Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Vital in Securing Kentucky's Sixth Silver Shovel Award

Three of state’s 2015 top 10 economic development projects in Bowling Green...

Published Thursday, June 9, 2016 10:00 am

Today, Area Development magazine announced Kentucky as the winner of the 11th annual Silver Shovel Award in the three to five million population category. Bowling Green received a special nod for having three of the top 10 economic development projects in Kentucky in 2015. Five of Kentucky’s 10 largest projects were located in the 10-county South Central Kentucky region.

Area Development’s annual Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities. Only projects that actually had monies invested, “broke ground,” began an expansion or started new hiring are considered when determining winning communities.

“2015 was an outstanding year for South Central Kentucky,” said Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ron Bunch. “We more than doubled the number of announced expansion jobs from 2014, we surpassed investment numbers of any year in the last decade and the $943.7 million invested in 2015 was four and a half times that of our second largest investment year in the last 10 years. Bowling Green’s three projects made up about one-third of the $2.8 billion invested by Kentucky’s top 10 economic development projects in 2015. I’d like to personally thank the businesses that contributed to this national award and all of our existing targeted businesses for their investment and their continued commitment to South Central Kentucky.”

Investment numbers in Warren County are 6.6 times that of the state’s per capita investment. In 2015, over 18 percent of Kentucky’s $5.1 billion in economic development activity was announced in Warren County, despite Warren County making up less than three percent of the state’s total population.

Kentucky’s top 10 projects as determined by Area Development magazine accounted for over half of the total capital investment in 2015. The remaining $2.3 billion of capital investment was made by 452 companies across the state.

The following Warren County projects were essential to securing Kentucky’s 2016 Silver Shovel Award: a $439 million custom paint shop expansion at General Motor’s Corvette Assembly Plant; Bowling Green Metalforming’s $261 million, 260,000 square foot expansion creating 450 new jobs; and Kobe Aluminum’s $57 million, 116,000 square foot expansion creating 112 jobs. These projects were ranked second, third and 10th, respectively, in investment out of all economic development projects in Kentucky and made up 80 percent of all capital investment in Warren County for 2015.

“The Bowling Green Area experienced an exceptional year in 2015 for capital investment and job creation. The continued recognition we receive from premier economic development publications such as Area Development are a testament to the hard work by the Chamber of Commerce and the success Bowling Green and Warren County has had in recent years.” stated Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. “We offer a multitude of benefits to companies that are looking to locate or expand their operations and evidence of success here is abundant.”

The GM Corvette Assembly Plant, Bowling Green Metalforming and Kobe Aluminum have expanded multiple times – at least three – since beginning operations in Warren County.

“It is truly an honor and we are grateful for the continued support and collaboration we receive from the community that allows us to receive such acknowledgement on a national level, said Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon. “We are humbled by the recognition our region has received in regards to our success. What better way to celebrate than with the recognition of a top national ranking in one of the country’s most highly-regarded economic development publications.”

The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce has received recognition for both operational and communications excellence from numerous entities in recent years, include multiple awards from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives. In addition, Bowling Green is home to the number one high school in America for three years running in the Gatton Academy and the fastest growing public university in the state in Western Kentucky University. In 2014 and 2015, Forbes magazine named Bowling Green one of the top 25 places to retire and one of the best small places for business and in 2014, Bowling Green was honored to be listed in National Geographic’s list of the Most All-American Cities in the US.

So far for 2016, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce has announced four projects totaling $65.7 million in capital investment and 170 new jobs. For information about Bowling Green and South Central Kentucky or the Chamber of Commerce, contact Chamber President and CEO, Ron Bunch, CEcD at or 270-781-3200.


About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:

Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,200 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region. Learn more about South Central Kentucky’s advantages at