Lehigh Valley

Pennsylvania scoops up Silver Shovel Award with help of three local projects

Ocean Spray, Bimbo Bakeries and Westport Axle make state a winner

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Three Lehigh County development projects have helped Pennsylvania win a coveted Silver Shovel Award from Area Development magazine.

Ocean Spray, Bimbo Bakeries and Westport Axle ranked second, sixth and tenth in Pennsylvania's top 10 list that earned the shovel.

The honor acknowledges states that were most successful in generating significant job growth and securing investments in new and expanding facilities.

All three projects are in Upper Macungie Township. Together they will create 778 new jobs and their combined costs total more than $215 million.

"The Lehigh Valley has carved out a well-earned reputation for having an outstanding business climate and versatile workforce," said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. "These and other factors have played a vital role in us being able to land the manufacturing and production operations of large companies."

"This award is a recognition of the regional and collective effort the Lehigh Valley puts forward by having business, government and economic development leaders work together to make our region attractive to new companies."

Area Development magazine awards four Gold Shovels and up to four Silver Shovels in four population categories. Pennsylvania earned its honor in the over-10 million population tier. States were rated on these weighted factors: direct job creation numbers, new jobs per capita, amount of new investment, number of new facilities and number of projects creating high value-added jobs.

This is the eighth year Area Development has doled out the awards.

The latest awards are  for projects landed in 2012. Overall, LVEDC helped to attract eight new companies to the region in 2012, including Quality Packaging Systems International, Pratt Industries, and Ice River Springs.

In March, Site Selection, a national magazine about corporate real estate and economic development, also recognized the Lehigh Valley among the top-performing regions in its prestigious Governor's Cup Awards rankings for 2012.

Last December, the Fourth Economy Community Index recognized Lehigh County as one of the top economic communities across the nation.

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