Small Grants Help Revitalize Downtown Dover

New round of funding announced for Downtown Development District program

Dover, DE – Joined by officials from the City of Dover and Kent  County, Governor Markell and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi today recognized the first recipients of small project grants that were made available through the Governor’s Downtown Development District (DDD) initiative. These grants were made available to support key investments of up to $250,000 one of the three current DDDs – Dover, Seaford, and Wilmington.

“The purpose of the DDD initiative is to accelerate revitalization in areas marked by issues like high poverty, high unemployment, and low homeownership,” said Governor Markell. “By leveraging state and local resources with the entrepreneurialism of private investors, the goal is to provide the extra boost needed to make great economic development opportunities a reality. In doing so, we can help turn these distressed areas into vibrant downtowns that attract talented people, innovative small businesses, and long-term residents.”

Today’s announcement, which follows the awarding of $5.6 million for projects investing more than $250,000, recognized John and Karen Marble, and Carmen Hardcastle, for their effort to improve the homeownership inventory in the Dover DDD.  Mr. and Mrs. Marble constructed a new home on a vacant lot on Mary Street in Dover, while Ms. Hardcastle rehabbed an existing home on N. Kirkwood Street.  These two awards are part of $1 million set aside for smaller projects in each of the DDDs.

Governor Markell and Director Ben Addi also announced the launch of the second round of funding for the program, making $8 million available for investments in the previously designated areas of Wilmington, Dover and Seaford.  Funds will be made available to support rehabilitation, expansion or new construction of commercial, industrial, residential (including multi-family), and mixed-use buildings or facilities located within the boundaries of a DDD.

“The City of Dover and Kent County have both been tremendous partners in the DDD effort and we thank them for their ongoing support,” added DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi.  “Small projects, like the ones completed by the Marbles and Ms. Hardcastle, help to keep families living in, and contributing to, the economies of our downtown areas. We want to continue to streamline the process so as many people as possible can access these funds to support investment in the downtown areas and encourage growth.”

Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Brad Eaby commented, “I am a firm believer that today’s challenges are best solved through the combined efforts of the government, the private sector and nonprofit organizations.  Our collective assets and wisdom can be harnessed to conquer the task at hand. DDD’s are a prime example of this approach.”

“We are really excited that the first three projects in Dover address three different goals of our district: new housing stock, renovation of existing housing stock, and restoration of an historic building for a new business,” noted Tim Slavin, City of Dover Council President. “And we know this is just the beginning. With the DDD program and the commitment of the City and its partners, we know we have a recipe for long-term success.”

DDD Grant recipient John Marble said, “Downtown Dover has always had a special place in our hearts. Whether it be our leadership and participation in Sidewalk Sunday School or the board of directors for Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity, we feel that participation in these various groups is an excellent way to turn the tide downtown. But most of all, it all boils down to the private sector investing and engaging with the various conflicts and challenges posed.”

DSHA has established two funding set-asides for DDD Grant Awards, one for small projects with an investment of less than $250,000, and another for investors of over $250,000. The Reservation applications for both Large Projects and Small Projects are available online. Projects seeking a Large Project reservation must apply by December 1, 2015. Small Project reservations and applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis as long as funding remains available.

For more information about the Downtown Development District Grant Program, please visit or call 888-363-8808.


Trade Mission to Promote Delaware to German Companies Begins Tuesday

Governor will meet with business and government leaders in Munich and Berlin to strengthen economic ties

Wilmington, DE – Having made it a top priority to ensure Delaware fully benefits from the global economy, Governor Markell will be in Germany beginning next Tuesday to strengthen relationships with German companies and business organizations.

The visit follows this year’s launch of the Department of State’s ‘Global Delaware’ initiative  ( and focuses on the three goals of the program: paving the way for Delaware companies to increase exports, building on Delaware’s global leadership in corporate governance and as a preferred site of incorporation, and promoting the state as a place for foreign companies to expand.

