County hires Booker-Wilkins

Sussex County announced this week that Melody Booker-Wilkins will serve as the economic development director for the County starting in mid-October.

“The County is very lucky to able to hire such a well-qualified and experienced professional from right here in our back yard,” said County Administrator Todd F. Lawson on Tuesday.

The County’s Economic Development Office serves as a resource to employers and those interested in doing business in Sussex County, working with business leaders, Chambers of Commerce, civic organizations and others to promote opportunity and stimulate economic growth in Sussex. The position was vacated earlier this year.

“There’s so much positive already going on. A big part of my job is promoting what success is already here,” said Booker-Wilkins.

Lawson said the County received more than 20 applications from candidates from across the country.

“In the end, Melody was offered the position because she has the background, experience and knowledge to excel as the new economic development director,” he said. “Melody has the relationships and trust the job requires.”

Booker-Wilkins, a Milford resident, holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Delaware and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Booker-Wilkins also has more than 25 years’ experience working in the private and public sectors in Delaware, including in broadcasting and state government. For the past five years, she has worked in the Delaware Economic Development Office as business development leader for Sussex County, developing strategies and building relationships to help create and retain jobs.

In her new role with the County, Booker-Wilkins will also oversee the County’s business incentive and loan programs, as well as meeting with prospective employers to help understand and navigate regulatory processes.

“One of the main initiatives, right out of the gate — the County is already involved in a major branding campaign with the Sussex County Airport and, secondarily, with the industrial parks. Given my experience and background, I’m going to be expected to jump right into this very important initiative in Sussex County,” she said. “Once I’ve had the opportunity to meet with all the shareholders in Sussex County, we’ll collectively and collaboratively work on those goals.”

Booker-Wilkins will join the County full-time beginning Oct. 20.