February expo will be great chance to promote business, chamber sponsors say

January 1, 2015
 Ten chambers of commerce within the state of Delaware are set to launch their second State Wide Business 2 Business Expo, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 12, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Open to the public, it’s an expo for consumers, customers and shoppers. 
 
Visitors will see different products and services showcased by businesses from all over the state of Delaware and will be able to attend cutting-edge technology sessions. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and a cash bar will be available at this networking expo.
 
Networking alone is reason enough for anyone involved in business to attend. This is an opportunity to grow your business and connect with other business professionals statewide.
 
“At the end of the day,” said J.R. Ennis, director of Leadership Central Delaware, marketing and program development of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce (CDCC), “this expo helps nurture and grow business relationships in Delaware!”
 
Ennis said the B2B Expo is an excellent opportunity to expand a business’s client base, to go statewide and to showcase one’s products or services. “There will even be a ‘networking nook; located at the expo for exchanging business cards and making new connections,” Ennis said.
 
You’ll want to reserve your spot now to get a prime spot. Booths measuring 8 feet by 10 feet are $450; 8-foot by 20-foot spaces are $800. Included are pipe and drape, one table and two chairs. Space will be confirmed on a first-paid, first-served basis. For more information on the B2B Expo, visit www.cdcc.net/B2Bexpo to reserve your booth on the user-friendly map.
 
Participating chambers include: 
• Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce 
• Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford 
• Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
• Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce
• Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce 
• Lewes Chamber of Commerce. 
• Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce
• Milton Chamber of Commerce 
• Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce
• The Quiet Resorts Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce 
 
The 2015 Business 2 Business Expo is sponsored by Allen Insurance Group Benefits Connection, Comcast Business, Delaware State News and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.
 
 
Who’s in charge at the local chambers? 
 
Following are profiles of directors of chambers of commerce in the area. The profiles are in the directors’ own words and include reflections on the futures of their towns. 
 
Judy Diogo, President 
Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce
Education and work experience 
I earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Andrews University. I am a graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management and earned my Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credentials.
Personal goals & achievements
At this stage in my life, my goal is to be happy with every day I am given and to do something good with each day I am given.     
Future goals, programs or projects
Our members will see new programs and events in 2015 that will help our members grow their businesses, because at the end of the day that is what we do. 
Bragging on your town or chamber
The biggest achievement for the CDCC this year is reaching 1,000 members! I have to thank all of the businesses who helped us get to 1,000 members strong. We at the CDCC are extremely proud of our membership. Our members make Kent County one of the best places in the entire nation to work and live. The businesses here know what community is and they are part of it. We are looking forward to 2015 because we know it will be even better than 2014!  
 
Karen S. Duffield, Executive Director 
Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce
Education and work experience
After growing up and working in Washington, D.C., I moved to Rehoboth Beach in 1994. Over the past 20 years, I have worked with area chambers and non-profits. The Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber of Commerce provided a solid training ground for me and this is where I credit learning everything you want to know about managing a chamber from Carol Everhart.  
In 2001, I realized a long-time dream of owning and operating a bed & breakfast, when I found just the right property and moved to Milton. 
Before my two daughters were born, I was able to juggle that business along with serving as the executive director of Milton’s emerging chamber, and managing the initial renovation and revitalization of the historic, non-profit Milton Theatre.  
Great networking opportunities led to my present position with the Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, a tenure which has now spanned over seven years. 
Bragging on your town or chamber
The Georgetown Chamber is entering what I think will be one of its most dramatic periods of growth. After three years of searching, we settled on and have repurposed an older residential Georgetown property for our new offices and a Visitor Center that will promote tourism throughout the county. 
We are thrilled to have Southern Delaware Tourism staff share our space at 827 East Market St., and partner in the development of this Visitor Center that will market all of the chamber destinations in Sussex. 
The Georgetown Chamber has also just completed a new branding effort and our new logo has a great energy and connectedness to it. The colors capture our area’s natural aesthetic, and the design simply but clearly reminds us of our integral place in the county seat. 
Every town and city in Southern Delaware has its own unique quality & character, and I feel fortunate to have lived in and worked for many of them. 
 
