Colonialís Hatfield Receives Top State Chamber Award
Richard “Dick” Hatfield, winner of the 2015 Marvin S. Gilman Bowl from the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, has never been one to pursue public recognition. Rather, he is a quiet, tireless, hardworking embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit, the chamber’s Small Business Alliance said in its presentation.
Starting his first business at age 18, Dick Hatfield built a real legacy for all his endeavors, both in business and the community. After serving in the U.S. Army, he was right back to work developing opportunities to grow his skills, and his business: His life’s passion, Colonial Parking, was started in 1956.
From a single location, he grew his company over the nearly 60 years to a regional organization recognized for integrity, professionalism and service excellence. It employs more than 230 people to manage 100-plus locations serving some 45,000 customers every day.
After several years in business, the Founder and Chairman of Colonial Parking became active in the National Parking Association, where he was President from 1975-1976, and continues to serve on its National Leadership Advisory Council. Relationships developed there led to the expansion of his business, bringing him and his family to Delaware in 1965.
According to the presentation, general characteristics of the 2015 Gilman Bowl recipient include:
Always guided by the Golden Rule, Hatfield created the company culture built on that simple principle of treating others as you would like to be treated. This example has led his team not only to deliver excellent service, but to be socially responsible as well.
A true “his word is his bond” person, he has structured more transactions on the back of napkins than any other way.
He approaches every business opportunity expecting to achieve a win for all involved. He wants to conclude every transaction with all involved feeling good about it.
The lifelong Rotarian lives by its philosophy of “service above self.”
For more than 30 years, he served on the Board of Elwyn Institute, a nonprofit organization providing employment opportunities, training and education for people with disabilities.
His long-term focus and desire to develop lifelong relationships that may lead to other opportunities have crafted this business style.
The sum of his win-win and long-term philosophies has also led him to be one of the strongest advocates for the City of Wilmington. For Dick Hatfield, it’s all about what’s good for the city, knowing that what’s good for the city will ultimately be good for everyone in the city.
He also is deeply committed not only to his families, both at home and at work, but also to the greater community. This commitment has been demonstrated by his volunteering for a number of community organizations throughout his life.
He has pursued opportunities and shared his entrepreneurial spirit with many over the course of his career. He was a regular guest lecturer in the University of Delaware’s Entrepreneurship Program, sharing his story and inspiring students. With his guidance, he nurtured the start of a commercial cleaning business, a demolition contracting business, and an archival/record storage business, not to mention countless other young entrepreneurs that he helped in a more casual way.
The Marvin S. Gilman Bowl was established by the Small Business Alliance of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce in 2008 to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the state’s small-business and nonprofit organizations. This article was taken, by permission, from the Delaware Business Magazine, a publication of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.