by Michael Smith
University of Delaware Director Strategic Initiatives/Partnerships, College of Health Sciences
Tuesday morning, August 22, we topped off the new Tower on the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus. Many in the business community are used to the groundbreaking and the ribbon cutting, but the top off is something that is extra meaningful for UD.
Historically, this started with the Scandinavian religious rite of placing a tree atop a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced due to construction. Today, the top off symbolizes community, partnership, research, education and innovation. UD’s impact goes beyond the classroom and today this top off showcases our commitment to Delaware’s future and the impact the University of Delaware will have on economic development for the state of Delaware. This is a milestone moment for the community, University of Delaware and the state, as we continue to transform the former Chrysler Manufacturing plant into a new hub that mixes research, education and industry into the innovations of tomorrow.
The College of Health Sciences will occupy floors 2-7. Floors 8-10 will be spec space for outside companies. There will also be ground floor space available for amenity businesses. The college space will include a 300-person auditorium for events and classes, demonstration kitchen, child nutrition lab, and sleep lab. It will also house augmented reality and simulation space, innovation and maker space, research space, conference rooms and office space. The Tower will create a unique environment for the collision and collaboration of industry and partnering organizations that will drive economic development for the state of Delaware.
The Tower will open August of 2018. Come see it for yourself. As we inspire, impact and innovate, we need you to partner, dream and collaborate with us to drive STAR Campus, UD and the state of Delaware forward. The sky is the limit!
by Chip Rossi
DSCC Chairman of the Board
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors met with the candidates for the special election in Senate District 10. Both candidates shared their thoughts on how to turn Delaware’s economy around and improve education. Each acknowledged that Delaware’s economy and budget should be the primary focus of the Delaware General Assembly and the Governor – and need to be addressed.
After the presentations, the Chamber’s Board of Directors discussed if the Chamber should endorse a candidate. Both candidates presented well and focused their remarks on many of the things the Chamber advocates for every day, including the growth of small business, infrastructure, good jobs and safe, healthy communities throughout the state of Delaware.
Our focus quickly shifted from the candidates themselves to what this election means long-term for Delaware.
The spirited discussion that followed highlighted the importance of a change election if Delaware is to improve its political and economic standing. We find ourselves, year after year, facing budget deficits that underscore a fundamentally broken system and legislative remedies that are too often short-sighted. Given the urgency of the moment, the questions raised by the Board included:
For all the reasons stated above, this district election has statewide impacts. The answers to these questions, and others, are critical if Delaware is going to succeed as a place where businesses want to relocate or expand, where families want to raise their children, and where those children don’t have to leave our state to find gainful employment.
On February 25th, the voters in the 10th Senate District have an opportunity to consider these questions and determine the path forward.
Read coverage of this piece in The News Journal here.
A message from the DSCC Chairman of the Board, Chip Rossi
Click here to read this message in the September/October issue of Delaware Business magazine!
The most important role of any chamber of commerce is to help its members succeed. Earlier this year, we asked all of you what you wanted from your state chamber of commerce. While most of your responses aligned to topics that we are working on today, we learned a few things that are helping us better serve you in the future.
You told us that the most important area of support is the role that we play advocating for legislation on key issues. Whether discussing the commercial impacts of the Coastal Zone Act or encouraging legislation that provides greater access to capital for small business owners, we strive to be a consistent voice at the legislative table. These discussions, and others like it, ensure that the interests of our members are represented in the legislative debates that affect how Delaware does business.
You also asked us to continue to work with the state to find new ways to drive sustainable revenue growth in Delaware. The budget shortfall continues to widen as the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) reduces revenue projections faster than the state assembly can identify ways to reduce spending. This is an opportunity for us, as business advocates, to continue to encourage state and local leaders to tackle the difficult decisions that need to be made today to continue to attract and retain businesses across the state.
Finally, you told us that you appreciate and enjoy the networking and learning opportunities that we offer. To build on that, this year we hosted multiple meetings with key elected officials to discuss legislation affecting small businesses and ideas for improving the Delaware economic climate. In addition, we created the inaugural John H. Taylor Jr. Education Leadership award that was presented to Jack Varsalona, president of Wilmington University, during our 2016 Superstars in Education ceremony in May.
