Digital audio revolutionized audio mixing and editing in the 1990s. Now the same thing is happening with field recording. Good-bye Digital Audio Tape (DAT), hello multi-channel hard drives. Without tape, the post-production process becomes even faster.

On Wednesday, March 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Princeton Theological Seminary, Templeton Hall basement studio, the Princeton Media Communications Association sponsors a meeting on the current state of audio recording and mixing for film and television. Speaking are two of Philadelphia’s top digital audio specialists, Dave Winston, owner of Winston Sound, and Scott Waz, owner of Audio Post Philadelphia. Also on hand is multimedia author Doug Dixon, who demonstrates some of the more astounding features of Adobe’s Audition software, which can fix all sorts of audio issues. The meeting is free for members, and $15 for non-members. Call 609-466-2828 for more information.

A veteran of more than 300 commercials, 5 features, 25 short films, and television work for HBO, ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS, Winston’s location recording skills have taken him around the world. He has recorded U.S. Presidents, foreign leaders, sports stars, movie stars, and corporate chieftains. He is passionate about what he does, including the new digital recording technologies.

Also passionate about audio is Scott Waz, owner and chief engineer of Audio Post Philadelphia, the city’s premier ADR Stage and ISDN voice-over destination. After beginning his career at Baker Sound Studios in 1989, Scott created Audio Post Philadelphia in 2001. Since then he has helped clients win Addys, Pollies (political awards), and Mid-Atlantic Emmys. Ad Agencies and independent video producers utilize his facility to mix TV, radio, and long form video projects. Wax writes an audio column for phillyadclub.com.

Dixon is an independent technologist, author of four books, and speaker specializing in digital media. He makes his articles and technical references freely available on his Manifest Technology website (www.manifest-tech.com).His most recent article for U. S. 1: a corporate profile of Datacolor in the March 16 issue.

Make Trade Shows Work for You

‘If you go to a trade show saying, ‘I’m here to sell to anyone,’ you won’t succeed,” says Vicki Lynn Morgan. Morgan has been attending trade shows for about 30 years and has developed “a passion” to see that they are done the right way. “You must be very focused to succeed,” she says.

Morgan shares her expertise on trade shows in a talk titled “Trade Show and Event Marketing: Seven Seconds to Success” at the next meeting of the Central Jersey Chapter of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) on Thursday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the Grain House Restaurant in Basking Ridge. Cost: $35. Register at www.NAWBONCJ.org.

Morgan began her career in sales in the 1970s as the first woman selling for the Xerox Corporation. In 1976 she and a partner founded her company, Animal Brands, the first woman-owned manufacturing representation agency in the pet supply industry. Her company’s beginnings have become legendary in the pet supply industry. “My next door neighbor’s father said dog food was the road to success, so my neighbor bought a truck load of dog food. We had 20 tons of dog food and I went out and sold it,” she says.

In 2001 she founded a second company, Russmor Marketing Group, as a division of Animal Brands. She consults with area business on sales, customer service, and trade shows. In addition, she teaches marketing and sales at several area community colleges, including Raritan Valley, Warren County, Sussex County, and Morris County. She is also a counselor for the Small Business Development Center at Raritan Valley.

Why seven seconds to success? Morgan explains that that is all the time available at a trade show to interest a new customer or client. “At best, you can talk to four people about your products and services in an hour. That is 15 minutes per person. You must obviously learn to make a brief assessment of whether or not a person is qualified.”

Qualifying a person, she says, means deciding if that person is a potential customer or contact. Morgan has an acronym to help people learn how to work quickly with the variety of people they meet at a trade show. QUICK, she explains, stands for Qualify Them, Understand Their Needs, Identify How to Help Them, Commit to Action, and Kick Them Out

To decide whether a person who strolls up to your booth is a potential client, you must be aware of your own needs, she says. “Ask yourself, ‘What kind of person am I looking to do business with?’” This can include the size of the company the person works for, its market, or its geographic region. Just because a person works for a company you are interested in doing business with does not mean that he is the right contact person for you. Find out the nature of the work he does. Does this person have the power to make decisions? If not, can he introduce you to that person?

