Local man honored for development efforts

LAWRENCEVILLE - There are only three master Georgia downtown development professionals in the state, and one works right here.

The new title comes as a result of Joe Burnett completing the Georgia Downtown Association's certificate three review and being recognized at the 2008 annual Georgia downtown conference held in Douglasville in October.

"Attainment of this level signifies an exemplary professional in terms of accomplishment, contributions to the profession, and leadership in the professional practice of downtown development in Georgia," Georgia President of the Downtown Association Monica Callahan said. "The Georgia downtown professional designation program distinguishes downtown managers who have reached a milestone of professional success in Georgia and who are committed to continuing professional growth."

Burnett serves as the president of Downtown Management Services, a consulting firm that has provided staff to the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association, and to the Lawrenceville Downtown Development Authority since 2004. During his career, Burnett has participated in Main Street resource teams in more than 10 states and 13 cities while also offering his consulting services in seven states and 18 cities. Burnett also served as a board member with the Georgia Downtown Association for 26 years and was elected president three times.

In order to be recognized as a level three master downtown development professional, a candidate must have previously completed a level two review and worked in downtown development for a minimum of 10 years coupled with 240 completed hours of training. Candidates also needed multiple letters of recommendation, a completed dossier signifying accomplishments achieved and had to make an oral presentation stressing their contributions to downtown revitalization efforts across Georgia.

"Throughout his 35-year career in the planning, civic design and downtown management fields, Joe Burnett has strived to provide the highest level of service to the organizations, cities and stakeholders he's served across the country," said Jay Markwalter of the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association. "And the greatest satisfaction he's found has been in the successes of small businesses and small developers as they've invested time, capital and energy in the downtown of their communities."