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Alabama wins Silver Shovel award for economic development


MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Area Development, an economic development-focused publication, awarded Alabama a Silver Shovel for solid business recruitment and support in 2016, keeping alive a winning streak stretching back a decade.

In announcing the award, Area Development noted that Alabama’s economic development team continues to build on a proven track record of success.

“It’s almost like a stuck record in Alabama, but it’s playing beautiful music that economic development officials will never tire of hearing,” the publication says. “Automotive and aerospace manufacturing continues to drive healthy economic activity, enough for yet another Silver Shovel honor covering the news from 2016.”

Area Development’s Gold and Silver Awards recognize the overall economic development effectiveness of state economic development efforts. Alabama has won one of the awards each year since 2006, when it won a Gold Shovel. It won another Gold in 2012 and three Silver awards in the years since then.

“This award confirms once again that Alabama is one of the most attractive locations in the U.S. for business expansion and job-creating investment,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.

“It’s a priority of my administration to position Alabama for the kind of sustained economic growth that opens new opportunities for our hard-working citizens and declares to the world that Alabama is open for business,” she added.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange welcomes Gerhardi at a groundbreaking ceremony in Montgomery. (Contributed)

Growth engines

Area Development pointed to a “combination of good victories” in the auto manufacturing sector that will spur growth in Alabama. It noted that the state’s top five 2016 auto projects, from companies that include Lear, Gerhardi and MollerTech, involve 1,400 anticipated jobs.“Good automotive news keeps building upon itself,” the publication says.

Area Development also said the aerospace industry is elevating its growth in Alabama, with major expansions from companies such as Boeing Co., which is adding 470 jobs to its substantial state presence, and UTC Aerospace, which is adding 260 jobs in Foley.

“Four more top projects are flying in from the aerospace and aviation technologies industry, led by Boeing’s plans in Huntsville,” Area Development notes. “It’s part of a restructuring of its Strategic Defense & Intelligence System division that will transfer some jobs in and potentially create more, according to company officials.

“Altogether, the top aviation/aerospace-related projects will add a thousand jobs to the state’s economic picture.”

Accelerating an ‘evolution’

The state’s 2016 economic development results are outlined in the Alabama Department of Commerce’s New & Expanding Industry Report, released earlier this year. The report provides a detailed look at 405 projects recorded in the state during a solid year of business recruitment and support.

The UTC Aerospace Systems facility in Foley is expanding to serve Airbus’ A320 Family assembly line in Mobile, creating 260 jobs. (Contributed)

“Alabama’s economic development team is committed to creating high-caliber, technology-based jobs in strategic industry sectors that we believe will flourish in the future and accelerate an evolution in the state’s economy,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Winning the Silver Shovel award for the fourth consecutive year shows that we are on the right track,” he said.

Since 2012, economic development activity in Alabama has attracted $24.5 billion in investment and almost 90,000 jobs, according to Commerce Department figures. Exact totals for 2016 were $4.199 billion in capital investment and 14,707 new and future jobs.

Alabama joined Utah, Iowa and South Carolina in claiming Silver Shovel awards given to states with populations between 3 million and 5 million residents.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

 Jerry Underwood for Made in Alabama | © 2017,

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