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The 6 latest happenings on the Delaware business scene

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Alpha Technologies comes to Wilmington

Alpha Technologies USA Inc., a U.S.-based global provider of IT solutions and consulting services to Fortune 1000 corporations, is set to move into a six-story office building at 704 N. King St. in the Wilmington central business district.

Alpha has acquired the facility and will occupy close to 45,000 square feet over three floors. Existing tenants will remain, according to Rick Kingery, vice president of Colliers International. Kingery represented Alpha Technologies in their pursuit.

The IT company has offices in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Jersey, Washington, California and Texas and global offices in India, Poland and the Czech Republic. This is its first foray into the Delaware market.

Alpha will be offering “on-shore off-site” managed services to clients who are looking for “on-shore” managed services with “off-site” benefits. In Addition, Alpha will create subject matter expert IT training center for new graduates. These services will create many local jobs to help social, economic and cultural growth.

“This is an incredibly exciting event for the City of Wilmington,” said Kingery. “To have a leading, global technology company like Alpha select Delaware as their captive site over a multitude of other options is truly an indication that Delaware has the technology, work force, transportation, and new housing infrastructure in place to attract new businesses and grow this highly sought-after field.”

“Information technology is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, and we are very pleased to welcome to Wilmington one of the world’s leading providers of IT solutions and consulting services to a diverse and global clientele,” said Jeff Flynn, Wilmington’s economic development director. “Alpha Technologies recognizes that Wilmington is a city where businesses thrive and is a city that is quickly becoming a technology hub for established IT businesses as well as a base for technology entrepreneurs and start-ups. We are witnessing the development of a new business climate in our city and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Financing for the project was arranged by Joseph McNally of TD Bank.

$5.8 million grant for Delaware Airpark

Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons announced another $5.8 million grant to update and expand the Delaware Airpark. The two Delaware Democrats were joined by Delaware State University President Dr. Harry Williams, Delaware River and Bay Authority Airport Administrator Stephen Williams and alumni of DSU’s aviation program who are now working in the aviation industry.

This project will be the 12th phase of an ongoing multi-year project to expand the airport by constructing a new runway, taxiway and apron system.  It will involve the paving of the new Runway 9-27 (4,200 feet by 75 feet), approximately one-third of its parallel taxiway (60 feet wide), three of four associated connector taxiways, and lighting and drainage.  It also will include offsite wetland mitigation and the AGIS as-built survey of the runway. One additional project phase remains and the new runway and taxiway system is expected to be operational in 2017.

“The general aviation industry contributes more than $150 billion annually to our economy and employs more than 1.2 million people throughout the country,” said Carper. “This grant award will help the Delaware Airpark expand and attract new clients to the area, and hopefully businesses in the surrounding area will also reap these benefits.”

“This is great news for the Delaware Airpark, DRBA, and the many pilots who use this airport on a daily basis,” said Sen. Coons. “The improvements that will be made on the runway, and other aspects of the airport will improve pilot safety for years to come. “

The Delaware Airpark is base to 45 aircraft and Delaware State University’s flight training program.  The aviation facility serves both corporate and recreational flyers year-round. More than $20 million has been invested in project to improve and enhance Delaware Airpark’s infrastructure.

Caesar Rodney Institute names new president

Charles “Chuck” Daniel has been appointed president of The Caesar Rodney Institute, succeeding John Stapleford, who is retiring in December.

Daniel previously worked as the senior director of partner relations with the American Cancer Society’s national office. He served 20 years in the Marine Corps Reserves, retiring as a gunnery sergeant.

Daniel will primarily focus on fundraising and using his nonprofit experience to tell stories about how government policies can help or hurt citizens.

Stapleford will return to his former position of director of the Center for Economic Policy and Analysis until his retirement.

“Upon reflecting on my time as president of the Caesar Rodney Institute, I am especially grateful for two things,” Stapleford said. “First, I had the opportunity to interact with outstanding people. From the board to staff, volunteers and donors, those associated with CRI are persons of faith who remember that everyone is created in the image of God and has the ability to think. State paternalism, no matter how well-intentioned, should not take away the freedom and dignity that comes from individual efforts to provide the best for themselves, their families and their communities. Second, I was able to be part of an effort to effect change in Delaware that was based upon data, analysis and information.”

Integra Realty Resources issues Mid-Year Viewpoint

Integra Realty Resources, an independent commercial real estate market research, valuation, and consulting firm, recently released its Mid-Year Viewpoint 2015, which focuses on trends in the business.

Some top findings from the local market reports for Wilmington:

• Retail: The retail market continues to show resiliency with stable occupancy across all center types, and gradually increasing rental rates.

• Office: Inventory has remained relatively level, with no major additions or removals from supply over the past 24 to 36 months.

• Multifamily: The market is in balance, and new construction is occurring in urban and suburban market segments.

• Lodging: Improvement in room nights sold over the first six months of 2015 resulted in occupancy overall around 57 percent to 59 percent, depending on segment.

• Industrial: The industrial market continues to recover from the impact of recessionary economic conditions accompanied by the loss of two of the region’s major manufacturers, GM and Chrysler, and the just-in-time suppliers serving these manufacturers.

Smarter Balanced test scores released

Recently released statewide assessment results provide a new baseline for how Delaware students are performing in English language arts and mathematics. The 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment results are the first-ever scores for the test, which is aligned with the Common Core — Delaware’s new, higher, academic standards.

Statewide, more than half of students in third through eighth grades and in grade 11 were “proficient” or better in English. In math, almost 39 percent were proficient statewide. Delaware students outperformed estimates — based on a 2014 national field test — in both subjects for every grade with the exception of 11th-grade math.

More than 4 million students took the field test that was used to set expectations for how students would perform when Smarter Balanced was first offered last spring. Following that test, educators, school leaders, higher education faculty, parents and others worked together to develop benchmarks for students to reach different achievement levels (one through four), with students scoring 3 or 4 considered “proficient.”

Grade-level results in English language arts/literacy ranged from a high of 55.5 percent scoring proficient or higher in fifth grade to a low of 48.5 percent in sixth grade. In math, the grade-level results ranged from a high of 53.1 percent in third grade to a low of 23.3 percent in grade 11.

“The Smarter Assessment is harder, and different, from any of our past state assessments. It tests more skills than we’ve ever tested before and does so more rigorously,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “We made this change because these are the skills our children will need to succeed in the rest of their careers and we need to provide them with as much help and support as we can while they are still in our care.

“As we all expected, the overall results of this more rigorous assessment show that we still have a lot of work to do to prepare all of our students for college and careers, but we know our schools continue to make progress, and we are pleased that the results are better than anticipated by the national test.” he said.

As a governing state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Delaware partnered with other states to develop the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

Final results, which also will include additional analysis looking at scores by student subgroup, will be released on Sept. 17, in conjunction with the State Board of Education meeting.

Congressional delegation touts education grant

WILMINGTON (AP) — Delaware’s congressional delegation is touting a federal grant aimed at getting more minority students to take up careers in science and technology.

Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper and Rep. John Carney joined officials from Delaware Technical Community College earlier this month to discuss the grant.

The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a five-year grant totaling $2.4 million to DelTech and its partners, Nemours Health and Prevention Services and the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.

The grant will help boost a program that encourages minority high school students to go into the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

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