Tennessee receives Gold Shovel Award for Economic Development
Area Development magazine picked Tennessee for a 2012 Gold Shovel Award, along with Texas, South Carolina and Utah. These states' innovative economic development policies attracted new employers in 2011, as well as catalyzing investments in facility and operating expansions by existing local businesses, driving significant in-state job growth.
Landing new investment projects is a tough job for economic development organizations — not only do they need the right combination of site characteristics, they face intense competition from other states for these critical jobs. They must sell, strategize, market, respond, and have better aces up their sleeves than their competition. They must make quick decisions because companies are calling the shots in this weak economic climate and have plenty of other places to go if they turn down their deal or if they offer a weak counterproposal. Even companies that have been in a state for years, and have everything to gain by staying, expect concessions when they are ready to expand. The annual Shovel Awards recognize 18 states that were highly successful in 2011 in marketing their attributes, building relationships with existing businesses and prospective clients, and customizing incentive packages to land big deals, often worth billions of dollars and thousands of jobs — ultimately strengthening their reputations as good places to do business.
Tennessee received a Gold Shovel award in 2009 and Silver Shovels in 2006, 2010, and 2011. Its economy is benefiting from a recovery in manufacturing, especially automotive, heavy equipment, and the food and beverage sector. Several major projects — GM in Spring Hill ($235 million, 2,350 jobs), MANN + HUMMEL USA in Dunlap ($26.7 million, 204 jobs), and NYX in Linden ($23 million, 400 jobs) — are in the works. In addition, Ireland-based C&F Group is locating a $12.5 million manufacturing facility in Kingsport, creating 450 jobs over a four-year period. The new facility will be the company’s first U.S. location.
“After comprehensive review of more than 20 locations in the southeastern U.S. and across several states, Tennessee was the obvious choice for our new location,” indicates Tom Hyland, president of C&F Manufacturing USA Inc. “The state of Tennessee, city of Kingsport, and Sullivan County were very supportive during our location analysis process.”
In the heavy equipment industry, Mitsubishi Electric Power Products is building a $200 million facility in Memphis and hiring more than 200 workers to manufacture large power transformers. “Our intention is to build the finest, most advanced transformer factory in the world, and we expect to hire the majority of the people right here in Memphis,” notes Brian Heery, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric Power Products.
Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities. They collected information from all 50 states about their top-10 job-creation and investment projects initiated in 2011 (only those projects that actually had monies invested, “broke ground,” began an expansion, started new hiring, etc. were considered). Based on a combination of weighted factors — including the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state’s population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities, the diversity of industry represented — four states achieving the highest weighted overall scores are awarded Area Development’s 2012 Gold Shovels in four population categories: 9+ million, 5+ to 9 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners up in each of these population categories are awarded 2012 Silver Shovels.
Source: Area Development