As the son of a first sergeant in the United States Army, Carl Lindsey grew up all over the world, never staying in one spot long enough to put down roots. Then as an engineer, he had to drag his family around the United States from one job to another.
When he lost his last job, at Thomson Multimedia on Independence Way, the 51-year-old Lindsey determined that that job would, indeed, be his last in corporate America, and that he would go into business for himself. He has bought a franchise for a web-centric consulting company, WSI Internet Consulting and Education, Junction, a global company with 800 offices and production centers in 87 countries. His first partner in this business is one of his six children, Gabriel Barbaglia, a recent graduate of Ohio State with a major in communications and computer science.
"We provide Internet and consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses," says Barbaglia, "helping them to grow and helping them make the Internet more useful to them."
Lindsey anticipates that his other children may, at some point, join him in the business. He has a home office in Princeton Junction, but because he has bought a national franchise, they can work from wherever they happen to be living at the time. "One of my goals is to have created a business where my children have a choice," says Lindsey. "If, due to life circumstances, they find themselves unemployed or in a job they don’t like, they can make the choice to go into this business without having to relocate." He has purchased a national license to this Toronto-based franchising organization, so he can do business in any of the 50 United States and their territories.
So much of the change and instability for families occurs because of the need to find work, he points out. "I chose a national franchise to identify areas of market opportunity and to provide some opportunities for my kids to try the business without having to move."
Ranking in the top 20 of fastest growing franchises for the fast three years, WSI doubled the number of United States based franchises this year (growing from 145 to 311), and it has 102 Canadian franchises and 756 global ones (www.wsicorporate.com).
Lindsey’s is not even the only franchise of WSI in this area. Mani Maran also owns a franchise for the Princeton, Lawrenceville, and Trenton markets (see article on page 52). But that’s OK. There is enough business to go around. Maran focuses on retail, E-commerce, and small business, and Lindsey plans to start out working in health care, technology, and business-to-business; they made a "handshake" agreement to refer clients to each other.
Company-wide, WSI has a log-in system in place to prevent poaching, so that once a client is being pursued by one franchise, other franchises do not approach that business.
"A year ago," says Lindsey, "my goal was to leave the corporate environment and start my own business. I was looking for an opportunity that would dovetail with my experience with computers in design applications. I have a wireless network at home, and with my international experience, my technology background, and my last 15 years doing technology transfers, this looked like a perfect fit."
Lindsey had graduated from high school in Frankfurt, Germany, but had also lived in Korea and Vietnam. He went to the University of Alabama, Class of 1973, served out his four-year ROTC scholarship obligation at Fort Hood Army Hospital. He earned a master’s in chemical engineering from University of Texas and, later, an MBA from LaMar University. He worked at Gulf Chevron in Texas, Stetson Harza Engineering in New York, and Equistar Chemicals in Chicago, Cincinnati, and Houston before moving to Princeton in 2000 to work for Thomson. At Equistar Lindsey moved from R&D into international technology licensing. He was in the intellectual property group on Independence Way, and that turned into Thomson Multimedia.
Lindsey decided to forgo the usual "How to go into business courses," because he had an MBA degree. Instead, he is doing some self-study in some entrepreneurial areas. WSI provided a two-month self study course and one intensive training week in Toronto.
In his full-time search for a franchise, he had rejected such other options as a staffing agency in Ohio and engineering companies in Pittsburgh and the Carolinas. According to Entrepreneur magazine, an investment in a WSI franchise costs from $40,000 to $50,000 and requires at least $68,000 in net worth plus cash liquidity of $5,000. The franchise fee is about $39,000 and ongoing royalty fees are 10 percent.
Lindsey declines to tell how exactly much he spent for the franchise but notes that beyond the franchise fee he had to finance the time for education, training, and hiring additional people. "My business goal is to grow the office and service the greater Mercer County," he says. "My children live in several states, and we will build out from there."
