Monday, October 23, 2000

The City That Loves You Back Parties High-Tech Style

After a short night's rest, I left the Doubletree Hotel (where the Steelers and Browns were staying) and hopped aboard another plane to Philadelphia. I landed in the City That Loves You Back and toured the streets of historical monuments en route to my next home-on-the-road, the Lowes Philadelphia. Set in the historical PSFS (Philadelphia Saving Fund Society) building, the world's first modern skyscraper was also the nation's first savings bank and the second skyscraper with central air conditioning. Marble, polished granite and rare woods lent the impression of an elegant fortress. Cartier art deco clocks, sweeping mezzanine floors and impressive ballrooms add to the Hotel's grandeur. I stayed in a room on the well-appointed Club floors (30-33), which used to be the exclusive board rooms (so exclusive the elevator operators don't even take passengers up there).

Our Philadelphia Cocktails with Courtney (our 2nd) wasn't on the upper floors, but rather in the Commonwealth ballroom on the 2nd floor. The Commonwealth was once again exceptional in facilitating the night's event. Barbara Chafee introduced me to Tim McNulty, the Executive Deputy Secretary of Community and Economic Development. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is another PA initiative, and VP of Marketing and Communications Richard Miller was on hand to talk to me a bit about what they're up to. Center City District Director of Marketing Michelle Shannon came to see the great ballroom filled with technoites. The press came out to check it out too, and was well represented by had Peter Key, staff writer for the Philadelphia Business Journal and Patricia Hartel, Associate editor of the Main Line Times.

I got to meet Greg Garnick, CEO of Port of Technology, Philadelphia's biggest incubator. It opened last Thursday, October 19th, to more than 1000 guests. Earle Palmer Brown Interactive's Director of Business Development Dave Brown and Senior Web Designer Cassie Guillen came out to mingle and chat with Internet Strategy Consultant Andrew Sternthal (formerly of CDNow). CN2 Technology President and CEO Jody Winningham, Director of Testing Solutions Dave Ruess and Marianne Pendleton chatted about techno-life in Manhattan and about their town. In a town known for its pharmaceuticals, it only made sense that's EVP William Hunter and William Wiederseim were out networking with other new economy professionals.

Maura Johnston (of, and SXSW speaker fame) came with a fellow CitySearcher to say "hi." Intellimetric's Gregory Gray and Vantage Technologies' Jeff Thomas told me they were excited about our next Black Tie Affair in early December. I chatted with Teresa Boffo, James Altland, QuinTech Resources William Fisher, Atlantech Solutions' Stephanie Mendoza (who brought her own nametag) and Barron Communications' Patricia Barron. Nikken's Elizabeth Donaghy told me how she's consulting with Silicon Philly, another online publication about town. RISA's (Reinvest in South Africa) Myriah Conroy told me her beau, Denver-based GoGaGa founder Joe Pezzillo, mentioned this party to her. Before leaving, I spent some time talking with IA/Interspace's Sarah Litwak (who's company designed the space at Port of Technology), I-Frontier Public Relations Manager Aparna Mukherjee and CEO Jatin Bains. The evening ended with a quick drink in the bar with Pittsburgh sponsor Ripple Effects CEO Louis Malafarina and David Heidenreich (Ripple Effects Interactive), Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation's Public Relations Manager Cara Schneider and Bozell Kamstra's Mark Horner in the posh and lofty PSFS restaurant bar.