Women in Business Forum: Dr. Kathy Matt

Dr. Kathy Matt, biologist, physiologist, and overall impressive interdisciplianarian spoke of her accomplishments and goals at the DSCC’s Women in Business Forum this Tuesday morning at the Chamber’s Boardroom. The current Dean of the College of Health and Sciences at the University of Delaware, and executive director of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance, Dr. Matt has come full circle from her beginning as an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware.

After studying at UD, earning her PhD in endocrine physiology from the University of Washington, Seattle, she then took her post as Associate Vice President for Clinical Partnerships and Research Infrastructure at Arizona State University. There she began her work developing clinical partnerships with community partners to enhance ASU’s resources.

Dr. Matt brought her expertise in creating partnerships back to the University of Delaware. She has not only developed a great working partnership between UD and Thomas Jefferson University, but is expanding her College through her valiant effort to create the new STAR Campus on the University’s recent purchase of the old Chrysler site in Newark.

There she hopes to expand her college’s programs such as Physical Therapy and Nursing, and make the site more community friendly and accessible than previous facilities. The massive 272-acre  site will provide space for private businesses to rent clinical facilities, which will in turn benefit students as outside locations to gain practical experience.

As always, Dr. Matt ended her talk with some personal tips to combat stress and stay healthy. We would like to thank Dr. Matt for her words of wisdom and her contributions to the Delaware community.

Be a Superstar!

Is your small business or nonprofit organization a superstar? Apply for the 2012 Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Awards and receive the recognition you deserve!

The Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Award, named for one of Delaware’s leading small business entrepreneurs, honors businesses and nonprofit organizations for their outstanding achievements and model approaches to business and management. Over 50 worthy companies have achieved Superstar status. Will you be among them this year? Apply online now at ssb.dscc.com. Awards of Excellence are also given to companies who show great potential as future winners.

Requirements for application:

  • must be a member in good standing of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
  • must be in business for at least three years
  • small businesses are defined as being between one and 150 full-time employees
  • application must be submitted no later than August 24, 2012

“It was wonderful to receive recognition for the success and business culture we have created. Everyone in the Alliance family was very proud of the award. For companies in Delaware, the Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Award is truly an honor that cannot be understated.”  – Mike Vanderslice, Director of Sales & Marketing, Environmental Alliance, 2012 Superstars in Business Award Winner

“Sunday Breakfast Mission applied to Superstars in Business because to be recognized by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Alliance is a reflection of superior non-profit business practices and the accompanying results. To be honored with such an award will only add to the credibility of the work we are doing.” – J Morgner, Mission Advancement Manager, Sunday Breakfast Mission, 2012 Award of Excellence Winner

Save the date! The 14th Annual Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business Awards Luncheon on November 14 will feature keynote speaker Dan Butler.

To register, apply, sponsor or advertise, visit www.dscc.com/superstarsinbusiness or call (302) 576-6578.

2012 Small Business Conference/End-of-Session Legislative Brunch

The small business exhibitors arrived early and arrived often.

One by one, representatives from Deerfield, the Delaware Humane Society, Environmental Alliance, the Blood Bank, the Ronald McDonald House, and many, many more, began flooding the Dover Sheraton for the 2012 Small Business Conference and End-of-Session Legislative Brunch.

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The breadth and diversity of small businesses in Delaware—the backbone of the local economy, and DSCC membership—was on full display.

Pam Cornforth, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House, was performing double-duty. Not only was her organization part of the small business celebration, but as co-chair of the Small Business Alliance, she dutifully introduced our keynote speaker for the morning, Giovanni Coratolo, the vice president of small business policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the executive director of the small and midmarket business councils.

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Coratolo’s job is to work with Chamber policy experts and small- to mid-market members to help identify issues, ranging from legislative, regulatory, and international. His riveting talk dealt with how small businesses nationwide deal with federal issues, such as tax reform, government spending and regulations.

Following a brief break, the End-of-Session Legislative Brunch got underway with DSCC president and CEO Jim Wolfe turning the microphone over to Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, who said Delaware is the best state in the United States for doing business. In his brief remarks, he also reiterated his desire for public education improvements.

Then, with a room full of state legislators and other elected officials, DSCC Chairman Bill Allan called to the podium The Honorable Anthony DeLuca, President Pro Tempore of the Delaware State Senate; and The Honorable Robert Gilligan, Speaker of the House.

