Excitement Mounts: Greater Trenton’s Caren Franzini Capital City Award Celebration Draws Near

Excitement Mounts: Greater Trenton’s Caren Franzini Capital City Award Celebration Draws Near

“When we pull together, we move things forward.” This was the motto of the late Caren Franzini and the ethos for each year’s Caren Franzini Capital City Award Celebration.

Greater Trenton’s highly-anticipated Sixth Annual Caren Franzini Capital City Award Celebration is set for Monday, December 4th, at 5 p.m. at Cooper’s Riverview, 50 Riverview Plaza in Trenton, NJ. This uplifting economic development event brings together business, community, civic, education, and government leaders for an inspiring evening of cocktails and conversations about Trenton’s massive potential. This year’s Capital City Award will be presented to John Hatch of Clarke Caton Hintz and David Henderson of Hx2 Development. In addition, Greater Trenton will present its inaugural Business Impact Award to Reggie Hallett of 1911 SmokeHouse BBQ.

Leaders from myriad industries will converge in Trenton to reflect on Caren Franzini’s legacy, partake in forward-thinking conversations, and be on hand for the presentation of the Caren Franzini Capital City Award to John Hatch and David Henderson, both of whom have been and continue to be, deeply involved in Trenton’s economic development landscape and creative arts economy.

This year’s Master of Ceremonies is the Honorable Jeannine Frisby LaRue from The Zita Group. With a 40-year career that included policy, governmental, and political positions throughout the state, she joined TZG in 2011 after retiring from Rutgers University as Vice President of Public Affairs, where she served in the University President’s Cabinet and was charged with advancing the University’s goals of cultivating and maintaining relationships with key leaders in the public and private sectors. She serves on Greater Trenton’s Advisory and Franzini Event Committees among her numerous positions and appointments.

This year’s esteemed event committee includes Elijah Dixon, Equity By Design; Letícia Ferri, Bristol Myers Squibb; John Goedecke, Citizens; Bryan Evans, Greater Trenton; Reggie Hallett, 1911 SmokeHouse BBQ; Duncan Harrison, Princeton University; Pat Hartpence, NJM Insurance Group; Jeannine LaRue, The Zita Group; Shirley Michael, Greater Trenton; Aquatia Owens, PNC Wealth Advisors; John Rogers, NJM Insurance Group; George Sowa, Greater Trenton; Mike Van Wagner, Retired NJM Insurance Group executive; and Andy Zalescik, Columbia Bank.

In his over 30 years with Clarke Caton Hintz, John has designed and constructed various architecturally significant buildings. These include George Pruitt Hall at Thomas Edison State University, the new School of Business at New Jersey City University, the restoration of Morven, the former governor’s mansion in Princeton, and multiple phases of the Roebling Complex Redevelopment in Trenton.

David Henderson has been developing real estate in Trenton since 1994. As a principal member of Atlantis Historic Properties, he played a significant role in the revival of Mill Hill, widely regarded as one of Trenton’s most flourishing neighborhoods.

Reggie Hallett, Executive Chef and co-owner at Trenton’s 1911 SmokeHouse BBQ, has served up meals for the Trenton community for years. As a social worker for 15 years before becoming a chef at various restaurants in New York City, Ohio, and ultimately, Trenton, New Jersey, Reggie has always had the community in mind.

Reggie and his brother Maurice Hallett opened 1911 SmokeHouse Barbeque in 2015, transforming the restaurant from its humble beginnings into a full-fledged barbeque smokehouse with locations today in downtown Trenton, at Newark International Airport, and in Willingboro, New Jersey.

Whether providing discounted meals to families during hard times or partnering with meals-on-wheels of Mercer County to assist seniors in the community, Reggie says: “Our secret to success is always being there for our community, and in turn, the community is always there for us.”

Each year, Greater Trenton hosts this celebration to honor the legacy of Caren Franzini, former New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO and a founding member of Greater Trenton. The award is presented to exceptional leaders in the Trenton area whose work has contributed to the development and revitalization of the Capital City. Past honorees include John Harmon, Drs. George and Pamela Pruitt, Anthony “Skip” Cimino, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Anthony R. Coscia, Esq.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will support scholarships, internships, and opportunities that will benefit Trenton’s youth. For registration and sponsorship information, please visit https://www.greatertrenton.org/CapitalCityAward.

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