Kent County Economic Summit Conference - Speakers and Panelists
View the 2016 speakers below:
Dr. Mark Brainard
Dr. Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College, has spent 25 years in a series of executive level positions that have allowed him to lead successful efforts in higher education, business and government in Delaware.
After earning an associate degree in Criminal Justice from Delaware Tech in 1981 and a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from Wilmington University in 1983, his career in public service began in the Delaware General Assembly, where he served as chief of staff for the House of Representatives for seven years. Dr. Brainard left the legislature in 1993 when he was appointed director of external affairs at the Delaware Department of Transportation.
After graduation from Widener Law School in 1994, he was named assistant vice president for personnel and legal affairs at Delaware Tech. Dr. Brainard then served as executive vice president at the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. He left the Chamber in 2002 to serve as Governor Ruth Ann Minner’s chief of staff, where he developed aggressive agendas which included passage of landmark legislation such as the Student Excellence Equals Degrees (SEED) scholarship, the Delaware Cancer Treatment program, and workers’ compensation reform.
He returned to Delaware Tech as assistant campus director for the Stanton/Wilmington Campus in 2008 and was appointed vice president and campus director in 2011. In this role, Dr. Brainard worked with the business community and state economic development leaders, including Governor Jack Markell, to respond to emerging workforce needs for existing and new businesses in Delaware.
In July 2013, Delaware Tech’s Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Brainard as executive vice president of the College and on August 4, 2014, he was appointed as the College’s fifth president.
Robin R. Christiansen
Robin R. Christiansen is the Mayor of the City of Dover, who took his oath of office on June 25, 2014.
Mayor Christiansen was first elected in May 1983 to serve on City Council. He served as Council President and Vice Mayor from May 1990 to May 2001. Mayor Christiansen also serves as President of the Delaware League of Local Government and is currently a member of the Executive Board. He has also served on numerous committees of the National League of Cities and is a member of the Governor's Council on Police Training, having been appointed to the Council by Governors Tom Carper and Jack Markell.
Mayor Christiansen graduated from Dover High School in 1968 and attended Delaware State University.
Mr. Christiansen retired from Safeway Stores, Inc. in 1987 and mostly retired from Simplex Grinnel after 27 years of service. He is an active parishioner at Holy Cross R. C. Church in Dover and has been active as a community volunteer with Dover Little league and Dover Fire Department for 40 years.
He is also former president of the North Dover Civic Association and one of its founders.
Mayor Christiansen is married to his wife, Cindy of 40 years, and the proud father of five children; Sean (and Beth), Shannon, Alexis (and Mike), Katie and Madison. He is also the proud grandfather of five; Troy, Chase, Audrey, Cooper and Olivia. He is the son of Corinne P. Christiansen and the late Major A.L. Christiansen.
Colonel Ethan C. Griffin
Colonel Ethan C. Griffin is the Commander, 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base. He is responsible for the combined C-5 and C-17 Wing providing worldwide movement of high-priority personnel and cargo. Dover AFB is home to the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center, the Department of Defense’s largest aerial port and the Air Mobility Command Museum.
Colonel Griffin was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated as an ROTC Distinguished Graduate from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va. in 1994. He has commanded at the squadron-level, both in-garrison and deployed, served on wing and headquarters Air Force staffs, and performed instructor and evaluator duties in the C-17. He is also a graduate of Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.
He is married to the former Erin Stephenson. They have three sons, Cole, Talon, and Paxton.
Colonel Griffin is a command pilot with more than 3,300 flying hours.
Dave Hugg is the Town Manager of the Town of Smyrna, a position he assumed in June 2002. He is the town’s Chief Administrative Officer and is responsible for all municipal operations and departments (except the Police Department), managing a combined town staff of almost 100 employees and a 2010 combined operating and enterprise budget of approximately $24 million.
Hugg was previously a Policy Scientist with the Institute for Public Administration in the University of Delaware’s College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy. He retired in July 2001 as State Planning Coordinator and Director of the Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination, having been appointed to that position by Governor Carper in January 1995.
Hugg was Director of Management and Operations and the Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control from 1981 until his appointment as State Planning Coordinator. He was Director of the Office of Management, Budget and Planning (1980-1981) and the Environmental Policy Planning Manager with that agency and its predecessor, the Delaware State Planning Office (1969-1980). His experience also includes planning positions in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and the Tri-State Regional Transportation Agency in New York City.