Kristie Maravalli, Executive Director
Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce
Education and work experience
As an undergraduate, I studied English at Susquehanna University and continued on to get my master’s degree in administration at West Chester. I then began coaching women’s basketball and eventually became the head coach at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio for 14 years prior to moving here. 
Personal goals & achievements
Being outside and active has always been priority. I feel blessed to have landed here. With the Quiet Resorts Information Center and the Chamber offices on Coastal Highway, workplace conditions are phenomenal. 
Making a career change from higher education to the Chamber of Commerce has been the most enlightening and rewarding experience I have had professionally to date. The goal of our team is to connect businesses, resources, people and projects in order to facilitate growth.    
Future goals, programs or projects
In 2015, our chamber is working to provide more resources for our small business owners, partner with the future workforce in creating educational opportunities and better service the growing retirement population. 
Bragging on your town or chamber
The Bethany-Fenwick Area business community is extremely active and involved. Whether it is networking or community outreach, we see strong support and collaboration in making lower eastern Sussex County a great place to be.
 
Don Dykes, Executive Director
Laurel Chamber of Commerce
Education and work experience
I graduated from Laurel High School and Delaware Tech. I have also completed online business courses. My professional experience includes owner of New Homes & Porch & Patio Enclosures, chamber director from 1997 to 2000, bank manager, real estate agent, owner of a real estate business and chamber director from 2012 to the present.
Personal goals & achievements
I ran a successful business for 20 years and was named Dealer of the Year in 1997 of all the dealers in the country. I sold my business in 1997. I then became chamber director for Laurel and built the chamber to 212 members before moving on to banking. I managed the County Bank and Bank of Delmarva branches and got my real estate license. I was Citizen of the Year in 2000 and Business Person of Year in 2013. My most important goal is to continue my relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ.
Future goals, programs or projects 
I was asked to come back to the Laurel Chamber part-time on Jan. 1, 2012 and rebuild the chamber’s membership which had dropped below 80 members. With the blessings of the Lord we are 143 members and growing. After 15 years of putting on the July 4th Independence Day Celebration we turned it over to the Town. In 2012, we began a new project, the Broad Creek Bike & Brew Tour with almost 400 riders in 2014. We are in the planning stages now for the 2015 Bike & Brew with expectations of 800 to 1,000 bike riders. We continue to promote Laurel and all of western Sussex County.
Bragging on your town or chamber
I have a great chamber board and membership with a good mix of ladies and gentlemen working for the good of our members and the Laurel community. We have a good relationship with the Town of Laurel. We are working together for the betterment of our citizens. I love this town and I’m as local as you can get. I was born on 9th Street in Laurel, went to New Jersey once to work for Hess Oil company - lasted two weeks - came back and never left. Good things will happen in Laurel with water and sewer coming to Sussex Highway.
 
Bob Older, President/Founder 
Delaware Small Business Chamber
Education and work experience  
I started Delaware’s first PVC furniture company in 1981. In 1984, I founded Pride Signs and sold it in 1989. I then purchased a Tastykake Franchise in 1991 and sold it in 1993. I founded Creative Travel, Inc. in 1994 and the business is celebrating 20 years this year. I founded the Delaware Small Business Chamber in 2011.
Personal goals & achievements 
My goal is to get the Delaware Small Business Chamber to 1,000 members. 
Future goals, programs, projects
Our goal is continued growth. The chamber is currently growing at a rate of about 40% per year. We are continually building on the Small Business Vehicles Convoy and our Awards Brunch.
Bragging on your town or chamber
We are the first chamber in the world to create the Small Business Vehicle Convoy. We are the only chamber in the state that does not charge solely based on the size of the business. We offer over 72 free events a year to our members.
 
Betsy Reamer, Executive Director
Lewes Chamber of Commerce
Education and work experience
I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago campus. My work experience includes 18 years as the executive director of the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, executive director of the Baltimore Choral Society and marketing and public relations director at Center Stage Theater, Baltimore.
Future goals, programs or projects
Lewes has so many dynamic organizations that make significant contributions to the quality of life and enhancement of the business community. We are constantly reaching out to form partnerships with these groups to expand the scope of activities that we can offer our visitors as well as the residents of the greater Lewes area. A number of new events are in the planning stages. The chamber continues to work with the non-profit Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association to offer an alternative transportation connection from Lewes’ Canalfront Park to Rehoboth’s Grove Park via the canal. 
Bragging on your town or chamber
Lewes has always been a destination for people who love the bay, ocean and beaches. With the creation of new trails, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of bicycles on the roadways and in the bike racks in our parks and commercial district. The network of new trails in Cape Henlopen State Park and a planned trailhead connecting the Gordons Pond Trail and Junction and Breakwater Trails and the future Lewes to Georgetown trail along the existing rail line add to the already rich outdoor experience surrounding Lewes.  
 
