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19th Annual Area Development Gold and Silver Shovel Awards

Economic growth shines at the Area Development Shovel Awards, with states like South Carolina and Louisiana leading the charge. Discover which regions are driving innovation and sustainability in industries from automotive to green technology.

Q2 2024
The pace of outstanding economic news in the past year has been nothing short of breathtaking. Overall, the economy keeps growing at a healthy pace, and economists are coalescing around the conclusion that the mythical “soft landing” has arrived—with inflation tamed, relatively speaking, but with surprisingly low joblessness along with healthy job and gross domestic product growth. The economic-development headlines have been equally rosy. The past year has seen a long list of announcements of new developments and expansions, some promising eye-popping capital expenditures, and new job opportunities, and many more offering the kinds of smaller but welcome investments that also collectively create local booms. Local booms are what Area Development’s Shovel Awards recognize. Each year, we scan the records of project announcements to see which states are epicenters of growth. Those with exceptionally strong activity are honored with Gold and Silver Shovel Awards. Once again, this year, we’ve named a Platinum Award winner to one state with news that’s even beyond Gold-level performance. And, for the first time, we’ve added one more color, a Green Shovel Award, recognizing a healthy concentration of projects that are positive for the health of the planet. As always, these honors are based on information that state economic development officials have shared with us. The details were current at the time they were provided, but as we all know, plans can change, with revisions or delays caused by unforeseen circumstances. Read on for details about the states honored with Shovel Awards and check the related articles for more about some of the busiest areas, such as the automotive sector and earth-friendly initiatives. And now, the envelopes, please…

2024 PLATINUM Shovel Award

  • South Carolina (5 to 8 Million Population)

2024 Green Shovel Award

  • Louisiana (3 to 5 Million Population)

2024 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • Texas (12+ Million Population)
  • Georgia (8 to 12 Million Population)
  • Arizona (5 to 8 Million Population)
  • Louisiana (3 to 5 Million Population)
  • Kansas (Under 3 Million Population)

2024 Silver Shovel Awards

12+ Million Population Category

  • Illinois
  • New York

8 to 12 Million Population Category

  • North Carolina
  • Ohio

5 to 8 Million Population Category

  • Alabama
  • Indiana
  • Tennessee

3 to 5 Million Population Category

  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Arkansas

Under 3 Million Population Category

  • Mississippi
  • South Dakota
A Platinum Shovel for South Carolina
Last time it was North Carolina, this time the Platinum Award moves one state to the south, to South Carolina. And what a platinum year the Palmetto State has had—its list of top wins carried a total investment surpassing $7 billion and a promise of more than 8,500 new jobs. Not a bad year’s work! Leading the way and comprising two billion of those dollars and 4,000 of those jobs is one of our Projects of the Year, the Scout Motors electric vehicle plant promised near Blythewood. It’s a U.S.-based operation owned by Volkswagen, and though it’s driving into the brave new world of electric vehicles, it gets its name from the old International Harvester Scout off-road vehicle from the 1960s and ‘70s. Vehicles should be humming off the lines by 2027. The thriving automotive sector is fueling several more of the big deals in South Carolina. For example, the $1.3 billion promised by Albemarle for a lithium hydroxide facility in Chester County—that’s tied to electric vehicle batteries and other lithium-ion power needs. There’s the $810 million AESC electric vehicle battery facility expansion in Florence County worth about 450 new jobs. There’s also e-VAC Magnetics, maker of rare earth permanent magnets that can be part of EVs and other products, spending about half a billion dollars in Sumter County. And there’s another half-billion-dollar promise for a ZF transmission plant in Gray Court, a flex manufacturing facility that can support both internal combustion and e-mobility technologies. But South Carolina also owes its Platinum Shovel to a diversity of other wins, including a billion-dollar project from QTS Data Centers and a $443 million Pallidus semiconductor plant and corporate headquarters facility, both in York County. And Nissin Foods decided that a site in Greenville County has the right recipe for a new $228 million instant ramen noodle plant.

And the Gold Shovels Go To…
As usual, there’s a Gold Shovel Award for each of our five population categories. Among the biggest states, those with at least 12 million residents, Texas brings home the Gold, with a list of top projects worth $21 billion in total investments. Landing on the Projects of the Year list is the plan by ZT Systems to create as many as 1,500 Georgetown jobs at a cloud-computing manufacturing facility. More technology jobs are on the way ina Round Rock, where Toppan Photomasks Inc. announced plans to invest at least $185 million in modernizing its operations there that make a key component in semiconductors. The company has been based there since 2020. Google, meanwhile, announced plans for a $600 million data center in the Dallas area. And Tesla broke ground last year on a $375 million lithium refinery in Robstown. The biggest Texas deal in terms of dollars invested was the proposal by Graphic Packaging International to build a billion-dollar recycled paperboard plant in Waco, which the company touts as supporting its vision of a renewable future.

