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NCC Chamber President Chadwick to retire

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Robert Bob Chadwick New Castle County Chamber of Commerce

New Castle County Chamber of Commerce President Bob Chadwick will retire at the end of the year after 17 years with the organization. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON – Bob Chadwick, the president of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, announced that he will retire at the end of the year.

As one of the state’s most influential business organizations representing Delaware’s most populous county, the New Castle County chamber is active in policy discussions from the municipal to state level while also informing and promoting a wide range of members. It’s the third largest chamber in the state with more than 800 members, according to Delaware Business Times research.

Joining the county chamber in 2006, Chadwick served in a number of roles including director of the Economic Development Council, vice president for business and economic development and executive vice president. He was chosen to lead the chamber following the resignation of his predecessor, Mark Kleinschmidt, in November 2017, and his presidency was made official the following year.

In a letter to chamber members, Chadwick noted that he would turn 64 this year and become a first-time grandfather.

“I am eager to spend more time with my family and more time pursuing my other passions which include music and travel,” he said of his reasoning to retire.

With his retirement effective Jan. 1, 2024, Chadwick said that he planned to assist the chamber’s Executive Committee in recruiting a new president and ensure a smooth and effective transition.

After 17 years with the chamber, Chadwick told Delaware Business Times that he was proud of the work they had accomplished during his tenure, particularly during the COVID pandemic.

“I think our members needed us then more than ever, yet it was fairly challenging to deliver our services,” he recalled. “But we were able to pivot all of our programming to virtual and continue to make sure that we were representing the needs of our businesses in front of the government, because they didn’t want decisions that were impacting our businesses at the time.”

He is also proud of starting the chamber’s business incubator, today known as the Emerging Enterprise Center, back in 2008, which has guided and assisted entrepreneurs in launching new businesses in New Castle County.

“We’ve helped create a number of startup companies that have gone on to do good things and create jobs,” he said. “That’s really satisfying to see those businesses come in with sometimes just an idea and then they move on to be successful and move out of the incubator and be a solid business in the community.”

Chadwick said the decision to step down was made easier as the chamber is “stronger today than in a long time” with a talented staff and dedicated board of directors. The role of the chamber hasn’t diminished as well.

“People like to do business with people they know, so our day-to-day mission is to create business development opportunities for our members and help them grow,” he said. “And we have a really robust government affairs program … that has been more important than ever over the last couple of years. We’ve seen a huge spike in pieces of legislation that could potentially negatively impact our businesses.”

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