Kent Economic Partnership honors three high achievers

DOVER – The Kent Economic Partnership, a non-profit economic development organization serving Kent County, recognized three outstanding individuals at its annual Economic Development Partner Awards at Dover Downs on Wednesday night.

Three awards were presented. The first was the Economic Trailblazer Award, an award reserved for a new business contributing to the economic growth of Kent County.

This year’s recipient of the award was Tom Kramedas, owner of the new Home2 Suites by Hilton in Dover.

The new hotel was a $10 million endeavor and had its formal ribbon cutting on Nov. 11 last year.

Home2 Suites is an extended-stay hotel with modern accommodations. The Dover location has 91 rooms and has created jobs for local residents.

Dave McClellan of Perdue accepts one of the Trendsetter awards Wednesday night from Jim Waddington, director of the Kent Economic Partnership.  (Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Dave McClellan of Perdue accepts one of the Trendsetter awards Wednesday night from Jim Waddington, director of the Kent Economic Partnership. (Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

The second award, the Economic Development Trendsetter Award was presented to Perdue. The award, designated for an existing business in Kent County, was awarded to Perdue for its 2014 expansion and job creation.

In 2014, Perdue invested $18 million in the Milford plant to make it the largest organic poultry producer in the country and with the expansion came 350 new jobs.

“It’s unique being part of a family-owned business and not having shareholders to answer to,” Business Unit Leader Dave McClellan said while accepting the award on behalf of the company.

“I’m glad to be supporting the local economy and I think there is a great future ahead of us with organic poultry,” he said.

The third award of the evening, the Economic Development Spirit Award, was given to Dawne Nickerson Banez, owner of Frankfurt Bakery in Dover.

“She has a huge philanthropic heart and no one compares in spirit when it comes to Kent County,” said Judy Diogo, president of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce while presenting the award.

As a Kent County native, Ms. Nickerson Banez has been very involved in the community her whole life with resume highlights ranging from the first female paramedic in Kent County to president of the Downtown Dover Rotary Club to program director for the Special Olympics.

“Without the bakery, I couldn’t do what I wanted for the community. But now, after taking this leap of faith nearly two years ago, I have become a part of downtown and have been able to get involved in ways that I couldn’t with any of my other jobs,” Ms. Nickerson Banez said after accepting the award.

The evening was concluded with a champagne toast to the award winners and all those who strive to improve Kent County.

Audience members listen to speakers Wednesday at the Kent Economic Partnership Awards banquet at Dover Downs. (Special to The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Audience members listen to speakers Wednesday at the Kent Economic Partnership Awards banquet at Dover Downs. (Special to The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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