Kent Economic Partnership award dinner to celebrate trailblazers, trendsetters

David Hugg

DOVER — Usually, the annual Kent Economic Partnership (KEP) dinner and award presentation wines and dines business savvy Kent Countians in April, but due to a scheduling conflict, this year’s dinner was moved to Oct. 18.

The event, which usually draws 100 to 120 people, is held every year to “celebrate the success of businesses in Kent County,” said Jim Waddington, the partnership’s director. Three distinct awards are presented at the dinner.

The Economic Development Trendsetter Award, given for “expansion and new job creation in an existing business,” will be given to First State Orthopaedics this year. The business, founded in 1978, has five locations in Kent County.

The Trailblazer Award, reserved for the successful start up of a new stand-out business, will be given to Brick Works Brewing and Eats in Smyrna this year. Founded in 2016 by a partnership of Kent County entrepreneurs Eric Williams, Ryan Maloney and Kevin Reading the brewery/restaurant has reported a large following at their location east of downtown Smyrna.

The Economic Development Spirit Award for “individual commitment to promoting Kent County,” belongs to David Hugg this year. Mr. Hugg retired in December after an almost 15 year stint as Smyrna’s town manager. However, by March, just as he was getting settled into retirement, the city of Dover came knocking. He was appointed as the acting director of planning and community development for the city, and has been serving in that position since.

Several speakers will be giving presentations during the dinner, including Cerron Cade, the director of the Division of Small Business, Development and Tourism.

“Mr. Cade will be talking about the state’s envisioning of the economic development process,” said Mr. Waddington.

The dinner will be held at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in the Rollins Center. A cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m. with dinner starting at 7 p.m. followed by the 8 p.m. program. Individual tickets can be had for $50, and tables of eight for $400. Reservations must be received by this Thursday. To purchase tickets, mail a payment to Kent Economic Partnership, 555 Bay Road Dover, DE 19901. or call (302) 678-3028. All funds raised during the dinner go toward supporting economic development initiatives in Kent County, according to the KEP.

Mr. Waddington said the KEP will likely try to move the dinner back to April in subsequent years.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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