Annas inducted into the Chester County Hall of Fame
With over 400 business and community leaders from across the region gathered, the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) inducted Meridian Bank Founder, CEO and Chairman, Chris Annas, into the Chester County Hall of Fame.
“I have worked with Chris for almost my entire career in Chester County for 46 years, and I can tell you firsthand that he demonstrates an extraordinary quality of leadership, community involvement, as well as of compassion and commitment to his profession and his employees,” said Gary Smith, President and CEO of the CCEDC. “Chris empowers others. He also has the ability to discover the potential of companies he meets, as well as people. He has built a great practical institution that allows for transactional business. »
The CCEDC’s presentation of the Chester County Hall of Fame Award took place at the Phoenixville Foundry on Wednesday evening, where Annas was honored for her indelible mark on the county’s banking industry, including more than 30 years of banking services to thousands of local businesses plus Meridian has over 300 employees.
Among Annas’ many accomplishments, Smith recalls working with the CCEDC on an unprecedented solution for what would become one of Chester County’s largest employers. CTDI was the name of the company and Annas saw its promise from the start.
“That was in the 1980s and until now we had never been able to combine federal and state funding programs to develop growing businesses. But Chris and I worked together to introduce CTDI to this brand new lending program called SBA 504. With him CTDI was able to move into his first facility which he built from the ground up. We broke new ground and that trickled down to the Commonwealth,” Smith said.
Annas is the Founder, President and CEO of Meridian Society, headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Meridian is a $2 billion bank with more than 20 offices across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Florida since its launch in 2004.
Annas grew up in Minneapolis, before moving to Berwyn at age 15 and playing rugby for Conestoga High School. Her family had roots in the Philadelphia area, with her father from Norristown and her mother a graduate of West Catholic High School. Annas remembers working at the Thriftway in Paoli, at the Open Hearth restaurant and as a bellhop at the Sheraton Valley Forge. He then attended Penn State and helped pay for his tuition by working 1,500 feet underground in a mine in Wyoming.
Prior to founding Meridian, Annas was Chairman, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Stonebridge Bank in West Chester. He also served as Regional Vice President of Summit Bank, where he led the company’s small business lending efforts in the Delaware Valley. Annas also managed Summit Bank’s large corporate lending efforts in Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, as well as its national media communications activities.
Even with extensive entrepreneurial success, Annas finds her passion continues to cultivate growing emerging businesses. “I have always liked the entrepreneurial side of the bank. We understand how businesses get started, make money, and impact their communities. We help them fund those dreams, and then watch them grow their business and succeed. »
Annas’ service extends beyond his distinguished career to the many philanthropic causes he has supported. Hs sits on the Paoli Hospital Foundation Board and the American Bankers Association Community Banking Council. He is a former board member of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the People’s Light and Theater Company.
“Three ‘C’s come to mind when I think of Chris,” Smith said. “Creative – he always goes beyond the numbers to find a solution. Compassionate – he really listens to the growth of a business and is a true advocate. Engaged – if Chris is involved then he is fully and completely engaged.
Past CCEDC Chester County Hall of Fame inductees include James E. McErlane of Lamb McErlane, PC (2021); Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet of Victory Brewing Company (2020); Michael L. Pia, manager of South Mill Champs (2019); Claudia P. Hellebush, former CEO of United Way of Chester County (2018); Dr. Jerry Parker, president of Delaware County Community College (2017); W. Thomas Musser, Chairman of Tri-M Group, LLC (2016); John Bogle of Vanguard; Greg Bentley of Bentley Systems; Oscar Lasko of Lasko Products, Inc.; Jack Loew of J. Loew & Associates, Inc.; Tom Fillippo of Devault Foods; Robert Hankin of the Hankin Group; CTDI’s Jerry Parsons and more.