Republican State Sen. Robert C. Wonderling has been named the president and chief executive of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Wonderling will be replacing former Gov. Mark S. Schweiker, who had announced in January that he would be leaving the post at the end of June so that he could head a unit handling businesses' back-office operations for privately held PRWT Services Inc.

Wonderling, 47, who has been in the State Senate since 2003, has represented District 24, which is made up of parts of Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton Counties.

At a news conference at Chamber headquarters this morning, Wonderling said that he would begin his new job on Aug. 1

"In a word, I am excited; in a phrase I plan to hit the ground running," said Wonderling, who lives in Schwenksville in Montgomery County.

Chamber board chairman David L. Cohen announced the appointment, saying that Wonderling's long experience with regional issues, particularly transportation, would enhance his work for the organization.

"Rob has an outstanding background that is a perfect match for this position," Cohen said. "He is passionate about regional economic development, especially on the importance of transportation and infrastructure."

Cohen said that about 150 candidates had been considered for the job, and that the chamber had signed a three year contract with Wonderling.

"I have worked with Rob in the past and developed a good, strong working relationship that will only continue to grow," said Mayor Nutter.

His second Senate term would have expired next year. Wonderling said he hadn't decided on whether to run for reelection by the time he was contacted by a search firm looking for candidate for the chamber job.

His Senate work includes membership on the Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee and Public Health & Welfare Committees, and he chairs the Transportation Committee.

Wonderling was deputy secretary of transportation in the Ridge administration.

The private, nonprofit Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has 5,000 members and represents 11 counties in three states (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia; Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, and Salem; and New Castle).