Tennessee Is BF’s 2013 State Of The Year

Credit: The Tennessean

Tennessee has been named Business Facilities’ 2013 State of the Year.

The Volunteer State, which also won the magazine’s top honor in 2009, joins Texas as the only multiple winner in the annual competition since the award was created in 2007 (the Lone Star State won in 2012 and 2007). Runners-up in the 2013 competition were Utah, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

“Tennessee continues to impress us with its aggressive execution of a diversified growth strategy,” said BF Editor in Chief Jack Rogers. “The state has put in place a solid foundation for robust job creation for years to come.”

Tennessee nailed down the 2013 crown with a solid mix of top projects that created 6,900 jobs and lured millions in investments from overseas producers for new and expanded U.S. manufacturing facilities. The state snared the top prize from South Korea, tire producer Hankook’s first U.S. plant, an $800-million investment that will bring 1,850 jobs to Clarksville-Montgomery County over the next five years.

The Hankook Tire plant is one of a series of recent developments that have reinforced Tennessee’s status as BF‘s top-ranked state for Automotive Manufacturing Strength, a crown it’s held for four consecutive years. Nissan added 900 workers in Smyrna, TN to produce the popular Rogue SUV crossover; Alcoa is pouring $276 million to double capacity at its Blount County facility to meet growing demand for aluminum sheet in the automotive sector.

Tennessee’s burgeoning automotive sector includes 910 companies, employs more than 113,000 workers and has an economic impact of more than $31 billion. “The Hankook and Alcoa commitments show that Tennessee is building a world-class supplier network to fuel the steady growth of its automotive assembly operations,” Rogers noted.

Other recent developments point to Tennessee’s success in diversifying its growth sectors: Eastman Chemicals is doubling down on its Kingsport, TN operation with a $1.6-billion investment; in Nashville, ARAMARK is opening a new facility that will create 1,500 jobs while Swiss-based UBS is adding 1,000 jobs to its existing operation.

Rogers said the Volunteer State’s strong across-the-board showing in BF‘s 2013 State and Metro Rankings Reports also factored into its State of the Year triumph. In addition to retaining its automotive crown, Tennessee notched top 10 finishes in Best Business Climate, Best Infrastructure, Renewable Energy Leaders (Power Generation) and Best Education Climate. Memphis, TN was our top-ranked air cargo hub and finished in the top 10 for Lowest Cost of Living.

Tennessee earned BF‘s 2009 State of the Year honors after landing some of the most hotly contested economic development projects of the past decade, including Volkswagen’s decision to put its new North American assembly facility in Chattanooga and $3 billion worth of investments in plants to produce polysilicon, the raw material used in solar panels and semiconductors.

Business Facilities is a national publication focused on site selection and economic development.