Set against a clear, blue sky with various vessels floating casually by on the Delaware Bay, members of the Lewes Chamber of Commerce gathered on the decks of the Lewes Yacht Club for their annual picture Aug. 17. What troopers they were, and not just because they had to deal with a white hot sun light that hadn’t yet blanketed the area in a calming orange hue, but because they were some of the leaders who helped and are continuing to help lead the recovery of the local economy.
Betsy Reamer, Gavin Radka, Nikky Fisher, Paul Evalds, Maggie Lingo, Jen Mason and Jeff Fried were praised for their leadership by the keynote speaker of the evening, U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.
Delaware Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach; State Auditor Kathy McGuiness; Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton; Sen. Ernie Lopez, R- Lewes; and Sussex County Councilman Mark Schaeffer were among the state and county leaders in attendance, while Councilman Khalil Saliba and Mayor Andrew Williams represented the city.
Public health and safety officials enjoyed an evening of drinks, food and laughter as Beebe Healthcare President Dr. David Tam and Lewes Police Chief Thomas Spell were often seen engaged in joyous conversation. When Lewes City Manager Ann Marie Townshend introduced Maintenance Department Manager Rick Melendez to Blunt Rochester, the congresswoman gushed over the incredible job she believed Melendez had been doing.
Delaware’s lone representative delivered a rousing speech on bipartisan efforts to pass legislation aimed to stimulate domestic production of semiconductor chips and other essential goods. Blunt Rochester had toured Avatar Instruments earlier in the day and cited a conversation with owner Paul Evalds about what disruptions in the supply chain mean to businesses like his in the technology and energy sector.
Whether it was the delicious food, enlightening conversation or the beautiful sunset the Lewes Yacht Club is famous for, a positive glow radiated throughout the dining hall. Economic challenges lie ahead, but elected officials and business leaders appear willing to engage in conversations that may produce tangible solutions.