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.
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.
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.
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.