Kent County Economic Summit to be held virtually on Tuesday

DOVER — The 12th annual Kent County Economic Summit will be held virtually on Zoom Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Minus the opportunity for providing in-person mingling and synergy among attendees, organizers have adapted to compensate as so many others have.

“There were some initial brief discussions about canceling the event, but everyone quickly embraced the ability to go virtual, so things moved ahead and we are now looking forward to having a great event Tuesday,” said Delaware Technical Community College spokesman John Painter, whose school has hosted the event each year it’s been held.

The virtual approach to the event comes at a timely moment, according to Mr. Painter.

“We believe that even though it is virtual, the significance of the summit is even greater this year, because this forum will provide some insight and answers to a lot of the questions we all have on how Kent County and the state are going to move forward through this pandemic and beyond to economic recovery and growth,” he said.

University of Texas professor Steven Pedigo — described by organizers as an expert in economic and urban development, city strategy and management, and placemaking — will deliver the keynote address billed as “A Playbook for a More Resilient Delaware” at 9:50 a.m.

At 11:15 a.m., featured speaker Gov. John Carney will discuss Delaware’s vision for economic recovery and development across the First State.

This year’s theme “Navigating Now: Pivoting for Success” will be expressed through panel discussions.

The “Charting the Course for the State” presentation at 9:15 a.m. will include:

• Thomas Dougherty, administrator of labor market information at the Delaware Department of Labor.

• Dr. Gary Siegelman, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Bayhealth.

• Katherine Wilkinson, senior vice president and market executive at Fulton Bank.

Perspectives on current healthcare, employment, and overall plans to manage a potential resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall will be presented, according to the schedule of events.

At 10:45 a.m. a “Success on the Homefront” panel will include:

• Kim Adams, president and CEO of Mountain Consultants.

• Lin Outten, human resources director at USA Fulfillment.

• Mike Fennimore, owner/operator of Fifer’s Orchards.

Local business leaders will discuss their experience with pivoting during the pandemic to stay in operation, organizers said.

DTCC President Dr. Mark Brainard and Vice President and Campus Director Cornelia Johnson will present welcome/opening remarks and Ms. Johnson will offer closing remarks as well.

The event — presented through a partnership between DTCC Terry Campus and the Central Delaware Business and Entrepreneurship Consortium — is free, but preregistration at dtcc.edu/economicsummit is required.

Approximately 250 people had registered as of Friday with the opportunity to join the summit still open. Past crowds have drawn around 250 to 300 people, Mr. Painter said.

The event will be recorded on Zoom and posted to the event website afterward.