TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today applauded the recent announcement by Business Facilities magazine to recognize Kansas with a 2022 Deal of the Year Impact Award. The award in the Innovation Megaproject category resulted from Panasonic Energy’s $4 billion decision to build one of the nation’s largest electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing facilities in De Soto.
“The Panasonic Energy announcement continues to draw attention and showcase Kansas as the best place in the country to do business,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This recognition from Business Facilities is another confirmation of the incredible impact Panasonic will have on our economy and of our ability to attract talent, spur innovation, and bring prosperity to our state.”
A Business Facilities editor noted that Kansas captured the Innovation Megaproject title for a few reasons:
- It is largest private investment in Kansas history.
- The megaproject is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs in a 3 million square foot facility.
- Kansas’ role in global supply chains helped the state land Panasonic.
“The innovation currently taking place is transforming our economy in Kansas,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The types of careers Panasonic will provide will help us reverse the ‘brain drain’ and help thousands of Kansas families create better lives.”
Panasonic officially broke ground on the state-of-the-art facility in November 2022. The facility will create and supply lithium-ion batteries and accelerate the future of electric vehicle innovation on a global scale.
“We evaluated more than 100 potential sites in a dozen states for our new EV battery manufacturing facility, and ultimately we chose Kansas for its skilled workforce, reliable infrastructure, central location, and a shared commitment to clean and renewable energy,” President of Panasonic Energy of North America Allan Swan said. “Throughout the selection process and since breaking ground on the new facility, the State of Kansas, the City of De Soto, and the whole Kansas City region have given us the warmest of welcomes. We’re already enjoying meeting our new neighbors and being part of the community, and we look forward to building a long-term future in the area.”
The development will have ripple effects throughout the state and regional economy, supporting an estimated 4,000 additional jobs created by suppliers and community businesses and 16,500 construction jobs as cited in an independent Wichita State University economic impact study.
“The Panasonic project will be transformative for our community, and we are grateful for the Commerce Department leading the effort to make this project a reality,” De Soto Mayor Rick Walker said. “We truly appreciate the work the Department of Commerce does on behalf of our community and the entire state. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership.”
“The jobs and investment being made by Panasonic in Kansas and the Kansas City region will be felt for generations to come,” Kansas City Area Development Council President and CEO Tim Cowden said. “This megaproject, directly supporting thousands of families and positively impacting thousands more, came to fruition due to the tremendous leadership of Governor Kelly, Lieutenant Governor and Secretary Toland, and the entire team at the Kansas Department of Commerce.”
Business Facilities announced Impact Awards in 18 categories as part of its 2022 Deal of the Year Awards. Last year, Kansas won an Impact Award in the Specialty Manufacturing category for the new wet pet food manufacturing plant Hill’s Pet Nutrition announced for Tonganoxie.