DeLuca and Gilligan provided the room with updates from Legislative Hall, which mainly dealt with the state’s operating budget.Following that, DSCC vice president of government affairs Rich Heffron stepped to the stage to present the First Annual Small Business Guardian Awards.

The DSCC and the Small Business Alliance prides itself as friends of small business, but the fact of the matter is, we wouldn’t be able to do that without strong voices in the Delaware General Assembly who feel the same way. The Small Business Guardian Awards will recognize a few members of the legislature for their tireless efforts on behalf of small businesses in Delaware.

The first award recipient has always been a steadfast guardian of small businesses, especially in his downstate district, where there are lots of them. The award went to State Senator Robert Venables.The second recipient was noted for his empathy while the economy was going through a rough patch, when he realized firsthand that business owners were making personal sacrifices to keep employees working. The State House award went to the the honorable Greg Lavelle.

Before the event’s conclusion, Heffron presented one last award–to Speaker Gilligan–for his many years of service.

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Sponsors for the event included Gold Sponsors Bancroft Construction Company, Bank of America and UPS. Silver sponsors were: The Delaware Economic Development Office, Verizon’ and bronze sponsors included: BlueCross BlueShield of Delaware, Comcast, Delaware Electric Co-Op, Diamond Technologies, Rhett Ruggerio Government Relations, ShopRite, and WSFS Bank.

The DSCC thanks all of its sponsors, plus Dover Sheraton for hosting another great event.

DSCC Partners with Google to get Delaware Online

Last Friday, April 20, 2012,  the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts underwent a Google transformation. Green, red, yellow and blue ran rampant throughout the building, which was marked with the iconic Google Places pin.

Our communications and events associate, Katie, outside the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts.

The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce was thrilled to be a part of this movement – “Get Your Business Online.” Google has been traveling the country, hosting free events and getting small businesses set up with free websites. “Build Your Free Website” was one of three sessions at this day-long event. The other two included “Grow your Business Online” and “Promote Your Business Online.” Altogether, they comprised a comprehensive and user-friendly experience for small business people.

After creating their free website, or if they already had one, attendees moved to the Grow session where they learned how Google search actually works, got an introduction to search engine optimization and received tips for promoting their website. A short introduction to search engine marketing was also given. Our communications specialist, Denee, happened to be in the Promote session when Sen. Tom Carper dropped in for a quick visit.

“Promote Your Business” encouraged website owners to utilize the tools offered by Google, and explained AdWords and AdWords Express. It was an informative overview of advertising on Google and building ads that actually work.

Our communications staff had a blast at this event, which was a great resource for our small business members. If you missed it, you can still see what it was all about and even build your free website by clicking here.

We thank the DCCA and Google for an awesome event filled with extremely valuable information, and for making sure we were a part of the big day.

2012 Wellness@Work Conference

“You are the only person who can make you healthy.”

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So said Dr. Bruce Panasuk in his gut-checking keynote speech during the 2012 DSCC Wellness@Work Conference, last Wednesday, April 18 at the Medical Society of Delaware.

Panasuk, the Executive Director of Wellness for Kelly Benefit Strategies, and Chief of Surgery at the Veterans Hospital in Wilmington, presented “Taking Responsibility for Your Health,” in which he urged the audience to destroy the “Do What Tastes Right” culture in America and replace it with “Do what is right.”

“America has a culture of ease and comfort,” he said. “We want the easiest, quickest solutions possible. We are programmed to think unhealthy, and we take the bait.”

Instead, he said, we should take an active role in preventing preventable diseases, which make up around 75 percent of our country’s health costs. He likened the current model for health care in America to water rescue. “We’re great at pulling people out of the water,” he said, “but we don’t help people from falling into the water in the first place.”

He closed with a passage from the motivational oratorical piece “I Will Persist Until I Succeed.”

It was just the first half of a health-geared program that stressed fundamental shift in the way we approach our health. Simple but meaningful changes to our lifestyles, our diets, our exercise habits—these are the mechanisms of change.

And that was the message echoed by second speaker, Jason Danner, vice president and lead consultant of Kelly Benefit Strategies.

After opening with a prophetic movie clip from “WALL-E,” Danner spoke passionately about how wellness programs in the workplace is the best solution for capping the escalating price of health insurance.

