The Specs on Specifications

State of the Art Buildings

Driving Cool

Leveraging Sources

Women’s Center

Web Opinions:

Green All Over

Engineering School Conference

Corrections or additions?

Coping with Xers

These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 18, 1998. All rights reserved.

Some believe that Generation X needs a taskmaster and

it may have one in Bruce Tulgan. While many of this age group

(roughly early 20s to early 30s) may be resentful about the


insecure career prospects of the ’90s, (or "McJobs" as Tulgan

calls them), he takes the Xers to task on this dissatisfaction.

The president of Rainmaker Inc., a New Haven-based think tank for

Generation X workplace issues, the 30-year-old Tulgan has published

his second book, "Work This Way," from Hyperion (229 pages,

$14.95). His first book, "Managing Generation X: How to Bring

Out the Best in Young Talent," targeted managers; this book speaks

directly to the Xers without ranting or demonizing the ruling classes.

Tulgan makes a grand effort to look at the solution side; he doesn’t


He opens the book welcoming readers to what he calls "the


era," then devotes chapters to training and education, networking,

adding value to your company, finding balance, and pacing a career.

His advice may seem rudimentary at times, but it is backed by a


amount of research — he conducted 1,000 interviews with young

workers and crafted a young professional’s how-to that no one else

has yet found a way to articulate.

One of Tulgan’s most urgent suggestions is to learn voraciously and

he proposes several clever ways to accomplish this. Learning, for

Tulgan, is not limited to working hard on a college or graduate school

degree. He especially advocates on-the-job training and setting up

a self-styled learning program, or even getting a



"While there are many functions that still must be performed


by licensed professionals, there are also many that need not be,"

he writes. "With a less expensive and less extensive course of

training (often nothing more than on-the-job sink-or-swim training),

you can become a de facto medical technician, legal assistant,

bookkeeper, architectural draftsperson, engineering technician, or

whatever. You learn skills, build valuable relationships, achieve

results that help you prove your value, and try out a profession


committing to a full course of graduate study."

On thornier issues, like dealing with overbearing bosses, Tulgan


taking diplomatic approaches. When a boss gets abusive or


Tulgan advises: "Remember, this is his or her psychological


not yours." When confronted with a micromanager, he urges,


yourself firmly but gently. Demand a concrete deadline for every


result that is your responsibility."

But for the most part, Tulgan assumes that most bosses are reasonable

and will usually go along with strange Xer work habits — as long

as the work gets done. It’s not an us-versus-them thing; it’s an


to make sense out of the seemingly chaotic, ephemeral job market of

the late ’90s.

And Xers can improve their lot in this market even better if they

can learn to perceive their job as their business enterprise du

jour. "Thinking of yourself as the sole proprietor of your

skills and abilities is the only way to get in the mood for working

in the post-jobs era: everyone is a potential customer," he


— Peter J. Mladineo

Top Of Page
The Specs on Specifications

Getting specified ain’t what it used to be. In the old

days, putting up a construction project meant that a professional

triad between the owner, the architect, and the general contractor

was established. The architect and the general contractor would both

have separate contracts with the owner. Now in the design/build era,

there is only one contract. It’s usually between the owner and the

general contractor, who then hires the architect.

This changes plenty for the architect, who must now put his material

requests through a contractor, and it also changes a lot for the


product manufacturers. "The most important thing to getting


is to have a familiarity with the construction process itself,


the design process," says Raymond Hennig, an architect in

Montclair who also is a consultant for Sweet’s Catalogs, published

by McGraw Hill.

Hennig, 41, is married to Lisa Hennig, the career counselor

based in New York City and Montclair (U.S. 1, November 12). He speaks

at the Construction Specifications Institute on Thursday, March 19,

6:30 p.m. at the Novotel. His other panelists are Greg Moten,

a senior associate at the Hillier Group; and Bob Chandler, an

architect. The cost is $25. Call 609-452-8888.

According to studies by the F.W. Dodge Project News Service,


projects comprised only five percent of construction projects in the

early ’90s. But within the last two years, nearly 35 percent of the

projects Dodge tracks are design/build.

The design/build process, if you remember, sits at the center of the

debate over the Millstone Bypass, the proposed artery that would


Route 571 with Washington Road and eliminate several traffic lights

on Route 1. Opponents of the bypass say that the state Department

of Transportation’s decision to design/build the roadway alienated

several pockets of area residents. "The reason that it works for

government agencies like that is because it’s easier for the


to deal with a single source," says Hennig. "There’s only

one place to put the blame."

Like the highway designer, the architect loses a significant amount

of quality control with design/build. "What ends up happening

is that there are a lot of issues relative to quality that will all

be based on price," says Hennig, "whereas when the architect

has direct contact with the owner, the architect can sit at the


table with some clout and hold some specs."

For the building product manufacturer, design/build changes the


model slightly. With a general contractor writing out the


the chances of "value engineering" (choosing cheaper


in the design increase. "There are a lot of items that get


out," says Hennig. "There are a lot of manufacturers that

should be aware of that opportunity."

