Infrastructure Package Moves Forward

By James DeChene

The State House of Representatives today took the first official step in reaching a proposed $100 million total infrastructure deal.  Tasked by Governor Markell to find $50 million, the first bill in a package of legislation was heard in, and released from, the House Revenue and Finance Committee.

Why is this important?  Delaware’s infrastructure is suffering from a lack of investment over the years due to a number of factors, including a tough economy, cars and trucks getting better fuel mileage (less gas tax paid at the pump), and the number of projects outstripping overall funding (DELDOT faces a $800 million shortfall over the next 5 years as projects continue to pile up).

The money in the state Highway Trust fund goes to more than just roads.  All projects undertaken by DELDOT are funded through the HTF, including rail, bridge, road and drainage pipe work, among others.

HB 140 raises $23 million in new revenue by raising .5% the fee paid on the sale of automobiles, along with a range of DMV fee increases.  The bill will be heard on the floor tomorrow, where it will be voted on by the House.  The next steps, if passed, are to go through the Senate committee and floor vote, where it will be signed by the Governor.

2 remaining pieces are awaiting action, including the transfer of DELDOT operating expenses out of the Highway Trust Fund and into the General Fund, as well as some sort of tax on gasoline, either at the wholesaler level, or at the pump.

Delaware Companies Support TPA

By James DeChene

15 Delaware companies recently signed onto a coalition letter urging Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. TPA is vital because economic growth and job creation at home depend on our ability sell American goods and services to the 95% of the world’s customers living outside the U.S.

Many Americans are already seizing these opportunities. Nationally, one in four manufacturing jobs depends on exports, and one in three acres on American farms is planted for consumers overseas.

Here in Delaware trade plays a big role in our economy. Trade supports more than 120,000 jobs in the state, and our state’s exports of goods and services last year reached $8.5 billion. The letter’s details can be found here.

The Delaware companies listed were:

  • ACE Group
  • DuPont
  • Gap Inc.
  • Impact Colors Inc.
  • Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
  • LabWare, Inc.
  • Siemens Corporation
  • Solvay
  • Telgian Corporation
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • The Dow Chemical Company
  • The Michaels Stores, Inc.
  • The Procter and Gamble Company
  • UPS
  • Xerox Corporation

Update from Dover

by James DeChene

The General Assembly is currently enjoying a two week break for Easter, and is due back in Dover on April 21st. On the hearing docket that week is a bill dealing with “Chemical Concerns and Flame Retardants” that has raised concerns from the Chemical industry, and there are hearings scheduled for both the Senate Banking and Business Committee and House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee, but no agenda has been set. Budget issues are still being sorted out, and other business related legislative activity expected this spring includes a proposal to change the corporate structure of businesses related to fee-shifting, a second bill dealing with escheat, along with another slate of education related bills. April and May will prove to be busy, all gearing up for June madness.  More to come.

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.

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