Next in the Gold Shovel Award line, representing states with populations between 8 million and 12 million, is Georgia. The state boasts big numbers in both investment dollars and jobs created—its biggest deals collectively are worth nearly $13 billion in investment and more than 16,000 jobs. Georgia reports not just one, not two, but three projects with 10-figure price tags, led by a $5 billion Project of the Year from SK On and Hyundai Motor Group. Their plan is an EV battery cell plant in Bartow County potentially worth 3,750 jobs. Add to that the investments made by QCells, a clean energy solutions provider. The company has expanded its Dalton factory and is developing a solar supply chain facility in Cartersville, investments totaling about $2.5 billion. And while you’re adding, plug in $2 billion from LG Energy Solution and Hyundai Motor Group for a battery cell manufacturing plant adjacent to Hyundai’s Ellabell manufacturing campus. Nearly a billion more dollars are coming from Anovion Technologies, building a plant to produce synthetic graphite anode materials that also will be part of the EV supplier boom. Georgia’s growth shows plenty of diversity, with investments by window maker Renewal by Anderson, financial services giant Morgan Stanley, Burlington Stores and Gulfstream Aerospace.

The list of Arizona’s biggest projects includes nearly $8 billion in investments that’ll create more than 7,000 jobs. That’s enough to earn a Gold Shovel among states with populations between 5 million and 8 million. A little over half of the investment is a Project of the Year, a new LG Energy Solution battery plant in Queen Creek, which the company has said could be the biggest standalone battery complex in North America. The company has plans to make multiple kinds of batteries—for EVs as well as energy storage systems. Another $2 billion investment is promised by Amkor Technology, planning an advanced semiconductor packaging and test facility that’ll work on behalf of Apple, testing and packaging chips from a nearby chipmaker. Another chip-connected project features Applied Materials Inc. and Arizona State University, launching a shared research, development and prototyping facility at ASU Research Park. Still another is the plan from semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASM International to build a new North American headquarters in Scottsdale. Arizona’s roster of big recent projects is a diverse list that also includes a Google data center, a JA Solar photovoltaic products factory, a Factor ready-to-eat meal production facility and a Rose Acre Farms egg farm that’ll be home to more than 2 million hens and provide work for 150 humans.

Louisiana is the poster child for the new Green Shovel designation, which the state has earned to go alongside its Gold Shovel honoring accomplishments of states with populations between 3 million and 5 million. The state’s biggest projects are nearly all in the category of green, clean, renewable energy, and together they total more than $16 billion in investments. There’s the Project of the Year honoree proposed by DG Fuels LLC that will make low-emission, sustainable biofuel in St. James Parish, providing work for 650 people. Also in the area is another 10-figure project, a facility to produce low-carbon ammonia and hydrogen from St. Charles Clean Fuels. Three more projects exceeding a billion dollars in investment include the SunGas Renewables Inc. plan to produce green methanol in Pineville, the CF Industries proposal for producing low-carbon ammonia in Ascension Parish, and First Solar’s billion-dollar plan to create solar panels in Iberia Parish. Check the related article on planet-friendly projects for more information about Louisiana’s green leadership.

The final Gold Shovel Award, chosen among states with populations of 3 million or less, goes to Kansas. Among its most prominent stories from the past year is the Project of the Year from Walmart, which announced plans to build its own case-ready beef facility in Olathe. The retailer wants its own end-to-end supply chain for Angus beef, and the 600-job plant will make that happen in 2025. The state enjoyed a diversity of announcements in the past year that led to its Gold status. Some, like Walmart’s beef plant, related to its agricultural and food processing leadership, such as the DSM plan for a premix pet food plant in Tonganoxie and the Southwest Plains Dairy project in Syracuse. Camso is investing big-time in its Junction City operations, making agricultural rubber tracks for farm equipment, Koch Fertilizer Dodge City is expanding and manufacturer Marvin will be making glass window and door products in Kansas City (on the Kansas side of the state line). The Kansas aerospace industry is growing, too, with expansion announcements from Orizon Aerostructures and Textron Aviation.
SlideshowTop 2023 Projects By State

2024 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Projects Of The Year (2023)

Company Location # Jobs Inv. Amt.
SK onCartersville, Georgia3,750$4.9 billion
Scout MotorsBlythewood, South Carolina4,000$2 billion
LG Energy SolutionQueen Creek, Arizona2,000$4.1 billion
GotionManteno, Illinois1,600$2 billion
DG FuelsSt. James Parish, Louisiana1,055$3.1 billion
Texas Instruments*Lehi City, Utah800$11 billion
Joby Aero, Inc.Dayton, Ohio2,000$477.5 million
Redwood Materials, Inc.Storey, Nevada701$1.1 billion
MieleOpelika, Alabama837$393.5 million
Epsilon Advanced MaterialsBrunswick, North Carolina500$649.9 million
Nel Hydrogen – Proton Energy Systems IncorporatedPlymouth, Michigan517$400 million
Walmart Inc.Olathe, Kansas667$257 million
SK Food Group, Inc.Cleveland, Tennessee840$205.2 million
Fairlife (Coca Cola)Webster, New York250$650 million
ZT SystemsGeorgetown, Texas1,500$35 million
Company Location # Jobs Inv. Amt.
AmkorPeoria, Arizona2,000$2 billion
Amazon Web ServicesTBD, Virginia1,000$35 billion
Burlington StoresEllabell, Georgia1,300$300 million
WalmartBelvidere, Illinois450$1.2 billion
Westrock CoffeeConway, Arkansas600$300 million
Amazon Data Services, IncColumbus, Ohio230$7.8 billion
Lakeshore Learning MaterialsGarland, Utah540$219 million
Kiewit CorporationLenexa, Kansas723$120 million
ConairHagerstown, Maryland700$75 million
URBNKansas City, Missouri750$60 million

