INSpire Talks: 'There's no other place like Wilmington' - Technical.ly Delaware

Civic

May 1, 2018 12:04 pm

INSpire Talks: ‘There’s no other place like Wilmington’

IN Wilmington posed the question: “Why Wilmington?” The answers did not disappoint.
Janelle Bowman of Zip Code Wilmington speaks at INspire Talks 2018.

Janelle Bowman of Zip Code Wilmington speaks at INspire Talks 2018.

(Photo by Holly Quinn)

There’s this running joke: elected officials in Delaware are so accessible, you get tired of seeing them.

It was a favorite gag in the “Options in Delaware” video for the state’s Amazon HQ2 pitch, and it came up during IN Wilmington’s first round of INSpire Talks at The Mill Auditorium on April 26.

Which, as it happened, had a talkback session moderated by Gov. John Carney.

The thing that makes the gag funny is that, in most places, having access to the governor, or senators, or the former Vice President of the United States, is a big deal.

“There’s no other place like this,” said speaker Robert Herrera, founder of The Mill, who noted that when he made his pitch to occupy the space, the building’s owners told him they’d bring in the mayor, governor and senators in the next day to discuss his plan’s impact. They were only half joking.

“Given a week, we could have gotten the [then] Vice President,” Herrera quipped.

Eugene Young, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, spoke about the benefits of a tight community. “Remember the old Wilmington slogan, ‘A Place to be Somebody?'” he asked. “I mean, it’s true. Your name is just ‘dude’ in other places. Nobody knows your name.”

For Janelle Bowman, marketing manager of Zip Code Wilmington, access to decision-makers is only part of it. “We have all kinds of access,” she said. “Access to leaders, to big cities, to business, to tech.”

Advertisement

Brennan Stark of Y Innovations speaks at INspire Talks 2018. (Photo by Holly Quinn)

Brennan Stark of Y Innovations speaks at INspire Talks 2018. (Photo by Holly Quinn)

Brennan Stark, founder of Y Innovations, answered the “Why Wilmington?” question with another question: “Why not Wilmington?”

Stark, a recent Archmere grad, has chosen an unexpected path — instead of devoting his time to freshman college studies, he has designed and is building an eco-friendly house for a family in need in the 9th Ward, along with his his business partner, Steve Burns.

“Wilmington is my home,” he said.

“People come here to be a part of a community,” Young said. “We can use that closeness to make our city better.”

Rob Pfeiffer, "The Mayor of Tiltlandia." (Photo courtesy of Brooke Chase)

Rob Pfeiffer, “The Mayor of Tiltlandia.” (Photo courtesy of Brooke Chase)

Which brings us around to the first speaker, who casually delivered the bottom line as to why people come to Wilmington, and why they stay.

Rob Pfeiffer, head brewer at Brew Earl Brewing and unofficial “Mayor of Tiltlandia,” the eclectic West Side neighborhood of Tilton Park, told stories of living in California, West Virginia and Oregon before settling in Wilmington.

“Why Wilmington?” He shrugged. “The people.”

This simple reason, which threaded itself through all of the subsequent talks, really is why people choose to stay in Wilmington.

To quote Bob Downing, founder of Delaware Sports League, during a different, but related, conversation, “People are going to stay in Delaware for the location, or even for the jobs. They stay because of relationships. Could be a boyfriend or girlfriend, family or friends in the community, it doesn’t matter — people are why people stay.”

And that, I think, really is the key, and something that is often missing from a conversation that often revolves around industry and geography. If we want people to come and live here, we have to let them know that there are people here they would want to hang out with and communities they would want to be a part of.

Check out DTV’s short video for the INSpire Talks, featuring emcee Brianna Hansen of IN Wilmington:

You must appreciate accurate, relevant and productive community journalism.  Support this sort of work from professional reporters with seasoned editors.  Become a Technical.ly member for $12 per month
Companies: The Mill
-30-
CONTRIBUTE TO THE
JOURNALISM FUND

Already a contributor? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement

New SMART trash bins are landing in Wilmington this week

Ernest & Scott Taproom site will become an arcade and eatery in fall 2020

#Delabear goes viral

SPONSORED

Delaware

Technology is ever evolving — shouldn’t business education be, too?

Horsham

Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co

Product Systems Specialist

Apply Now

Philadelphia, PA - Center City

Odessa

Sr. Project Manager – ERP Implementations

Apply Now

Philadelphia, PA

Vistar Media

QA Engineer

Apply Now

Help create a master plan for the Route 202 corridor

Blitzen the Christmas pop-up bar adds to 9th Street invigoration

Exelon looks to invest in startups with $20M climate change initiative

SPONSORED

Delaware

Packed with growth opportunities, WSFS Bank moves into Philly

Philadelphia, PA - Center City

Odessa

Business Architect

Apply Now

Philadelphia

Vistar Media

Sr. Software Engineer

Apply Now

Philadelphia

Vistar Media

Front End Engineer

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Delaware

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!