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Suburban senator to run Phila Chamber

As Chamber ceo, state Sen. Rob Wonderling will be in a good place to plead the city's cause on tax and school funding issues, and to keep suburban executives on board by balancing the perceived Democratic agenda of the current Chamber chairman, David L. Cohen

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has picked another suburban Republican, State Sen. Rob Wonderling, R-Montgomery, once Gov. Ridge's PennDOT chief, as its new president, replacing former Gov. Mark Schweiker, who's joining PRWT Services Inc.

As a Republican well-known in the suburbs and Harrisburg, Wonderling may be well-placed to plead the city's cause on tax and school funding issues, and to keep the suburban executives who joined the Chamber on Schweiker's watch on board, by helping balance the urban, Democratic agenda (hire minorities, promote women, boost state subsidies for Philadelphia schools) of the current Chamber chairman, David L. Cohen, evp at Comcast.

Wonderling's resume, according to the Chamber: "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...

"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...

"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."