Paul Steinke ’86 describes himself as someone “blessed with an intense curiosity of surroundings,” and he has always loved exploring and comparing cities. Even as a child, he would write letters to chambers of commerce, both local and international, requesting brochures highlighting the allures of each city. This curiosity about cities sparked Steinke’s interest in travel and culture—and his passion for one of the great symbols of Philadelphia’s heritage: the bustling Reading Terminal Market.
Home to a variety of vendors, Center City’s Reading Terminal Market vibrantly represents the myriad of cultures that thrive in and around the city of Philadelphia. The popular tourist destination, which opened in 1893, is undergoing extensive renovations to attract more visitors to this historic working market
Penn State alum Steinke, in his 10th year as the general manager of the Reading Terminal Market is the driving force behind the rejuvenation project Before earning admission to Penn State, Steinke considered nearby schools such as Temple, Saint Joseph’s, and LaSalle, but it became evident that Abington was the perfect fit. Abington provided Steinke with the opportunity to finance his college career on his own while staying close to family and friends.
When the position of general manager for the Reading Terminal Market opened in 2001, Steinke jumped at the opportunity. He describes the market as “a great institution, in a great city, in a great state.”
Under his management, the market has grown from 4.3 million visitors in 2003 to 6.2 million this past year, a 25% increase. It is often cited as one of the finest public markets in the United States, and the renovations should increase the number of patrons. Steinke credits Penn State with fueling the many successes of his career and with teaching him many of the life lessons that have helped him accomplish his goals.
“Penn State taught me how to deal with a bureaucracy [and] battle for what you needed to get through in life,” he said.