Chamber to expand Select Greater Philadelphia's mission

The mission of Select Greater Philadelphia, an arm of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, will get a little broader.

William P. Hankowsky, the incoming chairman of the chamber, told the 1,400 gathered at the Convention Center Friday for the group's 210th annual meeting that Select Greater Philadelphia will become a resource to help businesses that are already in the region plan for growth here.

Since it was founded seven years ago, Select Greater Philadelphia has focused on attracting corporations to the city and suburbs, and marketing the region as an attractive place to do business.

Hankowsky, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Liberty Property Trust in Malvern, said enabling and encouraging more businesses to expand in the region "will spur job growth in the years ahead."

Hankowsky was the only speaker who didn't use the podium to cheer on the Philadelphia Phillies as the team prepares for the start of the National League Championship Series Saturday.

My count of Phillies references was four, including keynote speaker David Gregory, moderator of NBC News' "Meet the Press." A native Californian, Gregory made it clear was not rooting for the San Francisco Giants. However, as a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, he's not exactly willing to fight for the Phils.

Hankowsky is succeeding Comcast Corp. executive vice president David L. Cohen as chairman of the area's biggest chamber of commerce, which has about 5,000 members.

Cohen gave a spirited account of what he saw as the accomplishments of the chamber during his two years as chairman, including providing 1,000 summer internships each year to high-school students and boosting the representation of women and minorities on the chamber's board and executive committee to all-time highs.

He dismissed criticism of the chamber's impact from those who say its leaders "talk a lot, but don't do a lot. ... I reject those characterizations."

He said he was proud of the chamber's advocacy efforts on taxes, infrastructure investment and education spending.