Kent County Economic Partnership (KEP), a non-profit organization that helps support and expand business interests throughout central Delaware, announced the hiring of Linda Parkowski as the partnership’s Executive Director. Parkowski is known by many in Delaware for her work with the Delaware Economic Development Office, Delaware Tourism and Delaware Division of Small Business.
“Linda has a proven ability to lead and the knowledge and experience necessary to take on this important role,” Chairman of the KEP Gregg Moore. “The Kent Economic Partnership’s work is just beginning as we position the county for future growth.”
Parkowski is known throughout the state for her ability to spur action and bring ideas to life. Cindy Small and she brought the idea of the Kent County Regional Sports Complex to Greater Kent Committee, GKC, as a concept that could enhance Economic Development in Kent County. The pair continued to get calls for regional sports tournament and found it difficult to meet the need in Delaware. GKC put into action a plan that developed the 84-acre, state-of-the-art facility, synthetic turf complex now known as DE Turf. In addition to employing 180 people during construction, the complex expects to help create hundreds of full-time, continuing jobs for the area.
“In Kent County there is a lot opportunities to make a difference,” said Parkowski. “We have a lot of different groups and municipalities working together to grow the local economy. We need to harness this energy and move Kent County forward together.”
The KEP and GKC worked collaboratively to spearhead a new public, private partnership with Kent County Levy Court, local municipalities including Milford, Dover and Smyrna and local business owners to create a business environment supportive of the entrepreneurial spirit. The organization recently hired Rockport Analytics to do a market analysis on the region, evaluating economic analytics of the business climate and workforce needs. This analysis will help drive Parkowski and the KEP to set specific goals for next steps forward.
“I want to take a good, deep dive into the analytics and get a handle on the true nature of the economic landscape in Kent County,” said Parkowski. “The data shows a lot of exporting of business outside the county and information on the current workforce and what it is suitable for. As we look to attract businesses we need to know what businesses will work and what will be supported.”
As Director of Delaware Tourism, Parkowski filtered analysis from visitors to Delaware and created the slogan Delaware, Endless Discoveries. “We listened to what customers and clients wanted and created a brand that motivated people to come to Delaware,” said Parkowski.”
In an effort to raise more funding for the organization, the GKC has asked local businesses and municipalities to support their economic initiatives. The City of Dover has committed $50,000 to KEP for the next three years and the City of Milford has committed $30,000 for the next three years. The City of Smyrna and other government agencies have been asked to join these members in a collaborative effort to create economic development and jobs in Central Delaware.
“We have to create an image for the entire county. If a business opens in our municipalities it will be growing its workforce from across the County,” said Moore. “[KEP] will leverage the investment of all of our partners to create a stronger force to attract and sustain business.”
For more information on the KEP, individuals can contact Gregg Moore, KEP Chairman at 302-734-7950 or Linda Parkowski, at 302-270-0288.
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