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Speakers and Panelists - 2015

Welcoming Remarks

Mark T. Brainard,
President, Delaware Technical Community College
Dr. Mark T. Brainard, 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 Technical Community College. 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, Dr. Brainard was appointed as the fifth president of Delaware Tech.

The Honorable Michael H. Vincent,
President, Sussex County Council
Michael H. Vincent serves as the 1st district councilman on the five-member Sussex County Council, representing portions of western Sussex County, including the Bethel, Blades, Bridgeville, Laurel and Seaford areas. Since his election to County government in 2008, Mr. Vincent has served as vice president and is the current president of the County Council. A native of Seaford, Mr. Vincent is a former Seaford City Council member, as well as a past chief, past president and lifetime member of the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department, and a one-time president of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association. Mr. Vincent owns a small business, Vincent Fire Equipment, which supplies volunteer fire companies throughout Delaware with the essential, life-saving tools the fire service – and public – depend on. Mr. Vincent considers public safety, land use and fostering economic development opportunities among his top priorities. Mr. Vincent and his wife, Elaine, live in Seaford and are the parents of a grown daughter and grandparents to three grandchildren.

Conference Moderators

Ileana M. Smith, Ed. D.,
Vice President and Campus Director,
Delaware Technical Community College

Dr. Ileana M. Smith joined Delaware Technical Community College in 1980. She became vice president and campus director of the Owens Campus in 2004. Dr. Smith has contributed to the growth and development of many areas of the College including instruction, planning, marketing, public relations, institutional advancement, and college relations. She has also represented Delaware Tech in statewide roles as assistant vice president for marketing and public relations and assistant vice president for articulation.  In addition, Dr. Smith has worked on the establishment of college partnerships and the start-up of many innovative collaborative initiatives including the development of the Academic Challenge Program for high school students and the creation of the Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference.   

Dr. Smith is a native of Cuba. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Delaware and a Doctorate in Educational Innovation and Leadership from Wilmington University.  She has served on numerous boards and commissions including the Delaware Institute of Medical Education and Research (DIMER), The Heritage Commission, and the Carl M. Freeman F.A.C.E.S. Foundation. She co-chaired Governor Markell's Education, Economy and Jobs Transition Team. Currently she serves as a Delaware Judicial Nominating Commissioner and is a Board member for the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee (SEDAC)  and for the Hispanic community center, La Esperanza.

1 Million Cups

Robert F. Rider, Jr.,
Body & Soul,
Upon graduation from Cornell University in 1985 with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Engineering, Robert F. Rider, Jr. became employed immediately with O. A. Newton & Son Company, a service and solution provider for the agricultural irrigation industry throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.  He has held various positions in the organization since that time including jobsite supervisor, parts and service manager, vice president of operations, vice president of Sales, and president in 1996.  His was appointed chief executive officer in 2011.

Rider and his wife, Susan, launched Body and Soul Fitness and Spa in May 2015 in Seaford. The facility features the most recent cardio, selectorized, and free weight equipment available and has introduced functional training to the community through the Alloy platform. With an emphasis on health and wellness, Body and Soul aims to adopt programs that suit all levels of physical fitness with the special inclusion of bariatric and youth programs.

Rider currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and as trustee and treasurer of The Nature Conservancy Delaware Chapter, and is a director on the Delaware State Fair Board. He also serves on the Delaware Tech Owens Campus Development Council, Nanticoke Physician Network Board of Directors, Sussex County Economic Development Action Committee Board of Directors, and Bridgeville Kiwanis Club. He is also a member of the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Advisory Board.

Katey Evans
Frozen Farmer

Katey Evans and her husband, Kevin, own and operate Evans Farms in Bridgeville, Del., a 2,000-acre grain and vegetable operation, where she manages the on-farm produce market, six farmers markets, and handles the public relations for the family business. Evans took her knowledge of farm fresh produce to new heights when she co-founded The Frozen Farmer along with Kevin and her mother, Jo Ellen. A farm fresh frozen treats business in Bridgeville, based on the concept of incorporating as many locally grown fruits and vegetables into the menu as possible, The Frozen Farmer is a provider of sorbet, ice cream, nice cream, farm pressed juices, smoothies, and popsicles. Evans also works as the director of communications and marketing for TSN Communications, a niche-marketing firm based in Oak Hill, Va., where she telecommutes to assist clients with writing, editing, and distributing press releases and corresponds with media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in public relations and journalism, and a minor in English from Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md. A mother to two daughters, Kenna, 3, and Kylin, 15 months, she has penned a children’s book, “Kenna the Produce Princess,” which she is currently in the process of getting published.