If the answers to those questions is yes, spend a few minutes learning about your new contact’s needs, says Morgan. Once you have identified how you can help them, try for a mutual agreement that you will get in touch with again. This is your “commitment to action.” Finally, politely, but firmly, “kick them out” so that you can get on to the next customer. “It takes diplomacy to dismiss someone in a nice way,” says Morgan. Often, something as simple as “thank you for stopping by,” does the trick.

But before dealing with prospective clients and customers at a show, you must prepare, says Morgan. There are three stages to trade shows — planning before the show, working the show, and follow-up after the show. “Most people deal with it all in one fell swoop,” Morgan says, but she believes you will be better prepared if you divide your preparations into these three segments.

Before the show. The first step in preparing for a trade show is to talk to the management company that is handling it. Find out what type of people usually attend the show and what the expected attendance numbers are. Choose a booth space. Morgan also has several ideas on which space to choose to attract maximum traffic. Everything from proximity to the rest rooms and the traffic flow at a show can affect how many people see your display. Look at a map of the showroom floor. Find out where exhibitors likely to have large, splashy booths will be setting up.

The next step in planning is to decide on your purpose in attending the show. “One of the biggest mistakes people make at trade shows,” Morgan says, “is to not know why they are there.” There are many reasons to attend trade shows, including establishing relationships with new and old customers, gaining market intelligence, and getting new sales accounts. You may want to introduce a new product, do market research, or just get market exposure for your company. Usually, she adds, you will have more than one of these goals at one show.

Before a show you also need to design your booth and plan on what materials and sales tools you need to bring. You will also need a database system to capture information about new and prospective clients that you meet at the show. Other details include training any staff who will attend the show, and making travel arrangements and shipping arrangements for your equipment.

During the show. Remember that you are working all the time you are at a trade show, and your appearance and actions reflect on your company. In fact, says Morgan, “Consider yourself at work from the moment you step on the airplane to travel to the show. You never know who you are going to run into.”

Once you are at the show and have set up, take some time to check out your competition, Morgan advises. Take advantage of any education and training sessions that are offered during the show and make time to network with the other vendors.

Newspaper, magazine, and trade magazine reporters often roam the halls of trade shows looking for stories. Getting their attention can result in free publicity. Be prepared with news or with interesting anecdotes about your business or your clients.

Analyze your booth. “I see so many people who have just have a low, wide table that they sit behind,” says Morgan. This design puts up a barrier between you and your customer. “You should have no more than 30 percent of your perimeter enclosed,” she says. An open area invites the customer to walk inside, stop and talk.

Make sure you and your staff always look and act in a professional manner, says Morgan. Never eat, use the telephone, play games, or read books while you are in your booth. “I’ve got such a reputation at shows now, that I’ll hear people say, ‘Here comes Vicky, hide the food!’”

After the show. Once the show is over, the real work begins, says Morgan. Often, however, people fail to follow-up on the leads and contacts they have made. “Almost 80 percent of trade show leads are never followed up,” she says. Make sure that you have a database to keep track of your contacts. And before that contact leaves, make sure that you have “mutually agreed to talk again.”

Follow-up can be done in a number of ways. If you have been given a list of everyone who attended the show, you can send out a general flyer about your company. For people you spoke with, send a customized mailing or make contact by phone.

Whether you are attending a small local event or a regional or national show, the results are all about the planning that goes on well before the show opens — and the follow-up that continues until the next show date rolls around.

— Karen Hodges Miller

Computerizing the Immigration Door

As of Monday, March 28, the lovely Lady in the Harbor who greets the teeming masses from the foreign shores will be replaced by a computerized form. In an effort to streamline and speed up the process by which foreign workers obtain the much coveted green card, the U.S. Department of Labor has removed all human contact and replaced it with a computerized form, which sponsoring employers must submit online.

On December 27, 2004, the Program Electronic Review Management system, known as PERM, was rushed into law. This permanent labor certification program goes into effect next week, totally voiding the old method. Explaining the ramifications for lawyers, employers, and foreign nationals seeking an American job, the Roseland-based law firm of Grotta, Glassman & Hoffman offers a webinar, “The Truth About PERM,” on Thursday, March 24, at 1 p.m. Cost: $50. To tune in, call 973-992-4800. From her screen to yours, immigration attorney Alka Bahal will give a PowerPoint presentation with voice-over narration, followed by a call-in question and answer session. Additional webinars on the subject are being planned in the upcoming future for those unable to log onto this one.