2024 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Top 2023 Projects By State

  • 2023 Top Projects - Platinum: South Carolina

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    AESC Florence, LLC. Florence450$810 million Automotive
    Albemarle.Richburg300$1.3 billionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Cirba Solutions (SC)Columbia300$300 millionAutomotive
    e-VAC Magnetics, LLC (e-VAC)Sumter300$506 millionAutomotive
    Nissin FoodsPiedmont300$228 millionFood Processing
    Pallidus, Inc.Rock Hill405$443 millionElectronic & Other Electrical Equipment & Components
    QTS Data CentersYork0$1 billionBusiness Services
    Scout Motors*Blythewood4,000$2 billionAutomotive
    SEM Wafertech, Inc. and Solar4America Technology, Inc.Sumter300$66 millionAlternative Energy & Fuels
    Silfab SolarFort Mill800 $150 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Tin Thanh Group Americas Fairfax1,031$68 millionPlastics, Rubber, & Chemicals
    ZF Transmissions Gray Court, LLC.Gray Court400$500 millionAutomotive
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Gold: Texas

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    Eaton.Nacogdoches200$100 millionElectrical Equipmen
    GoogleRed Oak30$600 millionTech, Software
    Graphic Packaging InternationalWaco230$1 billionConsumer Products
    Kao Corporation.Pasadena60$250 millionRaw Materials
    NextDecade Corporation.Brownsville350$18.4 billionEnergy - Oil, Gas
    Saint-Gobain Corporation / Certainteed LLC.Bryan130$145 millionRaw Materials
    SEG SolarHouston 500$60 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    TeslaRobstown150$375 millionRaw Materials
    Toppan Photomasks.Round Rock50$186 millionSemiconductor, Chips
    ZT Systems*Georgetown1,500$35 millionTech, Software
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Gold: Georgia

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    AjinStatesboro630$317 millionAutomotive
    Anovion Bainbridge412$800 millionGraphite Materials
    Burlington StoresEllabell1,300$300 millionRetail, E-commerce
    Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.Savannah1,000$52 millionAerospace
    Hanwha Q Cells Co., Ltd..Cartersville2,000$2.3 billionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Hyundai Mobis Co. Ltd.Richmond Hill1,578$926 millionAutomotive
    LG Energy Solution.Ellabell400$2 billionAutomotive
    Meissner CorporationAthens1,785$249 millionLife Sciences, Biotech
    Morgan Stanley.Alpharetta1,800$46.6 millionFinancial Services
    Renewal by AndersenLocust Grove900$421 millionWindow
    SewonRincon740$300 millionAutomotive
    SK on.*White3,750$4.9 billionAutomotive
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Gold: Arizona

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    Amkor **Peoria2,000$2 billionSemiconductor, Chips
    Applied MaterialsTempe129$218 millionSemiconductor, Chips
    ASMScottsdale515$300 millionSemiconductor, Chips
    BenchmarkMesa120$20 millionTech, Software
    EVelution EnergyTacna60$200 millionBatteries
    FactorGoodyear800$100 millionConsumer Products
    GoogleMesa35$600 millionTech, Software
    JA SolarPhoenix600$60 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    LG Energy Solution*Queen Creek2,000$4.1 billionBatteries
    Republic ServicesPhoenix600$120 millionEnvironmental Services
    Rose Acre FarmsParker150$120 millionAgriculture
    SyscoMesa257$102 millionConsumer Products
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
    **Non-Manufacturing Project of the year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Gold: Louisiana

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    ADA Carbon Solutionss.Coushatta103$215 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Capchem USAAscension Parish95$350 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    CF IndustriesModeste50$2 billionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    DG Fuels*St. James Parish1,055$3.1 billionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Element 25Ascension Parish220$480 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    ExxonMobil.Baton Rouge65$500 millionEnergy - Oil, Gas
    First SolarIberia Parish715$1.1 billionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Kindle EnergyPlaquemine25$750 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Koura.St. Gabriel100$800 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Monarch EnergyAscension Parish44$426 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    St. Charles Clean FuelsSt. Rose216$4.6 billionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Sungas RenewablesPineville109$1.8 billionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Gold: Kansas

