New Jersey Chamber has $3 million in annual revenues and 23 employees
Based in Trenton, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce (known across the Garden State as the “State Chamber”) is a business advocacy organization with a broad based membership ranging from the Fortune 500 companies to small proprietorships, representing members on a wide range of business issues.
Established in 1911, “We continue to work towards promoting a vibrant business environment and economic prosperity through vision, expertise and innovative solutions,” says Senior Vice President for Government Relations Mike Egenton.
“We are honored to be chosen by SNJBP for this special recognition. We appreciate the value of the paper and the network of colleagues and friends the State Chamber has developed through the organization,” Voorhees resident Egenton adds.
Egenton is the State Chamber’s Chief lobbyist and coordinates the day-to-day activities of the Government Relations Department. He currently serves on several advisory councils and committees including the New Jersey Clean Air Council, a group appointed by the Governor that makes recommendations to the state of New Jersey on matters and programs pertaining to air pollution control.
Prior to coming to the State Chamber, he worked at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), analyzing environmental statutes, rules and regulations that impact New Jersey businesses.
He was also the Project Director and Principal Author of Modern Forms of Municipal Government, a report published by the New Jersey State Commission on County and Municipal Government.
A native of Plainfield, Union County, he is a graduate of Seton Hall University and has a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Kean University.
Although few people realize it, the Chamber’s “founding father” was Thomas Edison and its headquarters on West State Street is a historic building that once was occupied by one of the Roebling sons, whose claim-to-fame was production of cables and wiring for bridges all over the United States.
With annual revenues of $3 million and 23 employees, the State Chamber is probably best know for its annual “Walk to Washington,” which, of course, is actually a train ride during which the state’s honchos and honcho wanna-bes alike push up and down the aisles schmoozing, seeing, and being seen.
Egenton notes with pride that “we have hosted several Presidents at the Walk to Washington dinner,” including Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter.
By the way, former Governor Brendan Byrne holds the record for attending more than 50 Walk to Washington train trips and dinners, but missed this year’s event.
The Chamber’s success metrics are simple says Egenton: Pro-business legislation passed and signed into law / anti-business legislation conditionally vetoed or vetoed outright.
As for a key goal yet to be achieved, its replenishment of the Transportation Trust Fund.
According to Egenton, the State Chamber views the state’s other business associations not as competitors but as part of a larger pro-business coalition.
“We respect our regional, county and local chambers of commerce and do not see them as competition … rather as a key part of our mission. That is why we have the “Chambers United” coalition—strength in numbers.”
As for key accomplishments, Egenton notes that “While there have been several pieces of legislation we have been instrumental in helping to get passed, we are most proud of the environmental remediation (LSRP), the tax reforms (net operating loss and single sales factor) and the economic development incentive programs (Economic Opportunity Act).”
“South Jersey is always on our radar,” he adds.
Among the State Chamber’s key events—in addition to the annual “Walk” and Congressional Dinner which began in 1937—are:
• Challenge Cup
An annual golf outing and networking event held at the state's most prestigious golf courses.
• Open House
This outdoor reception in June has become a fixture in the New Jersey business community. It provides members with an opportunity to network with legislative and business leaders in an informal setting. Hundreds of our members and elected officials enjoy excellent food, live music, drink and, of course, good conversation.
• Chamber Forum
A speaker series that brings national names to New Jersey for an evening designed to inform, entertain and inspire.
• Chamber Roundtable Breakfast Series
Frequent roundtables with top political and government leaders who discuss topics such as public health policy, the state budget, environmental regulations and the economy.
• Holiday Party
A joyful end-of-year event that brings Chamber members together to renew old connections and create new ones.
• Member Breakfasts
Pure networking events peppered throughout the year that are consistently well-attended and well-reviewed.
• Legislative and Business Awards Reception
This biannual event is a networking opportunity that attracts power players from Trenton and the private sector.