Chamber honoring Dr. Judy Tobin, Dick Collison

By Paula Gunson
Chamber Executive Director
Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce


Dr. Tobin wins ATHENA award
The 2007 recipient of the ATHENA award is Dr. Judith Tobin, assistant state medical examiner for Kent and Sussex counties. The ATHENA award is presented to an individual who is recognized for professional excellence, for providing valuable service to their community and for actively assisting women in realizing their full leadership potential. The award, which is sponsored by Hertrich Family of Automobile Dealerships, will be presented at the Annual Fall Dinner of the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 25. The ATHENA program began at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce in Michigan in 1982. Since 1988, the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce has been proud to recognize, encourage and celebrate the achievements of women in business and professions. The Chamber appreciates the sponsorship of the Hertrich Family of Automobile Dealerships. Judith Tobin is a native of Orange, N.J. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College, she received her M.D. degree from Columbia University. Her medical internship was completed at St. Luke's Hospital in N.Y. and her residence requirements in pathology and internal medicine were conducted at Dartmouth Medical Center in N.H. and the U.S. Veteran's Administration Hospital in Vt. Since 1960, she has been on staff at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. In 1964, she became the assistant state medical examiner for Kent and Sussex Counties and remains in that position today. She served on the influential, governor-appointed Board of Medical Practice for 19 years. Dr. Tobin has held offices with the American Cancer Society and has served on various other medical boards in the state. She has also been on the board of directors for Children and Families First and the Blood Bank of Delaware. She was instrumental in the formation and planning of the Boys' and Girls' Club of Western Sussex County. She is also member of several medical professional organizations. Dr. Tobin is the mother of six children. Her late husband, also a physician, passed away in 1970 when her youngest child was only 9-years- old. Appropriately, she was given the honor of Delaware Mother of the Year in 1984. Two of her children chose medicine as their profession. Her daughter Patti is a nursing anesthetist and son Richard is an orthopedist. Her 19 grandchildren are living all over the U.S. As a member of Soroptimist International of Seaford, "Dr. Judy" is an inspiration and mentor to women of all ages. She is a role model for women who wish to enter traditionally unconventional fields for women. She is an excellent mentor for young women who are considering professions in the medical field. She has demonstrated great caring and compassion and gives unselfishly of her time and talents.

Community service award
Dick Collison is the recipient of the annual John A., Jr. and Helen M. Moore Community Service Award. This award was established in 1987. John Moore was a local businessman and developer for many years. Each year, the Moore family honors an individual who has performed outstanding volunteer service to the Seaford area community for several years. Most people know Dick Collison through his barber shop in downtown Seaford, at the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department, or his involvement with the Downtown Seaford Association. Some have even had the privilege to know him and his inspirational attitude while battling three unrelated cancers. Dick's upbeat visits with others who suffer through a terminal illness show his quiet and compassionate side. Dick's wife Shirley has been at his side for fifty years. Dick was raised in the Greenwood area and, after graduating from high school, went on to Salisbury Barber School where he graduated in 1957. Dick started his barber career at Dove's Barber and Smoke Shop and went on to open his own shop in 1996, where he still plies his trade. Dick was one of the founders of the Downtown Seaford Association in the early 1980's. He served two terms as president and chaired the Christmas Parade for four years. He still works on both the Halloween and the Christmas parades every year and is an active member in the Association. Dick sang barbershop style for more than 30 years with the Chorus of the Nanticoke and sang in the Mt. Olivet choir for nearly forty years. He has been a member of Mt. Olivet Church since 1961 and served as assistant sunday school superintendent from 1963 to 1965. In early 2001, Dick underwent a laryngectomy due to cancer of the larynx that ended his singing career but not his love of music. Dick joined the Seaford Jaycees in 1959 and was awarded Outstanding Jaycee of the Year in 1965. He was recognized for his community service in 2003 as the recipient of the Seaford Elks Distinguished Citizen Award. Dick received an Exceptional Customer Service Award from the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce earlier this year. Dick started directing traffic at the intersection of High and Cannon Sts. in 1959 during the sounding of the fire siren. He joined the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department in 1965, becoming a volunteer fireman and ambulance attendant. He was honored as Fireman of the Year in 1980 and became a lifetime member with 25 years of service in 1990. Dick still drops his clippers and comb whenever the fire alarm sounds and, donning his bright vest, stops traffic on High St. while directing outgoing emergency vehicles. Dick has devoted countless hours in service to his community and has never before received recognition for his efforts. He is a most deserving recipient of the John A., Jr. and Helen M. Moore Community Service Award. He will receive this honor at the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce Fall Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Oct. 25 at the Seaford Fire Hall. For more information, contact the Chamber office at 629-9690.