It is important to remember that this work takes time. We may not see the results we want from every legislative session or key vote, but we remain committed to working on the things that will help our state – and our members – thrive and grow. On behalf of the board and the staff, thank you for the opportunity to continue to work on the issues that you have told us are important to you.
Delaware Growth Agenda: State Must Pursue New Long-Term Approach To Economic Development Over Next Five Years
By Robert Perkins
Executive Director, Delaware Business Roundtable
PerkinsDelaware must fundamentally change its approach to economic development and nurture a growing entrepreneurship base in the face of intense competition for jobs, investment and talent, according to a framework commissioned by the Delaware Business Roundtable released on Wednesday.
The Delaware Growth Agenda provides the private sector’s strategic framework for pursuing a new long-term approach to economic development in the state, including public policy recommendations centered on three strategic goals to be implemented over the next five years.
“The vision of the Delaware Growth Agenda is that our state will focus its efforts on becoming a global magnet for leading-edge technologies, talent and investment,” said Mark Turner, chairman of the Delaware Business Roundtable and president and CEO of WSFS Financial Corporation. “This framework puts forth clear-eyed, achievable strategic goals and strategies that can accelerate Delaware’s economic engine – but only if the public and private sectors work together to make that vision a reality.”
The non-partisan, forward-looking framework is based on interviews and guidance from more than 100 Delawareans, including representatives from economic development organizations, higher education institutions, businesses, government, labor and non-profit organizations. The framework envisions an even stronger and more robust partnership between the public and private sectors to guide future success.
The framework recommends:
Building an entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. This includes bolstering federal, state and private investment in higher education, and emphasizing the healthcare, science and technology fields, engineering and entrepreneurship programs. The framework calls for the creation of an “Innovation District” as a destination for entrepreneurs and startups, as well as for marketing Delaware to regional and national angel investors and risk capital networks.
Pursuing a new approach to economic development. The framework calls for establishing a public-private economic development organization, crafting a new comprehensive statewide economic development strategic plan, and a marketing campaign that pursues new investment and jobs in key industries – including financial services, business services, education and knowledge creation, manufacturing, and distribution.
Enhancing Delaware’s business climate. The Growth Agenda says the state must ensure Delaware’s infrastructure meets the needs of a 21st century economy, including updating the Coastal Zone Act to provide greater flexibility in redeveloping brownfield sites. The framework also calls for improving the state’s public education system, taking a leadership role in facilitating more efficient development and permitting processes, and creating a Futures Council of Delaware.
The full recommendations under each of the goals and strategies can be found in the framework, which was developed collaboratively by TIP Strategies and the Delaware Business Roundtable. TIP Strategies is an economic development strategy firm that has worked with states and communities across the country.
In addition to presenting a strategic vision and goals, TIP Strategies also examined Delaware’s economic health over time compared to other states in the region.
Among the findings of the framework:
We are facing real challenges, but the Growth Agenda encourages a reset of economic development in Delaware over the next five years. First and foremost, things cannot continue as they have because Delaware’s existing companies – nor the industry sectors themselves – can be counted on to serve as engines of future growth. We must take a new approach, and the public and private sectors must work together to get it done.
The Roundtable’s intention is for the Delaware Growth Agenda to spark a much-needed discussion of how to expand economic opportunity and jobs throughout the state during the 2016 election cycle that will result in concrete action thereafter. It comes on the heels of the Roundtable’s 2015 study of state finances, which clearly articulated the structural budget challenge facing the state as it wrestles with unsustainable revenue sources and spending patterns and strongly recommended that Delaware focus on expanding economic growth as one part of the solution.
The Delaware Business Roundtable plans to continue to promote sustainable economic expansion and growth in Delaware.
About the Delaware Business Roundtable
The Delaware Business Roundtable is a non-partisan, volunteer consortium of CEOs whose companies collectively employ over 75,000 people in Delaware. Since its inception in 1981, the Roundtable’s broad mission is to enhance the quality of life in Delaware by promoting commerce, job creation and select public policy issues. In recent years, the Roundtable has been a leading supporter of public education transformation and entrepreneurs in Delaware.
