Dietz & Watson Creates Jobes For Immigrants

Mayor Michael A. Nutter will appear as a presenter at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians’ upcoming Solas Awards on December 7. Nutter will present the Atlas Award for Advancing Opportunity to Ruth Dietz Eni, chairwoman and “Chief Executive Momma” of Dietz & Watson. The company employs more than 600 people in its Northeast Philadelphia headquarters.

“Mayor Nutter understands what we at the Welcoming Center focus on every day: Nobody thrives without a job,” says Anne O’Callaghan, president and CEO of the nonprofit Welcoming Center. “Whether you were born and raised here, or came to Philadelphia from across an ocean, you have the same need to take care of your family and support yourself.

Each of our Solas Awards honorees has responded to that need by creating jobs or supporting workers.” In addition to Mrs. Dietz, the evening’s honorees include: Dr. Song Li of Frontage Laboratories, receiving the Realizing the American Dream Award. Frontage, a pharmaceutical research and development firm based in Chester County, employs 160 people regionally. Patrick Eiding of the Philadelphia Council AFL/CIO, a founding board member of the Welcoming Center, receiving the Dennis Clark Solas Award. For more information on each of the awardees, see below.

The awards will be presented at the Welcoming Center’s Solas Awards event on December 7, 2011, from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel. Pat Ciarrocchi of CBS-3 will serve as the evening’s emcee.

Also being honored are the Welcoming Center’s 2011 Employers of Distinction, thirty local companies that have demonstrated a commitment to hiring a diverse, skilled workforce. The 2011 Solas Awards are presented by Independence Blue Cross. The Welcoming Center is an economic development organization that connects immigrants, employers and communities across the Philadelphia region.

More about the Solas Awards honorees: Ruth Dietz Eni, Chairwoman and “Chief Executive Momma” of Dietz & Watson, will receive the Atlas Award for Advancing Opportunity in recognition of her leadership in honoring and building upon Dietz & Watson’s rich immigrant history by providing opportunities to a new generation of hardworking and talented individuals. The Tacony-based Dietz & Watson, makers of premium meats and artisan cheeses, employs over 600 workers locally and recorded $400 million in sales last year. The company was founded by Mrs. Dietz’s father, German immigrant Gottlieb Dietz, in 1939, and today is run by the second, third and fourth generations of the Dietz family. Dr. Song Li, founder of Frontage Laboratories, will receive the Realizing the American Dream Award in recognition of his personal story of hard work and determination and his entrepreneurial achievements in building a multimillion-dollar business. Frontage, a pharmaceutical research and development firm founded in 2001 and based in Chester County, employs 160 people regionally. The company has been listed for five consecutive years on the “Philadelphia 100” list of fastest-growing companies, and achieved 40% revenue growth even during the recessionary years of 2008-10.

Patrick Eiding, president of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, will receive the Dennis Clark Solas Award in recognition of his bold leadership and courage in supporting and advocating for all Philadelphia workers.

Eiding will be the eighth recipient of the award, which is named in honor of the late Dennis Clark, a renowned historian of the Irish community in Philadelphia. The award honors those who, like Clark, are able to reach beyond a narrow sense of self, and to be enlarged and enriched by embracing a common humanity. In addition to serving as a founding board member of the Welcoming Center, Eiding also provided office space for the fledgling organization, which today has grown to a staff of 22 with a budget of $1.3 million. Eiding is currently serving his fourth term as president of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, which represents over 100 local unions. He rose to his leadership position through the ranks, beginning in 1963 as a member of Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local 14.

The Welcoming Center will also recognize its 2011 Employers of Distinction, thirty local companies that have a strong commitment to a diverse workforce that can compete in the global economy. “We are proud of our partnership with our Employers of Distinction,” says the Welcoming Center’s Yana Chernov. “Each of these companies has shown that they are very open to work with qualified people. It doesn’t matter what country they come from, if they are work-authorized and have a strong desire to succeed.

Since 2003, the Center has served over 8,000 immigrants from 140 countries worldwide, and placed more than 1,100 work-authorized individuals in jobs. More information about the event can be found at www.welcomingcenter.org/Solas.

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