American Water welcomed hundreds of people to a ceremony Tuesday to mark the opening of its new national corporate headquarters on the Camden Waterfront.
The American Water Charitable Foundation presented a check of $200,000 to the Camden School District to develop an advanced STEM Lab at Woodrow Wilson High School. Educators are prioritizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to prepare students for jobs that are in high demand.
More than 600 employees work at the new headquarters at 1 Water St., which replaces four former company properties in southern New Jersey.
American Water has provided water to Camden customers for 125 years.
Since 2011 American Water has given a total of $5 million to Camden nonprofit organizations including St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society, Cathedral Kitchen, LUCY Outreach, Hopeworks, UrbanPromise, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House and Boys & Girls Club of Camden County.
American Water President and CEO Susan Story recognized Camden residents who worked on the construction of the building and work for American Water. She thanked stakeholders for helping make Camden a city on the rise.
“This gathering has so many people from all over Southern New Jersey,” she said. “Today is a dream come true for me and my employees. Camden and American Water share a lot because we have rich histories. We do not have a job; we have a calling.”
American Water began serving drinking water in 1886. Today the company serves 14 million customers across the U.S.
“Camden has a history of prosperity and challenges,” Story said. “The best days are ahead of us. Today Camden is a place where businesses thrive. … Educational systems provide young people a future.”
Liberty Property Trust President William Hankowsky thanked stakeholders for paying for the construction of the building. A team of builders spent more than 49,000 hours working to construct the building, investing $13 million in Camden contractors.
Congressman Donald Norcross, D-1st District, called the Camden School District key to the city’s revitalization.
“It was not too long ago when we looked at outcomes of children who call this city home and they were not particularly bright,” Norcross said. “This brings opportunity for kids. When we think about this massive building, it is transformative.”
New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-13th District, said he dreamed of a day when American Water would be headquartered in Camden, saying it coincides with its resurgence.
“This is a city that is strong and on the comeback,” Sweeney said, adding Camden’s crime rate is at a 50-year low and its school district is improving.
Camden Mayor Frank Moran noted its waterfront used to be dominated by industrial companies such as Campbell Soup Co. and RCA.
“Projects of this scale are the result of a tremendous team effort,” Moran said. “The leadership at American Water has fully embraced Camden.”
Moran thanked Norcross for supporting legislation that brought American Water to Camden.
American Water is entering into a community investment agreement with Moran outlining how the company will promote education and job-training programs.