Kansas Earns “Gold Shovel” Award Again

Kansas has garnered Area Development magazine’s Gold Shovel Award for the fourth year in a row.

According to Governor Laura Kelly’s Office, the latest accolade is without precedent in state history.

“Earning a fourth Gold Shovel underscores the work my administration is doing to attract business investment and increase job opportunities to continue making Kansas the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The influx of jobs in every corner of the state is providing the possibilities for young Kansans to start or expand their careers right here at home.”

Since the start of 2019, Kansas has created 1,180 new economic development projects worth more than $19 billion in private sector investment and created and retained more than 67,000 jobs statewide.

Kansas was recognized for its achievement in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs throughout the state. In 2023, there were 255 projects totaling almost $3.1 billion in private sector investment and nearly 12,000 jobs created or retained. The single largest project was Building Materials Manufacturing Corporation’s $350 million facility in Newton.

“After years of decline — and Kansans fleeing to other states in search of economic opportunity — the Kelly-Toland Administration has Kansas back on a path of growth,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Kansans in every region of our state deserved greater opportunities, and we needed a strategic plan to breathe life back into our communities. This fourth consecutive Gold Shovel is proof that our plan, the Kansas Framework for Growth, is working. Kansas has jumped from the middle of the pack to the top of the heap, establishing a new normal as a nationally recognized economic powerhouse. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure an even brighter future.”

The Framework for Growth, developed in partnership with communities, businesses, education institutions, and economic development stakeholders, focuses on five target sectors:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Aerospace
  • Distribution, Logistics and Transportation
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Professional and Technical Services

These target sectors emphasize Commerce’s focused, purposeful approach to economic development. Ninety percent of the business successes announced during the Kelly-Toland administration came from one of the target sectors.

Area Development Magazine is a publication for economic development executives involved with corporate site selection and relocation. Five states were awarded the prestigious Gold Shovel in their respective population categories, with Kansas leading the list of the states with fewer than 3 million residents.

The top 10 projects from 2023:

  Company  Location  Investment     Jobs  
  Building Materials Manufacturing  Newton  $350 million  137
  Walmart  Olathe  $257 million  667
  High Plains Ponderosa Dairy  Plains  $168 million  95
  Kiewit Corp.  Lenexa  $120 million  723
  Camso Manufacturing  Junction City  $113 million  181
  H&T Kansas  De Soto  $110 million  180
  Koch Fertilizer  Dodge City  $93 million  –
  Marvin Lumber and Cedar Co.  Kansas City  $76 million  585
  Oppidan  Olathe  $70 million  6
  Southwest Plains Dairy  Syracuse  $54 million  45