico, where it will implement advanced semiconductor packaging technologies, including the company’s breakthrough 3D packaging technology.

It also takes a gigantic investment to get up and running in the energy and chemical sectors. Venture Global’s plans to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal in Cameron Parish in the Silver Shovel state of Louisiana are worth $10 billion. Over in Ascension Parish, Air Products plans to spend $4.5 billion building a blue hydrogen manufacturing complex that will produce more than 750 million standard cubic feet per day of blue hydrogen. Also in Louisiana, Shintech is investing about $1.2 billion to expand its manufacturing of polyvinyl chloride resins, or PVC. And in Texas, Houston-based Nacero will spend $6.5 billion on a plant west of Odessa that will make lower-carbon gasoline from natural gas, the first U.S. plant to do that.

These kinds of projects don’t necessarily create as many jobs as some — 350 for Nacero, 200 for Venture Global, 170 for Air Products, 30 for Shintech. But they’re good jobs. In the case of the Venture Global project, for example, the average salary is $120,000, not including benefits.

Auto projects tend to be both big-ticket and high-employment. Life sciences also tend to be big spenders on facility development. Automotive projects tend to be both big-ticket and high-employment. The two mentioned above and in sidebars involving Ford, for example — $5.8 billion invested in Kentucky, $5.6 billion in Tennessee. Same with the Ultium Cells battery facility in Tennessee mentioned above, which will require $2.4 billion to get off the ground, Toyota’s $1.3 billion North Carolina battery plant mentioned above and in a sidebar to this article, and the Canoo Inc. EV startup in Oklahoma, a $1.1 billion investment spotlighted in a sidebar. Another kind of transportation-related expansion project, involving submarine maker General Dynamics Electric Boat in Connecticut, carries a billion-dollar price tag and promises 1,200 jobs.

Life sciences and biotechnology also tend to be big spenders on facility development and expansion. Examples include the $2 billion Fujifilm Diosynth project in North Carolina, outlined above, and the $1.8 billion Regeneron project in New York slated to create 1,000 that’s detailed in a sidebar. And no one could argue against spending big on food, such as the $1.1 billion J.M. Smucker plant in Alabama (spotlighted in a sidebar) that will make frozen sandwiches, which can be washed down by beverages from the $1.1 billion North Carolina beverage hub in Cabarrus County mentioned above.

You can’t build or expand a steel plant on the cheap. Hence, the U.S. Steel plans in Arkansas spotlighted in a sidebar are tallied at $3 billion. And investments in software and IT are often pricey, including the Apple campus in North Carolina and the Oracle project in Nashville, both mentioned above and featured in sidebars.

Automotive/EV and Lithium-Ion Battery Projects

Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.
Rehau Automotive LLC Cullman, AL125 $50 million
KORE Power Buckeye, AZ3,150 $942.6 million
Electra Meccanica Mesa, AZ500 $33.6 million
Zero Electric Vehicles Gilbert, AZ566 $59.9 million
Microvast Inc. Lake Mary, FL 110 $25 million
Rivian Automotive Normal, IL1,000$75 million
Lion Electric Joliet, IL745 $70 million
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Princeton, Indiana, Inc. Princeton, IN 1,323 $803.1 million
Ford/SK Innovation Glendale, KY 5,000 $5.8 billion
Magna Electric Vehicle Structures St. Clair, MI 304 $70.1 million
Oshkosh Defense Spartanburg, SC 1,000 $155 million
LiniCo Corp. Storey County, NV 30 $25.7 million
Toyota Motor North America, Inc. Randolph, NC 1,750 $1.3 billion
Canoo, Inc. Pryor, OK 1,500 $1.1 billion
Ford Motor Company Haywood County, TN 5,760 $5.6 billion
Ultium Cells LLC Spring Hill, TN1,300 $2.4 billion

Making Things Here
State and local economic development leaders have always prized manufacturing jobs, and the recent troubles with supply chains have underscored the importance of making things closer to home. Lots of the projects mentioned above are in manufacturing, and there are many more worth noting. Check the accompanying charts to see how prevalent manufacturing success stories have been in the projects reported; and read on for just a few of the other manufacturing highlights from our Shovel Award states.

The recreational vehicle sector often provides a good indicator of the direction of the economy and the mood of consumers. If the RV business is expanding, it usually indicates a growing economy, and the industry has been digging out of a backlog of orders. When RVs are booming, the good feelings are felt the most in northern Indiana, the RV manufacturing epicenter.

