Nebraska and Lincoln Roll On as Economic Development Leaders

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Nebraska and Lincoln Roll On as Economic Development Leaders

Nebraska officially has a quart of cup awards to show for our economic development efforts.

For the third consecutive year, Nebraska has been awarded one of the 2018 Site Selection Governor’s Cups. This is the sixth year Site Selection recognizes the state with the most qualifying new and expanded facilities per capita, which Nebraska claims for its capital investment activity in 2018. Texas was also a winner for having the most qualified projects of any state.

Lincoln also placed fourth in the 2018 rankings for metros with a population between 200,000 to 1,000,000. Lincoln’s ranking is up from ninth in 2017, with 29 projects in total. The Omaha Metro area was once again at the top of the rankings for the same population class, with our neighbors in Des Moines coming in second place in the same tier. When you group Lincoln, Omaha, Des Moines, and the Sioux City areas together, you won’t find a bigger regional powerhouse in terms of economic development projects in the entire country.

The 65-year-old Atlanta-based magazine has awarded the Governor’s Cup annually since 1988, based on new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by the proprietary Conway Projects Database. Site Selection’s yearly analyses are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as “the industry scoreboard.”

In the per capita contest, Nebraska’s tally of 118 projects was eight higher than the year before, which in turn was nine higher than the year before that. This is the fourth time that Nebraska has won the per capita contest for the Governor’s Cup, with the first honor coming in 2013.

We could not be any prouder to be part of this Governor’s Cup. Third party validation such as this is invaluable to us, as it goes a long way for us in trying to recruit others to our state. We’ve been inundated with third-party validations, but this one is the cherry on top. This award is due to the partnerships formed within the business community and with state and local governments that allow us all to succeed.

The criteria for a project to “count” in Site Selections rankings must meet one of three different thresholds—it must either involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 20 new jobs or add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor area at a business.

Pictured L-R: Pat Haverty, vice president for economic development, LPED; Governor Pete Ricketts; Wendy Birdsall, president, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce; Luke Peltz, director of business development, LPED.

I can tell you that 2018 saw immense growth in Lincoln to satisfy these criteria, especially toward the end of the year. The expansions at Kawasaki, SCHEELS, Nature’s Variety, and Monolith Materials helped put Lincoln in a strong position to close out the year in the fourth spot as a city and Nebraska to the top spot in the Site Selection standings.

Ultimately, it’s the people that help make Lincoln and Nebraska so attractive to companies that are looking to expand to our state and those already here looking to do the same. I can say with full confidence that we won’t be resting on our accomplishments—there’s a lot more work to do for 2019 and beyond. Let’s make it a four-peat for Nebraska.

Lincoln Chamber of Commerce - Joining Organizations LogoThe Chamber’s mission is to improve the lives of Lincoln residents by providing increased economic opportunity and can only be accomplished together. For more information on the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, ( please contact Jaime Henning at

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