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Monday, June 01, 2009

Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Announces Rob Wonderling to Become Its Next President & CEO

Posted at 11:00 AM

Rob Wonderling Philadelphia, PA – June 1, 2009 – The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce announced today that Pennsylvania State Senator Rob Wonderling (R-24th) has been chosen to become the next President & CEO of the region’s premier business advocacy organization, according to Chamber Board Chairman David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation.

Current GPCC President & CEO Mark Schweiker announced in January that he would step down on June 30, 2009 after a six-year tenure. He will join PRWT Services, Inc. as President of its Business Process Solutions unit.

Sen. Wonderling, who will assume his new role on August 1, 2009, brings a distinguished record of public service combined with a successful career in private industry and the nonprofit sector to the Chamber. As a Senator, he has been committed to promoting economic development and job creation, modernizing infrastructure, maintaining access to high quality health care services, helping young entrepreneurs and families prosper, and reducing the tax burden on all Pennsylvanians.

Previously, Sen. Wonderling, 47, served as Governor Tom Ridge’s Deputy Secretary of Transportation, responsible for improving the operation and efficiency of PennDOT's 5,000-employee highway maintenance workforce.

For the past ten years, he worked for Bentley Systems, Inc., a privately held software firm based in Exton and for Allentown-based Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Previously, Sen. Wonderling worked for and rose to President of the PENJERDEL Council (1984 to 1991), where he worked closely with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on issues involving the region’s economic and environmental prosperity.

“Rob has an outstanding background that is a perfect match for this position,” said Mr. Cohen. “He is passionate about regional economic development, especially on the importance of transportation and infrastructure. He has experience working in the private sector as well as in public service.

“Rob will be a great champion of and spokesman for the business community. He understands that the Greater Philadelphia region is competing successfully in the global marketplace. He has a great understanding of our history and a vision to strengthen our assets in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

“Today I am honored to continue to serve the Greater Philadelphia region - including southern New Jersey, northern Delaware, and southeastern Pennsylvania - as an advocate for job creators and innovators,” said Sen. Wonderling. “I am excited by the opportunities and challenges that I will face as President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. I will work with every current member but also outreach to every entrepreneur and small business owner, who is not a member, and embrace their passion for success to help our region grow and prosper.”

At a news conference today, Sen. Wonderling received congratulations from GPCC Board members and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter.

Governor Edward G. Rendell issued the following statement in response to state Sen. Rob Wonderling’s appointment:

“Senator Wonderling has been a great help on economic development projects. He has a great feel from what businesses need to do to strengthen their communities and create new opportunities for Pennsylvania’s hardworking men and women. He is a great choice to succeed Mark Schweiker.”

In the Pennsylvania Senate, Sen. Wonderling serves as Chairman of the Transportation Committee and is a member of the Community and Economic Development Committee, the Public Health and Welfare Committee, the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, among other assignments.

In addition, he serves on the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) Board of Trustees. He was appointed to the Pennsylvania Public Television Network Board of Directors and serves as co-chair to the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges and the Life Science Caucus, which addresses policy issues important to the biotechnology and life science industry.

Sen. Wonderling was chosen by the Chamber following a formal search process to find the next leader of the 208-year-old organization that has 5,000 member companies in the 11-county Greater Philadelphia region.

Joseph Frick, President & CEO, Independence Blue Cross, and Mary Stengel Austen, President & CEO, Tierney Communications, co-chaired the search committee, which sourced more than 150 individuals for the position to succeed Mr. Schweiker.

Mr. Schweiker’s accomplishments include spearheading the creation and development of the GPCC’s economic development marketing initiative, Select Greater Philadelphia, and its governing board the CEO Council for Growth. During his tenure, the GPCC produced two of the best years financially in its history. Also, he led the GPCC initiative to connect Philadelphia youth to paid summer internships, a program in its third year that has produced 3,300 placements.

The Chamber's most recent presidents were Charles P. Pizzi (1990-2003), Nicholas DeBenedictis (1988-89), the late G. Fred DiBona, Jr. (1985-87), and the late Thatcher Longstreth (1965-84).

Sen. Wonderling is a 1984 graduate of Allegheny College and received a Master's degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. He attended the program for Senior Executives in State Government at Harvard University in 1997. He lives in Schwenksville with his wife Kristin and three sons.