Sussex Snapshot

Edward Simon,
Workforce Analyst, Delaware Economic Development Office
Ed Simon retired in March 2007 from the Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) after 32 years of service, during which time he received the department’s Employee of the Year Award. In his last years at DOL, Ed served as director of labor market information. His primary focus dealt with what was happening in the state’s labor market and how that could affect the future; to do that, he tackled such topics as demographics, industry growth, occupational projections, and the impact of changing technology on the workplace. In March 2007, Ed joined the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) and now provides research primarily on workforce issues and the impact on Delaware’s businesses. A lifelong resident of this state and a graduate of the University of Delaware, Ed and his wife, Pat, are residents of Sussex County.

Keynote Address

Sam Calagione
Founder and President, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
When Sam Calagione opened Dogfish Head in 1995 it was the smallest commercial brewery in America making 10 gallons of beer at a time. Today Dogfish Head is among the fastest growing breweries in the country. Dogfish Head is the first American craft brewery to focus on culinary-inspired beer recipes outside traditional beer styles and has done so since the day it opened as the motto "Off-centered ales for off-centered people" attests to. Recipes like Namaste (orange peel, orange flesh, and lemongrass), Chicory Stout (chicory, licorice and organic Mexican Coffee) and Midas Touch (saffron, wildflower honey, and white muscat grapes) have won accolades and awards in the beer, wine, and foodie worlds. Dogfish Head has grown into a 200 person company with a restaurant/brewery/distillery in Rehoboth Beach, a beer-themed hotel on the harbor in Lewes, and a production brewery in Milton, Delaware, selling beer in 31 states. Sam served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Brewers Association in 2012 and 2013 and is a five-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award in the Outstanding Wine Beer & Spirits Professional category. Fast Company Magazine named Sam one of The 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2011. He is the author of "Brewing up a Business" and "Extreme Brewing," and co-authored "He Said Beer, She Said Wine." Sam lives in beautiful Lewes, Delaware, with his wife and Dogfish VP Mariah and their two children Sammy and Grier.

Panel Discussions - INNOVATION

Eric Christianson
Eric Christianson is the senior vice president of marketing with responsibilities for the Marketing & Innovation/ R&D functions for Perdue Foods.  This includes 80 associates in the brand marketing, marketing services, and research & development professions.  His duties are focused on ensuring the company meets its top-line and margin goals while protecting, enhancing and building the Perdue Family of Brands across all channels primarily through increasingly superior quality improvements, the sustaining of breakthrough innovation, and effective consumer marketing.  He has five direct reports at the leadership level.

Christianson came to Perdue Foods with 17 years of diverse food brands leadership experience. He was most recently vice president of sales and marketing at Campbell’s Soup Co., where he led the company’s pioneering efforts into the packaged fresh soup space. He also led the recent U.S. Soup business turnaround of its flagship brands, including Campbell’s® condensed and Chunky™ soups. He began his professional career at Procter and Gamble in 1997, leading Jif® Peanut Butter and Folgers® and Millstone® coffee brands. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. Army with duty in the Panama Canal Zone and with the 101st Airborne Division.

Christianson grew up on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the United States Military Academy and a master’s in business administration from Xavier University.  He has two children, is married to Eny and will be relocating to Delmarva from South Jersey.

Jeffrey Cooper, DMD, PA
Enhanced Dental Care
Dr. Jeffrey Cooper graduated with a BS in Biochemistry from Albright College and went on to study for a Master’s in Biochemistry at Bucknell University.  He attended University of Pennsylvania Dental School in Philadelphia, where he earned his Doctorate in Dental Medicine.  Once he completed his residency at St. Agnes Hospital, he began practicing dentistry in Towson in 1981.

In 2007, Dr. Cooper moved to Delaware and opened a state-of-the-art dental practice to provide comprehensive dental care to the community.  He continues to offer cutting edge technology to his patients. The innovations such as digital x-rays, Cerec crowns, and 3D Cone Beam demand more than 100 hours each year in continuing education to stay current.  Cone beam technology, coupled with the ability to digitally 3D mill and print crowns, allows implants to be placed to tolerance levels not seen before. It also allows visualization of critical areas such as airway openings to diagnose sleep apnea and the TMJ area for facial pain and jaw disorders.

Dr. Cooper has just returned from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he attended a symposium on the latest developments in Sirona 3D digital technology. He also recently completed a Master’s Forum at the Spear Faculty Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Lisa St. Clair
St. Clair’s background is in food service. She grew up making chocolate and decorating cakes in her mother’s business and went on to start an apprenticeship under two chefs after high school. Later she attended Johnson & Wales Culinary University, where she graduated early with a bachelor’s degree in hotel & restaurant management.

After graduation, St. Clair moved to San Diego, California, and worked for 8 years in the restaurant business before she decided to move back to the east coast and continue in the restaurant industry. She became interested in the pet industry after her dog became sick, which prompted her to begin researching the dog food industry. She found the standards severely lacking and decided she wanted to make a difference. So she decided to create dog treats that were fun and healthy for pets, as well as to develop a dog food.

