Governor Carney Announces Strategic Plan to Restructure Delaware’s Economic Development Efforts

Plan will create new public-private entity and new economic development division at the Department of State

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced a plan on Wednesday to create a public-private partnership and strategically realign Delaware’s economic development efforts, with a new focus on promoting innovation, supporting Delaware’s entrepreneurs, and leveraging private sector resources to create jobs and grow Delaware’s economy.

Governor Carney – who signed Executive Order #1 on his first full day in office to explore a new economic development strategy – will work closely with members of the General Assembly to approve the concept and funding for the public-private entity, as well as a new division at the Department of State to oversee responsibilities for small business development and tourism.

The plan will reorganize Delaware’s economic development efforts by early 2018.

“We can and should do more to promote innovation, support our entrepreneurs, build and retain a talented workforce in Delaware, and strategically partner with the private sector to grow the state’s economy,” said Governor Carney. “This plan will position Delaware to create good-paying jobs, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and keep our state a competitive place to do business.”

Governor Carney’s plan calls for the creation of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership – a jointly funded public-private entity that will lead statewide business marketing efforts to recruit and retain businesses, including early-stage technology-based ventures, as well as large employers. The partnership also would provide support for startup businesses, with a focus on high-growth industries, and work closely with employers and education institutions to build and retain a talented workforce in Delaware.

Governor Carney’s plan calls for $2 million in annual state funding for the partnership, and $1 million in annual funding from private business. Contributions from the state would remain contingent on an ongoing, annual financial commitment from the private sector.

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.

Governor Carney’s plan also would eliminate the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), and shift responsibilities for small business development and tourism to a new division at the Department of State.

“This is about positioning Delaware to be competitive for good jobs moving forward,” said Jeff Bullock, Delaware’s Secretary of State. “By strategically partnering with the private sector, we can leverage business resources to strengthen the state’s economic development efforts, while continuing to support small business owners and promote our state’s $3 billion tourism industry.”

The new division at the Department of State will maintain a strong focus on supporting small business – especially women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses. It will help business owners identify available resources and navigate local, state and federal rules and regulations.

Division leaders also will administer Delaware’s publicly-funded economic development incentive programs, such as the Strategic Fund, the Main Streets program, and the Blue Collar Workforce Training grant program.

Governor Carney’s plan builds on recommendations last month from the Economic Development Working Group, a committee created by Executive Order #1 to study a new economic development strategy. Exploring a new model for economic development that includes a public-private partnership, and an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, also was a recommendation of the Action Plan for Delaware.

Reaction to Governor Carney’s Plan:

“Even with the strongest economy in this region, Delaware can do better,” said Senator Jack Walsh, D-Stanton, a member of the Economic Development Working Group. “Bringing leaders from the private sector to the table adds a valuable new perspective to our economic development strategy and will help make our economy more dynamic over time. At the same time, Delaware is maintaining its firm commitment to empowering women, minority, and veteran-owned small businesses. Not all public-private partnerships are created equal, but the balance that we’ve struck here not only protects existing businesses and jobs, but also gives us a leg up in attracting promising new industries to our state.”

“There were two specific things I was looking for in considering this public-private partnership: One was there be a high level of transparency with the intermingling of public and private funds. I was concerned that it be as transparent as possible so the public would have every confidence that things were being done above board,” said Senator Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, a member of the Economic Development Working Group. “The second was to be sure this was not a New Castle County only solution for business development and that both Kent and Sussex Counties also had opportunities to reap the benefits of this new structure, proven to work very well in other states. I am satisfied both those conditions will be met.”

“This venture will put Delaware in a position to leverage the best that the public and private sectors have to offer to continue to strengthen and improve our economic climate,” said Representative Bryon Short, D-Highland Woods, a member of the Economic Development Working Group. “I look forward to working with this new partnership going forward.”

“This is not an end, it is a beginning,” said Representative Lyndon Yearick, R-Dover South, a member of the Economic Development Working Group. “Bringing the pragmatic knowledge of entrepreneurs into the process of creating a better business environment is a major step forward. Now we need to do realize the promise this concept holds for creating new, dynamic employment in Delaware.”

“We know that bringing additional, private-sector resources to Delaware’s economic development efforts can help strengthen our state’s ability to create jobs, grow the economy, and equip our workforce with the skills necessary to succeed in our new economy,” said Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College, and co-chair of the Economic Development Working Group. “We are excited to support Governor Carney’s plan and look forward to making Delaware even more competitive moving forward.”

“This plan offers a real chance to dramatically re-think the way Delaware does business – by leveraging additional resources, and bringing more ideas to the table as we seek to grow our economy, attract talent to our state, and create good-paying jobs for all Delawareans,” said Rod Ward, President of Corporation Service Company, and co-chair of the Economic Development Working Group. “Private businesses are ready and willing to be a full partner in this effort, and help create the kind of entrepreneurial, innovation-based economy that will lead to real growth.”


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Delaware Economic Development Working Group Recommends Plan for Public-Private Partnership
Governor Carney Signs Executive Order to Explore Public-Private Partnership at DEDO

Governor Carney Announces Departure of DEDO Director Bernice Whaley

Whaley is joining St. Andrew’s School as Director of Development

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday announced that Dr. Bernice Whaley, the Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, is leaving DEDO to become Director of Development at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown.

Dr. Whaley has served as DEDO Director since June 2015. She had been deputy director of DEDO since 2009.

“Bernice has been a source of steady leadership at the Delaware Economic Development Office,” said Governor Carney. “In recent months, she has led DEDO while serving on the Economic Development Working Group, helping us craft a new economic development strategy to invest in Delaware’s entrepreneurs, attract good-paying jobs, and grow our economy. I am thankful for Bernice’s service, and wish her the best of luck going forward.”

Cerron Cade, the deputy director of DEDO, will serve as acting director until a permanent director is selected.

“For over eight years, I’ve had the pleasure of serving the people of Delaware – first as deputy director and then as DEDO’s director. I am grateful to have been a part of this amazing team and honored to have the opportunity to lead it for the past two years,” said Dr. Whaley. “We’ve helped enhance the economic vitality of the state by creating and retaining thousands of jobs, attracting businesses and visitors from across the globe, implementing new initiatives to support workforce development and bolster our community of small businesses and entrepreneurs. I’m looking forward to continuing to serve the people of Delaware and students from around the world in a different, but equally rewarding, role with St. Andrew’s School.”


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 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.