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PHOENIXVILLE - Special guest and former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker spoke to Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce members at their 76th Annual Dinner on Wednesday night at Robert Ryan Catering about the need for Philadelphia and its suburbs to band together as marketing partners.

"We can become bigger if we work together and realize that it's the region," he said.

The Presidnt/CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce presented "A Strategy for the Future of the Greater Philadelphia Region."

Schweiker spoke about the need to "brand" the area under the slogan "Select Greater Philadelphia - The Place to Prosper."

"We are the fourth largest market and we didn't market or brand a feeling about what this place is all about."

He referred to the chamber members as successful business people are part of the "choir."

"The choir wants to be successful," said Schweiker. "The choir will sing the loudest about the challenge."

As an example, Schweiker cited Charlotte, NC. as the second most dominant financial center inthe country.

He said that by banding together with the suburbs, and branding the area, Charlotte was able to create 200,000 new jobs and $2 billion in capital investments.

He said that Charlotte competes as a region, works together and spends $5 million a year taking jobs out of the region while Philadelphia spends $750,000 to grow business.

"The region will go as the city will go," he said about a partnership between major city's and neighboring counties.

Schweiker said that he hopes to raise $16 million for promotion of the region and bring together real economic development pros.

The Bucks County native said that the 24-hour-a-day, never close nature of Philadelphia is a real advantage over towns like Charlotte.

Chamber of Commerce Director Barbara Cohen was happy to see that 220 chamber members attended the sold-out event.

"Gov. Schweiker brought a very important and cogent message," said Cohen." I'm excited that he's taking the initiative in 'branding' the region so that all the assets will be appreciated accordingly."

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