John Burris, who was president of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce from 1990 to 2000, was named on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, as the winner of the chamber's annual Marvin S. Gilman Bowl for small business leadership.
The announcement was made as part of the Chamber's 23rd Annual Marvin S. Gilman Superstars in Business awards luncheon at the Hotel Du Pont.
Burris, who is a native of Milford, worked with his family owned business for fifty years, served three terms in the Delaware General Assembly, ran against then incumbent U.S. Senator Joe Biden, and had an unsuccessful bid for Governor in 2000.
According to the chamber, several programs initiated during Burris' tenure are still active including Delaware Principal for a Day, Superstars in Education, and the Delaware Public Policy Institute.
"Many of the programs and initiatives we manage today trace their origins to John’s tenure as president of the State Chamber," said Michael Quaranta, current president of the State Chamber. "I would be fortunate, as would any leader, to have that degree of success one day. His is a legacy of accomplishment."
Burris was unable to attend the event but was shown in a video being surprised at his home with the award by Martha Gilman and Brett Gilman Smith.
He was in disbelief when he answered the door and Gilman explained why they were there.
"Ten of the best years of my life were at the State Chamber. This tribute means a lot to me, and it’s full circle," said Burris.
"John has always and still is an inspiration to businesses in the First State," said Martha Gilman. "He was not only the definition of a small business leader but he also worked hard to lift up all small businesses in the state."
The following received Superstars in Business Award based on company size: