KOP Insiders delves into the stories of the people who make King of Prussia one of Pennsylvania’s most dynamic live-work-play-stay destinations.
In depth interviews provide insight into the companies that make up our diverse business community and put a face to the individuals behind the business. In this edition, we are joined by Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies and Judson Press.
Can you tell us about your yourself, what you do and the communities you serve?
I’m the Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies and we also run a publication right out of our location here in King of Prussia called Judson Press. Believe it or not, Judson Press was started in 1824 while the Home Mission Societies was founded in 1832. We moved our headquarters to King of Prussia in 1962 after acquiring property in KOP and built what I think at that time was the largest office building in the area. The circular building became lovingly known as “The Holy Donut,” a nickname that was coined by pilots flying over the building. Right now, we’re located at 1075 First Avenue, and we employ about 60 people here in KOP.
I often tell people that the Home Mission Societies is not so much in the business of “Direct Patient Care.” Instead, as a national organization, we provide a wide range of support to agencies, congregations and faith leaders who in turn provide direct support to others.
I’ve been serving in this capacity since 2015. I’m a native of Savannah, Georgia, and I really love living in this area.
What brought the American Baptist Home Mission Societies to KOP from New York?
We were growing by leaps and bounds and simply needed more space to accommodate our staff. Obviously in 1962, KOP wasn’t the booming commercial corridor as it exists today, so from that standpoint, I can say that things worked out quite nicely for us [laughs]. The American Baptists –including ABCUSA, International Ministries, and the Benefit Board—were among the earliest residents of King of Prussia — long before the KOP Mall and various businesses!
When we decided to downsize our office space, there was talk of perhaps relocating, but we decided to stay because this region is so accommodating for what we do. We are constantly hosting groups both small and large who travel from around the country, and KOP’s accessibility is unmatched. No matter where you’re coming from, visitors can get here quickly and easily. That, combined with our state-of-the-art space has really made it a no-brainer for us to stay. Our staff also love the fact that there’s so much to do here, from shopping and dining to all the outdoor activities.
There’s also so much investment happening here. The King of Prussia Rail project is a major factor that made us want to stay, since we’re constantly bringing in people from outside the area, and the rail will make it even easier for people to get here.
What are some of your favorite things to do in the area?
Oh my, there are so many things. I guess I’ll start by saying the food. Eating out here is just incredible. Folks love visiting here because of the restaurants. And from a business perspective, let me also say that the number of great catering options is beyond compare.
Sometimes we’ll take a break and head over to Valley Forge National Historical Park. It’s just so beautiful; I wish we could do that more frequently! Also, some of our staff bring their bikes to work, which is a testament to all the great paths in and around the area. Finally, we do a lot of team-building activities and we especially love The Escape Room.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about moving their company to KOP?
I would tell them to give KOP a serious look because its accessibility is unparalleled. It’s not overcrowded, there’s space to walk. There are modern, state-of-the-art facilities everywhere you look. The area just has so much to offer.
The floor is yours. Tell us anything you’d like to share about yourself or the American Baptist Home Mission Societies or Judson Press
Only that we love being a part of the community here in King of Prussia. We’re always looking for opportunities to contribute and be a good neighbor. We are one of the longest-term residents of this community and we’re very much proud of that.
About American Baptist Home Mission Societies and Judson Press
For more than 150 years, American Baptist Home Mission Societies has answered God’s call to meet the needs of those living on the margins. The ministries they support across the United States and Puerto Rico transform and heal communities dealing with poverty, disaster and crisis. American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ network of volunteers, donors, churches and Christian leaders bring hope to children and families struggling with addiction, incarceration, mental illness and societal injustice. They continue to develop programs, publications and resources that encourage, educate, develop and strengthen Christian leaders to make an impact in people’s lives.
Judson Press is the publishing ministry of American Baptist Churches USA, a historic Protestant denomination that includes 1.5 million members in 5,600 congregations in the United States and Puerto Rico.
1075 First Avenue, King of Prussia PA 19406 | abhms.org