In a surprise announcement at the 20th Annual Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Awards Luncheon, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce awarded the esteemed Gilman Bowl to its namesake’s daughter Martha Gilman. The award, presented in conjunction with the Chamber’s Small Business Alliance, is kept secret until the event.
Martha has played a critical role in the activities of the Small Business Alliance, being a long-standing member of the Board of the Alliance and as a member of the State Chamber Board of Directors for over a decade. Since its inception in 1998, Martha has relentlessly committed to making the annual Superstars Luncheon a moral and financial success. Her tireless efforts in logistical planning and development/fundraising for the annual event continues year after year and is a testament to her parents’ admired example.
“One of the things I love most about this program and hold with me each year is the memory of seeing my mother’s pride when she would attend the luncheons. The Hotel du Pont was one of my father’s favorite Delaware landmarks, and so it is very special to our family to hold the awards luncheon in the Gold Ballroom. I’m honored to carry on their good work in this way, and even more so to bring my son, Brett, in as part of their legacy,” said Martha in a recent interview for the Chamber’s magazine, Delaware Business.
She and her father went into business together, founding Gilman Development Company, a land development and homebuilding firm. Additionally, she co-founded Cornell Management along with her father and brother, Peter. Cornell Management, in conjunction with Gilman Development, builds, owns and manages rental housing. Martha and Marvin were also instrumental in creating The Delaware Housing Partnership (DHP), which provides families with affordable and comfortable housing as homeowners or as renters. The Gilman family’s efforts have given approximately five hundred families in all three counties the ability to lead a better quality of life with homes in which to raise their families.
Leading the charge on Gilman Bowl nominations each year, it was a big but important task to make sure she would be surprised. A fake script was even crafted to keep her in the dark. It wasn't until a video she thought was about the 20th anniversary played that it became clear, with her son, Brett, and several colleagues making the announcement. Click here to watch the announcement; and click here to watch the Facebook Live video from the event. DSCC President Mike Quaranta was joined by Senator Chris Coons, along with Martha's family, to present the award.
The Gilman Bowl was established to recognize those who exhibit exceptional small business leadership. It is named in memory of Marvin S. Gilman, who served as an exemplary leader and a paragon of small business and philanthropy in Delaware. Martha has, and continues to, serve her community in various ways. Her involvement includes the 21st Century Childrens’ Fund, a nonprofit that gives grants to children in need so that they can participate in extracurricular and developmental activities that would otherwise have been beyond their financial reach; as well as the Delaware Community Fund, the Rotary Club of Wilmington and the Homebuilders Association of Delaware.
The program included keynote remarks from Scott Kammerer of SoDel Concepts.
"Building something from nothing isn't for everyone, but I wouldn't trade it for anything," said Kammerer in sharing the story behind SoDel's inception, challenges overcome, accomplishments made and the success yet to be had.
The event also honored eight outstanding companies as Superstars in Business and Award of Excellence winners. Winner videos and event information can be found at www.dscc.com/superstarsinbusiness.
AND THE GILMAN BOWL GOES TO… RICHARD G. “DICK” HATFIELD, FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN OF COLONIAL PARKING, INC.
This year’s winner of the Marvin S. Gilman Bowl has never been one to pursue public recognition. Rather, Richard “Dick” Hatfield is a quiet, tireless, hardworking embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit. Starting his first business at the age of 18, he has built a real legacy for all his endeavors both in business and in the community.
After serving his country in the US Army, he was right back to work developing opportunities to grow his skills and his business. The business that is his life’s passion was started in 1956, Colonial Parking, Inc.
From a single location, our recipient grew his company over the nearly 60-years to a regional organization recognized for integrity, professionalism and service excellence. It employs over 230 people to manage over 100 locations serving in excess of 45,000 customers every day.
But first, we need to back up to recognize all the lives he’s touched along the 60-year journey.
After several years in business, Mr. Hatfield became active in the National Parking Association where he ultimately served as President from 1975-1976 and continues to serve on the NPA’s National Leadership Advisory Council. Relationships developed there led to the expansion of his business bringing him and his family to Delaware in 1965. The partnership developed from that continues to this day, 50-years later.
It is his long-term focus and desire to develop lifelong relationships that may lead to other opportunities that has crafted this business style. The sum of his win-win and long-term philosophies has also led him to be one of the strongest advocates for the City of Wilmington. For the Dick Hatfield, it’s all about what’s good for the city, knowing that what’s good for the city will ultimately be good for everyone in the city.
