Dear Chamber Members,

Please let me take this holiday season as an opportunity to thank the Chamber membership for their support, loyalty, and energetic activity during my term as Chairman these past two years. I have always maintained that the creativity and abilities that reside in the Princeton region are second to none and that there is nothing we cannot accomplish so long as we work with common purpose.

Your chamber board is the organization’s most valuable asset. Their collective wisdom, judgment ,and perspicacity keep us moving forward in support of the business community. It was a rare privilege to serve as their chairman, as well as a challenge, as they insisted on excellence and precision in every aspect of our operations and discussion.

We are also very fortunate to have a fine leader in Peter Crowley as the President and CEO of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce (PRCC). He, along with an extraordinarily productive and dedicated staff, has been a major driver in the demonstrable growth of your Chamber over the past five years.

As this will be my last letter to the membership, I would like to summarize a few of the notable positive developments within our organization over the past few years.

A very important part of our success was the teamwork between myself and my predecessor, Bob Hillier. We worked very closely over the past four years in developing a positive direction for the Chamber as exemplified by our 2011 Strategic and Business Plan.

The new and enhanced programs that came out of that plan are an outstanding example of a Chamber that is sensitive to the needs of its membership and also able to identify opportunities for better service as they arise.

The Women in Business Alliance along with the Young Professionals Committee (formerly Leeep) and the Plainsboro Business Partnership alone have generated more than 3,000 paid attendees at their events over the past 30 months. Each of these programs have served to extend the demographic and geographic reach of the PRCC and has allowed many of our volunteer members to make phenomenal contributions to our organization and the community at large.

In building upon the solid base provided by the efforts of Lori Rabon, the Princeton Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) continues to improve and provide additional services to tourists and potential visitors. The CVB is now a firmly established as a state-recognized Destination Marketing Organization that broadly publicizes the recreational, cultural, and historical opportunities available throughout the Princeton region.

Bolstering the efforts of the CVB is its recent merger with the Mercer County Sports & Entertainment Commission (MCSEC). These organizations are a perfect fit as they leverage the objectives of both in a very effective manner.

Conceived by County Executive Brian Hughes, the MCSEC has brought numerous sports and entertainment events to the major Mercer County venues at Waterfront Park, Sun Bank Arena, and the Mercer County Park System. I am proud to announce that our first event as a common entity will be the nationally recognized Ironman 70.3 Princeton competition event at Mercer County Park on September 21, 2014. This Ironman event will be the first of many significant sporting and entertainment events initiated by the newly revised MCSEC and brought to our region to grow and support economic development.

Finally, one of our most enduring achievements accomplished through both my term and Bob Hillier’s is the reorganization and redirection of the Princeton Chamber Foundation. This past summer the Foundation established a permanent $500,000 fund at the Princeton Area Community Foundation that will benefit local charitable organizations in perpetuity. Funds will be awarded annually through the recommendations of the chamber’s Community Development committee, and initial grants totaling $25,000 were made in November of this year. The Chamber Foundation will continue as an independent 501(c)(3) organization in support of area charitable endeavors.

Thanks once again for your friendship, confidence, and all you have done for the Chamber. I look forward to seeing you at our annual Gala at Jasna Polana this week.

As always, you can obtain information on upcoming Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce events by checking our website at www.princetonchamber.org or calling the Chamber at 609-924-1776.

Patrick Ryan

Chairman of the Board, Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce

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