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    Camso Manufacturing.Junction City/Geary181$114 millionConsumer Products
    DSM Nutritional Products, LLCTonganoxie/Leavenworth28$52 millionFood Processing
    H&T Kansas, LLCDe Soto/Johnson180$110 millionConsumer Products
    High Plains Ponderosa Dairy.Plains/Meade95$168 millionAgriculture
    Kiewit Corporation**Lenexa/Johnson723$120 millionBusiness Services
    Koch Fertilizer Dodge City, LLC.Dodge City/Ford0$93.8 millionConsumer Products
    Marvin Lumber and Cedar CompanyKansas City/Wyandotte585$77 millionConsumer Products
    OppidanOlathe/Johnson6$71 millionBusiness Services
    Orizon Aerostructures.Chanute/Neosho200$44 millionAerospace
    Southwest Plains Dairy.Syracuse/Hamilton45$54 millionAgriculture
    Textron Aviation.Wichita/Sedgwick5$45 millionAerospace
    Walmart Inc. and Subsidiaries*Olathe/Johnson667$257 MillionFood Processing
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
    **Non-Manufacturing Project of the year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: Illinois

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    CJ LogisticsDes Plaines160$150 millionTransportation
    CJ LogisticsElwood160$150 millionTransportation
    CoreWeaveVolo10$290 millionComputing Infrastructure providers
    GE AppliancesMorris150$100 millionConsumer Products
    Gotion*Manteno1,600$2 billionBattery manufacturing (litthium)
    Gulfstream Aerospace.Cahokia Heights200$28 millionAerospace
    Kraft HeinzDeKalb150$400 millionFood Processing
    PCI PharmaRockford250$50 millionPharma
    TargetChicago2,000TKRetail, E-commerce
    US FoodsAurora260$103 millionFood Distribution
    Walmart**Belvidere450$1.2 billionRetail, E-commerce
    Warwick CarbonDecatur24$1 billionIndustrial Gas
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
    **Non-Manufacturing Project of the year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: New York

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    BETA Technologies.Plattsburgh85$41 millionAerospace
    Cummins.Jamestown90$452 millionTransportation
    Fairlife (Coca Cola)*Webster250$650 millionDairy Products
    GE Vernova.Schenectady160$28.4 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    HP Hood.Batavia48$120 millionDairy Products
    Menlo MicrosystemsIthaca122$59 millionMicroelectronics
    RegeneronSuffern230$89 millionLife Sciences, Biotech
    RipplingNew York City391$800KSoftware
    Rocket Science CorporationGlenville30$1.6 millionSoftware
    Schrodinger.New York City80$7.6 millionLife Science
    TTM TechnologiesSyracuse400$117 millionMicroelectronics
    Wells Enterprise (Ferrero Rocher).Dunkirk250$250 millionDairy Products
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: North Carolina

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    alpitronic Americas LLCCharlotte300$18.3 millionAutomotive
    Ameriprise FinancialCharlotte388$16.8 millionFinancial Services
    Bosch.Lincolnton404$109 millionPower Tools
    CommScope.Hickory250$60.3 millionInformation Technology
    Dai Nippon Printing Co.Linwood352$233 millionAutomotive
    Epsilon Advanced Materials*Wilmington500$649.9 millionAutomotive
    Honda Aircraft Company.Greensboro280$55.7 millionAerospace
    KempowerDurham601$41.3 millionAutomotive
    Marshall USAGreensboro240$50 millionAerospace
    ProKidneyGreensboro330$485 millionBiomanufacturing
    Siemens MobilityLexington506$220 millionTransportation
    Toyota.**Liberty3,000$8 billionAutomotive
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
    **Non-Manufacturing Project of the year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: Ohio

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    Amazon Data Services, Inc**Columbus230$7.8 billionTech, Software
    First Solar, Inc.Perrysburg180$488.5 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Fuyao Glass America Inc..Moraine500$300 millionAutomotive
    Illuminate USAPataskala850$220 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Joby Aero, Inc.*Dayton2,000$477.5 millionAerospace
    Louis Dreyfus CompanySalem114$541 millionFood Processing
    Quality Technology Services, LLCNew Albany10$1.65 billionTech, Software
    Resilience US, Inc..West Chester440$228.9 millionPharma
    Sheetz Distribution Services, LLCFindlay750$150 millionFood Processing
    Sofidel America Corp..Circleville100$185 millionConsumer Products
    Wells Fargo Bank, National AssociationColumbus350N/AFinancial Services
    Worldpay, LLCCincinnati529N/AFinancial Services
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
    **Non-Manufacturing Project of the year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: Tennessee

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    6K Energy Tennessee, LLCJackson230$166.4 millionChemical Product and Preparation Manufacturing
    Axle Logistics, LLC.Knoxville651$37.9 millionFreight Transportation Arrangement
    Cosma International of America, Inc..Lawrenceburg250$200 millionAutomotive
    Cosma International of America, Inc..Stanton750$516.3 millionAutomotive
    Enchem America Inc.Brownsville190$152.5 millionChemical Product and Preparation Manufacturing
    Hanon Systems USA, LLCLoudon600$166.6 millionAutomotive
    In-N-Out Burgers Inc.Franklin277$125.5 millionCorporate, Subsidiary, and Regional Managing Offices
    Magna Seating of America, Inc.Stanton295$77.5 millionAutomotive
    Malibu Boats LLC.Lenoir City770$75 millionBoat Building
    SK Food Group, Inc.*Cleveland840$205.2 millionPerishable Prepared Food Manufacturing
    Vonore Fiber Products LLC.Vonore231$346 millionAgriculture
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: Alabama

