LEADelaware class learns from First State leaders

Lauren Torres enjoys a visit with the calves at Hopkins Farm Creamery. BY SUBMITTED
November 23, 2013

The LEADelaware agriculture and natural resources leadership program held its first session Nov. 6 to 8 in Rehoboth Beach, with presentations from two Delaware cabinet secretaries and a successful food entrepreneur.

Delaware Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee spoke to the group about his personal eight traits of a leader, including having a clear vision and focusing on results. Secretary Rita Landgraf of the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services discussed what it takes to lead the largest agency in the state.

Businessman Matt Haley of SoDel Concepts talked about the importance of sticking with one's goals and vision. The class also toured Hopkins Farm Creamery and Dogfish Head Brewery to learn about two successful Delaware value-added operations.

“Teaching leadership theory in a classroom is one thing,” said LEADelaware program instructor Tom Ilvento. “But the real essence of the LEADelaware program is the value of sharing real-life experiences from leaders throughout the state and agriculture industry.”

Future programs will include a focus on agriculture and natural resources issues, public policy in Delaware and the United States, food system policy and more.

The two-year leadership program has 10 members, with participants from the agricultural, governmental and business worlds: Ben Snow, Snow Farms, Inc., Smyrna; Robert Baldwin, Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control; Paul Shipper, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Magnolia; Lauren Torres, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Felton; Ben Coverdale, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Harrington; Jim Hughes, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Lincoln; Trudy Kruger, Springfield Farms, Georgetown; Philip Dukes, James L. Carpenter & Son Inc., Milton; Linda Wright, Boxwood Farm, Laurel; and Haley Brennan, Vincent Farms, Delmar.

LEADelaware is a partnership between the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Delaware Department of Agriculture, as well as sponsors including MidAtlantic Farm Credit and King Crop Insurance Inc. For more information on the program, go to