6 projects that helped Arizona earn ‘Gold Shovel’ award

Above: Intel announced in March a $20 billion investment to build two new semiconductor fabrication facilities. Real Estate | 14 Jun |

Arizona was awarded a prestigious “Gold Shovel” award from Area Development Magazine, a leading site selection publication, for the state’s “success in terms of new job creation and company capital investment” in 2020. In addition, TSMC’s announced $12 billion investment to build a semiconductor fabrication facility in Phoenix was named one of six “Manufacturing Projects of the Year.”

Arizona saw economic development wins across the state in 2020, even against the context of a global pandemic. In addition to TSMC, the 2020 projects include:


READ ALSO: TSMC brings 1,600 jobs to Arizona with new $12B factory


• Global Energy Solutions, a producer of lithium-battery supply chain materials that announced a new facility in Eloy, resulting in 176 projected new jobs and $101 million in capital investment;

• Commercial Metals Company, which is investing more than $300 million to build a state-of-the-art steel producing facility in Mesa. The facility’s advanced technology will make it one of the most efficient and environmentally-friendly in the world, while employing more than 180 people;

• PMG Companies, which is opening an advanced manufacturing plant in Lake Havasu, resulting in more than 260 jobs and a $20 million investment;

• Ball Corporation (Red Bull), which is building a manufacturing facility in Glendale leading to the creation of 145 jobs and more than $235 million in investment;

And Zoom Communications, which will establish a technology hub in Phoenix with 250 employees and a $11 million investment.

Arizona’s Gold Shovel selection is the state’s third, while the state has previously received seven Silver Shovel awards.

“Arizona has built up incredible economic momentum in recent years, especially when it comes to technology and advanced manufacturing,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “As we emerge from the pandemic with one of the fastest recoveries in the nation, that momentum has only increased. I applaud Sandra Watson, the Arizona Commerce Authority and all the hardworking entrepreneurs, employees and economic development professionals around the state for this exciting recognition.”

Even before the Gold Shovel award, Arizona made global headlines in May 2020 as the site of TSMC’s new semiconductor fab, which will create over 1,600 new high-tech jobs and generate thousands of additional jobs for suppliers and companies within the semiconductor industry. The investment is the largest foreign direct investment project in the state’s history.

“Just over one year ago, we announced our intention to bring the most advanced semiconductor process technology that is currently available in the world to the United States, and Arizona was the chosen site. Today, construction is underway and we are on track to start volume production of 5nm technology in 2024,” said Rick Cassidy, CEO and President of TSMC Arizona. “This Arizona fab is of critical, strategic importance to both our company strategy, as well as a thriving and competitive U.S. semiconductor ecosystem. We are confident that this new TSMC Arizona facility will be successful with continued strong partnership with the State of Arizona.”

“We’re honored Arizona has been recognized with a third Gold Shovel award,” said Sandra Watson, President & CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Each successful project is the result of close collaboration with our regional and local partners across the state, and truly is a team effort. We look forward to continue working relentlessly to bring more economic opportunity to Arizona.”

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 2020 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.

According to the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), Arizona will add nearly 550,000 jobs by 2029 for an annualized job growth rate of 1.6% — four times the U.S. growth rate.

Arizona is already off to a fast start in 2021. Recent announcements include:

• ElectraMeccanica, a Canadian designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles, broke ground in May on its first U.S. based assembly facility and engineering technical center in Mesa. Part of an investment of over $35 million, the facility will create up to 500 jobs.

• Intel announced in March a $20 billion investment to build two new semiconductor fabrication facilities. The investment will create 3,000 new jobs, 3,000 construction jobs and support about 15,000 additional indirect jobs.

• Li-Cycle, the largest lithium-ion battery recycler in North America, announced in April it will build its third commercial lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Gilbert.

• UACJ WhiteHall, announced in March it selected Flagstaff for it’s new auto parts plant, creating up to 120 jobs in the next year.

• Shambaugh & Sons announced in May an 84,000 sq. ft. fabrication facility in Kingman will deliver over 20,000 individual sprinkler pipe per week.

• CIS Global, a manufacturer of linear motion slides and power distribution products, announced plans in May to expand its headquarters in Tucson, bringing 100 jobs.

A report on the 2021 Shovel Award winners is published in the Q2/2021 issue of Area Development and posted online at www.areadevelopment.com/shovels

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