About TIP Strategies
TIP Strategies, Inc. (TIP) is a privately held economic development consulting firm, with offices in Austin and Seattle. Established in 1995, TIP is committed to providing quality solutions for public and private sector clients. TIP has completed more than 300 engagements across 38 states and 4 countries. The firm’s primary focus is strategic economic development planning. In addition, TIP has experience with entrepreneurship, target industry analysis, workforce, and redevelopment. The firm’s methods establish a clear vision for economic growth. Community leaders across the country have embraced the TIP model of Talent, Innovation, and Place to achieve successful and sustainable economies.
Louis L. Redding City/County Building
800 N. French Street
Wilmington, DE 19801-3537
phone: (302) 576-2140
fax: (302) 571-4071
We are pleased to invite you to attend the City to Work Job Fair. Please mark your calendar now to join us on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, for this opportunity to recruit leading candidates in all fields. The job fair will be held at the Louis L. Redding City/County Building from 10am-5pm.
The purpose of this event is to connect you, the employer, with potential employees – our residents. Our residents are an educated, talented and skilled workforce. City to Work is our way of connecting Wilmington residents to employable opportunities while also reducing the cost of businesses to advertise vacant positions. The City of Wilmington hosts a FREE job platform to leverage social recruiting for locally based companies. Please visit Wilmington.TweetMyJobs.com to register your business and post your job openings at no cost.
We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming job fair. You will be provided table space and chairs for your business display (if needed). Let us know if you have any other needs including access to electrical outlets or signage upon confirming your attendance. Please confirm your attendance to Edythe Pridgen at email@example.com by Friday, August 19, 2016.
City to Work Job Fair
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Louis L. Redding City/County Building
800 North French Street
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
Councilman Darius J. Brown
Third Disctrict, Wilmington City Council
On April 11, 2016, White House officials in Washington launched the Fair Chance Business Pledge, which represents a call-to-action for all members of the private sector to improve their communities by eliminating barriers for those with a criminal record and creating a pathway for a second chance.
Click here to read the Fair Chance Business Pledge.
by Will Alger, Systems Analyst, Diamond Technologies
If you go to Microsoft’s website, it reads “Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer (IE) available for a supported…” Then, you look over at the ‘What does this mean?’ section and it says “It means you should take action.”
What does that really mean for you, the employee?
You should ensure that your IE is updated to IE 11. Failure to do so will do a few things.
If you continue to read, it says “Internet Explorer 11 is the last version of Internet Explorer.” That was not a typo; IE is saying goodbye. If you are a Windows 10 user, you may have met the new browser, Microsoft Edge. That is the future of Internet browsing on Windows… Or is it?
Does this open the opportunity for Google to take over? In the latest survey of preferred browsers or is Microsoft Edge going to offer something that will bring everyone back to them? Chrome is preferred by 68% of computer users, while IE is at 6.3% That is yet to be seen…
In 2015 Nemours Children’s Health System celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first patient being admitted to the Alfred I. duPont Institute. In the decades since, Nemours has experienced many changes—from advances in medicine and technology, to the opening of two new hospitals and dozens of pediatric practices across the Delaware Valley and Florida.
When Alfred I. duPont died in 1935 he left his fortune for the care of children in Delaware and Florida. That fortune is the Alfred I. duPont Testamentary Trust, and the Nemours Foundation is the operating entity that brings the vision and mission to life every day. We are now the largest children’s health system in the United States, with more than 5,000 Associates and more than 600 physicians across five states providing the full range of pediatric medical and specialty care, prevention, research, advocacy and a number of other important services.
But one thing that has not changed over the past 75 years is our commitment to providing compassionate, high-quality, family-centered care to all children and families. By doing so we honor the legacy of our founder, Alfred I. duPont—a man of great compassion and a champion of equality among all men who believed “it is the duty of everyone in the world to do what is within his power to alleviate human suffering.” That belief has become embodied in the Nemours mission “to provide the leadership, institutions, and services not readily available to restore and improve the health of children.” That’s what our Associates strive for every day.
Nemours is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s 179th Annual Dinner and pleased that our President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. David J. Bailey, will be the evening’s keynote speaker. This is an exciting time for Nemours, and I invite you to join me at Delaware’s premier business and networking event to learn more about Nemours and our commitment to helping the First State’s children grow up healthy.