He and his second wife, Jan, (a social worker at Jewish Children & Family Services) have a blended family and six children, including his business partner Gabriel. Son Timothy is a broker with a Chicago trucking company and is going to law school at Northwestern. Son Jonathan is studying psychology. One daughter is earning her degree in occupational therapy, another is working in the music business in Jacksonville. The youngest child, Mark "Tex" Barbaglia, is a senior co-captain on the West Windsor-Plainsboro South football team.
Unlike fast food and carpet cleaning, Web-based consulting doesn’t seem like a business suited to franchises. Where’s the leverage that comes with volume? That’s exactly the point of WSI, which has 100 employees, 25 who do the franchising and 75 who work in production centers in Boston, Australia, Canada, India, and Central America, to name a few. Consultants from an individual franchiser do the business analysis, get the client to agree to work that needs to be done, and then outsource the work — inexpensively — to the production centers.
"I stand behind the products we produce for our clients," says Lindsey, "and we not only purchase the product but we build relationships. We have reasonably priced Internet solutions for companies that want to have a presence at a reasonable cost."
"As consultants we sit down with potential clients and prepare an Internet business analysis — areas where they are not getting the kind of return they would like to. For us a website is an access point, a window, not just a `notice on the door’ website," says Lindsey. "We’re not website designers, we are solution designers, a door to access a wide variety of business solutions."
"We advocate for the client during the launch phases and provide feedback during the first year. We act as specialists to accelerate the Internet medium to deliver products and services, to garner the attention of potential customers, sell products, provide customer service, schedule appointments, or deliver training — a broad spectrum of applications that can be customized to clients’ needs. We don’t have to write the codes ourselves."
Products might include web hosting and construction, advance target marketing capabilities (based on information provided by site visitors), databases in C, Access, and Oracle. "We have a patented needs assessment, an Internet business analysis, and we can quickly develop customized products online. We help move business functions to the web — such functions as OSHA training, accounting, document management, human resource management. Because we host the functions on the websites, the information is backed up frequently and we guarantee uptime and accessibility."
Lindsey thinks his feet are firmly planted now. "Today in the United States, unless people have a skill or business to fall back on, changing jobs does mean relocating, and it is difficult not only in a marriage, but also for children. I want my kids to have more choices, rather than feel blown about by the winds of change."
WSI Internet Consulting and Education, Box 8269, Princeton 08543. Gabriel Barbaglia and Carl Lindsey, 609-371-2036; fax, 609-490-0559. Www.wsileadingwebinnovations.com
Another WSI Franchisee
Mani Maran, in contrast to Lindsey and Barbaglia, focuses on retail businesses, and how they can take advantage of the Internet by opening E-commerce websites. "We specialize in generating traffic to the website and using the Internet as a true advertising medium," says Maran, who claims that the website can increase sales by 5 to 20 percent, depending on the kind of business. "For an E-commerce website we charge anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, and a small business web application costs from $1,000 to $5,000."
Go to Maran’s website and Lindsey/Barbaglia’s website and you see essentially the same thing — the overall site for WSI.com It looks almost exactly the same, and it showcases the same sample websites, but when you link to "Contact Us," you get different addresses.
The two companies share some geographic territory but have informally divided up the business types, with Lindsey/Barbaglia doing health, technology, and "business to business," and Maran focusing on retail and small business. So what’s the difference between "business to business" and "small business." Asked that question, Maran admits it’s a gray area. But he’s not worried. "At this time I am very busy, working on four E-commerce projects at once."
Among the websites he developed is one for a southeast Asian radio station, www.EBCMusic.com, and the most recent is www.guidospianoservice.com Others are www.finedinnerware.com and www.brass4u.com Next to come online is a home delivery dining site. Right now Maran has a regional five-county franchise, and he hopes to expand to a state franchise.
