Sea Watch Expanding Despite Economic Environment

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Sea Watch Plant Manager Clay Walton, Milford Director of Economic Development Richard Carmean, Sea Watch Director of Human Resources Doug Morrow, DEDO Workforce Development Director Sonia Aguilar, DEDO Sussex County Business Development Leader Melody Booker. Photo submitted by Jo Schmeiser, Executive Director of Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford.

This month Sea Watch International, located near downtown Milford, has begun to expand their workforce in the form of a second processing shift with the help of the City of Milford, Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO)and the Sussex County government.

Sea Watch International, which was founded in 1978, is a seafood company based in the Chesapeake Bay Region and is the nation’s largest supplier of branded canned and frozen clams, both Sea and Ocean. The company includes a claiming fleet of 32 boats and a plant for shucking, canning and freezing clams.

As the parent company of Sea Watch International was expected to expand its services, it was looking to increase the workforce in one of its current plants either in Virginia, Massachusetts or Delaware. With the help of DEDO and the Sussex County government, the City of Milford was able to offer incentives to attract Sea Watch International to expand in the Milford facility. At first, the Sea Watch expansion was anticipated to create 60 jobs in the Milford area but it has now grown to include 80 new positions.

“I really have to credit the City of Milford,” stated Melody Booker, Business Development Leader of Sussex County under DEDO. “They initiated this opportunity for Sea Watch and surpassed the expectations and hired 80 [employees].”

Starting the conversation with Sea Watch International was Richard Carmean, Executive Director of Economic Development for the City of Milford. He was able to work with DEDO workforce development and the government of Sussex County to offer incentives to attract the employer. One of these incentives was a $26,000 grant from the Delaware Economic Development Office for workforce training.

“We are excited,” commented Doug Morrow, Director of Human Resources at Sea Watch International in Milford. “It is an example of local and state government and private business working together in a tough economy to create jobs.”

The Delaware Economic Development Office hopes that this partnership will act as a catalyst for other businesses looking to expand or incorporate in the region. This example will allow businesses to know what can be done if they choose to look at Delaware for their future.

Governor Markell and the Director of DEDO, Alan Levin, are expected to visit the Sea Watch plant in Milford next week to congratulate Sea Watch International for their decision.