A native of Delaware, Hugg holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Delaware and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from New York University. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware, teaching courses in land use and environmental planning, planning analysis, and land use control.
He is also a member and Past President of the Delaware Chapter of the American Planning Association, the Board and Executive Committee of the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, the American Institute of Certified Planners, a past Chairman and member of the Delaware State Historic Preservation Review Board, and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Smyrna Main Street Association.
Christine Fenimore Kubik
Christine Fenimore Kubik works in employer and community relations, serving the Delaware National Guard and all service members, veterans and their families throughout the state.
Over the last eight years, Kubik has been instrumental in raising awareness of hiring and employing veterans to Delaware businesses, working with key state agencies, chambers and private sector organizations. The result has been significant in connecting unemployed military members and veterans with meaningful jobs and civilian careers. She now leads Delaware Joining Forces (DJF), a network of state agencies and external service providers who proactively work together to provide solutions that improve the quality of life and welfare of the statewide military and veteran community.
Kubik has extensive experience in strategic marketing development, public relations, organizational leadership and project management plans. She has spearheaded successful marketing and business improvement programs that have delivered strategies and maximized development plans that drove millions of dollars in revenue.
She lives in Middletown with her daughter, Rebeka, and son, Joseph, and their dog, Coal. She is a native of Delaware who has been an active volunteer and held leadership board positions with many organizations over the years, including her current position as school board member at the First State Military Academy.
Jack Markell has served as Governor of Delaware since 2009, after being elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. He is term-limited and will complete his time as Governor in January 2017.
During his tenure, according to Gallup, Delaware has gone “from one of the lowest-ranking states (in terms of job creation) in 2008 and 2009 to one of the top-ranking in 2013 and 2014. Delaware holds the distinction of being the only state anywhere along the Eastern seaboard to be in the top 10.”
This improvement reflects Governor Markell’s keen focus on improving an economy that was buffeted by the Great Recession. When he took office, he inherited rapidly rising unemployment and the loss of major employers. Since then, companies including JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, Baltimore Aircoil, Sallie Mae, Calpine and many others have re-located to or expanded significantly their operations in Delaware.
These and other employers have been attracted by Markell’s keen focus on improving Delaware’s schools and workforce development system. In 2010, Delaware won first place in President Obama’s “Race to the Top” competition. Since that time, Delaware has adopted higher learning standards, raised the bar for its teacher preparation programs, leveraged one of the nation’s best educational data systems in better identification of student needs, invested in early childhood education, created a statewide world language immersion program, built the nation’s best college access program for low-income youth and created a new “Pathways to Prosperity” plan in most of the state’s high schools, enabling juniors and seniors to earn industry-recognized credentials in fields ranging from manufacturing to computer science to hospitality.
Markell has focused on running state government efficiently and effectively, having reduced headcount by 4.5% since taking office without layoffs and by keeping average annual budget growth below zero when taking into account inflation and population. He has maintained the state’s AAA bond rating while reforming Delaware’s health and pension systems to make them more sustainable over time.
Under his leadership, Delaware has taken major steps to ease regulatory burdens on businesses, and to increase investment in repairing and improving the state’s roads and bridges while making transportation spending more effective and efficient. Markell has also led an effort, with the support of hospitals, health care professionals, institutions of higher education and other stakeholders to move Delaware’s health care system from a fee for service model to one focused on achieving high-quality and lower-cost.
Markell has promoted quality of life initiatives that include major investments in libraries and bicycle and walking paths. Thanks to his statewide recycling initiative, Delaware has nearly doubled its recycling rate since 2006. The state also reduced dirty air emissions faster than any other state, serving as a national model for improving the environmental through efforts that also boost the economy.
Markell has been recognized by his fellow governors, having been elected to serve as Chair of both the Democratic Governors Association and the National Governors Association.
He has also served for three years as Chair of the National Board of Directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates, co-chair of the Common Core Standards Initiative and chair of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. Prior to being elected Governor, Markell was elected three times as Delaware’s State Treasurer.
