Economic Development in the World's Fourth Largest Economy
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 Summer 2014


Petrochemicals and the Southern Manufacturing Renaissance

Non-Petrochemicals and the Southern Manufacturing Renaissance

Ten Reasons Why Manufacturing is Booming in The South

Rick Perry

2014 Annual Directory

2014 SB&D 100 Edition

SB&D 100 Feature

Big Fish Keep Alabama's Economy Humming

Southern Economic Development Roundtable

The Best Greenfield Data Center Sites in the South

The Most Southern Place on Earth

Ensuring a resilient Delta Region by training a skilled workforce

Driving toward success in Alabama's Black Belt

Arkansas's Big River Steel has found its home in the heart of America's Delta Region

Building a healthy economy and a healthy workforce in Illinois

Innovation and collaboration are building a Work Ready Kentucky

Louisiana's industry off to a fast start

Perfected in Mississippi

Certifying Southeast Missouri and beyond

Select Tennessee sites offer competitive edge

Reshoring and its potential effect on the Mississippi River Delta region


 Ten People Who Made a Difference in the South

Top 10 Stories in the American South

Ten Exceptional Southern markets to Locate your Reshored Traditional

If you are looking to relocate your HQ to the South, here are 10 Outstanding
Cities for your Operation that might not show up on your Radar

Ten Low Cost Manufacturing Locations to Reshore your Plant near Major
Southern airports

If these Southern Market Economies were Stocks, they would be the Ten Best
to Invest in over the next Decade

Ten Highly Creative Places to Live in the South where you can Reshore your
Manufacturing Operation

Ten more Shining Examples of Economic Development that's working in the

Five Outstanding Supplier Sites for Airbus and Five for Boeing

Ten Supplier Locations in the Southern Aerospace Corridor that can serve
both Airbus and Boeing

FDI Surges in the South

Tennessee: Moving in the right direction

The Northeast Tennessee Valley Comes Back Strong

The Southern Auto Corridor

It's down to the Southern Auto Corridor and Mexico for automakers

Mississippi Enters Second Decade of Assembly

BMW in South Carolina: Two decades and thriving

Nissan and Tennessee: A 30-year partnership unlike any other in North America's automotive sector

20 years of Mercedes-Benz in Alabama: A defining moment in the Heart of Dixie

The tremendous success of the Hyundai-Kia model in the Southern Auto Corridor

Ford's resurgence in Louisville

2013 Motor Vehicle Parts Supplier Guide

Community preparedness is about vision

20th Anniversary Edition


Spring 2012

A semiconductor plant for Martinsville, Va.?

By Lee Burlett

(L to R) Mark Heath, President and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County EDC and Mike Randle at Martinsville Speedway. Believe it or not, back in the mid-to-late 1990s EVERYONE in the South went out chasing what they believed was the "Big Kahuna" tranformational project -- semiconductor plants. If you remember economic development back then, consultants were paid big bucks to help a state or community land a chip plant. The experts said chips were the answer to how the American South would join the world's sophisticated economies with labor-intensive job projects employing tens of thousands. Just about the entire South bought in to the charade.

The lure of landing a semiconductor facility in the mid-to-late 1990s was intoxicating to leaders in the South. Every community in the region wanted one, even those in rural areas, especially one in rural ROVA (the rest of Virginia). That place was Martinsville, Va. 

How many semiconductor plants did the South get in the 1990s? That would be three, one in Austin, one in Orlando and one in Richmond. The last two mentioned closed down more than seven years ago. How many semiconductor plants has the South landed since the 1990s? Nada, zippo, none. In a related industry, though, the South is data center central, and places like Mecklenburg County, Va., happens to be home to one.

Back in 1999, Martinsville-Henry County, Va., won Southern Business & Development's "Small Market of the Year." It earned that honor because it landed seven projects of 200 jobs or more that year. Those projects were of the call center and distribution variety. Good jobs. The county executive for Henry County, Va., at the time, dismissed those seven large job-generating projects because they were not "high-tech jobs." Truth was, that county exec was disappointed that a billion-dollar semiconductor plant didn't choose Martinsville. 

Interestingly enough, the same week we named Martinsville-Henry County SB&D's 1999 "Small Market of the Year," that same county exec dissolved the economic development agency. Wow, talk about tough. It should be noted that there hasn't been a year since that a small market in the South turned seven deals of 200 jobs or more.

Today, Martinsville is even more attractive than it was in 1999. And with manufacturing finding some serious legs since 2007 in the South, Martinsville-Henry County, we predict, will win another "Small Market of the Year" soon. That would be the county's fourth. Martinsville has won more "Small Market of the Year" honors from SB&D (three in 20 years) than any other small market in the South. Aiken, S.C., with two, is the only other multiple small market winner. The "small" division is a competitive field. There are over 3,800 small markets in the American South that SB&D covers.

 Southern Auto Corridor

Southern Auto

Steering the Automotive Industry to the World's Fourth-Largest Economy


Opportunities in the South's Rural and Urban Small Towns

Southern Business & Development Southern Auto Corridor Small Town South Randle Report