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2008 Top Deals & Hot Markets

The Winds of Change Keep Blowing in the South

Last year's headline of this annually published piece was "There are Changes in the Wind." The winds of change continue regarding successful economic development in the South. Two massive hurricanes, Katrina and Rita (late summer 2005), did more damage to three Deep South states than probably any two natural disasters in U.S. history.

As you know, south Louisiana was hammered, as was south Mississippi. South Alabama got a swipe, but it wasn't your typical just miss. Damage in south Alabama was substantial from the hurricane known as the one that changed New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast forever. And let's not forget what Rita did to the western Gulf Coast area of Louisiana. Lake Charles is still rebuilding from the Rita hurricane and is doing it in fine fashion.

Today we are just about three years past those two terrible disasters. Are things right in New Orleans and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast? Nope, but they are better. Yet, there's plenty of work to be done. But in the way we rank our annual SB&D 100, there's something right about deals going down in the Deep South, particularly the three states that were affected so much by the hurricanes of 2005.

Chart No. 1

*Total Points Earned by Southern States - 2008 SB&D 100

State

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. Tennessee
5. Virginia
6. Louisiana
7. Missouri
8. Mississippi
9. North Carolina
10. Kentucky
11. South Carolina
12. Georgia
13. Kansas
14. Maryland
15. Oklahoma
16. Arkansas
17. West Virginia

Points

685
330
325
290
250
225
205
190
185
175
165
150
130
120
75
60
40

* Ten points are earned for a project that makes either the SB&D Job or Investment 100 and five points are awarded for projects that make the Just Missed Deals lists on both the job and investments lists.

State Performances

Of the 17 Southern states we cover, the only three we are officially recognizing in the 2008 SB&D 100 are the Deep South states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Those three states really have it going right now. The three states also stand at the top of our state per capita ranking (points per million residents), something we place supreme importance on when giving credit to yearly economic development accomplishments.

In the 15-year history of the SB&D 100, there has always been a Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, South Carolina or Kentucky recognized in the top three states for economic development performance. Not this year.

Is it not interesting that the three states with the best performance in economic development in 2007 (2008 SB&D 100) are the three states that suffered so much in the hurricane season of 2005? They are, in short, the "Katrina states" and to come back as quickly as they have is not just a coincidence. Rebuilding, especially when federal money such as that found in the Go-Zone Act (a federal incentive initiative to rebuild and bring jobs to areas affected by the hurricane season of 2005) is available, speaks volumes about what incentives really mean to expanding business and industry that are ready and willing to invest and hire.

2008 SB&D 100 Total Points Per Million Residents

State

1. Alabama
2. Mississippi
3. Louisiana
4. Kansas
5. Tennessee
6.  Kentucky
7.  South Carolina
8. Missouri
9. Virginia
10. Texas
11. West Virginia
12. Maryland
13. Arkansas
14. North Carolina
15. Oklahoma
16. Florida
17. Georgia

Total PPM*

71.77
65.71
52.44
48.74
47.54
41.27
37.54
34.92
32.43
28.66
22.09
21.35
21.27
20.55
20.43
17.80
15.79

*PPM = Points from new and expanded deals per million residents in each state.

How We Rank States and Markets

It should be noted that the SB&D 100 is not a survey of executives who choose which markets they believe are the most attractive in the South. The Hot Markets report ranks states, mega-markets (over 3 million in population), major markets (750,000-2.99 million), mid-markets (250,000-749,999) and small markets (under 249,999), based on the number of corporate and industrial job and investment announcements they successfully attract that feature 200 or more jobs and/or $30 million or more in investment.

We simply count how many deals each state or market turns and each deal is given five or 10 points, depending on the size of the project. If the project ranks as one of the 100-largest job or investment deals announced in the South during the year, it earns 10 points for that state and/or market. If the deal is 200 jobs or more, and/or $30 million or more in investment, but does not make either "100," then five points is awarded.

State Category

State of the Year: Alabama, 330 Points –
No. 1 in Points per Million Residents

The state of Alabama's economic development performance over the last six years is simply remarkable. We have named Alabama "State of the Year" five of the last six years. In 2007, Louisiana won "State of the Year" honors, ending a four-year Alabama "State of the Year" run. We did give Alabama an Honorable Mention last year. Alabama and North Carolina won co-"State of the Year" honors in 2005 and 2006 and Alabama earned the title alone in 2003 and 2004.

