Delaware Economic Development Working Group Recommends Plan for Public-Private Partnership

Governor Carney created the working group with Executive Order #1

WILMINGTON, Del. – The Delaware Economic Development Working Group submitted its report to Governor John Carney on Friday, recommending a plan to implement a public-private partnership – the Delaware Prosperity Partnership – that would restructure Delaware’s economic development efforts.

The nonprofit partnership, as recommended by the working group, would leverage private resources to enhance business recruitment, promote entrepreneurship and innovation, support workforce development and provide market analysis on Delaware’s economy.

On January 18, his first full day in office, Governor Carney signed Executive Order #1, creating the working group to recommend a plan for implementing a public-private partnership to improve Delaware’s system of economic development.

Governor Carney is reviewing the working group’s recommendations.

“Delaware’s economy continues to undergo substantial change, and we should do everything we can to ensure Delaware is competing for the good-paying jobs of the future, preparing our workforce for those jobs, supporting our entrepreneurs and promoting innovation,” said Governor Carney. “It makes sense to ask the business sector to partner in those efforts. Thank you to the members of the working group for their attention to this important issue. I am committed to working with the General Assembly as we explore a path forward.”

A new partnership, as recommended Friday by the working group, would be designed as a forward-looking entity to anticipate economic trends – with success of the initiative defined by a set of metrics to include new job creation, higher wages, expanding Delaware’s high-quality talent base, growing Delaware’s tax base, and new business formation.

The working group’s plan does not call for a full replacement of the Delaware Economic Development Office. Under the group’s recommendations, DEDO would remain responsible for administering the Delaware Strategic Fund, Delaware’s Tourism office, business development initiatives and various additional functions.

The Delaware Prosperity Partnership would be led by a Chief Executive Officer and governed by a 15-member board with members from the public and private sectors. Friday’s report anticipates a total annual budget of $2.5 million – with the private sector funding a target of 40-60 percent of the nonprofit’s operational costs.

“The members of the working group were honored to serve the Governor on this project and brought a lot of energy, commitment and great thinking to the process of developing the final report,” said Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College, and co-chair of the Economic Development Working Group. “The literature shows that states that want to bring additional resources and talent to their economic development initiatives in the future utilize public-private partnerships as a mechanism for generating these additional resources and this proposed model is a very solid start for the Governor’s team and the General Assembly to build upon during the weeks and months ahead.”

“I want to thank all the working group members for their active and thoughtful participation,” said Rod Ward, President of Corporation Service Company, and co-chair of the Economic Development Working Group. “Our report outlines a wonderful opportunity for the business community to work more closely with the state on economic development through a public-private partnership. It can be a game changer for economic growth.”


Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. Distribution Center Coming to Newark



New Castle, Del. – Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. is expected to expand its extensive United States’ logistics network upon the closing set for May 20, 2017 for the site of the former AstroPower building, currently owned by Christina School District, located at 300 Executive Drive, Pencader Industrial Park in New Castle with assistance provided by the Delaware Strategic Fund. Last week the Council on Development Finance approved the recommendation for a $259,000 performance grant to create approximately 30 jobs for the site of Del Monte Fresh Produce’s newest and most advanced distribution center, and a three percent (3%) match up to $654,000 for qualified capital expenditures.

Del Monte Fresh Produce will invest approximately $22 million in its new facility and expansion into the Delaware community. “We’re glad that Del Monte Fresh Produce® chose Delaware as the strategic location to expand its operations,” Governor John Carney said. “We’re very much looking forward to seeing the former site of AstroPower repurposed and come alive again, bringing with it new jobs to our state.” “We’re excited to commence our operation in the state of Delaware and tap into the workforce of the most populous county in the state with close proximity to the University of Delaware,” said Paul Rice, Senior Vice President, N.A. Operations. “Delaware is not only an ideal location for our Company to further develop our robust Northeastern operations, but will also give us the ability to provide jobs and growth to the surrounding community.”

“The Christina School District is very pleased that DelMonte Fresh Produce Company will be utilizing the Building at 300 Executive Drive in the Pencader Corporate Center as a manufacturing facility,” said Robert Silber, Christina School District Chief Financial Officer. “This sale will mean a return of this property to the tax rolls, and additional jobs for our community, both of which are positive aspects of Del Monte Fresh Produce’s purchase of the building.”

The new 178,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Pencader Industrial Park will add a key distribution point in the Company’s growing logistics network in North America and especially in the Northeast. The state-of-the-art facility will have an extensive infrastructure for the cutting and production of fresh fruit, vegetables and other food products. When completed the distribution center will, among other things, have a fresh cut fruit, protein salad, and commissary production area, banana and avocado ripening rooms, refrigerated and dry warehouse space, loading docks, and office space. “We want to express our appreciation to all the partners who came together on this project to bring Del Monte Fresh Produce® to Delaware,” said Delaware Economic Development Office Director Bernice Whaley. “Thanks to the collaborative effort a building which has been on the market for nearly a decade will be revitalized and create new manufacturing jobs in our state with the potential to add more.”

About Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.
Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. is one of North America’s leading marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables. Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. markets its products in North America under the Del Monte® brand (as well as other brands), a symbol of product innovation, quality, freshness and reliability for more than 125 years. Visit

About the Delaware Economic Development Office
The Delaware Economic Development Office is an executive state agency responsible for attracting new investors and businesses to the state, promoting the expansion of existing industry, assisting small and minority-owned businesses, promoting and developing tourism and creating new and improved employment opportunities for all citizens of the State. Visit


Christina Dirksen, Strategic Communications Manager, DEDO ▪ (302) 672-6857

Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.
Dionysios (Dennis) Christou, Vice President Marketing – (305) 520 8400

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Governor Carney Accepts Strategic Plan from Delaware Pathways Steering Committee

Plan would improve Delaware’s efforts to connect educators and employers, and expand work-based learning

WILMINGTON, Del. – The Delaware Pathways Steering Committee presented its Strategic Plan to Governor John Carney on Wednesday – including priorities designed to more effectively connect Delaware educators and employers, create additional work-based learning opportunities for Delaware middle and high school students and better prepare Delaware students to enter college or a career in a high-growth industry.

Governor Carney is committed to expanding work-based learning opportunities for Delaware students, and is reviewing the Committee’s plan.

“Delaware’s economy remains in a period of significant transition, and we should ensure our schools are teaching the skills that employers demand,” said Governor Carney. “That means connecting Delaware’s educators with our employers, allowing our students to gain practical, work-based experience and retooling our workforce development programs to help students and employers succeed. Thank you to the members of the Steering Committee for producing this Strategic Plan, which will help us prepare Delaware’s students to succeed in jobs of the future.”

Governor Carney will speak at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday to the Third Annual Delaware Pathways Conference at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington.

Delaware launched its Pathways to Prosperity initiative in 2015 to establish partnerships between Delaware employers and educators, and better prepare Delaware’s students for college or a career. Governor Jack Markell signed Executive Order 61 last year, creating the Steering Committee to expand the Pathways program.

The Strategic Plan released on Wednesday includes five core priorities:

  • Build a comprehensive system of career preparation that aligns with the state and regional economies;
  • Scale and sustain meaningful work-based learning experiences for students in grades 7-14;
  • Integrate our education and workforce development efforts and data systems;
  • Coordinate financial support for Delaware Pathways;
  • And engage employers, educators, and service providers to support Delaware Pathways.

The Steering Committee includes representatives from the Delaware Departments of Education and Labor, the Delaware Economic Development Office, the Delaware Workforce Development Board, Delaware Technical Community College, United Way of Delaware, the Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee, the Rodel Foundation, Capital One, and Delmarva Power.

“The Steering Committee is proud of the report and very pleased that these recommendations will add a level of continuity to the great work already being done in our state to provide middle and high school students career awareness and work-based learning experiences,” said Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College, who Chairs the Steering Committee. “Governor Carney’s support of Pathways demonstrates his commitment to building Delaware’s talent pipeline for the future by engaging all of our high school students in comprehensive college and career readiness programs.”

“As the Chair of the Workforce Development Board for Delaware and President of one of the largest businesses in the State, I see the Pathways effort as a critical transformation of how we approach workforce development in the future, and the Strategic Plan represents a significant collaboration across all stakeholders that clearly defines the steps to success,” said Gary Stockbridge, President, Delmarva Power Region for Pepco Holdings, Inc. “I look forward to helping execute this plan and creating a workforce that keeps Delaware competitive and the place to thrive for the business community.”

Click here to read the full report.


Fiscal Responsibility Earns Delaware a Universal Triple-A Credit Rating

Rating agencies express confidence in Delaware’s financial management

WILMINGTON, Del. – The three major rating agencies have once again awarded Delaware a Triple-A credit rating, the highest mark that a state can achieve.

Delaware has earned the Triple-A rating for 17 years, and the rating agencies continue to express confidence in Delaware’s strong financial management and its ability to effectively address budget challenges.

“Delawareans expect us to responsibly manage the state’s finances, protect taxpayer dollars, and make smart investments on behalf of the people of our state. These ratings re-affirm our commitment to those principles,” said Governor John Carney.

“It’s no secret that we face budget challenges. But we are committed to working toward a sustainable, long-term solution that allows us to focus on improving our schools, protecting our environment and ensuring that Delaware remains a competitive place for businesses to create good jobs.”

Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings, and Standard & Poor’s Rating Services continue to recognize the state’s strong fiscal practices and, in doing so, cited the state’s proactive management style, strong financial operations, and history of maintaining ample budgetary reserves.

“We expect Delaware’s long history of what we view as prudent fiscal management to continue as the state maneuvers through near-term budgetary challenges and mounting long-term liabilities,” Standard & Poor’s Rating Services said in its report.

The ratings were released as the state prepares to take bids on $225 million in general obligation bonds on Thursday, February 23. The bonds will be sold to fund state objectives – including improvements to schools, libraries, and other state facilities.

A Triple-A rating will allow the state to fund these projects at the lowest possible interest rates.

“Delaware has established solid, conservative principles for sound financial management,” said Finance Secretary Rick Geisenberger. “We remain committed to making financial decisions that protect the interests of our residents, businesses and taxpayers.”


