Robert Prunetti, president of Phoenix Ventures, a Trenton-based public affairs firm, and former Mercer County executive, has been named the new president and CEO of the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce. Prunetti takes over for Michelle Siekerka, who left in June for a position with the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Prunetti served as county executive from 1992 to 2004 before being succeeded by Brian Hughes.
He is most famous for leading the effort to build Mercer County Waterfront Park, home of the Double-A Trenton Thunder baseball club, and to revitalize the waterfront surrounding the stadium.
The offices of Phoenix Ventures, in fact, are located at 427 Riverview Plaza, beside the stadium and the KatManDu nightclub, which Prunetti also pushed through. Prunetti also is the owner of a restaurant, Cafe 72, in Ewing.
Viewed by the chamber as a two-way insider — someone experienced in government and business — Prunetti nevertheless eschews reliance on governments for economic growth.
“We can no longer look to government to drive economic development projects,” he said. “I firmly believe that small businesses will lead the way, and I look forward to working with them to create a healthy environment for all.”
Restaurants, in particular, he said, are the first line to draw. They serve as destination points that draw people into areas, allowing other businesses to build around them, he said.
Prunetti graduated from the College of New Jersey with a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration. He also holds a master’s in public administration from New York University.
Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, 1A Quakerbridge Plaza Drive, Suite 2, Mercerville 08619; 609-689-9960; fax, 609-586-9989. Robert Prunetti, president and CEO. Home page: www.mercerchamber.org