Alabama is again being named "State of the Year" in the 2008 SB&D 100 and this year they are not sharing it with any other Southern state. Not only did Alabama top the list of states in the critically important points per million residents ranking they out pointed every other Southern state but Texas straight up.

For the sixth-straight year, Alabama led all Southern states in points per million residents and again turned the "Deal of the Year," in ThyssenKrupp.

For fear of being labeled a "homer" since our main office is located in Birmingham, we considered "retiring the Alabama jersey" by putting the state in the SB&D 100 Hall of Fame. But we don't have a Hall of Fame. We also thought about making it a rule that once a state wins "State of the Year" five times, it's ineligible to win it again. But, we can’t do that. It wouldn’t be fair. So, its Alabama again and there are no questions in our mind that they didn’t earn “State of the Year” once again.

Notable Alabama Deals in 2007

 

ThyssenKrupp
National Ala.
Hyundai

Jobs

2,700
1,800
522

Investment

$3.7 Billion
$350 Million
$270 Million

Honorable Mention: Mississippi, 190 Points
No. 2 in Points per Million Residents

Mississippi had a great year in 2007, earning an Honorable Mention in this, the 2008 SB&D 100. It's the first time we have recognized Mississippi since 2002. But don't let that lack of recognition over the last six years fool you about the Magnolia State. Certain regions of Mississippi have done incredibly well on a consistent basis over the years, particularly areas of the state near Memphis, the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Jackson has had a couple of great years since we began this ranking in 1993.

In 2007, two places helped carry Mississippi to its lofty perch in the 2008 SB&D 100: Columbus and Tupelo, Miss. Some of the most impressive deals announced in the South were turned in those two areas of the state.

One thing we already knew about the Magnolia State that many others around the world discovered for the first time in 2007, is that collectively the Mississippi Development Authority, local economic developers in Mississippi and Gov. Haley Barbour, make up some of if not the best economic development talent in all of the South. You will be hard pressed to find better talent from top to bottom in economic development than what you will find in Mississippi.

In 2007, Mississippi landed the second most important prize in the entire South in Toyota, which is building its latest auto assembly plant near Tupelo. The foreign automotive industry has found Mississippi attractive like no other state in the Southern Automotive Corridor, other than Alabama of course.

The next step for Mississippi is the step Alabama has already taken: diversification that an industry like the automotive sector brings to a state when it invests so heavily. In the immediate future, look for Mississippi to turn deals from industry sectors it has never really competed for in the past. That's what has happened in Alabama and if history repeats itself, Mississippi will continue to be discovered by all kinds of foreign and domestic companies as a result of huge investments made by Toyota and Nissan in recent years.

Notable Mississippi Deals in 2007

 

Toyota
PACCAR
Toyota Boshoku

Jobs

2,000
500
500

Investment

$1.5 Billion
$348 Million
$80 Million

Honorable Mention: Louisiana, 225 Points
No. 3 in Points per Million Residents

Completing the trio of great economic development performances in 2007 is Louisiana. You know, just 10 years ago, if the national and international media reported that Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were "leading the South" in economic development in any given year, most reading that statement would have thought the media outlets had lost their minds. Even today the uninformed continue to describe the Deep South as "backwater," or worse yet, "dirt poor" or "stuck in the 19th century."

Sure, the Deep South has its challenges, but all states in the South have been faced with daunting economic and social issues for decades. Don't forget that it wasn't but a couple of generations ago that Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia were considered "backwards" socially and economically. Today those states are as socially and economically diverse as any in the country. 

Economic development is like any other business. Those who see opportunities first almost always win. It’s now clear to us that opportunities in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi for new, relocating and expanding industry are at an all-time high. The numbers don't lie.

And the numbers from Louisiana continue to set records as that state not only is plowing new ground, it is benefiting from all the hard work politicos, economic developers and other leaders have invested in the state. Louisiana, with 225 points and a third place finish in our PPM ranking, gets our vote for the final Honorable Mention spot.