While there seems a certain irony that the dehumanizing aspects of the new PERM law are to be discussed virtually, via impersonal computer, this in no way reflects Bahal’s very human passion. Both physicians, Bahal’s parents immigrated from northern India to Milwaukee in the early l970s. She attended Milwaukee’s Marquette College, graduating in l992 with a double major in philosophy and psychology. “I thought those majors would be a help in law,” she says, “and boy, has that proved to be true.”

After earning her law degree from Boston University, Bahal worked for an immigration law firm in Manhattan, before opening her own offices in West New York. For five years she helped foreign nationals obtain green cards and citizenship papers. She is now an immigration specialist with Grotta, Glassman & Hoffman.

“It’s going to be an absolute nightmare for at least a year,” says Bahal of PERM. “Its requirements and procedures are completely new, and there’s so little information out there.”

For speed’s sake. It seems that everybody wants to come live in America. The United States’ current immigration crunch surpasses all previous eras in our history, including the turn of the 20th century. Far and away the most popular path through Miss Liberty’s Golden Door has been to obtain work certification from the Department of Labor. If a foreign national can find a sponsoring employer who offers him a full-time, permanent job — one that no American citizen seems to want — he may legally live in this country.

Once work certification is obtained, the new immigrant may begin the long and costly trudge toward the green card — the first rung on the ladder of citizenship.

The problem, simply, is that the Department of Labor is more swamped than Santa on Christmas Eve. Department of Labor statistics state that it takes the average applicant three years to obtain the precious green card. Horror stories abound, and even when the road is relatively smooth, it is costly. The new regulations are an attempt to streamline the process.

PERM was planned as the marvelous high tech solution. Take the entire labor certification process out of the office, dump it all online, and the three-year wait will shrink to somewhere between 45 to 90 days. Or so the Department of Labor hopes. Yet even before its March 28 launch, PERM appears to have the potential for more glitches than an updated version of Microsoft Windows.

New certification rules. The basics still apply. Any employer who wants to sponsor a foreign national must still offer him a full-time, permanent position, which the potential employee’s skills reasonably fit. The job must have been pre-advertised. That is, before applying to sponsor the foreign national, the employer must have advertised the position to U.S. citizens. The goal here is to protect American workers and to make sure that the job is one no U.S. citizen wants or is able to perform.

New, however, are the wage requirements. As of March 28, employers will be required to pay a full 100 percent of the job’s prevailing wage, instead of the previous 95 percent. Determination of this wage will be made by a new four tier system, which replaces the former two-tier system.

Computerized glitches. “The real problem is that no one is able to get prepared for PERM,” says Bahal. “The systems switch immediately — with no adjustment period — and the Department of Labor just isn’t releasing any facts about it. Everyone is confused.”

Such confusion has reportedly caused the Department of Labor to make grudging changes, but even they have not been publicized.

What is known is that beginning on March 28, labor certification goes totally online with no possibility of talking with a human representative. Sponsoring employers will go to www.dol.gov and call up the PERM application.

An exhaustive form will then flash on the screen, requiring the employer to have all his ducks in a row. To give all the correct answers, employers will have to have on hand all I-9 documentation, various work and previous temporary visas, an H-IB visa if specialty work is required, and on and on.

At the end, the employer will hit the “submit” button and cross his fingers. If the DOL reviewers do not like what they see, the application simply comes back denied. It could be because of a typo — or because the employer’s CEO is currently under indictment. A reason may or may not be included. There is no person the employer can see, no one to call. There will be no personal appeals from bothersome humanity.

If the alien worker is approved, do not pop the champagne quite yet. Under the new PERM rules, the Department of Labor has the right to come and check the employer’s records on his new worker any time within five years after certification has been granted. This addendum affords the government an opportunity to deport any legal, working immigrant on the slightest technicality for five years after he enters, even if he has his green card, or even citizenship. Think of it as an immigrant suspicion/probation period.

