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Boulden honored with state chamber’s Gilman Bowl

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(L-R) Martha S. Gilman, Urie Boulden Jr., Kelly Boulden, Tim Boulden, Nancy Boulden, and Brett Gilman Smith pose after Tim Boulden was named the 2022 Gilman Bowl honoree. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DICK DUBROFF / FINAL FOCUS PHOTOGRAPHY

WILMINGTON – In recognition of growing a well-known small business, serving as a state legislator and advocating for the needs of business-owners statewide, Tim Boulden was awarded the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s Gilman Bowl award Wednesday afternoon.

Named in memory of Marvin S. Gilman, who served as a longtime leader for small business in Delaware, the annual award was established as a tribute to small business leadership. The identity of the recipient of the Gilman Bowl is held confidential until its presentation at the annual Superstars in Business awards ceremony.

Tim Boulden, the 2022 Gilman Bowl honoree, hugs his wife Kelly on Wednesday after the surprise announcement. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

“Tim is the definition of a small business leader,” said Michael Quaranta, president of the DSCC, in a statement announcing the recipient. “He has worked tirelessly over the years to promote and lift up small businesses in the First State through his public policy and community efforts.”

The plumbing, heating, air, and electrical services company was founded in 1946 by brothers Omar and Urie Boulden Sr. It grew under the leadership of Urie’s son, Urie Jr., who turned the company over to his sons, Tim and Mike Boulden in 2007. The company’s catchy radio and TV ads have led Boulden Brothers to be a fixture in Delaware’s small business scene.

Tim Boulden, the president of the Newark-based company, said he’s often talked with his father about who has had the more difficult task.

“I think his job was harder because he’s the one that took the business from the very small stages and led them to a place where my brother Mike and I could take it into something different than what it was when we got involved in the business,” he told the crowd Wednesday. “But I do believe that what we have to deal with as small businesspeople gets tougher and tougher every day.”

Boulden, who was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1994 when he was just 29 years old and served 10 years, said he believes politicians today are making it tougher for small business owners to succeed.

Tim Boulden, president of Boulden Brothers, addresses the crowd after being named the 2022 Gilman Bowl honoree Wednesday. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

“The legislature has no clue as to what we deal with,” he said, noting in particular that the state’s recently approved Paid Family Leave Act will disproportionately hurt small businesses that have just a handful of employees who handle all of their needs.

“There’s many big businesses in this room that may have eight or 10 people who do something and you can give someone 12 weeks [of paid leave],” he said. “But … I have a lot of roles that one person fills and I don’t know how to manage that.”

“We’ll figure out a way, but I’m worried because with this job it’s really hard to get away. And unfortunately, when [politicians] don’t hear those voices, I think they think people don’t care or aren’t concerned. And the fact is that’s not the case,” Boulden added.

Aside from his time in elected office, Boulden has continued to advocate for small businesses through serving on the boards of the Business Bureau of Delaware, Delaware Business Roundtable, New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, and NFIB of Delaware. He’s also given his time to the Mid-Atlantic Ballet, Delaware Council on Economic Education, Newark Charter School, and Saint Mark’s High School, to name a few.

Boulden also encourages his employees to give back through the Boulden Brothers Cares program, which he personally funds and supports local groups like Little League teams, Preston’s March for Energy, and the Sunday Breakfast Mission.

The awarding of the Gilman Bowl came during the 24th annual Superstars in Business luncheon that also recognized 2022 Superstars in Business winners Jewish Family Services of Delaware, Action Unlimited Resources, L&W Insurance and Schlosser & Associates Mechanical Contractors. The keynote speaker for the year was Katey Jo Evans, co-founder and owner of The Frozen Farmer.

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