The illuminated slogan “Trenton Makes, the World Takes” that adorns the iconic Lower Trenton Bridge reminds passersby of the state capital’s past as a manufacturing powerhouse and economic engine. Today, one alumnus is playing a key role in reinvigorating the city.
In June, Governor Chris Christie appointed Robert Prunetti ’75 to the board of the Capital City Redevelopment Corporation (CCRC). “I am honored to be selected by the Governor to serve the state of New Jersey and our Capital City,” said Prunetti, the president and chief executive officer of the MIDJerseyChamber of Commerce. “As the MIDJersey chamber president, I am thrilled to bring the business community’s perspective to the work of the CCRC.”
The CCRC was formed in 1988 and tasked with revitalizing and assisting with economic development efforts in Trenton. As manufacturing grew, many businesses that had once thrived in Trenton needed more space and moved out, leaving behind an employment gap. “The CCRC works toward bringing the vitality back into the city, while providing the funds needed for the rehabilitation of homes and small business loans for merchants in the Capital District,” Prunetti explained recently.
Trenton was a priority for Prunetti when he served as Mercer County Executive from 1992 to 2003. Some of his accomplishments during that time include developing Mercer County Waterfront Park, Sovereign Bank Arena (now the Sun National Bank Center), and the Mercer County Open Space Preservation Trust Fund, and establishing a free trade zone and International Trade Center located at Trenton–Mercer Airport.
With a focus on promoting economic growth in Trenton and beyond, Prunetti’s work with CCRC complements his role at the MIDJersey Chamber. In fact, the appointment echoed many initiatives and projects Prunetti had already created or begun with the MIDJersey Chamber to assist Trenton with revitalization efforts and further serve businesses in the area.
With more than 1,000 member organizations, the MIDJersey Chamber is influential in promoting economic development throughout central New Jersey. The chamber has grown in recent years, says Prunetti. Its membership is diverse, allowing Prunetti to work with various stakeholders across different sectors and industries.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my position is the interaction I have with every type of business, from an entrepreneur who is just beginning their business to the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation,” says Prunetti.
The chamber—the third largest in the state—has spearheaded initiatives in local communities and works closely with regional nonprofit organizations, says Prunetti. An example of such collaboration took place earlier this year with the “Chamber with a Heart” team at the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.
In addition to supporting community programs, the chamber offers its members business learning and networking opportunities while building relationships for the local business community.
“We live in such a dynamic region: We have the capital city, world-renowned institutions of higher education, global corporations, arts and culture, historic sites, and a major-league affiliate sports team. And our chamber has an impact on each of these categories,” Prunetti says.
Prunetti is also president and owner of Phoenix Ventures, LLC, a business development and management-consulting firm. He sits on the Board of Directors for the Miami Securities Exchange and Miami Technologies, on the Salvation Army New Jersey State Advisory Board, and on the Board of Directors of the Visiting Nurses Association of Mercer County. He is also a charter member of the Community Advisory Council of TCNJ’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
—Joe Garavente ’08