“The only thing foreign nationals and their employers can do is to really scrupulously do all the documentation and keep it on file,” says Bahal, who believes that an immigration/labor attorney will be required more required than ever.

Those foreign nationals whose labor certification applications are already submitted will be reviewed under the old standards. During these few days, Bahal suggests, it may behoove aliens who are currently on the government’s least-favored-nation list to quickly apply. For those who submit to the PERM system, the answer will indeed come more swiftly, probably less expensively, and denied applicants can easily reapply.

It appears that the big downside to PERM is that in exchange for speed, the immigrant could be placed on a slippery slope of governmental scrutiny that without trial or appeal, and that he could be sent packing years down the line for a clerical mistake.

— Bart Jackson

For Businesswomen A Still Uneven Field

For women, the “door to leadership at the top levels has squeaky hinges,” says Mary S. Hartman, who has worked with issues of women in leadership in both business and the political arenas for over 30 years. She adds that in recent years women’s progress has “stalled” in many areas.

Hartman, director of the Women’s Leadership Institute, based at Rutgers University, is the guest speaker at a luncheon honoring women business leaders. The Salute to Women Leaders Luncheon is sponsored by NJAWBO (New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners) and takes place on Wednesday, March 30, at 11:30 a.m. at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston. Cost: $75. Call 609-581-2121 for reservations.

The luncheon combines a celebration of Women’s History Month with recognition of corporate partners and friends by honoring deserving women leaders, says Sue Fitzpatrick, president of the statewide organization. There will also be awards to past NJAWBO state presidents, to outstanding entrepreneurs, and to business advocates.

Hartman has been active in women’s issues for many years. A social historian specializing in women’s history and gender studies, she received a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a master’s and doctorate from Columbia University. At Rutgers University she was first a professor, and then became dean of Douglass College, the college for women at Rutgers, from 1982 to 1994. She later became director of the Women’s Leadership Institute.

Hartman’s interest in women’s history and social issues has led her to write and edit a number of books, including: “Gender, Household, and Power: A Subversive View of Western History;” “Victorian Murderesses: A True History of Thirteen Respectable French and English Women Accused of Unspeakable Crimes;” and “Talking Leadership: Conversations with Powerful Women,” which includes interviews with Patricia Schroeder, Anna Quindlen, and Christine Todd Whitman.

The recent controversy over remarks by Harvard University president Lawrence Summers underscores the broader issues of why so few women have reached top level positions in business, politics, and education, says Hartman. Summers suggested that intrinsic differences between males’ and females’ abilities in science might account for differences in how few women are found in the highest levels of the “hard science” disciplines such as physics and engineering.

The business world has, in fact, “been more welcoming” to women than have the worlds of higher education and politics, says Hartman. But she notes an exception — at the very top levels of the corporate world, where the numbers of women in high level positions still lags significantly.

There are many reasons for these differences, says Hartman. Lack of flexibility in the workplace is one of the most obvious and important reasons. The world of business is structured for “the single breadwinner family,” where one person goes out to earn a living while a “support person” stays at home to take care of the details of personal and family life.

“It is difficult to advance to the uppermost levels without having that single focus,” says Hartman. To get to those higher levels, women have often had to adopt the patterns and lifestyles of men. “They have a lifestyle that mimics that of the single breadwinner,” she says. “They have fewer children, and often they have a spouse who is already retired.” The fact that so often the single breadwinner in a family is male reflects the fact that society still assigns different values and different genders to various types of work, she adds.

Another possible reason for the differences in women’s and men’s positions in the workplace is differences “in priorities and attitudes,” says Hartman. “Our work style is not healthy and many women are realizing it sooner (than men).” The “opt-out generation,” younger women who have chosen to leave the workplace to stay at home with their children, is one example of this new realization, she says.

Unfortunately, once women have “opted out,” even for a short period of time, they usually “cannot go back to work on the same track,” says Hartman. Looking at what happens to women who “go off the track,” is just one of the issues that the Women’s Leadership Institute addresses.

