Top 100 - Special Market Recognition

Mark Herbison (HTL Advantage in West Tennessee), center, on a site trip with business associates to the Memphis megasite where Ford located a massive EV battery and assembly plant in Haywood County.

Kyle Spurgeon (economic developer in Jackson, Tenn.) and Mark Herbison were instrumental in capturing Ford’s multi-billion-dollar investment IN Haywood County, Tenn., and over 5,000 jobs.In calendar year 2021 and so far in 2022, new players (almost all of which are rural and small markets) earned special recognition for their efforts in economic development in the South. Significant project activity in the region has been turned on its head like no two years we can remember. Here are the markets from the tiniest hamlets to the largest markets in the South that captured the biggest deals in 2021 and 2022. 


Rural Markets

(Under 50,000 population)

Haywood County, Tenn. Ford Motor

Mississippi County, Ark. U.S. Steel

Bainbridge, Ga. Danimer Scientific

Wythe Co., Va. Blue Star MBR AGI

Cameron Parish, La. Venture Global

Lumberton, Miss. Idaho Forest Group


Small Markets

(50,000 249,999 in MSA population)

Bowling Green, Ky. Envision AESC

Hardin County, Ky. Ford/SK

Jonesboro, Ark. Nestle USA



(250,000 749,999 in MSA population)

Huntsville, Ala. Mazda Toyota

Savannah, Ga. Hyundai

Greensboro, N.C. Toyota

Charleston/North Charleston, S.C. Google

Brevard County, Fla. Terran Orbital

Charleston-Huntington-Ashland, W.Va. Nucor


Major Markets

(750,000 2.499 million MSA, CSA population)

Research Triangle (Raleigh-Durham), N.C. Apple

Nashville, Tenn. Oracle

Memphis, Tenn. Ford Motor

Austin, Texas Samsung



(Over 2.5 million in MSA population)

Atlanta, Ga. Microsoft

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Texas Instruments


State Markets

Co-States of the Year

North Carolina Apple, Google, Vinfast, Toyota

Georgia Microsoft, Hyundai, Rivian


Honorable Mention

Tennessee Ford Motor, Oracle, Ultium Cells

Arkansas U.S. Steel, Atlas Tube

Kentucky Ford Motor, Amazon, Envision AESC

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