Notable Louisiana Deals in 2007

 

Transcarbon
NASA Ares I
LC Cogeneration

Jobs

200
120
175

Investment

$1.6 Billion
$1.1 Billion
$1.3 Billion

Mega Markets (3 Million or more Residents)

Baltimore-D.C.-Northern Virginia: Mega Market of the Year, 185 Points

This region, the South's largest with over 8 million residents, jockeys just about every year with Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston for the top spot in the mega market category. Last year, St. Louis won “Mega Market of the Year” and that was a first. Houston tied St. Louis last year. Usually though, it is Dallas-Fort Worth or the D.C. region at the top and this year is no exception. Read our Bonus Issue that is mailed out with this issue and discover which place in the entire South has turned more deals of 200 or more jobs over the last 15 years. It's Fairfax County, Va., located in the D.C. region.

Notable Baltimore-D.C.-Northern Virginia Deals in 2007

 

Morgan Stanley
Volkswagen
Terremark

Jobs

900
401
250

Investment

N/A
$118 Million
$270 Million

Houston: Honorable Mention, 115 Points

Notable Houston Deals in 2007

 

Fluor
Lockheed
Shintech

Jobs

1,000
353
130

Investment

N/A
$168 Million
$800 Million

Dallas-Fort Worth: Honorable Mention, 105 Points

Notable D/FW Deals in 2007

 

Maxim Integrated
PRC
Metro PCS

Jobs

1,000
530
400

Investment

$138
N/A
N/A

Major Markets (750,000-2.999 Million)

San Antonio: Major Market of the Year, 90 Points

This is San Antonio's second "Major Market of the Year" honor and it has received an "Honorable Mention" several times, including last year. San Antonio's economy is as diverse as any in the South with aviation/aerospace, automotive and financial services leading the way. Of course San Antonio is a destination market for tourism.

Notable San Antonio Deals in 2007

 

Accenture LLP
Wachovia Corp.
Microsoft

Jobs

650
600
75

Investment

$31 Million
N/A
$550 Million

New Orleans: Honorable Mention, 80 Points

Notable New Orleans Deals in 2007

 

Transcarbon
NASA Ares I
Federal City

Jobs

200
120
2,500

Investment

$1.6 Billion
$1.1 Billion
$160 Million

Kansas City: Honorable Mention, 65 Points

Notable Kansas City Deals in 2007

 

Prescription Sol 
Cerner Corp.
Cerner Corp.

Jobs

1,150
600
300

Investment

$26 Million
$30 Million
$52 Million

Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point: Honorable Mention, 65 Points

Notable Piedmont Triad Deals in 2007

 

Skybus Airlines
RF Micro
Honda Aircraft

Jobs

375
350
283

Investment

$250 Million
$118 Million
$110 Million

Charlotte: Honorable Mention, 65 Points

Notable Charlotte Deals in 2007

 

The Shaw Group
ATI Allvac
Delta T Corp.

Jobs

556
125
331

Investment

$35 Million
$210 Million
$4 Million

Nashville: Honorable Mention, 55 Points

Notable Nashville Deals in 2007

 

Mars
Affiliated Comp
GM

Jobs

450
372
N/A

Investment

$56 Million
N/A
$900 Million

Austin-Round Rock: Honorable Mention, 55 Points

Notable Austin-Round Rock Deals in 2007

 

Blizzard Entertain
Citicorp
Toyota

Jobs

500
30
N/A

Investment

N/A
$450 Million
$413 Million

Tulsa: Honorable Mention, 45 Points

Notable Tulsa Deals in 2007

 

Gannett
Coca-Cola
Shaw Group

Jobs

500
300
300

Investment

$10 Million
$5 Million
$2 Million

Birmingham: Honorable Mention, 45 Points

Notable Birmingham Deals in 2007

 

Infinity Insurance
AT&T
Surgical Care

Jobs

500
367
225

Investment

$5 Million
$4 Million
$6 Million

Mid Markets (250,000-749,999)

Mobile, Ala.: Mid Market of the Year, 65 Points

It doesn't get much better than this for Mobile, Ala. The south Alabama metro, the second largest in Alabama, turned the deal of the year in ThyssenKrupp, a $3.7 billion, 2,700-employee steel plant that is now under construction just north of Mobile. It followed up that deal in 2008 with the Northrop Grumman and EADS joint venture project that will assemble next generation refueling tanker airplanes. That project could be named next year's deal of the year. Ship building, primary metals and aviation and aerospace have taken off in the Mobile region.