“Success for our state in the 21st century means looking beyond our borders for ways to create jobs and economic opportunity for Delawareans,” said Markell. “In a world where businesses have more choices than ever about where to invest and where Delaware companies have more opportunities than ever to sell their products around the globe, we must ensure that leading international business communities appreciate all that Delaware has to offer.”

The primary goal of the mission is to strengthen ties with the prospering small- and medium-sized companies (known as “Mittelstand”) of Bavaria, and its capital city of Munich, by meeting with individual businesses as well as organizations that represent and support them. The State aims to leverage its recently strengthened relationship with German companies, including the research company Fraunhofer and the manufacturer Uzin Utz, which will soon open its first U.S. plant in Dover.

“As a German company that has found Delaware to be a great place to do business, we are excited that the Governor is making this trip not only to our home country, but specifically to build relationships in the South of Germany,” said Philipp Utz, President of Uzin Utz Manufacturing North America Inc., a manufacturer of specialty flooring installation products. “Delaware has a lot to be proud of, with a growing business community, a state-of-the-art infrastructure and the ability to offer a skilled workforce. It will be of great benefit to many other German entrepreneurs to learn about the state and Delaware companies will also have a lot to gain from better ties with Germany’s economy.”

As part of Governor Markell’s new export initiative, he will work to develop a network of trade partners for Delaware companies to build on recent success. Germany was one of four key international markets identified as part of the initiative, which focuses on countries with the most buying potential for the products and services that Delaware has to offer.

Delaware exports to Germany have grown by 28.8 percent in the last 2 years. In 2014, Delaware exported $390.4 million in goods and services to Germany. The German economy represents the world’s fourth largest, accounting for more than one-fifth of the European Union’s GDP, and Germany is the United States’ largest European trading partner, as well as the sixth-largest market for U.S. exports.

The Governor will also take advantage of the opportunity to meet with prominent leaders of Germany’s legal community to promote the advantages of forming Delaware business entities and using Delaware’s courts for dispute resolution. Significant international growth has been a chief reason that Delaware set historic highs in the number of new companies formed last year.

Finally, the Governor will discuss opportunities to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) by Germany in Delaware. Germany invests more than $270 billion per year in the U.S., making it one of the leading sources for FDI. Germany invests the fourth-most of any country in Delaware, investing more than $270 million per year as of 2013.

In addition to connecting with individual companies and entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, Markell will meet with leaders from:

  • IHK’s Munich and Upper Bavaria chapter, with about 400,000 member companies;
  • The Bavarian Industry Association, which represents more than 100 Bavarian economic and employers’ associations, as well as 30 individual companies from diverse industries;
  • BioM, the networking agency for the biotechnology sector in Munich and Bavaria; and
  • Factory Berlin, Germany’s largest start-up campus, which supports many thriving new companies, particularly in technology fields.

The State delegation, which arrives in Munich on Tuesday and returns the following Monday, will also include:

  • Ian Wright, Board Member of the Delaware Bioscience Association who is a German-speaking former employee of Siemens (headquartered in Munich) and an active member of the Delaware business community;
  • Lydia Sarson, Director of the German American Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia;
  • Andrea Tinianow, Director of Global Delaware; and
  • Michael Marquardt, global advisor to the Department of State

The trip is estimated to cost less than $50,000 and will be the first foreign trade mission in which the Governor is participating since he visited Israel two years ago.

The launch of Global Delaware provides an opportunity to expand on progress from the Governor’s earlier international efforts and has already produced results. The program helped recruit AB Group Packaging Inc., a 30-year-old paper bag and flexible packaging producer with plants in Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom, which is slated to open its first U.S. plant in Delaware this summer, creating 87 new full-time jobs.

In addition, Global Delaware sponsored a mission to Canada so that Delaware farmers could meet with senior purchasing executives of Canada’s four largest retail chains, giving them unprecedented access to key buyers. The Canadian retailers – none of which had bought from Delaware before – all made commitments to purchase produce from Delaware growers.


Governor Nominates Accomplished Businesswoman to Lead Economic Development Office

Deputy Director Bernice Whaley Brings 25 Years of Business Experience and Record of Accomplishment at DEDO to the Post

Dover, DE – Governor Jack Markell announced today that he will nominate Deputy Director Bernice Whaley to be the next Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO). If confirmed by the Delaware State Senate, Whaley will succeed Alan Levin, who will resign in June to pursue business interests.

