Alabama earns “Gold Shovel Award” for economic development

Gold Shovel
Shamrock Investments broke ground at the Runway Distribution Center at Jetplex Industrial Park, Huntsville International Airport. The 208,000-square-foot building will bring Shamrock’s total square footage at Jetplex Industrial Park to over 470,000 square feet. Photo via City of Huntsville, Alabama – Government on Facebook

If the state of Alabama had a trophy case for economic development accolades and awards, it would likely run out of room. Earlier this week, Area Development, a prominent national business publication, selected Alabama for its Gold Shovel Award, recognizing the state’s economic development success in the manufacturing sector.

The state earned the honor because it relentlessly attracted new facilities and expansion projects totaling nearly $5 billion in new capital investment in 2020.

“This Gold Shovel award is a testament to Alabama’s skillful workforce and to the pro-business environment that makes out state such an attractive location for investment,” Governor Kay Ivey said in response to the national recognition. “High-performing companies from all over the world have discovered that they can find all the competitive advantages they need to succeed with their growth projects right here in Sweet Home Alabama.”

Gold Shovel Projects

Governor Ivy Breaks Ground With Costal Growers At Site Of New Peanut Facility
Breaking ground in Atmore, Alabama. Photo via Alabama Department of Commerce

According to Area Development, several 2020 economic development projects helped Alabama receive the Gold Shovel-Manufacturing honor. They include:

  • Steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal announced a $775 million project to add an electric arc furnace facility at the mill it operates with Nippon Steel in Calvert, near Mobile. The AM/NS Calvert project will create 200 jobs and expand production at the site.
  • Mazda Toyota Manufacturing revealed plans for an additional $830 million investment at its assembly plant in Huntsville that will begin production later this year. Total investment at the plant now tops $2.3 billion, and it will employ up to 4,000 workers.
  • Cullman-based HomTex, a maker of household linens, shifted gears during the pandemic to launch a project that will create 300 jobs in Selma, where it will manufacture 3-ply and N-95 face masks.

Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize the overall effectiveness of economic development efforts in states across the nation. Here is the complete report.

This is the third time Alabama won a Gold Shovel from the magazine. The state also claimed a Gold Shovel Award in 2013 and in 2019.

“The chief goal of Alabama’s economic development team is to help spark the creation of jobs and opportunity throughout the state by strategically focusing on industries with solid long-term growth prospects,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.“Winning another Gold Shovel Award demonstrates that our team is executing on this plan and delivering results that make a difference for the state and its hard-working citizens,” he added.

Alabama Is On a Roll

Mazda Toyota
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle at the unveiling of the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing. Photo via Mayor Tommy Battle on Facebook

This is the second 2020 economic development  honor given to Alabama in 2021. Earlier this year, Site Selection magazine ranked Alabama in its Top 10 annual Governor’s Cups analysis.

Want to learn more about the businesses Alabama brought into the state in 2020?  Check out the Alabama Department of Commerce’s comprehensive “New & Expanding Industry Report,” released earlier this year. The report provides a detailed look at 220 projects recorded in the state during a record-setting year of business recruitment and support.

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Pat Byington
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