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.Montgomery15$290 millionAutomotive
    Ingka InvestmentsUnincorporated10$525 millionEnergy - Cleantech, Renewable
    Kronospan.Oxford125$350 millionForestry
    Miele*Opelika837$393.5 millionConsumer Products
    Nemak Alabama.Sylacauga301$191.1 millionAutomotive
    Nucor Towers & StructuresDecatur200$125 millionRaw Materials
    Sierra Pacific WindowsPhenix City300$60.8 millionConsumer Products
    Southwire. Florence120$135. millionRaw Materials
    Superior Air PartsCreola180$24.2 millionAerospace
    TrendCo, LLCTuskegee292$43 millionMedical Device
    Ultra Safe Nuclear CorporationGadsden250$232 millionPower boilers & heat exchange
    Wal-Mart.Cullman66$350 millionConsumer Products
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: Indiana

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    1440 Foods Manufacturing, LLCIndiana/Jeffersonville200$62.4 millionFood Processing
    Conco, Inc.Indiana/Scottsburg175$52 millionMetal & Fabricated Metal
    Endress + Hauser Inc..Indiana/Greenwood70$40.2 millionBusiness Services
    L3Harris Technologies, Inc..Indiana/Fort Wayne20$72 millionAerospace
    Liberation Labs Holdings Inc..Indiana/Richmond45$115 millionFood Processing
    Nova Circular Solutions LLCIndiana/Connersville122$135 millioinPlastics & Rubber
    South Bend Ethanol, LLC.Indiana/South Bend12$233 millionEthanol Plant
    Southwire Company, LLC.Indiana/Bremen249$118.1 millionMetal & Fabricated Metal
    The Ford Meter Box Company, Inc..Indiana/Wabash126$272.3 millionMetal Manufacturing
    Truck Country of Indiana, Inc..Indiana/Indianapolis75$55 millionTransportation
    Turn 14 Distribution Inc..Indiana/Whiteland272$43 millionTransportation
    Wabash Valley Foods, LLC.Indiana/Dubois40$63 millionFood Processing
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: Nevada

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    Agru America, Inc..Fernley20$48.5 millionConsumer Products
    Alka Products, LLCPahrump270$44.2 millionMedical
    Bauderer Packaging LLCNorth Las Vegas104$15 millionFood Processing
    Idaho Asphalt Supply, Inc.Fallon27$14.6 millionTransportation
    Indigo Pharmaceutical, LLCLas Vegas100$15.6 millionLife Sciences, Biotech
    Juanita's FoodsNorth Las Vegas149$35.1 millionFood Processing
    Monin, Inc..Spanish Springs33$47.2 millionFood Processing
    Novva Reno, LLCStorey18$492.3 millionTech, Software
    Redwood Materials, Inc.*Storey701$1.1 billionBattery Materials
    Skillz, Inc..Las Vegas280$3.1 millionTech, Software
    Tesla, Inc..Storey3,000$3.6 billionAutomotive
    West Coast Salmon Nevada, LPImlay96$211.1 millionAgriculture
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: Utah

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    C&J Snacks.Ephraim City190$1.7 millionFood Processing
    Central States ManufacturingTooele City150$30 millionMetal roofing, siding and building components
    Delta Air LinesSalt Lake City0$120 millionTransportation
    Lakeshore Learning Materials**Garland540$219 millionConsumer Products
    Leitner-PomaTooele City236$35 millionTransportation
    Procter & Gamble.Corinne100$400 millionConsumer Products
    Schreiber Foods.Logan52$135 millionFood Processing
    Texas Instruments.*Lehi City800$11 billionSemiconductor, Chips
    Utah Four MillRichmond31$57 millionFood Processing
    Ya YA Foods.Ogden City302$92 millionBeverage and liquid foods manufacturer and co-packer
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
    **Non-Manufacturing Project of the year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: Arkansas

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    ApptegyLittle Rock304N/AEducation technology
    Bad Boy Mowers.Batesville300$76 millionLawn equipment
    Central States ManufacturingLowell138$24 millionMetals
    Cypress Cold StorageSpringdale60$54 millionRefrigerated Warehousing and Storage
    Dassault Falcon Jet. Little Rock800$100 millionAerospace
    Drive Smart Auto Care, Inc.Newport200$3.4 millionInsurance
    ElopakLittle Rock156$95 millionPaper Bag and coated and treated paper manufacturing
    Owens CorningRussellville53$69 millionMineral Wool Manufacturing
    Raytheon Missile Systems.East Camden40$58 millionAerospace
    RelateCare.Sherwood255$.35 millionHealthcare
    SIG Sauer.Jacksonville625$150 millionFirearms and ammunition
    Westrock Coffee.**Conway600$300 millionFood Processing
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
    **Non-Manufacturing Project of the year
  • 2023 Top Projects - Silver: Mississippi

