Arizona Wins Fourth Consecutive Gold Shovel Award Recognizing Significant Economic Development Efforts

LG Energy Solution’s $5.5 billion investment in Queen Creek wins “Manufacturing Project Of The Year”


PHOENIX, AZ (June 20, 2024) – Arizona today was awarded a prestigious “Gold Shovel” award from Area Development magazine in the 5-8 million population category, marking the state’s fourth consecutive gold shovel. The Shovel Awards recognize states that “garnered large job-creating and investment projects through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements, and other processes that attracted new employers as well as investments in expanded facilities.”


In addition, Area Development named LG Energy Solution’s investment in Queen Creek one of 15 “Manufacturing Projects of the Year” and one of 10 “Cleantech Projects of the Year.” In April 2023, LG Energy Solution announced plans to build a $5.5 billion battery manufacturing complex in Queen Creek, which is expected to create thousands of new jobs. Area Development also awarded Amkor, a leading provider of semiconductor packaging and test services, one of 10 “Non-Manufacturing Projects Of The Year.” Amkor is building a $2 billion semiconductor packaging and testing facility in Peoria, creating 2,000 new jobs. Once complete, Amkor’s Peoria facility will be the largest outsourced advanced packaging facility in the U.S.


Since 2007, Arizona has won six gold shovel and six silver shovel awards. Arizona’s six gold shovels have occurred all in the past eight years.



“From batteries to semiconductors, renewable energy and technology, Arizona has become the leading destination for innovation and advanced manufacturing,” said Governor Katie Hobbs. “Arizona’s record shows we can attract high tech investments and strengthen our supply chain, while supporting good-paying jobs all across our state. We are proud Arizona continues to be recognized as a top state for high-quality job creation and economic development.”

“We extend our sincere congratulations to the state of Arizona, home to our two state-of-the art battery facilities, for being acknowledged for its steadfast dedication to advancing manufacturing and clean energy projects,” said Richard Ra, President of LG Energy Solution Arizona. “As our vision for fostering a more sustainable future and generating quality manufacturing jobs comes close to a reality in the town of Queen Creek, we are grateful for everyone's assistance. We eagerly anticipate continued support for the project, including its operational infrastructure, as we establish the groundwork for its success.”

“I’m so proud that Queen Creek is part of the growing number of Arizona's advanced manufacturing projects, with LG Energy Solution Arizona leading the way as the company’s first stand-alone cylindrical and ESS battery plants in North America,” said Queen Creek Mayor Julia Wheatley. “I'd like to congratulate LG Energy Solution on this project being recognized as one of Area Development’s Manufacturing Projects of the Year and one of their Cleantech Projects of the Year. This substantial investment brings jobs, infrastructure and capital investment not only to our Queen Creek region but to the entire state of Arizona.”


“We’re honored Arizona has been recognized with a Gold Shovel award for the fourth consecutive year,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “These projects collectively represent billions in capital investment and thousands of projected new jobs in growing industries, creating economic opportunity for Arizonans statewide. We’re grateful to Governor Hobbs for her leadership and to work alongside all of our state, local and federal partners to continue growing and advancing Arizona’s economy.” 


“Eleven straight years of Gold and Silver Shovel Awards shows the relentless spirit of Greater Phoenix in building the most competitive market in the nation,” said Chris Camacho, President and CEO, Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The diversity of the operations that moved to Arizona this past year, ranging from semiconductors and clean technology to office projects, depicts the momentum driving our economy: The operating ecosystem is conducive to all. Congratulations to our partners around the state, to LG and their substantial investment in Queen Creek, and to all of our communities in building on the success.”

Area Development magazine ranks states with weighted scores based on the number of high-valued added jobs per capita, amount of investment, number of new facilities, and industry diversity.


Arizona saw economic development wins across the state in 2023, landing battery, semiconductor, renewable energy, aerospace and defense, headquarter and manufacturing projects.


In addition to LG Energy Solution, some 2023 project highlights include:

  • Amkor, a semiconductor packaging and test services provider, will build an advanced packaging and test facility in Peoria, representing a $2 billion investment and creating 2,000 jobs.
  • Applied Materials and Arizona State University will create the Materials-To-Fab Center, a world-class $270+ million shared research, development and prototyping facility in Tempe. The MTF Center will accelerate the transfer of innovations from ideation to fab prototype using Applied Materials’ semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
  • ASM, a semiconductor equipment company based in the Netherlands, will expand its North American headquarters in Scottsdale, representing a $300 million investment and creating 500 additional jobs.
  • Google broke ground on a new $600 million data center in Mesa and will use state-of-the-art technology to air cool the facility. The new Mesa data center will help power popular digital services - like Google Search, Gmail, Maps, Google Cloud, and others - for people and organizations worldwide.
  • Factor, a leading ready-to-eat meal delivery service, celebrated the grand opening of a new production center in Goodyear. The 300,100 square-foot facility will serve as the second largest industrial kitchen in the U.S. and create over 800 new jobs.
  • EVelution Energy, a U.S. electric vehicle (EV) battery materials processing company, will build a $200 million solar-powered carbon neutral cobalt sulfate production facility in Yuma County, creating 60 new jobs.
  • JA Solar, a solar cell and module manufacturer, will establish its first manufacturing facility in the U.S. in Phoenix, representing a $60 million investment and creating over 600 new jobs.
  • Republic Services, an environmental services industry leader, will relocate its corporate headquarters to Phoenix. The 240,000-square-foot sustainable facility will support 600 additional jobs.
  • Benchmark Electronics celebrated the grand opening of its new $20 million Precision Technologies facility in Mesa, creating 100 new jobs. The facility will provide engineering and manufacturing solutions and semiconductor capital equipment services.
  • Sysco, a global foodservice distribution company, broke ground on its $102 million distribution facility in Mesa, creating over 250 new jobs. The 353,600-square-foot facility is expected to be operational by 2025.
  • Rose Acre Farms broke ground on its second egg production farm in La Paz County. Representing an over $100 million investment, the farm is expected to be complete by 2026 and create an additional 150 jobs.
  • Ascent Aviation Services, an aircraft aftermarket services provider, is building two new wide-body aircraft hangars to establish a $55 million passenger-to-freighter conversion site in Marana, creating over 300 jobs.
  • Fortescue, an Australian-based green energy company, announced plans to build the company’s first green hydrogen production facility in the U.S. in Buckeye, creating 40 new jobs.
  • Clayco celebrated the grand opening of its Southwestern regional headquarters in Phoenix. The 48,000-square-foot office houses over 400 employees, which support several thousand skilled workers throughout the state.
  • Rehrig Pacific Company, an integrated sustainable solutions manufacturer, broke ground on its new injection molding manufacturing facility in Buckeye, creating over 100 new jobs.


A report on the 2024 Shovel Award winners is published in the Q2/2024 issue of Area Development and posted online at


Media Contact
Alyssa Tufts, Arizona Commerce Authority, [email protected]


About the Arizona Commerce Authority
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state's leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona's economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create - attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, visit and follow the ACA on Twitter @azcommerce.