Governor Carney Announces Economic Development Working Group Members

Membership guidelines outlined in executive order


WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced Wednesday the members of the Economic Development Working Group who will develop recommendations for implementing a public-private partnership at the Delaware Economic Development Office.

The working group will explore how state government can work with the private sector to improve economic development efforts in Delaware, including ways to attract new, growing companies to the state, build a stronger entrepreneurial community, and support innovation.

“Over the next several weeks, the working group will explore how we can best position Delaware to be at the top of the list for businesses looking to start-up, grow or relocate,” said Governor Carney. “We will work with private industry to help grow our economy so that Delaware can compete for good-paying jobs.”

The Economic Development Working Group members include:

  • Mark Brainard – President, Delaware Technical Community College (Co-Chair)
  • Doneene Damon – Executive Vice President, Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A.
  • Mark Kleinschmidt – President, New Castle County Chamber of Commerce
  • Nick Lambrow – President, M&T Bank, Delaware Region
  • Jim Maravelias – President, Delaware AFL-CIO
  • Terry Murphy – President, Bayhealth Medical Center & Chairman of the Delaware Business Roundtable
  • Mona Parikh – Community Engagement Liaison, UD Horn Program in Entrepreneurship
  • Sen. Brian Pettyjohn – Senate Republican Caucus
  • Albert Shields – Policy Director, Office of Governor Carney
  • Rep. Bryon Short – House Democratic Caucus
  • Richelle Vible – Executive Director, Catholic Charities
  • Sen. Jack Walsh – Senate Democratic Caucus
  • Rod Ward – President, Corporation Service Company (Co-Chair)
  • Bernice Whaley – Director, Delaware Economic Development Office
  • Rep. Lyndon Yearick – House Republican Caucus

 The working group will begin its work in February and report back to Governor Carney by April 7, 2017. The group includes a member from each of the General Assembly’s four caucuses; four representatives from the business community; the Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office; the Governor’s Policy Director; and representatives from the nonprofit sector, higher education, labor and the public.

The Economic Development Working Group was established by Executive Order Number One, which Governor Carney issued on his first day in office.



Text of Executive Order






WHEREAS, Delaware’s economy is undergoing a fundamental shift toward industries and employment that require innovation and higher levels of skill.

WHEREAS, Delaware must embrace this change and focus its economic development efforts on making investments that result in jobs for Delaware workers, maintaining a business climate and infrastructure that supports economic growth, and developing a culture of entrepreneurship to grow the industries and jobs of the future. 

WHEREAS, Delaware’s business community has valuable information about emerging markets, the skills needed in a modern workforce, and resources to invest in new opportunities.

WHEREAS, the strength of Delaware’s economy will increasingly rely on identifying opportunities for growth and developing a well-trained workforce to meet the needs of existing and potential Delaware companies.

WHEREAS, allowing the Delaware Economic Development Office to work in partnership with Delaware’s business community will enhance the resources available for job creation and economic growth.

NOW, THEREFORE, I JOHN C. CARNEY, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Delaware, do hereby declare and order the following:

1. A working group is hereby established to study how Delaware’s public and private sectors can work together to improve the process of economic development in Delaware, including, in particular, to attract more growing and fledgling companies to the state and to build a stronger entrepreneurial community (the “Working Group”).

2. The Working Group shall consist of no fewer than 14 members to include:

  1. Four members of the General Assembly, to include one member from each of the House Majority and Minority caucuses, who shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House, and one member from each of the Senate Majority and Minority caucuses, who shall be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate;
  2. The Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO);
  3. Four members of Delaware’s business community, to be recommended by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce;
  4. The Governor’s Policy Director; and
  5. Representatives from the higher education, non-profit and labor union communities, and one member of the public, to be appointed by the Governor.

  3.  The Governor may appoint a chair and vice-chair, or two co-chairs, one each from the public and private sectors.

  4. The Governor may increase the size of the Working Group and appoint additional members at his pleasure. 

  5. The Working Group shall convene in February and shall consider at least the following matters:

  1. All duties and responsibilities of DEDO mandated by the Delaware Code and other applicable Delaware law;
  2. All additional duties and responsibilities currently being undertaken by DEDO;
  3. Current DEDO staffing and funding levels;
  4. The extent to which other states in the United States have used public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a tool to promote innovation and build an entrepreneurial community, the significant features of those partnerships and the degree to which they have achieved measurable results; and 
  5. The conditions necessary to making effective use of a PPP to foster economic development in Delaware.

  6. No later than April 7, 2017, the Working Group shall produce a report to the Governor that includes at least the following:

  1. Policy recommendations regarding the use of a PPP to foster economic development in Delaware, particularly in the area of strengthening the environment for entrepreneurs;
  2. The features essential to the success of any recommended PPP, including but not limited to a proposed governance structure and an estimate of necessary appropriations from the General Assembly;
  3. A proposed process and timeline for implementing any policy recommendation; and
  4. A draft of any necessary implementing legislation.

   7. The Working Group shall dissolve on April 7, 2017 unless reconstituted by further executive order.

                                                            APPROVED this 18th date of January 2017.