By Joyce L. Carroll
Special to Delaware Business Times
Linda Parkowski isn’t afraid of a challenge. She single-handedly rebranded tourism in Delaware while serving as director of the Delaware Tourism Office and increased revenue from $1.5 billion dollars to $3.3 billion dollars annually.
This past summer she joined the Kent Economic Partnership following a re-organization of economic development groups in the county. Her goal as executive director is to revitalize the county’s industrial and service provision offerings.
“Being in this role, there are significant rewards,” she said. “There’s never been a better time when public (entities), businesses, and municipalities are working together for a common goal.”
True to its name, the Kent Economic Partnership comprises stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. Previously a function of the Kent County Levy Court, public representation continues through board participation. From the private side, numerous businesses are involved, including members of the Greater Kent Committee, an organization that represents over 100 businesses in Kent County.
The Greater Kent Committee will assume a vital role in education, skill development, and identifying quality of life issues, Parkowski said.
Parkowski said she plans to utilize an economic analysis performed for the county by Rockport Analytics as her roadmap. That report identified three target areas of focus: warehousing and distribution; healthcare; and business and legal services.
Among Parkowski’s first tasks is a revamp of the partnership’s website with a potential launch date in January. She added that the warehousing/distribution sector would receive significant attention surrounding training and education.
Aside from Parkowski’s directorship of the state’s tourism division, she serves as acting director of the Delaware Division of Small Business Development and Tourism. Prior to that role, she was the division’s deputy director.
“This is a time for me to give back to the county where I’ve lived, raised a family, and have worked,” she said.