Violet Township recently acquired another tool for bolstering business recruitment and retention without adding to its staff.

Violet Township recently acquired another tool for bolstering business recruitment and retention without adding to its staff.

Joy Davis, the township's economic development specialist for the past 20 months, on June 1 achieved economic developer certification from the International Economic Development Council.

Davis became certified after passing a comprehensive three-part, two-day exam in Raleigh, N.C. The exam tests practitioners' knowledge, proficiency and judgment in areas of economic development, including business retention and expansion, marketing, finance, workforce development, community development, real estate reuse and development, strategic planning and management.

In gaining the certification, Davis became one of 1,200 certified economic developers in the nation and one of 24 in Ohio.

"It sets me up to be more credible in the profession," Davis said. "It's also recognized by site selection specialists and businesses that would be looking at Violet Township.

"It basically says I have a broad understanding of the economic development profession and I know how to get projects done."

Davis had been working toward obtaining the certification since joining the township in October 2007. During that time, she has aided the township in creating a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) template and establishing the township's port authority.

Now that she's achieved economic development certification, Davis will continue to work with public officials, business leaders and community members to promote the township and expand business opportunities. That hasn't been easy in the face of a down economy, said Bill Yaple, Violet Township's director of operations, but it should prove helpful once building and business markets rebound.

"This is part of our long-term vision," Yaple said. "It does prove (Davis) knows what she is talking about, and this positions the township better in the future."

Davis said there are indications the economy will improve next year. That being the case, she said the township is focusing on attracting medical offices and businesses that would serve employees and users of the $35-million Diley Ridge Medical Campus being built in Canal Winchester.

The joint venture between Mount Carmel Health System and Fairfield Medical Center is expected to yield a full-service, 24-hour emergency center near U.S. 33 and Diley Road, as well as at least 70,000 square feet in development.

"We do have a need for office space along the Diley Road corridor, particularly medical offices with the hospital getting up and going probably early next year," she said. "Once we see that, I would say we should start seeing economic development up and going.

"I would say 2010 looks to be a promising year."

In the meantime, Davis plans to make a lot of phone calls to potential businesses and developers and conduct a number of face-to-face meetings with them. She maintains a database of development information, including existing and available site information.

She also wants to maintain contacts with the Ohio Department of Development so the department, businesses and developers remain aware of opportunities in the township.

Davis also said she is working to stay in close contact with businesses already operating in Violet Township.

"My biggest effort is with retention and expansion right now," she said. "We're trying to keep people here and not let them get to the point where it's dire and they need to close their doors."

With her certification, Davis now is a member of the International Economic Development Council. She is also treasurer of the Mid Ohio Development Exchange, which promotes development in seven central Ohio counties, including Fairfield County.

Davis has an associate's degree from Ohio University and is working on a bachelor's degree in technical and applied studies from the school. Before taking her current position with the township she was the assistant economic developer for Fairfield County.