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    APEX AmmunitionColumbus64$4.4 millionFirearms and ammunition
    Avid Boats.Amory50$8 millionaluminum fishing boats
    Clark Beverage GroupMadison30$100 millionBeverage distribution
    Cold-Link LogisticsLaurel84$64 millionshipping and cold storage
    Hood IndustriesBeaumont265$217 millionAgriculture
    Huber Engineered WoodsShuqualak158$418 millionWood panel manufacturing
    Hush AerospaceTupelo80$14 millionDrone manufacturing
    PACCAR.Columbus100$209.4 millionAutomotive
    Raytheon.Forest100$50 millionAerospace
    Saylor WheelGreenwood145$23.4 millionTire and steel wheel assemblies
    Skydweller AeroKiln36$55 millionSolar-powered uncrewed aircraft
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2023 Top Projects - South: South Dakota

    Company City/County # Jobs Inv. Amt.Industry
    3M. Brookings22$468 millionMedical Device
    Cole-TAC.Rapid City23$1.5 millionConsumer Products
    Custom Skirting.Rapid City22$1.3 millionConsumer Products
    Engineered Concrete ProductsRapid City17$6.2 millionConcrete Pipes
    Engineered Truss Systems.Brandon33$20 millionTrusses
    High Plains Processing.Mitchell74$503 millionAgriculture
    Norway PorkNorway Township20$23 millionAgriculture
    Red Rock Real EstateCenterville21$52 millionFood Processing
    Redstone DairyEsmond Township80$182 millionAgriculture
    SFP.Ipswich17$21 millionAgriculture
    Sonstegard FoodsChancellor94$94 millionAgriculture
    Wilson Trailer Company.Lennox75$7.3 millionTransportation
    *Manufacturing Project of the Year
  • 2024 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Projects Of The Year (2023)

    Company Location # Jobs Inv. Amt. Industry
    SK on Cartersville, Georgia 3,750 $4.9 billion Semiconductor, Chips
    Scout Motors Blythewood, South Carolina 4,000 $2 billion Tech, Software
    LG Energy Solution Queen Creek, Arizona 2,000 $4.1 billion Retail, E-commerce
    Gotion Manteno, Illinois 1,600 $2 billion Retail, E-commerce
    DG Fuels St. James Parish, Louisiana 1,055 $3.1 billion Food Processing
    Texas Instruments* Lehi City, Utah 800 $11 billion Tech, Software
    Joby Aero, Inc. Dayton, Ohio 2,000 $477.5 million Consumer Products
    Redwood Materials, Inc. Storey, Nevada 701 $1.1 billion Business Services
    Miele Opelika, Alabama 837 $393.5 million Transportation
    Epsilon Advanced Materials Brunswick, North Carolina 500 $649.9 million Retail, E-commerce
    Nel Hydrogen – Proton Energy Systems IncorporatedPlymouth, Michigan517$400 millionAdvanced Manufacturing
    Walmart Inc.Olathe, Kansas667$257 millionFood Processing
    SK Food Group, Inc.Cleveland, Tennessee840$205.2 millionPerishable Prepared Food Manufacturing
    Fairlife (Coca Cola)Webster, New York250$650 millionDairy Products
    ZT SystemsGeorgetown, Texas1,500$35 millionTech, Software
    Company Location # Jobs Inv. Amt. Industry
    AmkorPeoria, Arizona2,000$2 billion Semiconductor, Chips
    Amazon Web ServicesTBD, Virginia1,000$35 billion Tech, Software
    Burlington StoresEllabell, Georgia1,300$300 million Retail, E-commerce
    WalmartBelvidere, Illinois450$1.2 billion Retail, E-commerce
    Westrock CoffeeConway, Arkansas600$300 million Food Processing
    Amazon Data Services, IncColumbus, Ohio230$7.8 billion Tech, Software
    Lakeshore Learning MaterialsGarland, Utah540$219 million Consumer Products
    Kiewit CorporationLenexa, Kansas723$120 million Business Services
    ConairHagerstown, Maryland700$75 million Transportation
    URBNKansas City, Missouri750$60 million Retail, E-commerce
The Silver Shovels States with population of more than 12 million
A highlight of the Silver Shovel earned by Illinois is a $2 billion EV battery project in Manteno, one of our Projects of the Year. Gotion is working on a gigafactory that’ll create 2,600 jobs and is, according to the governor, the state’s most significant new manufacturing investment in decades (its dollar total is more than a third of the overall value of all of Illinois’ biggest projects of the past year). Meanwhile, Walmart is spending more than a billion dollars on a high-tech, automated distribution center in Belvidere for perishables such as eggs, dairy, fresh produce, flowers and frozen food. In the agricultural hotspot of Decatur, Warwick Carbon Solutions is investing a billion dollars in a first-of-its kind power and steam plant. It’ll work with ADM’s carbon capture capabilities to handle most of the carbon dioxide emissions. In DeKalb, Kraft Heinz is investing in one of the continent’s largest consumer packaged goods distribution centers, while US Foods is building in the Chicago suburb of Aurora. Other Illinois wins include projects from CJ Logistics, Target, GE Appliances and CoreWeave. Silver Shovel winner New York, meanwhile, has a Project of the Year in Fairlife’s new production facility in Webster worth two-thirds of a billion dollars. Fairlife is now a part of Coca-Cola, and it’s bringing its ultra-filtered milk products to more of the Northeast. Another dairy producer adding jobs in New York is HP Hood, expanding capacity at its Batavia facility, and Wells Enterprises is growing in Dunkirk to keep up with ice cream demand. Cummins is pumping nearly a half billion dollars into its Jamestown engine plant that last year produced its 2.5 millionth engine—the company is focused on lower-carbon engines. New York has a diverse range of projects on its list, including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ plan to establish a biomedical research facility in Suffern, Schrödinger Inc.’s life sciences headquarters growth in New York City, the BETA Technologies aerospace expansion at the Plattsburgh International Airport, plus significant projects in both microelectronics and software.