The institute is a “consortium” of six units at Douglass College, the department of women’s and gender studies, the Center for American Women and Politics, the Institute for Research on Women, the Center for Women’s Global Research, and the Center for Women and Work. The consortium members “conduct research, develop and sponsor programs and public service initiatives, and are critically engaged in preparing women of all ages and racial or ethnic backgrounds to play active and constructive public roles.” Hartman suggests that changes in the workplace to “add more balance between our public and our personal lives” could help to end the gender gap. “There is a need for greater flexibility in the workplace,” she says, to account for the fact that fewer and fewer women can afford to “opt out.”

While opting out completely can be career suicide, working up a career ladder while at the same time raising children and maintaining a home is a difficult task. Says Hartman: “Handling both a personal and a professional life is often a delicate balancing act.”

— Karen Hodges Miller

Online Instruction For Entrepreneurs

Many people start their own business because they are experts in their fields; however, they are often not experts in the business of how to do business. In fact, lack of knowledge of business basics such as accounting, marketing, and sales is responsible for the failure of many start-up businesses. Penni K. Nafus calls these skills “cross-industry skills,” and she has a brand new, convenient, program to help small business owners develop the tools they need to do business.

Nafus is director of the Women’s Business Center of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners. WBC, the educational arm of NJAWBO offers seminars, classes, and individual counseling for women and men at all levels of business, from those just starting out to seasoned business owners.

The center has been in existence for seven years, and Nafus has been associated with it for over four years, first as the business education coordinator and now as the director. The center offers a group of core classes, which are aimed at beginning business owners.

Nafus has particular understanding of the needs of small business owners. She came to the WBC after she and her husband, James, sold their own business, East Coast Sales and Service, which dealt in Zamboni ice resurfacing machines

The WBC office is located in Hamilton, but now, says Nafus, busy business owners will not have to travel there, or to any other location, to learn the skills they need. They can do it right in their own home or office through online training. The new program is a joint project of the Women’s Business Center and the Rutgers University School of Business at Camden.

“Nowadays there are so many people involved in one or two person businesses,” says Nafus. “They often don’t have the cross-industry knowledge that they need to be successful.” They also don’t feel that they can take the time away from their office or store to travel to classes. The new online programs solve that problem by bringing the classes into the business owner’s home or office.

The courses can be started at any time, but once begun, must be completed in a three or four-month period, depending on the number of “modules” in the program, Nafus explains. The classes are completely online. Each student is provided with a password so that she can log on independently at whatever time is convenient.

“If the person is hesitant to work in an online environment, 30 minutes of technical orientation via telephone is available,” Nafus says. In addition, there is 24/7 technical support available online. Also included in the program is one hour of subject matter mentoring per three courses. The tutoring, with a Rutgers instructor, is provided through a telephone conference.

After completing a series of classes, which Nafus calls “modules,” the student receives a career development certificate from the WBC and Rutgers. The cost for the courses ranges from $169 for a three-module program to $329 for some of the longer, more technical courses. Each of the classes is graded on a pass/fail basis, with 70 percent needed to pass. The certificates currently available:

New Entrepreneur, a five-module program including Essentials of Business Law: The Legal Environment, Fundamental Accounting Concepts, Fundamentals of Marketing, Fundamentals of Sales, and Business Problem Solving: The Fundamentals.

Accounting and Finance Basics, a three-module series including Fundamental Accounting Concepts, Understanding Financial Statements, and Budgeting Essentials.

Administrative Assistant: Professional Skills, five modules including Enhancing Your Skills, Excelling as an Administrative Assistant, Time Management: Planning Your Day, and Self Development: Positively Influencing Others.

Business Problem-Solving, a three-module course which includes classes titled, The Problem-Solving Process, Critical Thinking and Information Analysis, and Problem-Solving Teams

Several courses also focus on computer skills, says Nafus, including two levels of certificates that are available in Microsoft Office, a “fundamentals” certificate and a “proficient user” certificate. Both of these programs include separate modules focusing on the software programs Excel, Outlook, Word, and Access.

A number of other certificates are also currently available online. A business law certificate, includes courses on contract law, employment law, laws governing the interview process, and cyberlaw. There is also an employee selection and termination certificate, which includes instruction on conducting an interview, laws governing the interview process, and the termination process.