The son of teachers, S. R. Mani Maran went to Kamraj College in Madurai in south India, graduating in 1986, and also earned a master’s degree in mathematics. He has worked in IT for more than 14 years and came to this country in 1994, working for such clients as Toys ‘R Us, Warner Music Group in Manhattan, and Englehard Corporation in Iselin. Married with two children, he opened the business last year.
In his first year Maran joined the Business Network International (BNI) networking group, and four chambers of commerce. Now he has just three chamber memberships: Middlesex, Mercer, and the Asian/Indian Chamber of Commerce, which meets in Metuchen.
"I was getting paid very well but wanted to do something on my own," says Maran. "As a technology guy I am learning about business development. Though I have listened to a lot of CDs, and took three months of coaching from Rich Dad Coaching to help expand the business, the Sandler Sales System has been most helpful. Sandler has a system that takes it from the beginning to the end."
"I have put in a lot of hard work and effort," says Maran, "and have a long way to go, but I am getting leads and doing business. The trust factor takes time."
WSI Internet Consulting and Education, 28 Drewe Court, Lawrenceville 08648. S.R. Mani Maran, franchise owner. 609-890-4242; fax, 609-890-4377. Home page: www.ebizpartners.biz
J&J Factory Closing
The other shoe has dropped. After evaluation, Johnson & Johnson says it will indeed have to close its consumer products plant on Route 1 North in North Brunswick. Some of the 490 manufacturing jobs will go to Brazil and some to contract manufacturers in the United States in Canada.
In September J&J had filed a notification with the state and warned the workers that it might have to close. Known as the eastern surgical dressing plant, the facility opened in 1957 and was expanded in 1965 and 1974. Employee layoffs will begin in February and by the end of next year the facility is expected to close. Among the products produced here are bandages, baby shampoo, baby oil, athletic and wound tapes, Aveeno skin lotions and orthopedic products.
Headquartered in New Brunswick, J&J has more than 200 different companies and employs about 3,800 people in Central New Jersey. The Grandview Road offices of J&J Consumer Products would not be affected.
Local 630 of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees will lose about half of its members as a result of the plant closing. In the 1980s when the baby oil and lotion business went to Puerto Rico and the baby powder went to Georgia, the union fought back. The liquids manufacturing business returned in the mid-1990s when the union made some concessions.
"We found that to continue to thrive and grow as a consumer-products business in this increasingly competitive environment we must make these changes," said Mike Wittman, vice president of operations of the consumer product company, in a prepared statement. All employees will be given at least 60 days advance notice before their last day.
J&J had said that approximately 600 other workers at that site would not be affected, but now it must choose whether to close the entire site. "We are beginning an evaluation and we can’t speculate on the results," says spokesperson Mark Monseau. The 600 unaffected employees work for J&J’s implantable device firm, DePuy; the J&J sales and logistics company, which provides a single point of contact for all the products, and E-J&J, a business development firm that focuses on new web-enabled healthcare business models. J&J could be expected to try to lease the empty space, since it already has two outside tenants at the site — American Express and GAF, a roofing company.
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products (JNJ), Route 1 and Aaron Road, North Brunswick 08902-9498. 732-422-5000; fax, 732-422-5514.
Pharma Land Sale
Meanwhile the other mega pharma in Princeton, Bristol-Myers Squibb, has sold a piece of property that had housed 1,450 workers five years ago. Matrix Development Group bought the 23-acre B-MS distribution facility at 1 Squibb Drive in Cranbury. The distribution center had moved to Mount Vernon, Indiana.
Robert T. Morford and Gerald E. Moore, Jr., of the Garibaldi Group, represented the pharmaceutical firm. The sales price was not disclosed. "The location of One Squibb Drive, in the heart of the Exit 8A market in Central New Jersey, created significant interest among buyers. This transaction demonstrates the continued underlying strength of the New Jersey industrial market," says Morford.