States with population between 8 and 12 million
North Carolina lands a Silver Shovel with a roster of top projects worth nearly $10 billion collectively. Its Project of the Year is a $650 million graphite anode facility in Wilmington from Epsilon Advanced Materials. The company promises that it’ll use green technologies in making its product destined for environmentally friendly EVs. Several other transportation projects are driving jobs and investment in North Carolina, including an $8 billion investment at Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina, Dai Nippon Printing Co.’s advanced manufacturing facility in Linwood making lithium-ion battery pouches, a $220 million Siemens Mobility train manufacturing facility expansion, a Honda Aircraft private jet plant in Greensboro, and projects by alpitronic Americas and Kempower. But other industries make a splash here, too, including various projects in biomanufacturing, financial services, power tools and information technology.

Silver Shovel winner Ohio is known as the birthplace of aviation because of its history with the Wright brothers, so it makes sense its Project of the Year is an aerospace deal located at Dayton International Airport. Joby Aviation is working on an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing air taxi, and it’s spending nearly half a billion dollars to build the vehicle in Ohio. The project is among nearly $12 billion in investments on Ohio’s list of the top projects of the past year. A major chunk of that investment total comes from Amazon Web Services, which plans to populate central Ohio with a couple dozen data centers, starting with five near Columbus. The company has already spent $6 billion in Ohio in the past decade and will more than double that investment with its data center plans. Another big data center deal involves Quality Technology Services, investing a billion and a half dollars in New Albany, with four data centers planned. A couple of projects relate to solar power, including First Solar and Illuminate USA. There are projects involving soybean processing (Louis Dreyfus Co.) and tissue paper (Sofidel America Corp.), and more big plans in the automotive, pharmaceuticals, food processing and financial services sectors.

States with population between 5 to 8 million
Next up is Silver Shovel winner Tennessee, with a carload of automotive projects, as is often the case there. Cosma International, Hanon Systems and Magna Seating have major investments in new or expanded manufacturing operations. But boat transportation is afloat, too, with a major expansion project involving powerboat maker Malibu Boats in Lenoir City. Nearly 800 people will come aboard to build Cobalt brand boats. A Project of the Year from Tennessee is the SK Food Group Inc. plan to build a food processing and cold storage distribution facility in Bradley. Some 840 people will work in various food handling capacities, including making sandwiches. Speaking of sandwiches, the iconic In-N-Out Burger chain picked the state for a corporate hub before it even opened its first restaurant there. Other significant projects include plans from 6K Energy Tennessee, Axle Logistics, Enchem America and Vonore Fiber Products. Miele, maker of high-end appliances, picked Opelika, Alabama, as the site of a manufacturing facility focused on ovens, ranges and eventually ventilation hoods for North American markets. It’s a Project of the Year honoree that helped cement a Silver Shovel for Alabama, about $400 million of the total $2.7 billion in big-project investments there. The state lists a wide range of impressive projects, including an investment at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing to retool for the next generation of the Santa Fe as well as a big investment at Nemak, a maker of auto components. Nucor is building a state-of-the-art transmission tower production plant in Decatur, next to the company’s sheet steel mill, and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. picked Gadsden for a highly automated facility to make non-radiological modules for its microreactors. Wire and cable maker Southwire is expanding in Florence, and there are significant projects in building products, aerospace, medical devices, forestry, solar power and distribution.

Clean Tech Projects Of The Year (2023)

Company State # Jobs Inv. Amt.
Dai Nippon Printing Co.Linwood, North Carolina352$233 million
First SolarIberia Parish, Louisiana715$1.1 billion
GotionManteno, Illiniois1,600$2 billion
Hanwha Q Cells Co., Ltd.Cartersville, Georgia2,000$2.3 billion
Illuminate USAPataskala, Ohio850$220 million
LG Energy SolutionQueen Creek, Arizona2,000$4.1 billion
Nel Hydrogen – |Proton Energy Systems IncorporatedPlymouth, Michigan517$400 million
Redwood Materials, Inc.Storey, Nevada701$1.1 billion
SEG SolarHouston, Texas500$60 million
Silfab SolarFort Mill, South Carolina800$150 million

Lots of expansions helped Indiana collect a Silver Shovel. The biggest comes from Ford Meter Box Co., pumping more than $250 million into its hometown of Wabash to boost production of its waterworks products. Southwire, mentioned above for its Alabama growth, is also growing in the Indiana community of Bremen, and the South Bend Ethanol facility is expanding and adding production of renewable natural gas following its acquisition by Verbio North America Holdings. Wabash Valley Foods is growing in Dubois so that it can supply egg-based products for the Jimmie Dean brand run by Tyson Foods, among other Indiana expansions. There were some new Hoosier projects of note, too. Liberation Labs picked Richmond for a biomanufacturing facility focused on precision fermentation. To name a few more, protein bar maker 1440 Foods picked a Jeffersonville site, Conco Inc. will build ammunition containers in Scottsburg, and NOVA Chemicals plans a mechanical recycling facility in Connersville.

