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Economic Development

Posted on: July 29, 2014

Georgia Got the Shovel !!

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Presented by: Area Development Magazine Special Presentation (Q2 2014)

Relationships & a Cooperative Environment Make Georgia #2

2014 Gold Shovel Awards: Excellence in State Job Creation and Economic Development Efforts

Winning economic development projects is hard work. Having the right combination of site selection factors isn’t enough these days — with tough competition from other states and even other countries. Making a company’s short list really depends on the location’s marketing skills, truly understanding the needs of the prospect, and being able to quickly customize incentives packages to make a winning offer. Above all, successful states take the time to develop relationships — sometimes years in the making — with industries, companies, and location consultants. This also means following up with companies to see how they are doing, or if they have any specific needs or concerns — long after groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting.

Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize individual states for their economic development prowess. In this feature we honor 20 states for their achievements in 2013 in garnering company investment and job creation. These states and communities understand economic development. Their governors and legislatures work tirelessly to improve infrastructure, reduce taxes, provide reasonable incentives, and — most of all — establish a cooperative business environment that creates sustainable, good-paying jobs for future generations.

2014 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States:

South Carolina

2014 Silver Shovel Awards

15+ Million Population Category
New York

8 to 15 Million Population Category
New Jersey
North Carolina

5 to 8 Million Population Category

3 to 5 Million Population Category

Under 3 Million Population Category

2014 Gold Shovel Awards: Projects of the Year

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


Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities. We collected information from all 50 states about their top-10 job-creation and investment projects initiated in 2013 (only those projects that actually had monies invested, “broke ground,” began an expansion, started new hiring, etc. were considered). Based on a combination of weighted factors — including the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state’s population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities, the diversity of industry represented — five states achieving the highest weighted overall scores are awarded Area Development’s 2014 Gold Shovels in five population categories: 15+ million, 8+ to 15 million, 5+ to 8 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners up in each of these population categories are awarded 2014 Silver Shovels.

Georgia — 8 to 15 Million Population Category
Building on a strong year in 2013, Georgia’s economy is expected to outperform the national economy in 2014. Thanks to a diverse economy that includes both traditional and knowledge-based industries, the state’s inflation-adjusted GDP is projected to grow 3 percent next year, with a 1.8 percent increase in jobs. The automotive industry is a key employer in the state. Almost one quarter of the East Coast’s automotive-related exports come from Georgia (valued at nearly $10 billion per year). Over the last few years, auto manufacturers have invested $5.2 billion in their operations within the state. Major manufacturers include General Motors, Honda, Kia, Porsche, and Toyota — all of which are supported by an expanding supplier network. For example, Inalfa Roof Systems, a provider of vehicle roofing systems, is building a $17.1 million manufacturing plant in Cherokee County, resulting in 300 new jobs. The facility will build components for major OEMs like Hyundai, Kia, Ford, General Motors, Volvo, Chrysler Group, and BMW Group.

Georgia is also well known for its IT sector. The state has one of the fastest-growing information-technology markets in the country, with nearly 200,000 workers. Recent announcements include digital media company Medient, which is developing a $90 million movie and game production facility in Effingham County, creating at least 250 jobs. AirWatch, a leader in mobility technology and security, is expanding its headquarters in Atlanta, creating 800 jobs and investing more than $4 million in new equipment. The expansion is scheduled for completion in 2015.

“We expect to double our size by combining innovative mobile technology and exceptional talent with the state’s economic development resources,” states AirWatch Chairman Alan Dabbiere. “AirWatch and other software companies are playing a critical role in attracting new businesses to the region and solidifying Atlanta as a leading technology player.”

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