Sher Valenzuela
Vice President
First State Manufacturing, Inc.

Milford, DE

“When you think about it, everything we use -- product or service --is manufactured. Manufacturing – the backbone of America – ignites our capacity to lead in innovation, creates the hub around which nearly every community turns, forms priceless infrastructure, and provides value-added jobs to any hungry economy.”

Personal circumstances drove Sher Valenzuela and her husband, Eli to start their company in 1998. Taking the expertise gained from a simple mail-order upholstery course and starting with nothing more than a second-hand sewing machine in their garage, they built a multi-million dollar company that today employs 70.  Sher is passionate about growing a business economically and with forethought, and has been instrumental in helping others to understand the ways they, too, can connect with and leverage local, state and federal no-cost and low-cost resources.  She has achieved numerous honors along the way, including the Lockheed Martin Minority Small Business of the Year, Department of Defense Supplier of Choice, U.S. Small Business Administration Minority Business of the Year and U.S. Small Business Administration Small Business Person of the Year, 2012. 

Sher has always been enthusiastic about supporting others, donating countless hours to the economic development of Delaware. Appointed by the governor as an executive board member of the Delaware Workforce Investment Board, she co-created the Governor’s first Entrepreneurial Conference in 2009, unveiling systems of support for Delaware’s small business owners as well as a measurable tracking system for the state’s stakeholders. 

Her philanthropic efforts are not limited to local markets.  From support for orphans in Africa and the Philippines, to family radio programming, from student scholarships to local food pantries, Sher believes in giving back.  She is widely regarded as a consensus-builder who is able to form coalitions built on common denominators that affect us all.

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