Kansas Ranked First in Nation for Most Economic Development Investment Per Capita

Wichita, Kan. — Governor Laura Kelly today announced Kansas won Site Selection Magazine’s 2021 Governor’s Cup for the state with the most economic development investment per capita in the country. This is the first time in state history that Kansas has received this national economic development award.   

“The Governor’s Cup demonstrates the extraordinary economic strengths of Kansas and the confidence of the business community to make major investments in our state,” Governor Kelly said. “It’s also proof our efforts to secure a strong foundation for economic growth by staying focused on the issues that Kansans elected us to take care of – like fully funding our public schools, strengthening our roads, bridges, and high-speed internet – have paid off.”  

Site Selection magazine’s coveted Governor’s Cup award goes to the state with the most capital investment and the most economic development projects per capita. In 2019, Kansas was ranked 20th out of all the 50 states for capital investment per capita in, and in 2020 Kansas moved up to 10th.   

Site Selection began awarding the Governor’s Cup 30 years ago to the state with the most qualified capital investments from the previous calendar year. In 2012, Site Selection also began recognizing a state with the most qualified projects per capita, allowing for less-populated states with economic successes to also be recognized.   

“In three years, the Kelly Administration has transformed Kansas’ stagnant economy with tepid growth to the most dominant state per capita for new business investment in the nation,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “This was possible because of Governor Kelly’s relentless determination to bring quality jobs and investment to all parts of Kansas—urban, suburban and rural—and from the outstanding work by the Department of Commerce team, our Legislative partners, and local economic development professionals statewide. Kansas is back in a big way, and the global business community is taking notice.”  

“The Governor’s Cups recognize not only the winning governors, but their entire economic development teams, and by extension, the many professionals throughout their states who work every day to attract new investment and retain and grow existing businesses,” says Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection. “Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Laura Kelly of Kansas deliver the kind of business climate and fiscal predictability that capital investors from around the world rely on for long-term success, even during a year unlike any other in modern memory.”   

For the category of most capital investment per capita, only one state annually is awarded this prestigious award. Qualified projects have at least one of the following: $1 million in capital investment, the creation of 20 new jobs or 20,000 square feet of new construction.   

Today’s announcement comes amid numerous economic development project wins and related accolades this year for the Kelly Administration. Kansas was one of just eight states to receive the prestigious Gold Shovel Award from Area Development; recognized by Site Selection Magazine as having the top business climate in the West North Central region of the United States in 2021; ranked for the first time ever in the top 20 states for doing business; named 10th best state in the nation by Site Selection Magazine for projects per capita; and is one of three top states reporting higher employment; along with receiving recognition from the 2021 Prosperity Cup.  

A few of 2021’s top projects that contributed to our capital investment per capita award were: 


  • Hilmar Cheese Company – totaling $450 million new business dollars invested, creating 247 jobs in Dodge City; 
  • Bartlett Grain Co. – totaling $322 million new business dollars invested, creating 50 new jobs in Montgomery County; 
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. – totaling $251 million new business dollars invested, creating 85 new jobs in Tonganoxie; 
  • Summit Sustainable Ingredients, LLC – totaling $251 million new business dollars invested, creating 55 new jobs in Phillipsburg; 
  • Medline Industries, Inc – totaling $77.5 million new business dollars invested, creating 100 new jobs in Bonner Springs; 
  • TriRx Pharmaceutical Services, LLC – totaling $70 million new business dollars invested, creating 250 new jobs in Shawnee; 
  • Berry Global – totaling $61 million new business dollars invested, creating 99 new jobs in Leawood; 
  • Torch Research, LLC – totaling $55 million new business dollars invested, creating 490 new jobs in Leawood; 


The full report on Site Selection’s Governor’s Cup Awards and Governor Kelly’s interview can be found here. 

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