This past week several events focused on Delaware’s fastest growing financial services industry- captive insurance. On Monday, November 9th, Governor Jack Markell issued a proclamation honoring the growth of Delaware’s captive industry. Under Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart’s leadership, the number of Delaware active licensed captive companies has grown from 38 in 2009 to over 1,000 today. Delaware presently is the third largest captive domicile in the United States and also ranks as the sixth largest domicile in the world.
On November 11th and 12th, the Delaware Captive Insurance Association held their annual forum. The DCIA, a private industry group, is comprised of service providers (attorneys, accountants, and captive managers) for our captive industry. The forum held at the Chase Center, drew approximately one hundred fifty attendees.
As part of the forum, Commissioner Stewart recognized Delaware’s 1,000th active licensed captive – AWI, Inc. Its’ parent company- American Water is a publicly traded company (NYSE: AWK) founded in 1886. American Water is the largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company in the United States, employing almost 7,000 professionals, serving the needs of 15 million customers in 47 states and Canada.
In her remarks, Commissioner Stewart noted that American Water- already incorporated in Delaware- chose to form its captive insurance company here due to the professionalism and accessibility of the Insurance Department’s Captive Bureau staff and Delaware’s reputation as a business – friendly jurisdiction. Deb Degillio, President of AWI, Inc. proudly accepted the honor of being Delaware’s 1,000th captive insurance company.
The Vision Coalition of Delaware would like to extend a sincere thanks to all who attended the Eighth Annual Conference on Education last week at Clayton Hall at the University of Delaware.
More than 300 policymakers, parents, educators, and community members stopped by to follow-up and discuss Student Success 2025, a 10-year plan for Delaware education released by the coalition last month.
Local and national-level experts, alongside hundreds of Delawareans, took part in six unique action groups, which corresponded to the six core areas of Student Success 2025. Participants from each action group worked to develop strategies to implement the recommendations found in the plan.
Every voice mattered, and will continue to matter as Delaware pushes on with this work. These conversations were just the beginning, and we need your help to move this vision forward.
Fred Sears is a familiar name among members of the Delaware business community, most recently known for his 13 year tenure with the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF), Sears has accomplished a lot for the state of Delaware. Under his watch, the DCF has tripled its long-term charitable funds and increased assets under management to $285 million.
Sears is also a familiar face in the banking world where he worked for 38 years, most notably as President of Commerce Bank in Delaware.
Regardless of his intentions to retire at the end of the calendar year, Fred Sears will continue in his most comfortable role, serving the state he loves. He was recently appointed Chair of the Expenditure Review Commission by Governor Jack Markell and will continue to serve on at least nine or ten of the current boards and commissions he is currently on.
Delaware Business (DB) had the chance to catch up with Mr. Sears with a few questions and a trip back in time for a look at his illustrious career.
DB: Where are you from?
FS: I was born in Delaware in what used to be known as Wilmington Hospital, now a part of Christiana Care Health System. My family lived across the river from the Brandywine Zoo; my mother walked home with me from the hospital. My father was in the military in WWII so he was not around at the time. My education was through Mt. Pleasant elementary school, Alfred I. DuPont junior high and Wilmington Friends for high school. I continued at the University of Delaware for my under graduate and graduate degrees so I never ventured far from Wilmington.
In the 1800s my mother’s family had livery stores selling horse and carriage and agriculture supplies at the corner of Front and Orange, now Martin Luther King and Orange. We had one of the first car dealerships in the area on N. Market Street in the 1920s
My great uncle was a city councilman. I did not find that out until I became a councilman in Wilmington 1976. My wife was born in Delaware and both of our parents were born in Delaware. I can actually trace my mother’s side of the family in Delaware back to the mid 1700’s.
DB: How did your career start?
FS: I majored in business at the University of Delaware. I didn’t have a job when I graduated in 1964, but my father encouraged me to apply to the local banks.
Fortunately, Delaware Trust was looking to hire a management trainee with a business degree and I applied at the right time. After 18 years with Delaware Trust and becoming the bank’s first VP of Business Development, I moved to Wilmington Trust in a similar position, and then vice president of customer service-related products at Beneficial National Bank. My banking career culminated with my job at Commerce Bank as Delaware Market President.
