Desoto County NewsMississippi News

State recognized for economic development successes

Construction of the Associated Wholesale Grocers warehouse continues on Highway 51 north of Hernando. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)

The state of Mississippi has been recognized by Area Development magazine with a Silver Shovel Award. The award is a tribute to Mississippi’s economic development successes in 2020, and it signifies the state’s unwavering efforts to generate new jobs and investment during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Area Development is a widely respected publication, and for Mississippi to be honored with a Shovel Award by the Area Development team is a remarkable achievement – especially to be honored for our hard work during 2020,” Gov. Tate Reeves said. “My administration and economic developers throughout the state never once stopped working for the people during the pandemic, and this award will serve as a constant reminder that Mississippi plays to win, even in the most challenging of economic times.”

The Shovel Awards are presented to state economic development agencies that create a significant number of jobs through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements, processes and promotions that attract new employers and investments in new and expanded facilities. Based on the number of value-added jobs per capita, amount of investment, number of new facilities and industry diversity of the projects submitted by MDA, Mississippi won a Silver Shovel in the “fewer than 3 million population” category. All 50 states were invited to submit their top 10 job creation and investment projects.

Mississippi’s top 2020 project is Amazon’s new state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Madison County, which is creating 1,000 new, full-time jobs. Additional 2020 projects contributing to Mississippi winning a Silver Shovel Award are:

•    Navistar Defense – 500 jobs, $8.7 million investment

•    IG Design Group – 300 jobs, $57.4 million investment

•    Material Bank – 300 jobs, $14.5 million investment

•    Gulf Ship – 200 jobs, $6.7 million investment

•    Loss Prevention Services – 200 jobs, $3 million investment

•    Mission Forest Products – 130 jobs, $160 million investment

•    Associated Wholesale Grocers – 79 jobs, $300 million investment

•    Calgon Carbon – 38 jobs, $185 million investment

•    Kimberly-Clark – 33 jobs, $140 million investment

“Gov. Tate Reeves is working hard to advance a business environment that fosters innovation and growth, therefore making Mississippi one of the best places for business,” said MDA Executive Director John Rounsaville.

Area Development is a leading economic development publication covering site selection and facility planning. To view a complete list of the 2020 Shovel Award winners, visit

DeSoto County News Service

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob is also heard on 95.3 The Rebel twice a week with sports updates and high school football play-by-play broadcasts in the fall. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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