County Administrator Todd F. Lawson on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, introduced William F. Pfaff as the County’s new Economic Development director, restoring the position after a months-long vacancy following the passing last year of then-Economic Development director Melody Booker-Wilkins. Mr. Pfaff, of Millsboro, will begin work with the County on May 22.
Chosen from a field of 19 applicants, Mr. Pfaff brings with him more than 35 years of experience working in the local economy, first as a small business owner and most recently as a business liaison through a statewide public-private partnership. Mr. Lawson said that experience will be an asset to the County in helping to promote Sussex County and attract new commerce to the region.
“Bill has the right mix of experience on both sides of the equation. He personally understands the challenges small businesses face as a one-time business owner himself, and he knows how to access resources, whether it’s financing or training, to help others succeed,” Mr. Lawson said. “We’re thrilled to have Bill onboard, and with his deep knowledge of the local business community and long-established relationships, we expect him to hit the ground running.”
Mr. Pfaff, who holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration from York College of Pennsylvania, comes to County government from the Delaware Small Business Development Center, a cooperative effort among the federal Small Business Administration, the State of Delaware, and the University of Delaware. Since 1993 he has served as local director, building the Sussex County office from the ground up. In his tenure, he has worked to assist hundreds of businesses by providing training, access to lenders, and developing marketing and business plans for newly recruited businesses, startups and expanding operations. Those have included everything from breweries and distilleries and food production plants to farm-based ice cream stands, early-learning centers, restaurants, car washes and more.
Prior to working at the Small Business Development Center, Mr. Pfaff served briefly as a program developer at Delaware Technical Community College’s Owens Campus; for the 11 years preceding his DelTech service, he owned and operated a local Sears Roebuck & Co. franchise. He serves or has served on a number of local boards and committees, including as an officer of the Georgetown and Millsboro chambers of commerce, as a member of the Easter Seals advisory board, and as a founding member of the Sussex Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Not unlike his current role, Mr. Pfaff will lead the County’s economic development efforts and continue to serve as a resource to employers and those interested in doing business in Sussex County. The office, which works closely with business leaders, chambers of commerce, civic organizations, and others to promote opportunity and stimulate economic growth in Sussex, is responsible for overseeing the County’s business incentive and loan programs, as well as meeting with prospective employers to help understand and navigate regulatory processes.
“It has been my honor to work with the Sussex County business community for most of my career, and I look forward to the new challenge ahead as economic development director,” Mr. Pfaff said. “Sussex County has an excellent track record for providing a pro-business climate, and I am anxious to be a catalyst that will help create jobs for our residents.”
County Council President Michael H. Vincent said Mr. Pfaff is a respected member within the local business community, and his knowledge and contacts make him an ideal fit to further the County’s economic development goals.
“Bill is all about business, and we are fortunate to have him on the team,” Mr. Vincent said. “I can think of no better tribute to our lost colleague and this organization than to have someone like Bill come in and carry on that passion and genuine desire to help others, especially when it comes to achieving success and realizing their dreams.”