New Castle County Executive Thomas P. Gordon announced today his intention to name Sophia Hanson, who has served as Planning Director for the City of Wilmington, as Acting General Manager of Community Services for New Castle County, subject to confirmation by County Council.
Hanson is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received a Master’s Degree in City Planning. She served as a city planner in Wilmington for over eleven years.
During her tenure with the City, Hanson performed and supervised a variety of core planning functions, including the oversight of the City’s Planning Commission, Design Review and Preservation Commission, Neighborhood Planning Councils and the Access Wilmington and Bike Wilmington Committees. She also supervised planning analyses, land use studies, comprehensive planning, community development, historic reviews, major and minor subdivision reviews and federal environmental reviews. Hanson was instrumental in supporting and revitalizing the City’s Neighborhood Planning Councils and made it a priority to serve the Wilmington community through innovative and responsive community engagement.
Through Hanson’s leadership, Wilmington was recently selected as one of eight cities from across the nation to attend the 2014 Community Progress Leadership Institute held at Harvard Law School. A seven-member delegation, which included Hanson and was composed of leaders from the County, City and nonprofit sector, participated in an intensive four-day workshop to develop solutions to the issues of vacant housing and neighborhood blight.
As the Community Services General Manager, Hanson will oversee a wide range of services provided to New Castle County residents and visitors, including housing and community development, libraries, senior services and the County park system. She will also oversee federal housing and community development funds that are allocated annually to the County. This responsibility takes advantage of Hanson’s extensive experience and expertise in ensuring that the City government complied with the mandates of the National Environmental Policy Act.
County Executive Gordon said Hanson will be a strong addition to his administration.
“Beyond her stellar educational achievements, Hanson has the experience, work ethic and attention to detail that is critical to managing the 150-person Community Services Department,” said the County Executive. “Community Services is a multifaceted department that requires someone with strong organizational skills and a willingness to connect with the citizens of our great County.”
While serving as Director of Planning in Wilmington, Hanson served as a panelist at the 2013 Conference for International Management, Policy, Administration and Development in Windhoek, Namibia. In addition, she organized and moderated the 2013 Wilmington Housing Summit, which brought together non-profit agencies from around the City to share their vision for the redevelopment of Wilmington’s neighborhoods.
New Castle County Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi said the County is fortunate to find someone with Hanson’s background and abilities. Hanson will assume her new position on April 28, 2014.