So far this year Matrix Development Group has closed more than 2 million square feet of lease and sale transactions. Recently it bought another Exit 8A property, 45 Stults Road, a to-be-redeveloped 440,000 square foot industrial project.
ITXC Sold To Canadian Firm
More potential bad news — but it may be good news: ITXC has sold itself to a Montreal-based firm and could lose some of its 260 jobs in Princeton. Overall though, it’s a good move for ITXC, because together the combined companies rank among the world’s top three international voice carriers. ITXC’s founder, Tom Evslin, says he expects the new firm to rival AT&T.
Last April Evslin rejected a proposed takeover by IDT, the Newark-based prepaid phone card company, which wanted to buy out ITXC for $1.40 a share. Evslin said then that the IDT proposal "gives no value to our vast network, our physical assets, or our customer base" and that the company’s cash and cash equivalents amounted to $1.70 per share. He said that the net book value per outstanding share exceeded $2.65 per share.
The buyer, Teleglobe International Holdings Ltd, more than 50 years old, is a leading wholesale provider of voice, data, IP and mobile roaming services. ITXC is the largest provider of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) wholesale services. Together they will form the Teleglobe group of companies. The new firm will leverage the fact that ITXC is a public company to get a listing on Nasdaq. Though the headquarters will be in Montreal, Quebec, ITXC will manage the voice business from its building on College Road. Other facilities are in Reston, Virginia.
Teleglobe recently emerged from bankruptcy but now has positive net cash flow. As of September 30, the combined companies had more than $88.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.
Morgan Stanley advised ITXC for the merger, which has been approved by the boards of both companies and must next get approval of the ITXC stockholders. They would receive shares equal to about 28 percent of the newly formed parent company. Teleglobe’s current controlling shareholder, Cerberus Capital Management, will continue to own a majority of Teleglobe. The merger is expected to close next March. After that, Teleglobe plans to float a private placement of debt securities, and use that to buy back $95 million shares held in funds and accounts managed by affiliates of Cerberus.
Teleglobe has customer relationships in world markets, whereas ITXC is concentrated in developing countries. The new firm expects to save money by upgrading Teleglobe’s older back-office processes with ITXC’s more up-to-date system.
"The opportunity to lower our cost base in the price-sensitive wholesale market segment is significant," says Liam Strong of Teleglobe, who will continue as president and CEO. Evslin will be a non-executive board chairman.
Evslin notes that ITXC and Teleglobe are now in a good position to take advantage of how voice traffic is migrating from legacy fixed-line public switched telephone network to wireless and IP networks. "These networks support both wireless and IP applications, which we believe Teleglobe will be well positioned to offer. ITXC’s industry-leading patented VoIP and routing capability, combined with Teleglobe’s advanced international voice, data, IP and mobile roaming services, provide a strong foundation to build the next generation of combined voice, data, IP and mobile roaming services for our customers."
Evslin also predicts substantial revenues from higher-margin data, value-added voice and mobile roaming services, and notes that ITXC’s innovative technology and alternative routing capabilities will give Teleglobe an even greater range of choices for routing customers’ traffic.
Teleglobe ranks among the top five providers of international wholesale voice, data, IP and mobile roaming services. It has networks in more than 240 countries and territories and is physically interconnected to approximately 275 fixed-line telecommunications operators and 360 mobile operators. Teleglobe carries approximately 7.4 billion minutes of voice traffic a year, has ownership in 100 worldwide cable networks, and satellite networks and has Internet peering relationships with many of the other major leading international Internet providers.
Evslin majored in American history and literature at Harvard (Class of 1965) but worked as a programmer during the summers and after graduation. In Vermont he and his wife, Mary, founded Solutions Inc., which in the 1970s developed leading mainframe software to connect banks to automated clearing houses. In the 1980s the firm worked on software for Dow Jones News Retrieval. Tom Evslin then spent the last six years with mega firms — three with Microsoft, where he was general manager of a division, and three with AT&T. As vice president of AT&T’s WorldNet service, Tom Evslin launched what was then the world’s largest "pure" ISP, and AT&T was an early supporter of ITXC.