He began his career in the private sector helping lead the wireless technology revolution as the 13th employee at Nextel (a name he coined), where he served as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development, responsible for hundreds of merger and acquisition transactions, equity financings (including the company’s IPO) and strategic planning. His other business experience includes a senior management position at Comcast Corporation, work as an associate at McKinsey and Company and as a banker at First Chicago Corporation.
Markell was born and raised in Newark, Delaware and graduated from Newark High School with his wife, Carla. He went on to receive an undergraduate degree in economics and development studies from Brown University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Markell is a Henry Crown Fellow and a Rodel Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He resides in Wilmington with his wife. Their two children, Molly and Michael are in their 20s.
Henry (Hank) Rosenberg
Henry (Hank) Rosenberg is COO/Hospitality for Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Rosenberg grew up in Wilmington (he went to P.S. DuPont and Tatnall School) and graduated from University of Delaware with a degree in criminal justice. He moved to the beach in 1980 and has been a resident of Rehoboth ever since.
Rosenberg’s previous professional experience includes being manager of the Rusty Rudder complex in Dewey, the original owner of Irish Eyes and owner of Boardwalk Buffet, H and W Hospitality Services (consulting and contract food service), and Sounds of the Sea and Sounds of the Sea Jr. (records, tapes, CD store and Sony Electronics Dealer). He also managed Sussex Pines Country Club.
Rosenberg is active in the community. He has volunteered for the Make A Wish Foundation for 19 years and served a one-year term on the foundation’s Mid-Atlantic Region Board of Directors. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Ronald McDonald House of Delaware; is Hospitality Chair for Southern Delaware Heart Ball; an Advisory Board member of the Delaware Tech Community College Business Department and Hospitality Department; Board Member of Delaware Restaurant Association; committee member of the Food Innovation District in Kent County; works with Chimes of Delaware, Dewey Beach Lions Club and Food Bank of Lower Delaware; and is a mentor and advisor to the Lake Forrest High School Pro Start Program.
He is married to Win, who works in the restaurant industry for the Big Fish Group. Rosenberg also has a daughter, Jessica.
Bryan William Shupe
Bryan William Shupe is Mayor of the City of Milford. He was sworn into office on Monday May 5, 2014, and is currently serving his second two-year term after running unopposed in 2016.
Shupe was born and raised in Milford by William and Sheridan Shupe. After graduating from Milford High School, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Delaware. For the next several years he worked in Wilmington for a statewide political party and several statewide and local campaigns across the state. It was during this time Shupe discovered his passion for public service and community.
The passion to improve the quality of life in Milford drove Shupe to start his own business in his hometown and create the city’s first hyperlocal community driven media outlet, called Milford Live. Shortly after, he met his wife Sherry Shaffer and together they opened a second business in downtown Milford called Fur-Baby Boutique & Doggie Daycare. Together they share a commitment and desire to serve the community of Milford.
Shupe currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club and volunteers and supports several local organizations including Downtown Milford Inc., Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford and the Milford School District. As mayor, Shupe is currently a member of the City of Milford Economic Development, Police & Public Safety, Finance and Public Works Committees. Statewide, he serves as a member of the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service and the Kent Economic Partnership. In addition, Shupe served on the Milford City Council representing Ward I and as a member of the Economic Development, Infrastructure and Public Works Committees from 2013 to 2014.
Mike Tatoian is President and CEO of Dover International Speedway and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Dover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE: DVD). The organization includes Dover International Speedway and Nashville SuperSpeedway.
A senior level sports and entertainment executive, Tatoian has over 25 years of experience in professional sports/entertainment management. During his career he has successfully managed over $750 million in sports teams, facilities and properties.
Tatoian joined the organization in January 2007 as Executive Vice President. He is responsible for all facets of the organization, which are primarily focused around two NASCAR race weekends, Firefly Music Festival, and other special events held at the facility.
Prior to joining Dover Motorsports, Inc., Tatoian was Chief Executive Officer of Victory Sports Group and prior to that he served as Chief Operating Officer of United Sports Ventures. Each company developed, owned and operated minor league baseball, hockey and arena football teams. Many of his teams received national awards for operating excellence, many were sold for a record amount at that time, in addition to winning eleven championships in three separate sports. He was also instrumental in the construction and design of award winning state-of-the-art stadiums during that same time.
