By Kathy Canavan
When Donna Masley won the Marvin S. Gilman Bowl today, she received a standing ovation and more than a few tears.
Masley, one half of the team that started Masley Enterprises, accepted the award for outstanding contributions to Delaware business on behalf of herself and her husband Frank, who died in September.
They started making flexible, flameproof, waterproof gloves for military use in a workshop in the basement of their Fairfax home 15 years ago. In 2008, they opened a factory in a restored 19th century mill in northeast Wilmington so blighted that it was designated a HUB Zone. They hired neighborhood residents, including some who had never held a job before.
Frank Masley, an engineer and three-time Olympic luge athlete, based some of his high-tech glove designs on his experiences.
When he turned the dusty mill into a modern factory, Masley insisted on having windows on the Brandywine so employees could enjoy the waterway as they worked.
Donna Masley’s voice cracked as she accepted the award, standing with two of her three children.
She gave advice to the business people who gathered in the Gold Ballroom of the Hotel duPont for the awards ceremony: “Flexibility is the key to success. No pain, no gain. And, always ask for help. When Frank and I created the business 15 years ago, we were the poster children of asking for help and using all the great resources available here in Delaware.”
She called her husband Frank a gift that touched many lives. “I hope my Olympic superman Frank has inspired you all to be your best and continue to have respect for yourself and others. The world will be a better place if we all just be like Frank.”
At the luncheon, the 2016 Superstars in Business Award awards were presented to Metro Merchant Services, Precision Air Convey Corporation, EDiS Company and Special Olympics Delaware.