In Middlebury, Grand Design is investing $49 million in an expansion that will add 1,350 jobs. It’s a relatively new name in the RV business, around for less than a decade, but it already has neared the thousand-employee mark. An even newer name in Elkhart County is Alliance RV, which is pumping $33 million into expanded manufacturing capabilities, a move that could mean as many as 650 new jobs by the end of next year. There’s also a 768-job Legacy project in nearby Goshen, and just across the border in Michigan, Cruiser RV and Heartland Recreational Vehicles are expected to create 450 jobs total in Sturgis.

It’s been a big year for manufacturing as well as logistics news, getting all these goods to market — or to the next step in the supply chain. Perhaps the most impactful shortage in the supply chain recently has been semiconductors, which are needed in countless vital products. As mentioned elsewhere in this article, three of the biggest-dollar-value deals involve semiconductors — the $20 billion, 3,000-job Intel manufacturing project under way in Chandler, Arizona; the $17 billion, 1,800-job Samsung project in Taylor, Texas; and the $3.5 billion Intel deal in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. There’s also a $210 million expansion of the MEMC Electronic Materials/Global Foundries facility in O’Fallon, Missouri, increasing production capacity and adding a 300mm wafer line.

Electric vehicles continue to charge the Arizona economy. Beyond the KORE Power battery project mentioned elsewhere in this article, a total of more than a thousand jobs are promised collectively by ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp., planning EV assembly in Mesa, and Zero Electric Vehicles, planning a headquarters plus manufacture of EV conversion kits in Gilbert.

In Silver Shovel honoree Nebraska, Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. plans to add 550 jobs as it expands in its consumer products and rail car operations in Lincoln. Kawasaki intends to grow its assembly, paint, and welding lines, and add in some automation. Also, in Nebraska, Nucor is expanding its Norfolk engineered bar mill, which would add 500 jobs.

South Carolina is adding hundreds of pharmaceutical-related jobs, including at Arthrex in Pendleton, Nephron Pharmaceuticals in Lexington County, and Pall Corp. in Duncan. North Carolina is building upon its highly regarded furniture industry with a MasterBrand Cabinets expansion in Lenoir County, which could create 500 or more jobs.

The firearms business has seen some significant movement from the Northeast to the South. For example, Smith & Wesson Brands is relocating its headquarters and some production and distribution from Massachusetts to Maryville, Tennessee. It’s a $125 million move that will bring along some 750 jobs. And Remington Firearms is making the move from New York to LaGrange, Georgia, promising 856 jobs there. Meanwhile, an expansion at Vista Outdoor in Lonoke, Arkansas, will add 450 jobs to help meet the surging demand for ammo.

Projects in food processing are always the talk of the town. The billion-dollar Alabama Smucker’s project mentioned above and in a sidebar is just the beginning of the projects linked to food. Gold Shovel winner Texas announced not just one but three cheese-related developments. Leprino Foods will be making mozzarella in Lubbock, eventually hiring 600 people in a two-phase project. Great Lakes Cheese Co. makes a fair share of all of the packaged cheese Americans consume, and its new facility in Abilene promises up to 500 jobs for Texans. And Cacique, LLC — maker of authentic Mexican-style cheeses, cremas, and chorizos — picked Amarillo for an $88 million dairy processing facility that’ll employ about 200 people.

Over in Gold Shovel winner Kansas, another 247 cheese-related jobs are in the works in Dodge City. Hilmar Cheese Co. announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art cheese and whey protein processing plant there, with a $460 million capital investment. The state will also become home to the largest producer of wheat protein in North America when Summit Sustainable Ingredients brings a new $250 million facility online. It’s a vital ingredient for both human and pet foods and is among the many things impacted by global supply chain issues recently.

If it’s Silver Shovel winner Idaho, you can expect developments related to potatoes. Sure enough, Lamb Weston in American Falls is expanding its operations. French fries are on the menu for this project, pegged at $400 million and 180 jobs. But there’s more to the Idaho food business than potatoes — Bare Beans Co. in Rupert has a new facility that cooks and packages pinto, garbanzo, red, and black beans for food service use.

Elsewhere, the E. & J. Gallo Winery is setting up shop on the East Coast, with a new state-of-the-art production facility and distribution center in South Carolina. It’s a $423 million investment that will create 496 new jobs over several years. Butterball is expanding a pair of turkey processing plants in Arkansas, promising 360 new jobs.

Tyson Foods plans to hire 376 people in Danville, Virginia, making nuggets from Virginia-raised chickens. The company also makes fully cooked chicken products in Silver Shovel winner Mississippi — it’s expanding its Vicksburg operation and adding nearly 50 jobs. Tyson makes bacon, too, and plans to employ 450 people doing just that in Gold Shovel honoree Kentucky. The facility in Bowling Green will produce the Wright and Jimmy Dean brands.

