The acting executive director of the Delaware Harness Racing Commission has been named to the post permanently.
Mark Davis, the Delaware Department of Agriculture's deputy principal assistant and policy advisor, had been acting director since September 2013 after previously serving as a liaison to the harness racing industry.
"Mark Davis has done an admirable job supporting the industry and leading the Commission's regulatory efforts over the last eight months,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. "This is an important part of our agricultural sector, and Mark will continue to work ensuring that the integrity and security of racing is paramount.”
Davis' appointment was supported by the six-member Delaware Harness Racing Commission after a nationwide search. The Commission licenses owners, trainers, drivers and grooms at Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs; conducts hearings of rules violations; and oversees pre- and post-race equine testing.
"Mark is the right person for this job,” said Beth Steele, commission president. "His extensive experience in solving complex regulatory and policy issues and his track record working with the harness racing industry made him the perfect person to lead the day-to-day operations. We are delighted that he has accepted the position.”
"Harness racing is a complex business, involving many disciplines working together for the best experiences we can offer to the horsemen, betting public, and the two racing venues,” said Patt Wagner, commission vice-president. "Mark has the ability to see the bigger picture and the leadership skills to empower his staff to do the best job they can do. We are fortunate to have him.”
"I am honored by the Commission's confidence, and look forward to continuing working with the industry to ensure fair and equitable races,” Davis said.
Davis has served as DDA's deputy principal assistant to the secretary since 2005, where he specialized in policy development and legislative initiatives, coordinated the Department's role in the Chesapeake Bay Program, and managed constituent relations and Freedom of Information Act issues.
Davis began his career at DDA as a land-use planner, from 1995 to 2005, and previously worked at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as an environmental scientist, from 1991 to 1995. He holds a bachelor's degree in environmental science from Livingston University. Harrington is home for Davis, his wife, Wende, and four children.