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“We’re taking the fight to health costs. And we do that by getting healthy,” he said.

Danner yielded the floor momentarily to Rick Sutton, co-founder and CEO of the Plus 3 Network, the innovative platform that allowed the DSCC to implement a wellness program (and competition) in its office. Read all about that here.

Embracing a healthier lifestyle helped alter the thinking of our own office, and we hope the 2012 Wellness@Work Conference inspired a few of our guests to do the same.

We are thankful for our sponsors, including Delmarva Power (Platinum level); AstraZeneca and Christiana Care (Gold level); BlueCross BlueShield of Delaware and George & Lynch (Silver level); Blood Bank of Delmarva, Gore, and ATI Therapy (Bronze level); Delmarva Broadcasting Company, the News Journal, Delaware Today/Today Media (Promotional Sponsors); Cardio Kinetics, Hockessin Athletic Club, Piccolina Toscana, Plexus, Plus 3 Network (Partnering sponsors). And of course that extends to the picturesque Medical Society of Delaware for hosting us.

Sec. Alan Levin addresses “The State of Business in Delaware”

“Delaware has not been content with waiting for this recession to end. That’s the difference between Delaware and other states.”

So began Alan Levin, the Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, Monday morning at the historic Wilmington Club for the latest installment of the DSCC’s Legislative Forum.

Amidst a few Monday-morning bleary eyes, Levin recapped his first few years in office, dealing with the closing of two auto manufacturing plants and the Valero plant in Delaware City, plus the arrival of Fisker Automotive, Bloom Energy and others.

Levin said Delaware’s unemployment rate dropped to around 7 percent in January 2012, which is a step in the right direction. “Delaware’s best days are ahead of us,” he says.To help foster a stronger statewide business community, Levin, along with Gov. Markell, has visited businesses from up and down the state, always asking the question “How can we do a better job of making your business more successful?”

He touched briefly on the Delaware State Small Business Credit Initiative, which has the potential to help small businesses and stimulate job growth; as identified the Port of Wilmington, and the health care sector as areas of growth.

Following his well-received remarks, Sec. Levin fielded questions about Fisker’s recent troubles, the high cost of energy, among several others.

The DSCC thanks Sec. Levin for his stirring words and his ongoing commitment to growing business and creating jobs in Delaware.

Made in Delaware

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The signs said it all: “Made in Delaware.”

The 2012 Spring Manufacturing Conference was a celebration of all things Delaware-made. Forty tabletop displays lined the walls of Sheraton Dover Hotel on Thursday, encompassing products as far-ranging as industrial steel and high-tech polymers to pale ale and Jell-O.

AstraZeneca’s Mike Crawford, chairman of the Delaware Manufacturing Association, greeted morning session attendees with a colorful welcome. The DMA, he said, is all about enhancing the competitiveness of Delaware manufacturers through government regulation, trade and tax policy.

Crawford then introduced Ned Monroe, the senior vice president of external relations for the National Association of Manufacturers. Monroe ran briefly through his career arc–which included stops at various political campaigns, PACs and associations–before launching into a 2012 national election picture. The race for the White House, Monroe said, along with tight margins in the House and Senate, could have a big impact on the national manufacturing scene. He then blazed through several issues that could have major implications for manufacturers, including conflict minerals, and the Keystone Pipeline.

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He ended his rousing talk with a plea to get involved with local government, particularly in an election year (and particularly in a state as small as Delaware), as face-to-face interactions with elected officials and candidates can spur change.

After a wonderful meal from the folks at Sheraton Dover Hotel, Gov. Jack Markell took to the podium to keynote the Spring Legislative Brunch. He shared his gratefulness for the DSCC, his cabinet, and Delaware’s congressional delegation (“The best in the country,” he said. “That may sound like hyperbole, but I believe it to be true.”) before stressing the importance of education reform. “If we don’t improve the schools, then nothing else matters,” he said. Exciting changes, like the DCAS assessment program, and investments in early childhood education, are already beginning the process, he said.

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And, just as Monroe said, attendees at the brunch were permitted some one-on-one Q&A time with the governor, before closing out the day.

Thanks to all who made it, especially our speakers, our government representatives and our great Made in Delaware exhibitors. Keep checking www.dscc.com for info on upcoming events.

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