St. Clair is the vision behind Tail Bangers. She is responsible for all new product development, as well as all production and distribution logistics. Under her leadership, the company has grown from her garage to a flourishing business that employs over 50 people!

Bryne McDowell
DENTSPLY International
Bryne McDowell is a Quality Assurance/Manufacturing professional with over 30 years of experience working within varied industries, including Medical Device, Aerospace and Snack Foods.  He is currently the vice president of quality and regulatory assurance for the DENTSPLY Restorative Strategic Business Unit (SBU), which includes sites in Germany, Italy, New Zealand, India and the United States. McDowell has lead multi-site implementation of Lean/6 Sigma, driving continuous improvement throughout his career, within manufacturing, quality and business processes.  Recent achievements include leading the implementation of Lean processes within Quality Control to reduce testing turnaround times and increase labor efficiencies. He also participated in the redesign of DENTSPLY’s global New Product Development process to help maximize the “Ideation Process,” while reducing “time-to-launch” for new products. Mr. McDowell is currently a member of the Restorative SBU Product Planning and Portfolio Investment Committees and the Sales, Marketing and Operations team.

McDowell received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Technology from Arizona State University in 1985 and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Delaware in 2003.  Additionally, he is a certified 6 Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University. Bryne and his wife Shari are residents of Camden, and in his spare time, he dreams of breaking 80 on the golf course and continues to pretend to be a kid in supporting YoungLife youth ministries in central Delaware.

Reese Bogle
Vice President of Business Development for Discover Bank
"Take a risk; innovation is not always a popular decision.”

Reese Bogle, a graduate of Wesley College, has seen many changes in the financial services industry and banking since he began his career over 35 years ago with the Vanguard Group. Vanguard was known as an innovative mutual fund company bringing mutual funds direct to consumers via phone and mail, versus the standard broker network.

As banking and insurance crossed paths in the early 80’s, he joined Colonial Penn Insurance Company, another leader in alternative marketing of insurance products. Colonial Penn saw the vision and innovation of banking without branches. Thus, the concept of branchless banking was born. Bogle served as director of marketing and compliance and CRA officer for Bay Loan and Investment Bank, the first branchless bank in the country. 

His career continued in the alternative banking field where there were no branches, only the Internet and call centers.  Companies included James Madison Mortgage, First Commonwealth Savings Bank, Premium Federal Savings Bank and eTrade Bank.  At eTrade Bank he was president of eTrade’s insurance subsidiary before leaving to start InterState Net Bank, an Internet and commercial bank located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where he served as executive vice president and COO.

As vice president of business development at Discover Bank, he utilized the Internet and alternative marketing to attract high profile clients such as the American Automobile Association (AAA), National Education Association (NEA) and American Association of Individual Investors.  The Business Development Department also works closely with the internal business units Discover Network and Prepaid Solutions.

 Mr. Bogle will serve on board of MS Greater Delaware Valley in 2016.

Breakout Session Presenters

Be Open to Diversification

Valery Cordrey
East Coast Garden Center
Valery Cordrey is co-owner of East Coast Garden Center, RSC Landscaping, The Cordrey Center, the Mary Jane and Richard Cordrey Enrichment Center, and The Secret Garden.  She also works closely with Cordrey Charities and loves promoting the joys of gardening to those of all ages. Valery has a B.S. in Business from the University of Delaware and is an active Master Gardener.  She appreciates the excitement of the Garden Center with great people, loyal, interesting customers and knowledgeable, friendly employees.  Valery enjoys the creativity of new plants, landscape designing, customized containers – and especially the educational and fun classes! She shares her passion with the listeners of 92.7 WGMD through the radio show “The Potting Shed” every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. and daily at the Garden Center.

Be Responsive to Technology

Jack Berberian
Delmarva VOIP

Jack Berberian's background, talent and training seem to share a common theme: an entrepreneurial propensity coupled with the vision to identify opportunities to establish and grow organizations.

While attending The Whittier School of Law in California, Jack united his appreciation of law and web design to found, a ground-breaking online solution that shifted the way attorneys researched court cases.

In 2000, Jack joined a core group of executives to launch and help fund, which is currently the world’s largest online legal document company.  In 2005, he became the CEO, President, and Shareholder of Harvest Business Services, Inc., catapulting sales to exceed the company’s 25 year history. In 2008, Jack co-founded MedTix, LLC, with his wife, which grew to become the most respected HME Company in the region.

In 2008, Jack partnered with Drew Laroche and founded SecureNetMD™—the region’s first 100% Healthcare IT Company with an emphasis on EHR platforms. Spanning across Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, many of SecureNetMD™ clients include major hospitals, leading medical facilities and expanding campuses. In 2011, together they founded DelmarvaVoIP™, LLC, providing phone, computer, and network services for businesses throughout the surrounding areas. DelmarvaVOIP™, LLC currently has offices in Lewes, Dover, Hatfield, Pennsylvania and Monrovia California.