DB: What kind of work were you involved with when you worked for the city of Wilmington?
FS: My good friend, Mayor Tom Maloney, asked me to take a leave of absence from the bank to serve as Director of Finance and later as Director of Economic Development from 1973-76. I followed up by running for City Council and served two terms from 1976 to 1984.
I continued working with the City on a volunteer basis after I left Council serving as chair of the Downtown Wilmington Improvement Corporation, the Wilmington Economic Development Corporation and the Wilmington Waterways Commission. I continue to serve today as chair of the Wilmington Economic Financial Advisory Council and as treasurer of the Wilmington Housing Partnership.
DB: How did you transition into the nonprofit world?
FS: Jim Gilliam Jr. called me while I was sitting in my office and said “I have a job for you.” I said “Jim, I already have a job, you are calling me at my office and you are a customer of mine.” He asked me to run the Delaware Community Foundation. I was hesitant at the time but accepted it after some serious contemplation. I called my good friend Peter Morrow, he said “Do it, Fred.” Jim teamed up with other DCF board leaders, Judy Hoopes and Don Kirtley and they convinced me to make the move.
What’s so great about working at the Delaware Community Foundation is that I am still able to do all the volunteer work I enjoy. In addition to the Expenditure Review Commission I also serve on the State Council for Development and the Port of Wilmington boards along with Christiana Care, Leadership Delaware, United Way, Rodel Foundation, Beau Biden Foundation and DANA boards of directors and as an advisor to TD Bank and Fraunhofer USA.
I’m privileged to work with a great staff and outstanding committed board of directors at the DCF.
DB: What would you say was your favorite project?
FS: It really is difficult to pick, but one of my favorites was starting the Next Generation Board. We had some young adults in their early to mid-thirties, they wanted to get involved with the community but did not know how to do it. The Board has about 35-40 members, they have their own fundraisers and their own grant making. They really know how to run their own foundation. One of them left to become head of Saint Michael’s, another is on the board of the Opera House and one of them is on the Girls on the Run Board. They do site visits with the applicants and have had the opportunity to learn about Delaware. They said “Wow Mr. Sears, we went to this orphanage in Delaware, we didn’t even know there was one here.”
Every three years they pick a different funding focus. In past years they have focused on infant mortality, after school programs for kids at risk, childhood obesity but currently their focus is on STEM programs. We are on our fourth chair, his name is David Arthur. Dave works at the University of Delaware.
Keep an open mind, always look for opportunities.
DB: As I’m sure you know, there are many young professionals out there that look up to you. What kind of advice would you give?
FS: Keep an open mind, always look for opportunities. Part of what I’ve accomplished has happened because I’ve been out there involved in the community. Running golf tournaments, dinners and breakfasts, you can see who’s committed and who you can count on. You can pick and choose what you really want to do, what makes you feel good about life. I loved being a banker for many years but this job is unbelievable. I’ve found the secret that so many people look for. That secret is really enjoying work, not being dragged to work, but waking up looking forward to going to work.
Sometimes it is hard on the home front because I pretty much start every day with an 8am breakfast meeting and my day is not usually over until 7p.m. or 8 pm.
DB: Anything else?
FS: It was 1976 when I was elected to city council and we got married in 1977. Those first eight years of our marriage I served on council. We met every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 .p.m . The reporters would call me at home after the meetings and ask for comments. IT wasn’t the best way to start a marriage and raise young children but Jo Ann has always been supportive. I have to say it does help that we have the same political persuasion.
DB: What are grateful to have more time for during retirement?
FS: No real plans. Maybe take a few weeks off and do some soul searching about how much and where I want to continue to be involved in the community. I’m definitely not going anywhere and I intend to stay involved with the community at a level where I can be most helpful while still making more time for my wife and grandchildren.
Fred C. Sears II has been President and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation since December 2002. Through his work with the Foundation, he encourages individuals, businesses and organizations to engage in long-term charitable giving to improve the statewide community, now and in the future. Fred has served as a community leader in the greater Wilmington area and with organizations serving residents throughout Delaware for over forty-five years.