The DRIVE! region’s "powerhouse" automotive industry helped Tennessee earn Business Facilities magazine’s State of the Year designation for the second year running, and the third time in five years.
And the national magazine’s editor says it’s shaping up to be an annual event.
“Tennessee is one of a handful of states that have clearly made economic development priority No. 1,” said Jack Rogers, editor-in-chief of the publication, which focuses on site selection and economic development nationwide. “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.”
Volkswagen Group of America’s Chattanooga expansion tops the list of economic development projects for 2014, with plans to create 2,000 jobs with an investment of $600 million.
The automotive cluster was also cited in Business Facilities’ annual rankings report, where Tennessee was named the top state for “Automotive Manufacturing Strength” for four of the past five years. In addition, the state finished first in the “Education: Race to the Top” category and second in “Best Infrastructure.”
Gov. Bill Haslam welcomed the honor.
“We have a great story to tell in Tennessee,” he said in a state press release. “Businesses continue to make the decision to locate, expand and grow here, and we are grateful for those strong partnerships."
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, according to the press release.