The Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 90th anniversary by honoring its six longest-serving member companies and inviting Pennsylvania’s pro-business governor to deliver the night’s main message.
Gov. Tom Corbett used the occasion to restate his strong belief in private-sector job growth as the main engine to solving to the nation’s economic woes.
“It’s not government that is going to bring us back. It’s you,” he told the 160 chamber members gathered Nov. 27 in a banquet room at Parx East in Bensalem for the Anniversary Accolades Celebration.
Corbett said when he was running for governor in 2010, the economy was already shaky, and he pledged to end what he saw as “government getting in the way of business.”
When he took office in 2011, he said, he took aim at “bureaucracy that exists for the sake of bureaucracy” and regulations that were not consistently applied.
“We want to change the direction of government to work with you,” the Republican governor said.
Corbett said his administration has helped to create a business climate that has led to 105,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania over the last two years, including jobs in the expanding natural gas industry. He also pointed out his administration had worked with the private sector to help save the Sunoco refineries in Philadelphia.
“We’ve worked with the private sector, and not against them,” he said.
The chamber honored Corbett with its Crystal Vision Award, presented by chamber chairman Kent C. Lufkin and chamber president Al Taubenberger.
Corbett was chosen, the chamber said in a statement, for his “pro-business and pro-growth policies that have led to strong economic development strategies.”
Corbett’s remarks were bookended by a story of his family’s recent Thanksgiving at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg — ldquo;We had twenty-eight people and four dogs. It was chaos” — and a history quiz. After pointing out that he was born in Philadelphia, Corbett, the state’s 46th governor, asked who was the last native-born Philadelphian to become governor before him.
He even offered the crowd a little help, telling them that it wasn’t former Gov. Ed Rendell, the city’s former mayor, who was born in New York.
After stumping the crowd, Corbett enjoyed providing the answer: Thomas Mifflin, the state’s first governor, who served from 1790-99.
After the governor’s remarks, much of the remainder of the night was dedicated to celebrating the legacy of the chamber, which was chartered in 1922 and was headquartered in the Frankford section. The evening’s chatter quieted briefly for a moment of silence in memory of Ed Kelly, the dynamic former chamber executive director who helped the group acquire its current building on Roosevelt Boulevard. Kelly died in August at age 86.
Taubenberger introduced each of the longest-serving members, who were given Accolade Awards, by mentioning news items and prices from the year they joined. PECO, then named the Philadelphia Electric Company, is the longest-serving active member at 91 years. It joined the chamber in 1921, a year before it officially received its charter. Other honorees were Kingsbury Inc., 89 years; National Airoil Burner (NAO), 78 years; M&T Bank, originally Frankford Trust Co., 75 years; 3rd Fed Bank, 61 years, and Beneficial Bank 58 years.
Rosemarie McMenamin, vice president of business development for 3rd Fed Bank, chaired the event. ••
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