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Area Development’s Silver Shovel Awards Recognize 2019 State and Local Economic Development Efforts including ST Engineering Aerospace Airport Expansion

by FloridaWest News




Northwest Florida Where Deals Get Done

Area Development, the leading publication covering site selection and facility planning, recently recognized 17 states with its Gold & Silver Shovel awards. Silver Shovel winner Florida celebrated several projects in 2019, most notably the expansion at ST Engineering Aerospace (VTMAE) at the Pensacola International Airport, a project tallying more than 1,300 new jobs.

While the current COVID-19 crisis may alter or put on “pause” some of these projects, the Annual Shovel awards recognize states and local economic development agencies that garnered large job-creating and investment projects over the course of the previous year through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements, and other processes that attract new employers as well as investments in expanded facilities. The awards are presented annually to the states that have achieved the most success in terms of new job creation and company investment.

Each of the 50 states was invited by Area Development to submit information about its top-10 job creation and investment projects. Only those projects that began to materialize in 2019 were considered. The Shovel Awards are given to the states with the highest weighted scores based on the number of high-valued added jobs per capita, amount of investment, number of new facilities, and industry diversity.

States are compared only to others in their population tier. This year, Silver Shovels are being awarded to Florida (12+ million); Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio (8+ to 12 million); Arizona and Missouri (5+ to 8 million); Kentucky, Louisiana, and Oklahoma (3+ to 5 million population); and Kansas and Nebraska (3 million or fewer population).

Silver Shovel Awards are not won easily. Hard work, tenacity and shared vision – combined with the unique Triumph Gulf Coast incentive fund – powered ST Engineering Aerospace’s expansion in Pensacola. This transformational project would not have been possible without the commitment from ST Engineering and the many partners who saw it through.

 A report on the 2020 Shovel Award winners is published in the Q2/2020 issue of Area Development and posted online at