For instance, if an architect drew up plans for a steel panel system

that costs $500,000, the contractor could value-engineer that system.

"They’re going say, `Wait a minute, instead of steel, we’ll use

an aluminum panel and we’ll put baked enamel on it,’" says Hennig.

"That makes it lighter and makes the substructure lighter and

cheaper. They will provide drawings and specs for that system for

the architect to approve and wave the $150,000 of savings under the

owner’s nose. And that architect will get the same look he wants."

More opportunities to sell materials pop up towards the end of the

project, after the "substantial completion" date. Hennig warns

product manufacturers not to assume that the window of opportunity

is closed at this point. There could be an enormous amount of product

substitutions taking place. "Don’t recognize that date as `it’s

over,’" says Hennig. "If you have a certain type of lighting

that you can get in after the substantial completion you’ll probably

get it in. There are a whole range of mostly interior finish products

that can actually be substituted."

It’s also important for product manufacturers to get to know the


"The architect is a glorified technical shopper," says Hennig,

who graduated from the Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1979.

"The best way for a building product manager to get specified

to get their products installed in building projects is to get to

know architects. It’s to facilitate relationships with the



However, this is not a matter of picking up a phone and introducing

yourself, either. It’s a matter of knowing when to pick up the phone.

"Understand that what the architect sells is time," he says.

"I don’t have time to talk to a building project manufacturer

who makes metal doors when I’m designing the roof. As long as the

building product manufacturer knows the process and has a relationship

with the architect then the building product manufacturer will know

when to call. And they’ll know who to call."

— Peter J. Mladineo

Top Of Page
State of the Art Buildings

First there were smart highways; now there are smart

buildings. The National Association of Industrial and Office


will be hosting a "Smart Buildings Seminar," on Wednesday,

March 25, at 7:45 a.m. at the Newark Club. The fee is $75.

The panelists are Richard Vanderbeck, of Federal Business


Sam Spata of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum; Don Porter of

HLW International; Larry Lenrow and Nikolas Tavlarios

of Compass Management and Leasing; Kenneth Patton, Cape


and Charles Klatskin of the Charles Klatskin Company, the


real estate broker that has an office at 1095 Cranbury-South River


The panelists’ aim will be to "discuss ways to stay competitive

in today’s dynamic commercial real estate environment by making your

existing and new buildings state-of-the-art." For more information

call 732-417-9010.

Top Of Page
Driving Cool

A comedian once suggested an interesting approach to

road rage: if when someone ticked you off on the road, wouldn’t it

be nice if you could just kill that person for five minutes?


no one has quite figured out how to accomplish that, and despite the

state’s anti-aggressive driving campaign, fatalities caused indirectly

or directly because of road rage are steadily increasing.

Raritan Valley RideWise has now stepped into the fray of simmering

drivers and is having a road rage workshop on Thursday, March 26,

at 6:30 p.m. at the Raritan Public Library at 54 Somerset Street in

Raritan. Call 908-704-1011.

"In 1997, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said that there

were 10,000 reported road rage incidents in country — that’s a

51 percent increase from 1990 to 1996," says Patti Hanlon,

Ridewise’s special events coordinator. "It’s rivaling drunk


Short of wielding a weapon with a temporary-kill switch, here are

the three ways Hanlon says to deal with the urge to maim your fellow


Adjust your attitude. "Forget about trying to


says Hanlon. "Driving becomes like a contest for a lot of people.

Put yourself in the other driver’s shoes."

Don’t offend. Don’t cut off other cars, don’t drive slowly

in left lane, don’t tailgate, and — not least — resist the

temptation to make obscene gestures. Whistle "Dixie" instead.

Don’t engage. Steer clear of angry drivers, avoid making

eye contact, and get help if you feel endangered.

This sounds a bit like the advice doled out to subway riders

in New York City, but Hanlon insists that it works. "I just don’t

take it personally anymore," she says.

And if you’re still raging at the wheel after giving these suggestions

a spin, it may be necessary to seek professional help. For more


about road rage, get the AAA Foundation’s brochure by calling


or visit its website

Top Of Page
Leveraging Sources

While there is a multitude of free services and programs

for small businesses in New Jersey, finding those services and


can be another matter. The New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network can

teach you how at its meeting on "Leveraging New Jersey


on Wednesday, April 1, at noon at the Forrestal. The cost is $35.

Call 609-279-0010.

The meeting is co-sponsored by U.S. 1 newspaper, among others, and

features a panel of experts at tapping the state’s resources. They

include Henry Wojtunik, president of Anacom Systems, a developer

of fiber optic equipment in the 100 Jersey Avenue incubator in New

Brunswick; and Gail Eagle of Gail Eagle Custom Publishing


a home-based business at 3 Rosemary Road in East Brunswick.

