by James DeChene
In many respects, the last few weeks for Delaware have been similar to the grieving process of losing a loved one. The familiar has been replaced by uncertainty, and there is difficulty imagining a future without the comforting steady presence of an entity that has been an integral part of so many lives in this state.
If you’re like me, coming from a family that was literally and figuratively sustained by DuPont (both of my grandfathers were engineers, one in Seaford and one in Wilmington, who helped put me through college) the news of a reshaped, renamed, rebuilt, co-branded DuPont came as a shock, even though the signs were there that things weren’t as rosy as we had hoped.
For now, the uncertainty is still at the forefront. What happens now? What will the impact be to downstream businesses, non-profits and other groups that rely on DuPont and its employees to help meet their own bottom lines? What will a revamped Dow-DuPont look like in Delaware, with specialty products remaining and a strong bid to keep the agriculture business here to come?
Just like the steps in the grieving process, we move on. We learn to accept that while we don’t, and won’t, have what once was, we have choices. To cherish the memory, find ways to grow from the experience and focus on positive new steps, or to wallow in self-pity and tarnish those happier times.
We are far from the heyday of 30,000 DuPont employees in Delaware, and we’ve survived, and made changes that have seen the state flourish. Most notably we are world renowned in the banking and financial services industries. There is more to Delaware than one company and its history, as rich as it is.
The time is now to work together to create opportunities for new business and investment in Delaware. In order to be successful the three major constituents—business leaders, elected officials and nonprofits—must work together for the bottom line. We must champion pro-growth economic development policies that brings jobs to Delaware and we must remember that change is not always bad.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.