TROY — On Monday, Troy Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and CEO of Troy Development Council Joey Graves updated Troy City Council on the economic development of the city of Troy.
Graves, who has been head of the programs for nine months, said his first initiative was to have the Troy Development Council come up with a list of goals and objectives. The main goal was to continue work with the city of Troy’s economic development department to continue to focus on Troy’s job retention and expansion program.
“For those that don’t know, 80 percent of all your new jobs come from existing industries,” Graves said. “So we need to meet with these industries regularly.”
Graves said he has met with Troy’s industry leaders such as F&P America, Hobart, Clopay, Crown, ConAgra and others, several times over the last nine months.
“I met with all of those and have introduced myself to all those industries,” Graves said, noting he is scheduled to meet with six industry leaders a month. Graves said he also meets with city staff about his visits to local companies to provide regular reports.
Graves later shared many local businesses, like ConAgra, Canyon Run and Brock Air Products, have expressed interest in expansion opportunities within the city of Troy. He also said he’s working on a certified industrial site, which partners with the state of Ohio’s Jobs Ohio, to bring new business and industry opportunities to Troy.
“We must do all we can to eliminate any doubt or concern to make sure that Troy, Ohio is the place to do business,” Graves said. Graves explained that certified industrial site would eliminate questions from site consultants who work on behalf of companies searching for new places to build a new site or start their business. He’s recruited three private supporters to start the process.
Graves also held a housing symposium with Miami County leaders and will host a transportation symposium in the near future. Council member Bill Lutz asked if the city would be asked to adopt policies related to the symposium.
Graves said he will be meeting with leaders about the housing symposium and to plan the transportation session. Graves asked Lutz for feedback from the housing session, which Lutz attended. Lutz said he had heard the information before from several other sources.
Graves said he heard what the industries were wanting from the community in terms of housing and what the builders were hearing from the community.
“The goal was to get them in the same room to hear both sides of the story and to hear information straight from the source,” Graves said.
Last May, Graves also traveled with city staff to visit with Japanese business leaders on an economic development mission. The Troy delegation met with top management of Honda Logistics, Honda Motor, Seg Inc. (Seg N.A.), F-Tech (R&D and F&P America), and the Jobs Ohio office in Tokyo.
“These Japanese companies could have located anywhere, but they chose to locate in Troy, Ohio and created thousands of family supporting jobs,” Graves said. “We need to nurture those relationships because they are mutually beneficial to both the company and the city of Troy.”
Graves said he’s working on workforce attraction using social media and Troy’s quality of life to bring in qualified workers to the city.
Graves said the Troy Development Council has launched a new website called maketroyohyours.com to reach out to areas that have experienced company closures to relocate to Troy.
In nine days, 300 people from the GM plant closure in Lordstown have visited the page.
After Graves’ presentation, President Marty Baker asked why the new website didn’t list who was in charge of the site or if it was on purpose. Graves said the purpose of the site, which the TDC is in charge of, is to connect the users with Troy Chamber’s Career Connect site and the city of Troy’s site.
Graves said he’s working on a hands-on career event for hundreds of eighth grade students with 30 employers planning to participate in an upcoming event.
“They’ll actually be laying the bricks, learning how to lay bricks, working robots with real hands, more hands on, and hopefully attract them to a career in skill trades,” Graves said.
Graves also shared the Troy Development Council is working on its website that hasn’t been updated in six years. Graves called the new site would serve as the “front door” for consideration for future projects and updated information.
“We have to make sure that information is readily available to our site consultants,” he said.
Graves has also visited with county, Dayton and as well as economic leaders in Chicago on a variety of economic development initiatives.
Graves also shared how he’s working with the owners of the distribution center recently vacated by Versa’s The Avenue retail line. He said the TDC will be marketing the distribution center to fill the building and recently submitted the building as a project to an interested party.