Veteran journalist Antonio M. Prado has been appointed to the position of director of communications for New Castle County Government, effective May 13, 2013.

Veteran journalist Antonio M. Prado has been appointed to the position of director of communications for New Castle County Government, effective May 13, 2013.

Prado, 41, of Newark, has accumulated nearly 13 years of experience with weekly and daily newspapers. He has most recently been a news reporter for the Hockessin Community News, where he has covered New Castle County Council and the County Executive, the Hockessin and Pike Creek civic groups and education. (His stories have appeared in the Middletown Transcript, a sister paper, as well.)

Prado will act as the media representative and liaison for New Castle County Executive Thomas P. Gordon and Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi. He will also prepare press releases, articles for publications, brochures, reports and other media items that help tell the story of New Castle County.

Grimaldi said Prado was hired after a national search that yielded about 100 applications, which were narrowed down to a pool of roughly 10 interviews.

Prado will report to Gordon and Grimaldi. The appointed position, which serves at the pleasure of the county executive, pays $106,899 per year.

Prado was hired purely for his writing skills and talent, Grimaldi said.

"That was the main driver," he said. " I think he's a phenomenal writer; he tells a good story. There's a shortage of good writers. Antonio really stood out."

Grimaldi said the fact that Prado was from the Wilmington Hispanic enclave of Hilltop on the Westside was a bonus and would contribute to Gordon's commitment to having an executive office representative of the community. Prado's father, the late Jesus M. Prado, was one of the founding members of the Latin American Community Center and its first board president. His mother, Maria C. Prado, is nearing retirement as a Wilmington parking officer.

Gordon felt Prado was the perfect fit for the job after the extensive search and vetting process, Grimaldi said.

Prado has worked at the Hockessin Community News since June 2002, with the exception of 1 year and eight months spent at the Dover Post, a sister paper within GateHouse Media Delaware. Prior to that, he was a reporter for the Star-Gazette, a Gannett paper in Elmira, N.Y. from 2000 to 2002.

Prado graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in journalism and wrote extensively for the student newspaper, The Review. He received his high school diploma from Salesianum School in Wilmington.

Prado said he looked forward to this new challenge at this point in his career with New Castle County, Delaware, his home for most of his life.

"I have always considered myself a public servant as a journalist," he said. "And I always strove to provide my Hockessin readers with quality news writing that consisted of sharp, hard-hitting, jargon free stories that informed the community of everything it needed to know. I shall continue that mindset in my new role with New Castle County."

Prado added that his parents were middle class folks who instilled the value of hard work and the American dream within their five children – traits that led to successful careers for all of them.

"The United States of America is truly the greatest country on the face of the earth," he said. "I thank God for all the blessings this country has afforded me and my family."

Prado lives in White Clay Creek Hundred, a suburb of Newark, with his wife, Kelly, and their two daughters, Regan and Sophia.