A company that started with a mailbox address six years ago now has 260 employees in 70,000 square feet on College Road. ITXC now operates the world’s largest VoIP network and is the world’s largest VoIP wholesaler, based on international calling minutes, carrying over 4 billion voice minutes of international traffic annually. It has direct relationships with carriers in more than 175 countries.
Evslin predicted in 1997 that whether a call was routed on the Internet or on traditional lines would soon be invisible to the consumer — and his prediction is coming true.
ITXC Corp. (ITXC), 750 College Road East, Princeton 08540. Tom Evslin, chairman and CEO. 609-750-3333; fax, 609-419-1511. Home page: www.itxc.com
Princeton House Behavioral Health, 905 Herrontown Road, Princeton 08540. Richard Wohl, vice president. 609-497-3300; fax, 609-497-3370. Home page: www.princetonhouse.org
Princeton House Behavioral Health, currently a 70-bed facility, is launching a major expansion and renovation project to be completed by December, 2004. An addition of 25,000 square feet will have room for 48 inpatient beds, almost half of them designated for short-term care for patients from Middlesex, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties who are experiencing psychiatric emergencies.
An adjacent 10,000 square foot building will also be renovated. Princeton House offers inpatient and outpatient care for adults, adolescents, women, and seniors. It treats behavior health conditions, emotional difficulties, and addictions. With locations in Hamilton, North Brunswick, and Cherry Hill, it has board-certified psychiatrists and a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals.
Executive Imaging Systems Inc., 1 Crossroad Drive, Robbinsville 08691. Nick Christiano, branch manager. 609-688-1698; fax, 609-688-9132. Home page: www.executiveimaging.com
In need of more space, Executive Imaging Systems, a company that sells and services office equipment, has moved from 9 Wall Street to 1 Crossroad Drive in Robbinsville. It has digital copiers, computer services, and fax machines, and it provides sales and service in greater New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Verizon (VZ), 600 Horizon Drive, Robbinsville 08691. Dennis Bone, president.
About 350 people work at this one-year-old call center, and 250 more will be hired, according to a press release issued on November 4. The center sells and supports the products and services of the nation’s largest telephone company.
In a press release, Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey, said his firm sought to hire those who are customer focused with experience in meeting and exceeding sales objectives. "This is a challenging and exciting opportunity in a fast-paced, demanding environment."
Mack Cali developed the 95,000 square-foot facility in Horizon Business Park.
Schrader Research & Rating Service, 1260 South River Road, Cranbury 08512. Al Ochsner, CEO. 609-395-1200; fax, 609-655-8640. E-mail: email@example.com
After 30 years with Schrader Research and Rating Service, Domenick Messineo has stepped up to the job as president. For more than 40 years Schrader has been a full-service market research firm, focusing on consumer research — a small company in Cranbury that helps make major consumer product decisions.
What does a consumer researcher do? This one sends interviewers out into malls with a clipboard for one-on-one tests. Or places products in the home and elicit reports.
"For instance, we did the overwhelming majority of testing for Diet Coke and Dasani bottled water," says Messineo, pointing to not just taste testing but also positioning the products, testing the package designs, and helping to decide on the names.
The founder, Don Schrader, had worked for Gallup, and Al Ochsner took over from Schrader in 1975. Ochsner, who had been president and CEO, retains the CEO title. Messineo had worked for the company during summers when he was an electrical engineering major at the University of Maryland, Class of 1971, and he joined the company the following year.
Currently Schrader is subcontracting interviewing work around the country to do a test in 20 cities, and it also does work in Canada and Europe.
"We’re doing the hard core research where you have to have people touch, feel, see, and even taste the product," says Messineo. "In taste testing, it is important that both products be served in exactly the same way."