Nearly 20 other organizations that help small business are sending

representatives. These include the Mercer County College Small


Development Center plus the SBDC’s procurement and international trade

programs, the MIT Enterprise Forum, the New Jersey Economic


Authority, the New Jersey Technology Council, New Jersey Institute

for Technology’s Enterprise Development Center, Princeton University’s

Center for Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials, the Rothman


of Entrepreneurial Studies, Ace-Net, the Princeton Plasma Physics

Laboratory, the Stevens Technology Ventures Business Incubator, and

the United States SBA Loan Guarantee Program, represented by Prestige

State Bank.

Top Of Page
Women’s Center

The Small Business Administration is putting out the

call for nonprofits to participate in its women’s business center

program. This long-term training and counseling program for women’s

entrepreneurs needs nonprofits to provide technical, management, and

government procurement and certification assistance to clients.

Applicants are asked to submit a five-year plan describing proposed

fundraising, training, and technical assistance plans. Successful

applicants will receive financial assistance from the SBA for a


of five years.

The application deadline is Thursday, March 26. For more information,

contact the SBA office of women’s business ownership at 202-205-6673,

or visit the website

Top Of Page
Web Opinions:

Do They Count?

Marketing people and technologists may view the Web

with dilated pupils but opinion researchers still seem to regard the

medium with raised eyebrows. "Not everybody has connectivity,"

reports Peter Milla, senior vice president and chief information

officer of Response Analysis Corporation. "If you want to use

a general population study, it’s not a good tool. There is also not

a good methodology in place to get E-mail addresses. How do you sample


Opinion research, he explains, was originally done in person or via

mail. Then came the telephone, which has remained the primary means

of conducting opinion surveys for decades because of its ubiquity.

But now, the Web’s emergence as a choice medium is hampered by the

fact that only a narrow percentage of people regularly use it. This

fact challenges its scientific validity.

Milla, who has worked at Response Analysis since 1985 and has been

in the opinion research industry for 17 years, speaks at the American

Association for Public Opinion Research on Internet surveys on


March 24, 6 p.m. at the Nassau Inn. Call 609-936-2781.

So far, Web interviews only seem to serve the purposes of opinion

researchers when their surveys deal with computing-related issues,

he reports. Yet the number of surveys conducted entirely on the Web

should become "more significant" with time. "But I don’t

think it’s ever going to get to ubiquity," he adds. "As it

gets to people’s homes it could become the predominant method."

Milla’s reservations about the Web is probably representative of most

of the opinion research industry, which was spawned in the Princeton

area when George Gallup started the American Institute of Public

Opinion in 1935. But, he reports, a lot of technology companies try

to pass off online surveys as opinion research. "A lot of it is

bogus," he says. "They’re recruiting people to be professional


"It’s a new technology and it’s very hot because everybody wants

to get out there or they’re going to get left behind," he adds.

"We view this as another method of data collection that we offer

to our clients, but only when it’s the best method or when it’s


It’s got a big future in the near term in business-to-business


Top Of Page
Green All Over

Fans of Kingston’s bucolic charm may want to attend

the founding meeting of a new group, the Kingston Greenways


which convenes Thursday, March 19, 7:30 p.m. in the Kingston


It is being formed upon the recommendation of Kingston’s joint mayors

task force to create a new local open space advocacy group. The aim

will be to protect the ring of undeveloped land, the "green


surrounding the village of Kingston, plus various "greenways"

— paths and natural land connectors to that belt. The plan would

include making sure eventual backhoes don’t infringe on the D&R Canal

State Park, as well as Heathcote Park, the abandoned Rocky Hill ranch

Railroad, and a number of parcels of land in South Brunswick and


The group will also pay heed to land near the Millstone River in


Plainsboro, and Montgomery.

The founding meeting should include a review of the Kingston


Task Force recommendations on open space, and descriptions of the

proposed green belt and connecting greenways. The group’s directors

are Charles Dieterich, Dan Choman, Rick Goeke,


Southgate, Jean Wacker, and Robert von Zumbusch. Call

Dieterich at 609-924-7375 for information.

Meanwhile, the MSM Regional Council announced a plan to create a


of multi-functional "green infrastructure" in central New

Jersey. The design was funded by a grant from the United States


of agriculture.

In contrast to the gray infrastructure — roads, sewer plants,

and utility wires — a green infrastructure concerns water quality,

natural habitats, and the mitigation of storm water runoff. The MSM’s

plan calls for the establishment of a green "network of nodes

and links" that’s planned at the local and regional levels.

This announcement coincides with the 30th anniversary of the council,

a non-partisan nonprofit that seeks "sensible development"

of the 32-town region it covers in Middlesex, Somerset, and Mercer


Top Of Page
Engineering School Conference

The American Society for Engineering Education spring

conference is on Saturday, April 25, at the College of New Jersey.

The preregistration deadline is Friday, April 3. The fee is $60. Call

Harry Hess at 609-771-2772 for more information.

Sessions will include ethics and engineering, expectations of


education, bold new changes in engineering technology education,


in engineering education, the first year experience in engineering

education. The keynote speaker is Marvin Sambur, president and

general manager of ITT Aerospace’s communications division. His


is "What Industry Would Like New Engineering Graduates to


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