PHOENIXVILLE — It was “Throwback Thursday” as more than 150 TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce members turned out for the chamber’s biggest event of the year — the annual dinner.
Picking up on the popular social media trend of sharing pictures from the past on “Throwback Thursday,” the dinner featured a slide presentation of photos from the past 35 years of chamber history.
Heather Chandler, president of Sealstrip Corporation and chamber board of directors Chair-elect, talked about the history of the chamber — how the organization was formed originally in 1927 to serve the borough of Pottstown before expanding to serve the entire tri-county region.
“Our history includes many great accomplishments — so much hard work and millions of volunteer hours have been invested by those with a steadfast belief in the vast opportunities of our region,” she said.
A highlight of the event was the recognition of 33 area companies that have been active members of the TCACC for the past 35 years.
“While some of these companies have changed names, owners, location and other aspects, they have not changed their continued commitment to the chamber,” Chandler added.
It was also an occasion to mark the “passing of the torch” from current board chairman Rod Martin of Martin Stone Quarries Inc., who has helped steer the organization as board chairman for the past two years. Chamber president Eileen Dautrich talked about some of the initiatives the chamber has been involved with during Martin’s tenure — initiatives in support of the businesses in the tri-county area.
“I sort of feel like I am the host of ‘this is your chamber life,’” Dautrich joked before listing some of the chamber’s accomplishments over the past two years.
“We knew it was important to have a more active legislative role, and Rod was crucial to helping us reorganize our pro-business council, and we have continued to grow that group with Rod as an active participant at our monthly meetings,” she said. “Also, the two of us attended a budget conference with Governor Corbett and shared the priorities of our organization.
“Most recently we supported the Transportation Funding Bill. Within the last few months we’ve announced a partnership with Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, offering a joint membership for our small business members. We have had many successes over the past two years.”
The evening’s guest speaker made a point of mentioning the slides when he took to the podium. Marc Zumoff, TV voice of the Philadelphia 76ers told the audience that he “couldn’t help but wonder why he was there,” after seeing some of the well-known speakers over the years.
Zumoff got his start in broadcasting in 1977. In 1980 he passed a one game audition and was named announcer for the Philadelphia fever indoor soccer team. After team folded in 1982 — he anchored PRISM Network coverage of the 76ers.
Zumoff has been the voice of the Sixers since 1994, and has been recognized with 15 EMMY awards. He was recently commissioned to co-author a book on sportscasting.
In his presentation, Zumoff shared his story about perseverance and never giving up on your dreams.
“The thing is — growing up in northeast Philly I was a dork — I was socially backward, bad with girls, overweight, not much of an athlete,” he said. “I’m here to tell you how I went from dork to voice of an NBA team.”
He told the audience that key to his success is his interaction with people.
“Not only with other people, but how I interact with myself. Am I true to myself? Have I been able to recognize my passions? Do I know what my faults are? Do I have accountability to myself and other people,” Zumoff said. “These are the things that have helped me greatly.”
His talk was interspersed with humorous stories about his professional career following his passion. He talked about growing up in the 70s and how he always wanted to be the voice of the 76ers. He explained that when he was 11, he would practice play by play into a tape recorder.
“I didn’t have a game on, so I would put the television on channel 8 (we had three channels then),” he said. “It had static, and it sounded like a crowd. I would sit next to the TV and I would make up a game, then crank up the sound (of the static).”
When he graduated college, Zumoff said his mother wanted him to find a job that was more stable than radio broadcasting.
“But I had a friend who said ‘that’s not your gift. Your gift is to be a broadcaster.’ He hounded me. And that taught me that everyone needs a cheering section — a support section to believe in us,” he added.
Zumoff told the group that it was clear to him from conversations he had throughout the evening that those in attendance were passionate about what they do.
“And that probably means you are very good at what you do,” Zumoff said.
He explained how several years ago, he got involved with the marketing of an energy drink — an effort he said was a “disaster.”
“Why? Because it wasn’t me, it wasn’t my passion,” he explained. “Please, if you’re doing something or you’re going to expand your businesses, make sure it’s a natural extension of your business and not something that doesn’t make any sense for who it is that you are.”
Sponsors for this year’s chamber annual dinner were — Exelon; Pottstown Memorial Medical Center; Keller Williams Realty Group; Maillie LLP; Media Fusion Technologies, Inc.; O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C.; The Body-Borneman Companies; John Middleton, an Altria Company; Lewis Environmental Inc.; Martin Stone Quarries Inc.; National Penn; Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation; SEI; Susquehanna Bank and Valley Forge Casino Resort.
The dinner was held at RiverCrest Golf Club and Preserve in Phoenixville.