He is a deeply committed not only to his families, both at home and at work, but also to the greater community. This commitment has been demonstrated by volunteering for a number of community organizations throughout his career:
Needless to say, there is no one more deserving of recognition for his hard work and dedication to the community. The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Alliance congratulate Mr. Hatfield on this prestigious honor.
The Marvin S. Gilman Bowl was established by the Small Business Alliance of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce in 2008 to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions to small business and nonprofit organizations of Delaware. The Bowl is awarded annually in the memory of Marvin S. Gilman. This recipient is held in confidence until the Superstars in Business awards luncheon, which took place on Tuesday, November 10, 2015.
In stark contrast to the News Journal’s “Save our City” editorial that ran on Nov. 11th lamenting the bleak state of the City of Wilmington on Nov. 10th, in a sold out event featuring over 300 attendees at the Hotel DuPont, the State Chamber awarded four Superstars in Business Awards to companies voted outstanding by a selection committee comprised of their peers. SoDel Concepts, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc., Bernardon, and the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay took home awards in categories based on employee number, and in the case of the Girl Scouts, they won for best nonprofit organization.
A separate award, the Marvin S. Gilman bowl, was awarded to Colonial Parking founder Dick Hatfield for his dedication and service to his employees, the city of Wilmington and to the business community at large. Surrounded by his family, Mr. Hatfield expressed his love for his work, for his family and for those employees who have helped make him successful.
The event also featured a keynote address by World Cafe Live founder Hal Real, who gave a history of how his career evolved, the forces behind starting WCL in Philadelphia, and most importantly, what drove his decision to expand to Wilmington and how successful this venture has been.
The stories shared by the Superstars winners and by Mr. Real show there is already a dedicated segment of Delawareans committed to making sure the city of Wilmington returns to its heyday as a bustling metropolis where people want to live and work, and where businesses can flourish. Success is happening, and momentum is growing, despite what stories grab headlines. It is important to remember that we all collectively have a vested interest in seeing our city thrive, and it is incumbent upon the business community to lead the charge of developing and investing in businesses that will help reach that goal. The Superstars in Business Awards are a prime example of that initiative, and should be a model for others to follow.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s affiliate, the Small Business Alliance, is now accepting nominations for an award of distinction to an individual – not an organization – who has made outstanding contributions to the small businesses and nonprofit organizations of Delaware. The prestigious Marvin S. Gilman Bowl will be presented at the annual Superstars in Business Awards luncheon on November 10, 2015.
Note: The Marvin S. Gilman Bowl is NOT the Superstars in Business award.
Past Marvin S. Gilman Bowl recipients:
2008 Albert A. Morris
2009 Barry A. Crozier
2010 The Levin Family
2011 Michael S. Uffner
2012 Fred C. Sears, II
2013 Donald T. Fulton
2014 Julian “Pete” H. Booker
Our Superstars in Business awards application deadline is about a month away and we would like to open the application process to a wider variety of businesses across the state. Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Awards program, now in its 17th year. As the Chamber’s most visible and important tribute to small business, the Superstars in Business program is seeking outstanding small businesses to award.
The application form is now available and can be completed online at ssb.dscc.com. Printed copies are also available by emailing Kelly Wetzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (302) 576-6564. Winners will be judged in four different categories: companies with 1-24 employees, 25-59 employees, 60-150 employees and nonprofit organizations. Awards of excellence will also be given to deserving companies.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce launched the Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Awards program in 1998 to recognize extraordinary small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the state. The winning Superstars in Business companies have been heralded as models of small business excellence, commended for their first-rate performance in such areas as strategic marketing, customer service, quality control and financial performance. They also excel as good stewards of the community, giving back and paying forward through leadership and employee involvement.
This year’s winners will be awarded during a luncheon ceremony on November 10th at the Hotel du Pont’s Gold Ballroom. The keynote speaker will be Hal Real, a seasoned entrepreneur with a passion for new ideas and a history of transforming those ideas into successful businesses. In October 2004, Hal delivered the first installment of that promise by opening World Cafe Live, a nationally-acclaimed live music venue, restaurant and events complex in Philadelphia. In 2011, Hal and his WCL team opened World Cafe Live at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.