The final program, a six-module certificate in sales, includes a wide range of subjects, from prospecting and addressing needs, to overcoming obstacles, gaining customer commitment, developing a winning strategy, and effectively closing a sale.

“One of the really exciting things is that in addition to the pre-packaged courses, if a business owner has a special need, we can put together a customized package for them,” says Nafus.

For more information on the online certificates, or to register for a course, call Nafus at 609-581-2220. Registration is also available at through the NJAWBO website, www.njawbo.org.

— Karen Hodges Miller

Rutgers Develops Evacuation Plans

The anthrax scare in Washington, D.C., last week proved to be just that — a scare. But with warnings of potential unspecified terrorist attacks very much still in the air, Rutgers University is developing a computer program to help large facilities develop procedures for evacuating people during a bioterror attack — or a fire or natural disaster.

The software could be customized to fit any building plan. Once it detects anthrax or a fire, for example, it would provide security officials with specific steps to take, such as blocking off access to a contaminated area of the building.

The software is now being tested at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and has caught the interest of the New Jersey State Police and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Rutgers is working with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and with a private firm to incorporate anthrax detection technology in the program.

The software is expected to be available in nine months.

Corporate Angels

Bristol-Myers Squibb has given grants totaling more than $67,500 to support robotics teams at five central New Jersey school districts competing in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.

The teams sponsored by the company are from Hightstown, Hopewell Valley, Montgomery, North Brunswick, and Trenton high schools. The robotics teams work with technology teachers, engineers, and scientists, including volunteers from Bristol-Myers, to prepare for the competition.

Elizabethtown Gas, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based AGL Resources, has distributed grants totaling $150,000 to four New Jersey social service agencies. The AGL Resources Foundation Energy Assistance Grants are intended to provide energy assistance in the form of new or refurbished heating systems to low-income seniors in the state.

Recipients include the New Jersey State Department of Community Affairs and the Puerto Rican Action Board of Middlesex County.

For more information, call Martha Monfried at 908-289-5000, ext. 5521.

The Fred C. Rummel Foundation has presented a grant of $6,000 to HomeFront to help fund supportive services for homeless low-income families. These funds will be used specifically to assist families who have recently been settled into affordable permanent housing in Mercer County in order to help ensure their self-sufficiency.

For more information on HomeFront and its programs, call Ruthellen Rubin at 609-989-9417.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies in partnership with the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children has provided the funds to create a play and learning room at the Martin House Doorway to Hope, a transitional housing program for homeless women and children.

Prior to becoming a “Bright Space” facility, the community room in Martin House, where clients attend meetings, play, and relax, was little more than a dimly lighted basement. It has now been transformed into a safe, stimulating, nurturing environment filled with toys, books, and games.

For more information on Martin House and its programs, call Michael Schneider at 973-868-1000.

Jimmy Maul, realtor of record for Keller Williams in Princeton, has contributed $2,000, a portion of his 2004 commissions, to the University of Pennsylvania Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Research Fund. Maul received a stem cell transplant at the hospital five years ago. In a prepared statement he said: “The stem cell transplant was successful and I am so grateful that it helped me conquer cancer. I am happy to give back so that others can be as fortunate as I am.”

The third graders at Sharon Elementary School in Robbinsville collected $2,499 dollars in donations for the Tsunami Relief for UNICEF at their Winter Concert and Ice Cream Sundae fundraiser. Their donation dollars were matched by Wes Foster, chairman and C.E.O of Long and Foster Companies.

Students from Westminster Choir College of Rider University’s arts fundraising class are going into the field to work for New Jersey non-profits.

A recent project, led by instructor Midge Guerrera, involves providing development assistance to two Asbury Park institutions, the Stephen Crane House and the Black Box Theater. The Stephen Crane House is the only remaining home of the writer. The Black Box Theater was founded to support and enhance the revitalization of downtown Asbury Park.

The students have been involved in grant writing, donor research and cultivation, and event planning for fundraisers. The effort culminates in a week-long event to take place in the spring of 2006, at which time the Black Box Theater will produce a play about the Crane family at the Stephen Crane house.

Performances and writing workshops will be offered to local schools as part of the project. For more information, call 609-921-7100, ext. 8345

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