States with population 3 to 5 million
Nevada takes home a Silver Shovel with the help of more than $5 billion in investments. A Project of the Year is the plan for a battery recycling operation near Reno involving Redwood Materials, founded by a former Tesla executive to deal with the afterlife of decommissioned EV batteries. That’s a deal worth more than a billion dollars, bested only by the $3.6 billion expansion of Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada. Nevada has several noteworthy projects involving food, such as the Juanita’s Foods decision to make canned and frozen traditional Mexican foods in North Las Vegas, Monin Inc.’s expansion of its beverage syrup manufacturing and Bauderer Packaging’s North Las Vegas facility that’ll fill packages of snack foods. The state is also growing jobs in technology and software, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and personal protective equipment, among other sectors.

Silver Shovel winner Utah has had a big year in terms of investments, tallying some $12 billion in promises from a variety of big projects. The vast majority of that total involves one investment in Lehi, a Project of the Year from Texas Instruments. The biggest investment in Utah history, it’s a semiconductor wafer fabrication plant that’ll connect to an existing Texas Instruments fab—the two fabs together will be able to make tens of millions of chips a day. It’s hard to measure up to an $11 billion project like that, but Utah has a healthy list of other growth to be proud of. Lakeshore Learning picked Garland for a massive distribution facility to help get the company’s education materials to kids and teachers. Procter & Gamble is expanding its Box Elder facility that makes products in the company’s paper, baby care and feminine care business lines. Delta Airlines picked its Salt Lake City hub for a pilot training facility. And a number of food companies are locating or expanding in Utah, such as C&J Specialties, Utah Flour Mill and Schreiber Foods, which makes a variety of cheese products and celebrated its 50th anniversary a couple years ago by baking a Guinness World Record-winning two-ton batch of macaroni and cheese.

Arkansas is toasting its Silver Shovel win with coffee products from Westrock Coffee Co. In the biggest deal of the past year there, the company is investing more than $300 million to expand its development, production, packaging and distribution facility in Conway, which focuses on extracts and ready-to-drink products. Also expanding is Sig Sauer, adding more than 600 jobs as it grows its ammunition plant in the Arkansas community of Jacksonville. In the world of aerospace and related products, Dassault Falcon Jet is investing $100 million to expand its production facilities at the airport in Little Rock, while Raytheon and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems are building a manufacturing facility in East Camden to produce the Tamir missile for the Iron Dome Weapon System. Assorted other projects include such tasks as paper manufacturing, insurance, refrigerated warehousing and expanded production of Bad Boy Mowers products.

States with population under 3 million
Wide-ranging industries are growing in Silver Shovel winner Mississippi. Some are literally flying high, such as Hush Aerospace, maker of unmanned aerial systems that chose Tupelo to build drones, and Skydweller Aero Inc., which chose Hancock County for flight testing and aircraft modification operations for its solar powered aircraft designed to achieve perpetual flight. Raytheon, meanwhile, is growing its manufacturing center in Forest in order to produce an advanced electronic attack system that disrupts enemy technology, and the company will also make airborne radar programs. An auto-technology expansion in Mississippi is the $209 million investment by PACCAR in Columbus. Its products include many premium trucks, engines and parts. Also in Columbus, APEX Ammunition is expanding to produce more shotgun ammo and hire five dozen more people. Other projects include fishing boat manufacturing, tire and steel wheel assemblies, and wood panels.

And finally, South Dakota also earns a Silver Shovel, led by a multimillion-dollar expansion at the 3M plant in Brookings. The plant makes medical and surgical products and has been around for decades, and the $468 million expansion will add manufacturing space, warehousing and other amenities. Wilson Trailer is expanding and adding jobs, and the state is gaining jobs across a number of agricultural projects, such as High Plains Processing, Norway Pork, Redstone Dairy, SFP and Sonstegard Foods. Expansions are also happening in the manufacturing of everything from engineered trusses to RV skirts to gear for outdoors enthusiasts.


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 job-creation and investment projects announced or initiated in 2024. 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: fewer than 3 million, 3+ to 5 million, 5+ to 8 million, 8+ to 12 million, and 12+ million. The runners-up in each of the above population categories were awarded Silver Shovels. This year, just one state was awarded our Platinum Shovel award in recognition of the fact that the state went beyond the Gold standard for job creation and investment. One state also won the Green Shovel award for an overwhelming focus on Clean Tech and Renewable Energy projects.

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