The Venetian in Garfield, NJ, the site of many community events, hosted the 30th Anniversary Appreciation Dinner Gala of Pan Gregorian Enterprises, Inc. (PGEI) on December 20.
Officers of the Pan Gregorian Enterprises, Inc. (PGEI), its charitable foundation, honorees, and guests of honor gather for a commemorative photo during the 30th anniversary gala.
GARFIELD, NJ – Pan Gregorian Enterprises, Inc. (PGEI) held its 30th Anniversary Appreciation Dinner Gala at the Venetian in Garfield, NJ on December 20.
PGEI is a Cooperative which was formed by Greek and Cypriot-Americans in the people the food service industry. They began in New Jersey, “but with success, the concept quickly expanded to Metro New York & Long Island, Upper New York and Connecticut,” according to its website.
The dream of its founders, two good friends, George Manolios, a mechanical engineer and John Kallas, a hotel executive, was to unite all Hellenic restaurateurs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and eventually, nationally.
The idea was to combine “the purchasing power of hundreds of independent operators and negotiate on their behalf with national brands, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and local service providers for better pricing, services, and rebates.”
The goal was not realized overnight, but the gala was a tribute to those who fought for the powerful and ultimately very successful concept and one that is inspiring during these difficult times for Greece and Cyprus when unity and solidarity are the keys to a brighter future for Hellenism everywhere.
There is also a PGEI Charitable Foundation and its president, James E. marveled in his opening remarks at the vision of Manolios and Kallas. He welcomed the guests and noted that due to the special anniversary it was decided to combine the annual dinner dance and Christmas party.
Andreas Comodromos served as the MC and spoke about the work of PGEI and the Foundation.
The guests were also greeted by current PGEI president George Siamboulis, who also lauded the founders and subsequent leaders and members of the Board
“Our success is due to good management, which combines past experience with the dynamism of younger people,” said Siamboulis.
He acknowledged the work of PGEI’s Chairman John E. Sakellaris and Executive Director Antonia “Toni” Mpletsakis.
He noted that the Foundation was established about a year after the company was founded and so far has distribute more than $ 3 million in charity.
Sakellaris said that “we honor the founders and pioneers who envisioned the establishment of PGEI and managed to create both strong commercial organizations and a charitable foundation.”
The Consul General of Greece Giorgos Iliopoulos congratulated the officers and members for the achievements of thirty years and among other things said: “You are an example and you have the responsibility to show others the recipe for you success. Imagine what we could have achieved in Greece if we worked cooperatively the way you cooperate with one another.”
Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey thanked PGEI for their donations and for their continuous love and support for the Metropolis. He also said, among other things, that their gifts are proof that “we are Greeks” and that “we believe in Greece and carry her with us wherever we go.”
Savvas Tsivikos, the newly elected president of the Hellenic Federation of New Jersey, also congratulated PGEI and invited the guests to attend the Federation’s upcoming fourth annual dinner dance which will honor Metropolitan Evangelos and raise funds for several charities doing work in Greece and Cyprus including The Smile of the Child, Ark of the World and the archdioceses of Athens and Cyprus.
During the program apprecation awards were presented and a proclamation from Congressman Donald Payne was read.
The President of the Elytis Chair Fund of Rutgers University, Panos Georgopoulos, also awarded plaques to the Mpletsakis and the PGEI leadership in appreciation for their support.