Pets have to eat, too, a fact that is creating jobs all over. In Silver Shovel honoree Ohio, Royal Canin announced a new Harrison facility that’ll employ 224 people. In Arkansas, Mars Petcare is investing a quarter billion dollars in an expansion that could create 260 jobs. Kansas gains a new Hill’s Pet Nutrition manufacturing facility in Tonganoxie, also worth a quarter billion dollars and promising 85 jobs.

And, as is the case every year, thousands of jobs are on the way in the logistics sector, getting all these goods to market or at least the next stop in the supply chain. We’ve already covered a number of them above, including quite a few Amazon projects with a thousand jobs each. Alabama has a pair of Amazon fulfillment centers on the way, too — in Huntsville and Montgomery — each promising 500. Walmart is bringing 400 distribution jobs to Lyman, South Carolina, and FedEx is bringing 200 to Dothan, Alabama. Bath & Body Works Direct is expanding in Commercial Point, Ohio, to the tune of 500 fulfillment center jobs, and more than 800 new Ohio logistics/distribution jobs are on the way at Gabriel Brothers in Springfield.

Biotech/Pharma/Medical Devices (1,000+ jobs)

Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.
Catalent Indiana, LLC Bloomington, IN2,378 $350 million
Intuitive Peachtree Corners, GA1,200 $500 million
Ellume Frederick, MD1,500 $106 million
Regeneron Tarrytown, NY1,000 $1.8 billion
Life Technologies Corp. Lebanon, TN 1,400 $182.8 million

HQ/Corporate Services/FinTech/Info Tech (1,000+ jobs)

Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.
Visa Atlanta, GA1,000 $31.9 million
Discover Chicago, IL1,000 $45 million
Fiserv Berkeley Heights, NJ1,927 $105 million
Apple Wake, NC3,000 $1 billion
TELUS International North Charleston, SC 1,200 $3.4 million
Oracle America, Inc. Nashville, TN8,500 $1.4 billion
CoStar Group City of Richmond,VA1,984 $460.5 million

Jobs Beyond Manufacturing
It has certainly been a year of big manufacturing news, but there are plenty of major projects that don’t involve making something. Indeed, the majority of the biggest deals in Silver Shovel honoree Florida were in sectors other than manufacturing.

For example, business data provider Dun & Bradstreet announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Jacksonville. That $75 million investment comes with some 500+ jobs averaging $77,000 in pay. Codeboxx Technology Corp. announced plans to move its headquarters from Canada to St. Petersburg, where it will continue its business of training people in the lucrative work of coding — that’s a 375-job deal. A HackerUSA headquarters expansion in Coral Gables is worth more than 450 jobs involved in tech training.

Guidehouse, a consultancy and solutions provider, announced new global headquarters in Fairfax County, Virginia. The company says it will create more than 1,000 new jobs over the next three years. Landing, which offers members a nationwide network of fully furnished apartments, is relocating its headquarters from San Francisco to Birmingham in Silver Shovel winner Alabama. Its plans include 816 new full-time jobs. The portfolio of companies known collectively as Jones is building a new corporate headquarters facility in Hattiesburg, in Silver Shovel honoree Mississippi. The $40 million investment will create some 230 jobs.

The job losses associated with the pandemic have all but evaporated, with record levels of job creation and low unemployment rates. In Kentucky, winner of a Gold Shovel, Consumer Cellular Inc. is creating 486 full-time Louisville management and call center support jobs at a new customer support center. In Ohio, the consulting firm Protiviti is creating 450 jobs at a new location in Cincinnati. That Silver Shovel state is also celebrating a Bitwise innovation center in Toledo. Next door, Indiana is big on manufacturing but also is celebrating the 405-job expansion of the Indianapolis-based software-as-a-service company Kennected and the 455-job expansion of Fort Wayne-based Ruoff Mortgage.

Over in Kansas, a couple of thousand jobs are being created collectively by new locations and expansions in the areas of back-office operations and IT/computer programming. That includes an MCI BPO call center in Wichita, a Charter Communications support center in Overland Park, a Torch Research operation in Leawood, and Overland Park expansions of Netsmart Technologies and WellSky Corp. Some 400 new IT jobs are on the way in Sherwood, Arkansas, at a Wipro expansion. In Mississippi, Waste Management is expanding its Tupelo customer-experience operation and creating 330 new jobs.

And finally, you can’t watch sports on TV without seeing ads touting fast-growing sports-gaming businesses, including FanDuel. That giant is bringing more than 900 jobs to metro Atlanta at a new hub focused on software engineering, product development, IT, and program design.

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