NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday that Business Facilities, a leading national publication focused on site selection and economic development, has named Tennessee its 2014 State of the Year for a second consecutive year.
Tennessee becomes the first state in the award’s history to win back-to-back honors for economic development efforts and the first state to win the designation three times, winning in 2014, 2013 and 2009.
“It is an honor to be the first state to receive this recognition two years in a row,” Haslam said. “We have a great story to tell in Tennessee. Businesses continue to make the decision to locate, expand and grow here, and we are grateful for those strong partnerships. We will continue doing all we can to make sure we offer an attractive business climate and skilled workforce to be the No.1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
Some of Tennessee’s top economic development projects in 2014 included Volkswagen Group of America’s Chattanooga expansion creating 2,000 jobs with an investment of $600 million, Under Armour’s new Mount Juliet fulfillment center creating 1,500 jobs with an investment of more than $100 million, SL Tennessee’s Clinton expansion creating 1,000 jobs with an $80.5 million investment and Conduit Global’s new Memphis call center creating 1,000 jobs with an $8 million investment.
“Being named first of 50 states for economic development for two consecutive years underscores the effectiveness of the new operating model we’ve deployed in Tennessee – one whose success is enhanced through our field network and through close coordination with our local partners,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “Our historic wins validate the incredible momentum, fierce competitiveness and promising future that Tennessee possesses and emphasizes our intense focus on recruiting expanding and new companies.
“More and more business leaders around the world are recognizing that Tennessee is the best location and smartest choice for successful business operations. I am very proud of our department and our statewide partners who have worked tirelessly to drive us toward the goal of being No. 1. Brand Tennessee continues its meteoric rise,” Hagerty added.
The magazine cited Tennessee’s successful execution of a diversified growth strategy, as well as an emphasis on infrastructure and education, as key factors in securing consecutive victories.
“Tennessee is one of a handful of states that have clearly made economic development priority No. 1,” Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers said. “With a powerhouse automotive cluster, world-class infrastructure and the nation’s most improved education system, we could be looking at a State of the Year dynasty in the making.”
“We thought it would be hard for the Volunteer State to match last year’s performance, but the folks in Tennessee keep reeling in one mega-project after another,” Rogers said. “Most impressive, Tennessee seemed to pick up momentum as they went along.”
Tennessee has also fared well in Business Facilities’ annual rankings report, finishing first in the “Education: Race to the Top” category, second in “Best Infrastructure” and being named the top state for “Automotive Manufacturing Strength” for four of the past five years.
“For two years in a row, Tennessee has notched one of the strongest across-the-board showings in our annual State Rankings Report,” Rogers added.