By Kurt Foreman, president and CEO of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership
As I’ve lived my life and pursued my career, there have been moments or experiences that some might describe as “mountaintop experiences”: those that offer a clear view of what’s both behind and ahead and/or that offers a satisfying or inspired feeling of accomplishment.
While our state isn’t known for its mountains (notwithstanding Mt. Cuba), I’ve witnessed numerous mountaintop experiences in Delaware during my nearly five years here. This month, I was fortunate to see several Delawareans have what may have been such an experience for them. And while I was but an observer and “cheerleader” this time around, I felt it, too, and take hope and inspiration from those moments.
As an economic developer with the privilege to work up and down our great state in many communities and places, I’m reminded that “state economic development” is really a series of local or personal successes for folks who are starting a business, selecting a specific spot to grow a business, being hired into a great new role or seeing a community reach a milestone or mountaintop experience that has been a goal for some time. The repeated combination of those actions, activities or successes across a state are what we seek to encourage and support.
On Tuesday, December 6, I had the chance to attend a Delaware Day dinner (celebrating the 235th anniversary of that mountaintop experience for our forebearers) and to hear the spirit, pride, and optimism that many leaders, current and past, have for our state. Then, on Thursday, December 8, I had the opportunity to visit an older industrial space on Bowers Street in Wilmington’s Riverside neighborhood and join about 200 people to celebrate an inspiring story of entrepreneurship, vision, energy, and commitment to place. Markevis Gideon, founder of NERDiT Now, and friends, partners, team members and supporters gathered in a facility that has been other things in its past and now will house another aspiring and successful enterprise that makes a real difference as a company, as an employer and as an equipper of skills and opportunity. Governor John Carney, Delaware State Senator Darius Brown, Renata Kowalczyk of Wilmington Alliance, Logan Herring of The WRK Groupand Aaron Bass of East Side Charter School were among those joining Markevis to celebrate the NERDiT Now team’s next chapter: growing a business that makes a difference and has come home to the neighborhood where its founder grew up. Going forward, Markevis and the team will be hiring and working alongside many other entities to transform lives and a place in Delaware.
When a room is full of energy, gratitude, inspiration and committed people, it can’t help but feel like a bit of a mountaintop experience. I took back some of that spark to the rest of my day, and it reinforces for me that what we are doing together is critical – for the folks we serve AND for all of us as individuals (even if we don’t immediately realize it). I’m confident that there are MANY more mountaintop experiences ahead for Delaware as we move into the official 236thyear of our state.
Thank you for being integral to ensuring that such experiences can happen. Your investments of time, talent and treasure do make a difference – touching us as well as those we serve.
On behalf of the DPP team who get to do such meaningful work daily, I want to wish all of you a wonderful holiday season! Know that we are thankful for you, your teams, and your hard work. Together, our combined efforts are creating mountaintop experiences for so many!
P.S. DPP was happy to showcase Markevis in this video produced shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.