(Camden, NJ) –
Inside the Triad1828 Centre located on the Camden City waterfront, Gov. Phil
Murphy and his economic development team led by the state Economic Development Authority CEO, Tim Sullivan, joined business leaders, community leaders, faith-based leaders, the mayor, state legislators and stakeholders in Camden to discuss the current economic landscape and the state of the city. Gov. Murphy was in a room with subject matter specialists in a variety of fields providing him with expertise from speakers who come from different backgrounds.
In addition to the host committee, speakers around the boardroom who talked with the Gov. Murphy included Mark Clouse, President and CEO from Campbell’s Soup Company, Mark McDonough, President of New Jersey American Water, Peter Hovnanian, President and CEO of J.S. Hovanian & Sons, Lara Price, COO of the Philadelphia 76ers, Kevin O’Dowd, Co-CEO of Cooper University Health Care, Richard Smith, President of the state NAACP, Christina Renna, President and CEO of the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Antonio Tillis, Chancelor of Rutgers University, Andrew Cooley, CSO of EMR USA Holdings, Louis Greenwald, state Assembly Majority Leader, Scott Thomson, former Camden County Police Department Chief, Gabriel Rodriguez, Camden County Police Chief, Christopher Gibson, President of Archer, Dr. John Mastinger, Executive VP/COO of Virtua Health, William Sproles, Executive of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Vincent Guest, Senior Pastor of Sacred Heart Church and Stephen Mack, Senior Pastor Little Rock Baptist Church.
Dana Redd, CEO of Camden Community Partnership, talked about the dialogue in the room during the
“To have a meaningful and substantive conversation between our business leaders and Gov. Murphy was incredibly productive for the group” Redd said. “This isn’t information being relayed to the Governor by staff, but a firsthand account for him on what is working now and what will stimulate economic activity in the future.”
To date, job opportunities have been bolstered throughout the city and the local workforce has grown significantly over the last 10 years. In addition, more than $2.5 billion in private and public investment has been made in Camden over the past ten years.
Camden City Mayor Victor Carstarphen talked about the importance of a direct discussion with policy makers to take the city to the next level.
“First and foremost, I cannot thank the Governor enough for taking time out of his schedule to join us to hear from our business community,” Carstarphen said. “I applaud his interest in the city and his partnership in assisting us to enhance the quality of life for the community. Post-pandemic, I think it’s time for us to start taking a second look at the tools urban areas need to keep up and grow in the current economy. Throughout my administration the Governor has been a great partner and I hope we can continue the positive momentum for the residents of Camden.”
Camden has experienced significant economic growth over the last 10 years, becoming one of the fastest growing job markets in the nation, according to federal data in 2017. Last year, the city recorded its lowest unemployment rate, 6.7%, in more than 30 years according, to state labor statistics. In addition, wage growth has risen significantly higher over the last 10 years to complement job growth and the reduction in unemployment.
Chairman of Cooper University Health Care and a board member of Camden Community Partnership, George E. Norcross III, said he was happy to have the Governor in the city.
“We had a substantial conversation today about the tools that are needed for distressed cities in the state and the ability to access those resources to move forward,” Norcross said. “Between my role as a Chairman of the Board of the largest employer in Camden County and as a business owner here in the city I thought the group gave the Governor some good points to keep the momentum going in our urban areas throughout the state.”
On top of the private and public investment in the city over the last 10 years there is also a new public safety paradigm that is rooted in community policing. Since the Camden County Police Department operationalized in 2013, murders are down almost 70% and violent crime has been cut in half since 2012. Based on the agency’s community focus the city was recognized by President Barack Obama as a model for the nation regarding policing.
Commissioner Jeffrey Nash who moderated the event, talked about the progress made in the city to date.
“If you look at where we’ve come from there is a demonstratable difference in the city today from 10 years ago, but we cannot become complacent and forget about the promises we’ve made to the people of Camden,” Nash said. “We need to keep pushing to improve the city and deliver on those important objectives and goals that have not been attained yet and I believe this conversation was an important one to move closer to fulfilling those promises to the community.”
About Camden Community Partnership:
Camden Community Partnership (CCP) is facilitating the revival of the City of Camden by creating an
environment where people choose to live, work, and invest. CCP develops visionary, long-range plans
for the redevelopment of Camden’s waterfronts and works with private sector, government and community partners to make these plans a reality. For more information, please visit www.camdencommunitypartnership.com or follow CCP on Facebook and Twitter.