“Bernice is a remarkable person who has overcome significant personal challenges and adversity to succeed in business and in the public sector,” said Governor Markell. “Over 25 years, she was a vital piece of the team that grew Happy Harry’s from a local retailer with 13 stores into the leading drug store chain in our state and region. She knows what it takes to create and grow a business, and since joining DEDO in 2009, she has brought that experience to work for Delaware businesses.”

Whaley is an accomplished businesswoman with substantial experience in retailing and inventory management. Raised by a single mother who passed away when she was a teenager, Whaley attended the University of Delaware while working full time. Upon graduation, Whaley took an entry-level position managing inventory at Happy Harry’s, which had only 13 stores and approximately 100 employees.

Over the next 25 years as Happy Harry’s grew to 76 stores and 2800 employees, Whaley served as Vice President of Distribution and Inventory Management, managing all aspects of Happy Harry’s inventory, supply chain, and operation of distribution centers. After the sale of Happy Harry’s to Walgreen’s, Whaley worked for Karabus Management, which provided management consulting on logistics, merchandizing, and reorganization for national and international retailers.

In June of 2009, Whaley became Deputy Director of DEDO. As Deputy Director, Whaley manages the Office’s day-to-day operations, including leading business development and attraction projects, working with site advisors, and leading the development of the State’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

“It’s an honor to be nominated by Governor Markell,” said Whaley. “If confirmed, I want to build on DEDO’s successes and focus on enhancing the support we offer to small businesses. I know what it takes to grow a small business to the next level – creating jobs and stability. If I am confirmed as DEDO Director, I want to extend DEDO’s outreach with programming on how to access capital, how to get your business noticed, how to benefit from e-commerce, and how to benefit from productivity strategies.”

Whaley has been a leader at DEDO at a time of economic recovery and a surge in job growth. At 4.4 percent, Delaware has had the fastest job growth in the Mid-Atlantic over the past two years, also exceeding the national average of four percent. Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6 percent, the lowest in the region, and average annual wages have increased more than nine percent since 2009, among the best in the region.

In releasing its job creation index for 2014, Gallup noted that Delaware had gone “from one of the lowest-ranking states in 2008 and 2009 to one of the top-ranking in 2013 and 2014. Delaware holds the distinction of being the only state anywhere along the Eastern seaboard to be in the top 10.”

“I have known and worked with Bernice Whaley for over 10 years,” said Jim Kelly, Executive Vice President at Capital One. “‎Bernice has a unique track record of success in business, community, and government endeavors. As Deputy Director of Economic Development she has aggressively represented the best interests of Delawareans and helped to build the foundation for tomorrow’s economy.”

“SevOne owes its roots in Delaware to the proactive, supportive efforts of DEDO,” said company CFO Mike Shanahan. “As we considered expansion alternatives, Bernice was a great resource, bringing together various parties public and private to make it possible for us to stay here. Bernice guided us through the process of committing to our new home at the STAR campus and she proved to be resourceful, responsive, and creative – all reasons why I think she’ll make a great new Director.”

Markell is also announcing that he will nominate Secretary of State Jeff Bullock to become Chair of the Diamond State Port Corporation when Levin, who is the current Chair, steps down at the end of June. Bullock currently serves as Vice Chair.


Zacros America moving 154 manufacturing jobs to Delaware

Company’s Hedwin Division will relocate from Baltimore to Newark

Newark, DE – Zacros America Inc. has announced that it will move its Hedwin Division, along with 154 manufacturing jobs, from Baltimore to Newark, bolstering the state’s efforts to attract innovative companies and grow job opportunities in key sectors for today’s economy, including manufacturing.

Hedwin was launched in Baltimore in 1946 and has been a pioneer in the packaging and containment industry. The company’s “Winstead Process” was developed for molten sheet thermoforming used to develop plastic heat-sealing and the company’s classic Cubitainer product line.