Business Persons of the Year
Beginning in 1995, The Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce has honored outstanding member businesses. This year's honorees for the Business Persons of the Year awards are Dr. Russell H. Knorr, superintendent of the Seaford School District in the category of 26 or more employees, and Bryant L. Richardson of Morning Star Publications in the category of 25 or fewer employees.

Dr. Russell H. Knorr
"Keep the main thing the main thing" is Dr. Russell H. Knorr's philosophy for the Seaford School District. By remembering that teaching and learning are the bedrock for the schools in the district, the business of running the district can be built on a solid foundation. In Seaford, innovation and fiscal responsibility go hand in hand. Dr. Knorr helped obtain community support for the passage of twelve out of fourteen referendums to increase revenues and to expand and renovate the schools during his tenure as superintendent. Russ earned a Bathelor of Science degree from Penn State University, his Masters degree from Villanova University, and his doctorate degree from Lehigh University. He taught 7th and 8th grades and coached baseball in the Great Valley School District in Pennsylvania for eleven years and was Assistant Principal for the Northern Chester County Vocational Technical School for fourteen months before becoming the principal for Seaford Senior High School in 1979. In 1983, Russ was promoted to Seaford Superintendent of Schools. He has held the position of superintendent of schools longer than anyone else in the State of Delaware. Seaford School District has accomplished much under the leadership of Dr. Knorr. Since 1983, he has implemented the reorganization of the district's elementary schools to four K-5 schools, thereby reducing the number of transitions students had to make. Russ introduced the "balanced calendar" (or year-round) school concept, leading Central Elementary School to be the first such school in Delaware. He increased access to technology for students and teachers, including computers in classrooms, laptops with Internet capability, handheld computers, multi-media teaching carts - each of which has a computer, a document camera, and a projection system. Russ implemented the full-day kindergarten. He inspired the use of Rosetta Stone software to introduce three new world language offerings at the high school [Arabic, Chinese and Japanese] as well as to help non-English speaking students learn English. Russ led the district's strategic planning process in 1990-91 that involved staff, parents, students, and Board members, resulting in a consensus on a set of governing values, a mission statement and a long-range strategic plan. And this last year, all of the district's elementary schools and the middle school met annual yearly progress. The district won the coveted Superstars in Education award from the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce in 2007 for the District's Secondary Schools Advanced Placement Incentive Program" in the Seaford Senior High School and Seaford Middle School, Seaford. This program was designed to increase participation and the diversity of students in Advanced Placement (AP) classes at the High School level, as well as increase grades on the Advanced Placement Tests. The schools identify students who have potential to take these courses, offer preview mathematics courses to prepare students for the AP courses, provide access to a summer reading program and encourage parental involvement in choosing classes. The school district has been in the "Energy Star" program since 2005 and all six schools in the district have qualified to receive the Energy Star building label. And this year, the district was awarded the Energy Star Partner of the Year award in energy management. Russ Knorr is married to Loretta and they have a son, Matthew, who is a West Point graduate serving with the U.S. Army in Kuwait and married to Marie. Their daughter Sarah has two children Brendan and Evan. And Russ is, in his own words, a "die-hard" Philadelphia sports fan. Russ has garnered numerous honors over the years, including selection to the Abe Lincoln High School wall of fame and the General Wayne Middle School wall of fame. He has been twice chosen by his peers [other superintendents] to serve as President of the Delaware Chief School Officers' Association. Russ was also chosen to serve as Chairperson of the Delaware Secondary School Athletic Association and the President of the Delaware Association of School Administrators [DASA]. He was twice selected as Delaware's Superintendent of the Year [1990 and 2001] and selected as the National Association of Educational Professionals as the National Administrator of the year in 1999. Russ believes in management of change, which is something all school districts face. For example, in the past three years the school district has four new principals, four new associate principals, and new directors for business, elementary education and special education. In addition the district faces challenges in special education, English as a Second Language [ESL] students, and a growing ethnic population. Russ has guided the school district for more than twenty-four years and is obviously up to meeting the challenges.

