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From Site Selection Magazine
March 7, 2018

Texas and Nebraska retain their status as top performers in Site Selection’s annual facilities race.

What worked for Texas and Nebraska in 2016, and in previous years, worked just as well for them in 2017. Both states have successfully defended their claim to the Governor’s Cup they won last year — for total projects per capita in Nebraska’s case and for total qualified projects in Texas’. Both states’ investment attraction success in 2017 was impressive. Nebraska increased its project count from 101 to 110; Texas dropped from 642 in 2017 to 594 in 2017 but still finished well in front of runner-up Ohio’s 467.

This makes the fourth consecutive Governor’s Cup for Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the state’s sixth consecutive Cup. It’s the second Cup for per capita activity for Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, and the state’s third.

Familiar faces round out the top five in each Governor’s Cup race: In total projects, following Ohio’s latest second place finish, Illinois is third with 419 projects, Georgia is fourth with 281 and North Carolina is fifth with 274. On the per capita side, this year’s results are not unlike last year’s. Ohio and Kentucky swapped places, with the Bluegrass State claiming second place with 248 projects followed by Ohio (467), Illinois (419) and Georgia.

Despite their vast difference in population, Texas with approximately 28 million residents and Nebraska with under 2 million have more than longitude on the globe in common. They are both leading locations for wind energy a factor behind recent investments in both states from Facebook. The social networking technology giant insists on its data centers being run by renewable energy — a capability not every state can deliver.

You’ll find an emerging Fintech industry in both states. Texas’ is further along but look closely and you’ll find players in the Omaha region, too. They know they don’t have to live in New York, Chicago or Silicon Valley to contribute to and capitalize on this sector. They also share strong business climates, plenty of room for ranches and thriving agriculture and food processing industries.

But ask Governors Abbott and Ricketts why they think their states won Site Selection’s facilities race again in 2017, and they both point first to their workforce.

Gov. Abbott frames his workforce remarks in an interview with Site Selection Editor Mark Arend in the context of Amazon’s HQ2 contest, a fight in which Texas has two contenders — Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

“The business structure and friendliness attract businesses from across the country and the globe here,” says Gov. Abbott. “The geographic location matters, the regulatory environment matters, low taxes matter. But what matters most is what Amazon executives themselves say. A couple years ago I was at the grand opening of an Amazon facility in Shertz, Texas, just north of San Antonio. Executives there were in the process of opening several facilities in Texas. I asked them directly why they keep opening facilities in Texas, thinking they would tell me because taxes are lower, and your regulations are more reasonable and so forth. Instead, they were immediate and direct in their response: They said it’s the top-quality workforce.”

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