GenuOne, 328 Amboy Avenue, Metuchen 08840. Geoff Towell. 732-635-0900; fax, 732-635-0902. Home page: www.genuone.com
Genuone has closed its 10-person office on Mapleton Road and moved to 2,500 square feet in Metuchen, a location that is closer to where its employees live and closer to the airport, according to Geoff Towell. Towell is a computer scientist who used to work at Siemens Corporate Research on College Road and came to Genuone two years ago.
The company was founded as Certus in 1999 and came to Mapleton Road in 2001. Genuone has technologies to secure against counterfeiting, diversion and intellectual property theft. Its GenuTrack product keeps track of the movement of physical products, and GenuNet is for web-based security. Companies use it to monitor products similar to theirs that are being sold on E-bay at suspiciously low prices. The software automatically fills out forms to notify E-bay so that counterfeits can be removed.
Billtrust, 51 Everett Drive, Building B, Suite 50, Princeton Junction 08550. Flint Lane, president. 609-580-0050; fax, 609-580-0041. Www.billtrust.com
Flint Lane’s company, Billtrust, has a product that can be used with Intuit’s business product, Eclipse Distribution Management Solution. Instead of printing invoices and statements in-house, users of Eclipse can E-mail bills to Billtrust, which guarantees a 24-hour turnaround. Billtrust’s software automatically decides whether to send the bill using E-bill, E-mail, fax, or U.S. mail.
This is the first step in migrating to electronic billing. Advantages of this interim system include cutting customer billing time and cost, speeding up cash flow, and improving customer service. A spokesperson for the independently formed Eclipse User Group says that because the invoices are easier to understand, payments are made more quickly.
Lane was a co-founder of Paytrust, the E-payment and bill presenting service for consumers.
Video Compression Financing Round
Scopus Network Technologies Inc., 100 Overlook Center, Third Floor, Princeton 08540. Carlo Basile, president. 609-987-8091; fax, 609-987-8095. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Www.scopususa.com
A Tel Aviv-based video compression firm received $15.5 million in venture capital in August. Scopus Network Technologies Inc. expanded its U.S. offices to establish a sales office at 100 Overlook Center, in order to be near to potential clients, broadcasters and cable operators. It offers video networking — end-to-end solutions for the broadcast, cable television, and telco industries.
"We can broadcast more video in same amount of bandwidth," says Mario Raimville, the marketing vice president. "Lots of companies are doing it, but to have a product that is deployable they need to fit size and price requirements." Among the other companies that make this encoding equipment are Motorola and Tandberg, says Raimberg, noting that sometimes these companies are competitive, sometimes complementary.
The second round of financing was led by Israel-based Genesis Partners, a leading Israeli venture capital fund, plus investment from industrial Zohar Zisapel and previous investors — Koor Corporate Venture Capital, Pitango Venture Capital, Vertex Venture Capital, Formula Ventures, and Catalyst Investment, all from Israel.
Scopus recently announced a breakthrough video network topology to address the growing needs for "on-demand" voice, data, and video services. Its latest product is Intelligent Video Network, labeled as "a technological watershed for the cable market and positions operators to rapidly offer a wide variety of `on demand’ services." Also new is a professional MPEG-2 DVB encoder, the E-1200, to help broadcasters improve picture quality and cut transmission costs.
Scopus expects a revenue increase of 50 percent this year compared to last year. Its clients include global satellite broadcasters, cable television, and telco operators such as BBC, CBS Newspath, CCTV, Deutsche Telekom, FOX News, France Telecom, GlobeCast, Korea Telecom, MultiChoice, SES GLOBAL, and others. Other offices are in San Diego, Mexico City, Mumbai, Beijing, Moscow, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo, and Tel Aviv.
Charles Biddle, 78, on November 1. He was corporate vice president at International Flavors & Fragrances.
Ruth S. Bailey, 96, on November 3. She co-owned the dry goods store that used to be at Princeton Shopping Center.