Bryant L. Richardson
Building a new business is never easy, especially when during the first year you donate $2 of each paid subscription to local charities. The Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club, Laurel Good Samaritans and Laurel Little League all benefited from the "give-back." But that is the basis of Bryant and Carol Richardson's philosophy - to give back to the community because they believe that good, strong organizations make for good, strong communities. Bryant began his newspaper career working for the Seaford Leader in 1972. He moved up on the organization to news editor, managing editor and general manager before leaving in 1984, when Bryant and Carol started their own newspaper, the Seaford Banner. After four and a half years, they sold the Banner to Chesapeake Publishing and Bryant went to work for them as general manager. In April 1996 Bryant and Carol, Bryant's sister, Jo Ann Sullivan, along with Tina Reaser and Tony Windsor, launched Morning Star Publications, Inc. and the Seaford Star. Shortly thereafter, Rita Brex and Pat Murphy joined the company. Four months later the Laurel Star was started. Just over a year later, they began publishing the Morning Star Business Report. Morning Star Publications also publishes the Business Journal for the Salisbury, Md., Chamber of Commerce, the Salisbury Magazine, an annual publication for the Salisbury Chamber, the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce Visitor's Guide and Membership Directory, the Laurel Chamber of Commerce magazine, and numerous special interest publications. The business had sales of $1.2 million in 2006 and has grown to 12 full time employees and many "stringers" or writers. The "Stars" are paid subscription publications in Seaford and Laurel with a circulation of more than 6,600. In just over 10 years, Bryant and Carol have accomplished everything in their original business plan. They will continue to serve the local communities and improve employee compensation packages to attract good people. Bryant and Carol are now working on plans for electronic publishing and aim to have a full-service, full-time information center online. Morning Star Publications now has websites for the Seaford Star, Laurel Star and the Business Report and plans to add three more websites in the next year. They feel this is a natural progression for the business and find it very exciting. Bryant and Carol are natives of Delmarva. Bryant was born in Federalsburg, Md., and graduated from Colonel Richardson High School. His higher education consists of courses at Delaware Tech and numerous workshops and seminars. Carol graduated from Mardela High School. Bryant married Carol Wright in 1967 and they have three children. Daughter Leanne is married to Hugh Mohler II and they have three children, Hannah, Hugh III and Henry, and resides in Towson, Md. Son Bryant Paul married April Durham in 2006 and resides in Virginia Beach, and son Daniel married Cassie Kraemer in January 2007 and resides in Seaford. Daniel and Cassie work for Morning Star Publications. Bryant is a past president of the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce, chaired the Business Development Committee for many years, and received the Volunteer of the Year award in 2006. He is a former Little League baseball umpire and former board member of WOLC Christian Radio Station. Bryant is a past president and active member of the Seaford Kiwanis. He was the first recipient of the "Roaring Lion" award given by the Sammons family of WXPZ Christian Radio Station. Bryant was named Editor of the Year by Chesapeake Publishing and also garnered the SBA's 2000 Journalist Advocate award. Carol is a past member of the Business & Professional Women's organization.

Spirit of the Community Award winners are Edward J Kaye of Edward J. Kaye Construction, Inc., and Charlie Towers of Towers Signs LLC. Volunteer of the Year is Dick Wolfe.

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.