In an announcement held Monday morning at NJM Insurance Group in West Trenton, Greater Trenton unveiled Brandywine Realty Trust Executive Vice President George Sowa as its new founding CEO.
The selection of Sowa, who over the last 18 years at Brandywine was notably involved with major projects in New Brunswick and in Camden’s Gateway District, ends a national search for the organization’s first leader.
A Trenton native, Sowa said his new role is “a continuation of sorts, rather than a new beginning.”
“I have spent my entire left in the greater Trenton area and know its rich history,” Sowa said. “Having devoted my professional career to real estate development, I know its great potential to have a positive impact on the community and people’s lives. My grandparents settled in Trenton, my mother graduated from Trenton Central High School and I was born here. So, I view the opportunity to make a difference by being a part of the revitalization of this great city as a personal honor and privilege.”
Greater Trenton was formed last year as a nonprofit economic development initiative that aims to revitalize the state’s capital city. Co-chaired by NJM CEO and President Bernie Flynn and former longtime state Economic Development Authority CEO Caren Franzini, the organization also features strong support from Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson.
“Finding the right CEO was the first order of business for our board,” said Flynn. “Along with a depth of experience, credibility and relationships, we wanted someone with a track record of proven results in the economic development space, and George is an outstanding fit.”
Prior to his time at Brandywine, Sowa oversaw development at Keating Development Company and Linpro/LCOR. In addition to serving on the board of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey as its vice chair, Sowa is a national board member for NAIOP and previously served as the president of the commercial real estate association’s New Jersey chapter.
“Successful economic development projects occur when there is collaboration between the private sector, community organizations and our city, state and county governments,” Franzini said. “George understands how important it is to build relationships, and over the years has developed a very effective approach. He is familiar with this area and has been instrumental in bringing successful economic development projects to Camden and New Brunswick. We’re confident he’ll bring that same focus and drive to his role as CEO of Greater Trenton.”
Jackson said the selection of Sowa was exciting for both the city and the larger region, as well.
“I am pleased with what Greater Trenton has accomplished to date and I am excited to work with George in advancing economic development initiatives in concert with the work that the city is already doing, projects that will bring jobs and investment needed to promote the city’s revival,” said Jackson.