The 5,000-company Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce takes a long-term approach to civic recovery and improvement: its leaders talk reliably about improving education (including Philadelphia's underperforming city school system); and they press City Council members and other elected officials to reduce rules and fees business finds restrictive, like the city Business Privilege Taxes, which in chamber members' view amount to a surcharge for doing business in the city instead of somewhere else.
"There's not one business agenda and another civic agenda; is is one agenda," designed to make the region more desirable to employers, and thus workers and families, says the next Chamber chariman, Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, president and chief executive officer of Citizens Bank (UK-owned successor to PSFS and Girard Bank) in PA, NJ and DE since 2007. He'll take office in October, succeeding Liberty Property Trust chief Bill Hankowsky in the chamber board post.
Before Citizens, Fitzpatrick held similar titles at Bank of America; he also worked at PNC and the former CoreStates Bank. A graduate of Father Judge, LaSalle (BS'86, business administration) and Drexel (MBA), he's also a CPA (worked at Ernst & Young) and a CFA.
Unlike so many self-appointed business supporters, big-city chambers like Philadelphia's aren't anti-government.