Tatoian currently serves at the Chairman of the Advisory Council for USO Delaware. He also serves on the board of the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Management School.
Active with the United States Air Force, Tatoian participated numerous times as an Honorary Commander at DAFB and is currently a member of the program’s alumni association. He attended the prestigious National Security Forum - Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in AL in 2014. Along with 29 individuals from around the country, Tatoian currently serves on the United States Air Force Civic Leader Program, which is assembled by the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
June Turansky, Ed.D, is the Vice President and Campus Director for the Delaware Technical and Community College, Terry Campus.
Dr. Turansky has over 34 years of experience at Delaware Tech. Her roles have ranged from her current position through past positions which include Assistant Vice President for Curriculum and Development, Dean of Instruction, Assistant Dean of Instruction, Chairperson for the Nursing Department and Nursing Instructor.
Dr. Turansky’s educational background began with obtaining her Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Delaware Tech. She then earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Marymount University. Dr. Turansky obtained both her Master’s degree in Nursing and Doctoral degree in Educational leadership from the University of Delaware.
Dr. Turansky is committed to the community and serves on the Board of Directors for Bayhealth Medical Center. Previously, she held positions as the President and member of the Cape Henlopen School District Board, President of the State Board of Nursing and a member of the Delaware Health Care Commission’s Committee on Nursing Workforce Supply and chair of the educational subcommittee.
James G. Waddington
James G. Waddington is Director of Economic Development in Kent County and is the first person to hold this position. As liaison to the central Delaware business community, the director is responsible for development and implementation of economic development strategies that encourage growth in business and industry, and that promote employment opportunities in Kent County.
Waddington had previously worked as Director of Economic Development for the Salem County Improvement Authority and the Salem County freeholder board, during which he was responsible for managing the county’s economic development activities, administering the county’s revolving economic development loan fund, and serving as the county’s representative on numerous state-sponsored economic development groups since 2003.
Previously, he spent more than 20 years as President and CEO of Waddington Dairy, a family-owned dairy and food manufacturing and distribution business, and as Vice President of Marketing following a successful business merger.
He currently is serving his 25th year on the Salem City Council and also serves as Vice President of Stand Up For Salem, the non-profit organization which oversees the Salem Main Street Program.
The Hon. Bernice Whaley was nominated by Delaware Governor Jack Markell to serve as the Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office where she now serves as a Secretary in Governor Markell’s cabinet and is responsible for the business and economic strategies for the State of Delaware. Bernice had more than 25 years of retail supply chain experience and several years of business consulting experience before joining the Delaware Economic Development office in 2009. Serving as Deputy Director, she managed the day-to-day activities and functions of the agency.
Bernice began her career at Happy Harry’s Drugs Stores. In early 2000, Bernice was appointed Vice President of Distribution and Inventory Management for the organization. In 2006, Bernice skillfully directed the closing of two distribution centers, as a result of Walgreens acquisition of Happy Harry’s. Upon the sale of Happy Harry’s, Bernice joined Karabus Management where she worked on several consulting engagements for national retailers in the US and in Canada. In June 2008, Bernice joined Levin Stellini & Associates as a Principal providing business and marketing consulting to small businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Bernice is a graduate of University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Marketing Management. Having received her master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University, Bernice was bestowed the Master of Science Award for Academic & Business Excellence. She is also a member of Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society. Bernice is currently a Doctoral candidate at Wilmington University.
Bernice has held board positions for the HHDH (Holding Company) and Chain Drug Consortium’s Logistics’ group. Having served as past Chair of the Board of Junior Achievement of Delaware, Bernice currently serves on the board’s leadership council. Bernice is an executive committee member and appointed board member of the Delaware Workforce Development Board. She holds board positions for Diamond State Port Corporation, Delaware Stadium Corporation and the Delaware Technology Park. Bernice was appointed to Delaware State University’s Blue Ribbon Commission which was charged with defining the University’s new vision under President Williams and serves as the Advisory Council of the Dean of the College of Mathematical, Natural Sciences and Technology. Bernice also serves on various advisory committees for the New Castle County Vocational Technical Schools and on the advisory committee for Delaware Tech’s Center for Industry Research & Workforce Alignment (CIRWA).