On the Cusp of Montco-Raised Josh Shapiro’s Inauguration, Local Former Colleagues Share Memories

josh shapiro with sign
Image via Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board.
Among Montgomery County notables who are long-term admirers of Gov.-Elect Josh Shapiro is Mike Bowman (l), president and CEO of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board. This photo was from a golf-themed VFTCB travel rally day that Shapiro attended as a county commissioner.

As the Jan. 17 gubernatorial inauguration of Abington’s Josh Shapiro approaches, former colleagues — who knew him personally and professionally — send him to Harrisburg with fond memories. Rachel Ravina collected their assessment of the next governor in the Reading Eagle.

One of Shapiro’s deepest local connections is with Marcel Groen, chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party; Groen’s daughter was a Shapiro friend in school.

Groen recognized Shapiro as serious, intelligent, well-mannered, and respectful child, qualities he asserts the governor-elect has retained.

“Believe it or not, he really hasn’t changed,” Groen said.

Republican Bruce Castor came to admire Shapiro from a stance of across-the-aisle congeniality. The two served together as Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

“He would identify a problem … think it through, come up with a set of procedures that we would have to do to attack the problem, and defeat it,” Castor assessed. “He was a master at that.”

Frank X. Custer, now on the board of Montgomery County Community College, came to know Shapiro in Washington.

“It was clear to me from the minute I met him that this was a serious person … and incredibly bright,” Custer recalled.

SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards sat with Shapiro on the Commissioners’ board.

She recalled their collaborations, saying: “Getting to consensus is not only something he’s very gifted at but it’s very important to him.”

Additional Montgomery County impressions of Gov.-Elect Josh Shapiro are at the Reading Eagle.


Josh Shapiro’s win of the Pennsylvania governorship made national news (including CBS coverage) on election night, Nov. 2022.

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