Notable Mobile Deals in 2007

 

ThyssenKrupp
Austal USA
Berg Steel 

Jobs

2,700
400
100

Investment

$3.7 Billion
$34 Million
$75 Million

Huntsville, Ala.: Honorable Mention, 55 Points

Notable Huntsville Deals in 2007

 

Sanmina-SCI
Booz Allen Hamil
Boeing  

Jobs

1,000
415
400

Investment

$3.7 Billion
$34 Million
$75 Million

Baton Rouge, La.: Honorable Mention, 55 Points

Notable Baton Rouge Deals in 2007

 

Staples
Placid Refinery
Shintech

Jobs

400
25
150

Investment

$10 Million
$200 Million

$900

Little Rock, Ark.: Honorable Mention, 35 Points

Notable Little Rock Deals in 2007

 

LM Glasfiber 
Welspun
Dassault Falcon Jet

Jobs

1,000
300
200

Investment

N/A
$100 Million
$20 Million

Tri-Cities, Tenn.: Honorable Mention, 35 Points

Notable Tri-Cities Deals in 2007

 

Eastman Chem 
Borla Industries
Vifan USA

Jobs

N/A
200
50

Investment

$1.3 Billion
$2 Million
$70 Million

Montgomery, Ala.: Honorable Mention, 35 Points

Notable Montgomery Deals in 2007

 

Hyundai
ER Solutions
TWB

Jobs

522
300
65

Investment

$270 Million
N/A
$38 Million

Charleston, S.C.: Honorable Mention, 35 Points

Notable Charleston Deals in 2007

 

IQOR
DuPont 
Mediterranean

Jobs

500
100
200

Investment

$4 Million
$500 Million
$7 Million

Charleston, W.Va.: Honorable Mention, 35 Points

Notable Charleston Deals in 2007

 

Charleston Stamp
Kureha Corp.
Weatherford 

Jobs

550
N/A

160

Investment

$36 Million
$100 Million
$68 Million

Laredo, Tex.: Honorable Mention, 30 Points

Notable Laredo Deals in 2007

 

Eagle Cooper
Grupo IUSA

Jobs

260
200

Investment

$100 Million
$100 Million

Small Markets (Under 249,999)

Tupelo, Miss.: Small Market of the Year, 55 Points

Tupelo and the northeast Mississippi region had a memorable year in 2007. Toyota picked a site in nearby Blue Springs, Miss. for its latest plant in the Southern Auto Corridor (www.SouthernAutoCorridor.com) and landed some very impressive parts suppliers for the plant, too. Tupelo has had many great years in its economic development history, but 2007 may have been the best ever.

Notable Tupelo Deals in 2007

 

Toyota
Toyota Boshoku

Auto Parts Mfg.

Jobs

2,000
500
400

Investment

$1.5 Billion
$80 Million

$200 Million

LaGrange, Ga.: Honorable Mention, 40 Points

Notable LaGrange Deals in 2007

 

Hyundai Mobis
Sejong Georgia 

Sewon Precision

Jobs

600
250
700

Investment

$60 Million
$28 Million

$170 Million

Victoria, Tex.: Honorable Mention, 40 Points

Notable Victoria Deals in 2007

 

Lone Star Ethanol
StarTek USA 

NuCoastal

Jobs

90
383
N/A

Investment

$175 Million
$10 Million

$60 Million

Columbus, Miss.: Honorable Mention, 35 Points

Notable Columbus Deals in 2007

 

Eurocopter 
PACCAR

Griffin

Jobs

14
500
375

Investment

$35 Million
$348 Million

N/A

Shoals Region of Alabama: Honorable Mention, 25 Points

Notable Shoals Deals in 2007

 

National Ala.
SCA Tissue

Jobs

1,800
30

Investment

$350 Million
$151 Million

Gainesville, Fla.: Honorable Mention, 25 Points

Notable Gainesville Deals in 2007

 

Electro Energy
Florida Rock

Jobs

400
176

Investment

$40 Million
$130 Million


    
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