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.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.