Lisa Sumstine, Executive Director
Milton Chamber of Commerce
Education and work experience
I have an associate’s degree from Delaware Tech and a bachelor’s degree from Belmont University.
Future goals, programs or projects
We are constantly working to offer more to our membership and community.
Bragging on your town or chamber
Milton is growing and flourishing and so are we. The year 2014 was an extraordinary year for our town and chamber. We started the year with eight vacancies downtown and ended 2014 with two.
 
Carol A. Everhart, President/CEO
Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce
Education and work experience
I received my degree in organizational management and tourism at the University of Delaware. I have experience in the fields of special events, recreation, paralegal and creative consulting. I started at the chamber as event coordinator in 1989, was promoted to marketing director in 1990, became executive director in 1992 and president and CEO in 2001. I have served as marketing chair for the Institute for Organized Management at the University of Delaware and on numerous county, state, municipal and commission boards, including Resort Transportation Advisory Committee, Southern Delaware Tourism Board and WSFS Advisory Board.
I have received several awards which include: VIP Sussex Outdoors - Jan. 2014; Women of Distinction – Delaware Beach Life – Aug. 2014; Top 50 Delaware’s Most Influential People – 2012; Top Women in Business – 2007; Governor’s Hall of Fame for Special Events – 2000, 2001; American Express Leadership – 2001; Junior Achievement Volunteer Recognition – 2000; Early Choices Volunteer Recognition - 2000; Governor’s Public Sector Program – 1998; Governor’s Quality Service – Outstanding Achievement in Special Events – 1998; Governor’s Travel and Tourism Person of the Year – 1997; Governor’s Outstanding Marketing - 1993.
Personal goals and achievements
Health and exercise are important to me. I also believe in putting people, family and sweetheart first. 
Future goals, programs and projects
We are creating a new spring event for 2016 and continue to work on the development of a man-made attraction.
Bragging on your town or chamber
The Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber, representing over 1,300 business members, is the largest local chamber in Delaware and is the major marketing arm for the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach resort area. This representation gives the chamber a powerful voice when responding to issues of legislation at all levels. The resort area and chamber have received numerous awards, from Best Boardwalk and Best Places to Live/Retire/Visit to state and national chamber awards for accomplishments and festivals. 
 
Lynn Brocato, Executive Director
Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce
Education and work experience
I have an MBA in business administration from Loyola University in Baltimore and a BA in finance from Notre Dame of Maryland University, also in Baltimore. 
I have a background in banking, working in several departments including customer service, mortgage processing and servicing and accounting. I spent several years working for the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. I have held my real estate broker license in Maryland for the past 12 years, where I have been a buyer’s specialist, helping first time homebuyers and advising/selling retirees retirement developments. 
During my tenure as a marketing manager of a large retirement community in Salisbury, I took advantage of cable television advertising to geo-target regions where there was a high population of prospective retirees. In this position, I became interested in television and online marketing and worked for Comcast Spotlight on how to develop and implement cable television and online marketing campaigns.
It was this experience with Comcast Spotlight that led me to the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce, where I became active with the chamber to help initiate the introduction to businesses in Western Sussex County. I joined the membership services committee. After a year, I became the chair of the committee, and shortly after was asked to serve on the board of directors. I served as the 2nd vice president for a term before I applied for the open position of the executive director at the end of 2013.
Future goals, programs or projects
This past year for the GSCC has been a year of transition and implementation of new communication and accounting systems, along with a strong focus on introducing new tourism collateral and offering value added services to attract new members as well as membership retention. The Chamber has increased membership to 310 members and launched a brand new website. We have re-activated a tourism committee and committed chamber resources to help plan, support and put on several events and festivals throughout Western Sussex County, including the return of the Towne & Country Fair, Riverfest in Seaford, Bridgeville’s Apple Scrapple Festival and the introduction of Live for Chocolate.
The Chamber is looking forward to providing and taking a supportive role in the upcoming celebrations for the 100th Anniversary of the Town of Blades and 150th Anniversary for the City of Seaford, both being celebrated in 2015. In addition, the chamber will partner with Nanticoke Health Services to present the 2nd Annual Live for Chocolate event promoting womens’ health and breast cancer awareness. 
GSCC is working with Heritage Shores and Barton’s Grand Rental to host the Bridgeville Beer & Barrel Festival at Heritage Shores Club in Bridgeville. The chamber is also planning to provide more opportunities for members to host Business Networking Mixers, Lunch and Learns and Breakfasts, as well as providing more business development workshops. The Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce is taking on more of a collaborative role with businesses, organizations and fellow chambers in Western Sussex County. 
 
