Downtown Dover Partnership Welcomes Joan Cote

By Jeff Brown, Dover Post

Dover, DE - Joan Cote is not a native Delawarean, but you'd never know that from talking with the Downtown Dover Partnership's new executive director.

Cote got the news Sept. 6, and though the temperature was in the 90s, "I had goosebumps driving all the way to Dover," she said.

Formed in 2008, the partnership is made of volunteers working to bring jobs and business to the downtown. Cote was chosen Aug. 31 after a selection committee reviewed more than 30 applications.

She's best known for her quarter-century of work with USO Delaware, where she founded the first United Service Organization on Dover Air Force Base. She developed the Families of the Fallen Heroes center on the base, organized the first USO in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and has been recognized by President Barack Obama and senior officials for her support of events throughout the military.

All of this seems to come naturally to someone from a service family.

"I was born in Quantico, Va., but both of my parents were in the Marine Corps and my former husband was an Air Force pilot, so we moved around my entire life until we were stationed at Dover AFB in 1988," she said.

"After my divorce in 1993, my family and friends assumed I'd relocate back to Massachusetts, where most of my four siblings reside, but I had fallen in love with Dover," she said. "My children were young and had made a lot of friends, so I decided I wanted to raise them here."

Why was USO Delaware so important?

Coming from and marrying into the military, it was a natural fit to want to support our extended military family.

Why did you decide to apply for this job?

When my 25-year career came to an end with the USO, I was focused on continuing my career of service to others through another nonprofit organization. When the position for the executive director of the Downtown Dover Partnership became available, I was excited and thrilled about the possibility of merging my desire to support others and my passion for our beautiful Capital City at the same time. I'm beyond blessed at this incredible opportunity.

What do you see as its main mission?

I want to bring Dover into the forefront of being a place where people want to live, work and recreate. We have so many amenities in downtown Dover.

How can you achieve that?

I want to collect as much information as possible and find out how we can work to make it happen, together. I'm really excited to be involved in something I've never been a part of before.

How will the Downtown Dover Partnership affect Dover residents?

By making Dover a better and improved capital city.



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