“The manufacturing sector of 2015 looks much different than the one of even a decade ago. Whether it’s a packaging and safety equipment maker in Seaford, a chicken processing plant in Milford or a pharmaceutical firm in Wilmington, Delaware is home to a wide variety of excellent companies that offer well-paying jobs and are poised for future growth,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “Hedwin has a long history of innovation, and we look forward to helping them continue to break new ground over the years to come.”

Hedwin is a global provider of flexible and rigid packaging solutions for cosmetics, food, flavoring, industrial medical, pharmaceutical and sanitary markets. In 2014, the company was purchased by Fujimori Kogyo Co. Ltd., a Japanese converter of flexible films and packaging. During the same year, Hedwin became a division within Fujimori’s subsidiary, Zacros America.

The company has distributors in 36 cities nationwide and works closely with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, one of its new neighbors in Newark.

“When we looked at potential sites for Zacros America, Delaware had the best workforce and the right location,” said Maurice LeCompte, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Hedwin Division of Zacros America. “We felt that Delaware wanted to promote manufacturing more than the other options we were considering. We also saw the greatest potential for a strong partnership with the state and its business community.”

On Monday, Zacros America was approved for a Delaware Strategic Fund Performance grant and a Capital Expenditure Grant for the creation of 154 new full-time permanent Delaware positions at its new location on Lake Drive in Newark.

“Adding jobs to the manufacturing sector will provide a major boost to, and help to diversify, our economy. What we really liked about Zacros’ Hedwin division is that they have the desire and the ability for future expansion,” said Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office. “If and when Hedwin decides to add more jobs, they will be tapping into a workforce that is well-trained and well-prepared. And that’s one of the reasons why they chose Delaware.”

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

About Zacros America Inc. Zacros America Inc. is a subsidiary of Fujimori Kogyo Co. Ltd., a Japanese converter of flexible films and packaging. In January 2012, the company opened an office just outside of Chicago, a central location that allows it to serve its North American customer base with utmost efficiency. In May of 2014, Zacros acquired the former Hedwin Corporation, now known as the Hedwin Division of Zacros America, Inc. The Chicago office currently handles all flexible film and pouch inquires, and the Hedwin Division handles all BIB inquiries. Visit


President Shimon Peres Conducted a Diplomatic Work Meeting with the Democratic Governor of Delaware, Jack Markell

President Peres to Governor Markell:

The relations between Israel and Delaware are indeed very special”

 Governor Markell to President Peres:

“We have between Delaware and Israel a very strong history”

 The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, conducted a work meeting with the Governor of Delaware, Jack Markell. Governor Markell, accompanied by a delegation of Delaware entrepreneurs and business leaders, is visiting Israel this week on an economic development mission. The delegation met with leaders from Israel’s business sector, in addition to visiting several business incubators and meeting with venture capital investors. President Peres and Governor Markell discussed the close relations between Delaware and Israel and ways to enhance the existing economic and academic cooperation.

pic1 President Peres began by welcoming Governor Markell and said, “Welcome to Israel, the relations between Israel and Delaware are indeed very special. Delaware is a wonderful place and I look forward to finding ways to further strengthen and enhance the cooperation between Israel and Delaware.”

Governor Markell thanked President Peres for his warm words and said, “We really appreciate the chance to see you. We have between Delaware and Israel a very strong history, especially in the area of corporate governance. We have a lot of collaboration between Delaware companies and universities and their counterparts in Israel, and this trip is to enhance that collaboration.”

Governor Markell took office in 2009. In addition to his duties as Governor, he also heads the National Governors’ Association (NGA), a policy organization that represents the nation’s governors. Traveling with the Governor are Delaware Economic Development Director Alan Levin, two Delaware business leaders, University of Delaware Vice Provost for R&D, members of the legal community and representatives from the Delaware Department of State.

Photos can be viewed on Flickr.


Photo Credit: Mark Neiman/Government Press Office


For additional information:

Ayelet Frish – Spokesperson and Media Adviser to the President of Israel– 0506205111

Yair Zivan – International Media Coordinator, Office of the President of Israel – 0523450061