Jo Schmeiser, Executive Director
Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford 
Education and work experience
I have a Bachelors’ Degree from Wilmington College. My work experience includes: Employment Agency Manager of Sales & Temporary Division, Customer & Sales Service for Packaging Corporation, Advertising Sales and Management, Marketing Director for a multi-franchise auto dealership.
Personal goals and achievements
 In 2014 I Served on the Southern Delaware & Kent County Tourism Board of Directors, as Executive Secretary for Kent County Tourism, and served on the Del Tech Terry Campus Business/Entrepreneurship and Hospitality Management Advisory Board. I was also chosen as a Class of 2014 Delmarvalous Woman and will serve on the Greater Kent Committee for 2015.
Future goals, programs and projects
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford recently developed fusion, a young professional group, who meets twice a month. The CCGM is developing a scholarship program and a business shadowing program with the Milford School District. The chamber’s first Legislative Luncheon will be held in the first quarter. A new event called The Forgotten Union Cemetery Lantern Tour will be introduced in September. 
The chamber is partnering with the Milford Museum and Delmarva Historic Haunts to bring this program to life.  The CCGM will participate again, in the Delaware Chambers of Commerce B2B Expo in February. The chamber will also be hosting major events including the Mixer-Expo in March, “10 of the Best” Awards & Volunteer Appreciation Dinner & Celebration in April, Girls Night Out, featuring the Marvelous Men of Milford Fashion Show and the Golf Classic in May, the former Smile for Freedom 5K in June, Milford’s Largest Annual Outdoor Event, the Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival in September, the Holiday Auction & Tastes of Milford in November and the Holiday Gift Drive for Milford’s Homeless Children in December.  
The chamber will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2015. Special events and celebrations will happen throughout the year. 
Bragging on your town or chamber
After very long, successful careers, Milford’s Mayor, City Manager and Manager of Parks and Recreation are all retiring.  The new Mayor, Bryan Shupe, was elected in April, and is one of the youngest mayors ever elected in the state; 29 years old at election time. During 2014 many new businesses opened in the greater Milford area, and the city continued to improve the quality of life by completing the walking trail of Goat Island, opening a Bocce’ Ball Court and Dog Park in Bicentennial Park.  
The Chamber of Commerce had a very successful year, and was able to donate more than $20,000 to local non-profit members of the chamber, and we are hoping to be able to increase that amount in 2015.
 
Amy Simmons,  Executive Director
The Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce
Education and work experience 
I graduated from Sussex Central High School and Delaware Technical & Community College and worked as a nurse at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury and Harbor Healthcare in Lewes. Due to medical issues I had to stop working for several years and returned to work  as a manager for a women’s exercise facility. After the facility closed I began to help out in the Millsboro Chamber of Commerce office with clerical duties and preparing for events. I was hired on full time with the Chamber in August of 2010 and was promoted to Executive Director in December of 2012.
Personal goals and achievements
I like to read, yard sale with my mom and husband and I love to walk four miles  every day with my Husky. “Bear”. My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family.
My biggest achievement within the last year is losing over 100 pounds. My life has changed drastically and I feel so much better about myself. I have always been a confident person but obtaining this goal has shown me that I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to.
Future goals, programs and projects
With the Chamber I have had great success in the past few years. I took on the challenge of changing the annual Christmas Parade to a night parade. This has been a great success and a tradition that I hope to continue for years to come. The Millsboro Country Festival made its debut in September 2013 and it was a great success. We set the bar high the first year and continued in 2014 with a second year of success. This event is a family friendly event for all ages and there is something for all ages to do and enjoy. Plans are underway for September 19, 2015.
My hope is to continue to strengthen the Chamber membership along with finding  new ways to help promote and  provide cost effective advertising for each member.  I would really like to see the membership participate in business mixers after hours, this is something that hasn’t been regularly done in this Chamber. 
I am hoping, with the help of the Chamber Board of Directors. to come up with a tourism event  to take place in the spring. This may take a few years to develop but it is a priority of mine.
The Chamber will hold it’s annual Central Sussex Bridal Show on March 15. This year we are celebrating 20 years for this event. The title for this year is “A Platinum Affair”.
Bragging on your town or chamber
The Chamber has a very active Board who strive to help the community and businesses in the area thrive. This area continues to grow with new businesses opening and residents moving in but we hope to keep that small town charm that people have come to know and love about Millsboro!
 
 
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