Corrections or additions?
These articles were prepared for the
May 2, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Finding Gold In Paperwork
There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip, as those
who hold restricted stock in a new company will testify. Because
restricted stock is a such a cumbersome process, you may not get the
price you want.
A handful of Princeton University alumni have set up a financial
technology platform and are trying to simplify the process of working
with restricted stock. Based in Research Park, Restricted Stock
(RSS) has closed a professional round of financing and hired a new
president, Lisa Corvese.
RSS bills its product as an integrated solution for managing
stock transactions. Restricted stock can be the private placements
issued before a company goes public, or the stock that results from
a merger, or the stock that executives receive as compensation.
From preparation through clearance, restricted stock transactions
go through an arcane and frustrating process that often takes weeks
or even months to complete, says Joe Studholme, chief technology
"The reason there is restricted stock is to help protect the
shareholders," says Studholme, "but everyone’s goal is to
make restricted stock unrestricted — to sell it, borrow against
it, or give it to charity. Everyone wants it to go through the sausage
factory and become salable. But the sausage factory is a paper
RSS wants to streamline these transactions for its clients, which
could include brokerage firms, shareholders, transfer agents, venture
capital and private equity firms, issuers of stock, wealth management
portals, application service providers in such areas as human
or accounting — even the Securities and Exchange Commission. The
RSS tools can promote good communications between an investor
department and the restricted stock shareholders.
"The process is pretty arcane and the rules are old fashioned.
We are trying to help the financial services community do a better
job in building the architecture across different parties. Our goal
is to reduce the time needed to sell stock to one day," says
"If we are successful, everyone will be happy," he says.
will get money faster and understand the options. Brokers will give
better service. Lawyers will be happy because they will spend less
time finding the information."
Early partners in the RSS system can participate in beta tests and
qualify for reduced fees. The system offers a "glass pipeline"
workflow and tracking system based on advanced data architecture.
A variety of methods can help integrate the RSS system into the
enterprise. For brokerage firms, the system can help them improve
their service to high net worth and institutional clients by improving
accountability, increasing efficiency, and decreasing costs.
Lisa Corvese, the new president, grew up in Bryn Mawr,
where her father was in marketing and sales and her mother ran an
overhead garage door company. After majoring in Slavic linguistics,
economics, and computer science at Boston College in 1981, she worked
for Reuters America and Reality Online, both in business development
jobs. Most recently she was executive vice president for a start-up,
Giving Capital Inc., an application service provider that offered
private labeled charitable wealth management programs to the financial
Gregory Besner, the co-founder and CEO of the 12-person firm, majored
in finance and English at Rutgers, has an MBA from Wharton, and
restricted stock transactions at Goldman Sachs’ Private Wealth
Group. Most recently, as vice president in the private client group
at Merrill Lynch, he and his team were managing $13 billion of
The board chairman is Richard Marin, most recently the CEO of Deutsche
Asset Management, vice chairman of BT Alex, Brown, and general partner
for B2B-Hive LLC, a New York-based venture capital fund. He has a
BA and MBA from Cornell. With him on the board are Michael Ellis of
SunGard Banking Systems, Michael Golden of the Golden Opportunities
Fund, Gary Kaminsky of Rose Glen Capital Group, Charles Stryker, the
chairman and CEO of Naviant, a supplier of precision marketing
and Jack Sunday, founder and president of Group Five Inc., an
research firm that focuses on shareholder and issuer satisfaction
in the securities industry.
Virtually all of the members of the technology team are Princeton
alumni. Studholme graduated in the Class of 1986, earned a degree
at Rutgers, and spent 10 years leading projects and Internet
in Princeton University’s Advanced Technology Group. He has also been
a vice president at New York-based Connect Systems, which does large
scale data integration and client service projects for financial
Ted Nadeau, chief technical architect, was a computer science major
at Princeton University, Class of 1986, and has been a consultant
for Prudential on the ADR class-action settlement, the project manager
for wealth management technology systems for J.C. Bradford, and chief
technology officer for CyberSites, a New York-based Internet firm.
Other alumni include Nick Karp, Class of 1985; Hugh Lynch and Vadim
Polyakov, both in the Class of 1990; David Genetti and Andrew House,
in the Class of 1997, and Todd Meierhans, Class of 2000. "That’s
a lot of tigers," says Studholme.
Princeton 08540. Lisa Corvese, president. 609-430-7400; fax,
Just because you are a subject expert doesn’t mean you
will be a good manager. Yet all too often, workers are promoted to
managers and not given appropriate training for how to hire, retain,
and fire. That fallibility is one of the more dangerous consequences
of Parkinson’s Law. "In many cases, managers are promoted but
have no experience in hiring people and managing groups and
says Michael Kalinsky of Empyrean Management Group. "They may
have had very little training if any in how to interview
Kalinsky’s company does recruiting but aims to go beyond that to
the business process related to recruiting and retention. Empyrean
is a management consulting firm focused on recruiting, retention,
and training focused on pharmaceutical, biotech, IT, and consulting
companies. It has started in incubator space at the Trenton Business
and Technology Center.
Empyrean’s onsite staff augments the client’s HR department. One
the company cites is Nycomed Amersham in the Carnegie Center. Kalinsky
says Empyrean helped staff an imaging group — > people in three
months, doing everything from recruiting to writing the offer letter.
We implement a process, teach them how to do it, and then we
says Kalinsky. "We took a hiring process that ranged from two
to three months, and we took it down to 2 1/2 weeks. We fill jobs
requiring one to two years experience all the way to director
Other companies with a similar approach are the Rosen Group in Cherry
Hill and T. Williams Consulting in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.
One of three sons of a food broker who lived in Westchester and
Kalinsky wanted to be a television reporter. He majored in speech
communications at East Stroudsburg University, Class of 1992, and
got a crash course in management as a second lieutenant in the U.S.
Army in the armored division at Fort Knox. He is married to a women
he met in college who is a lending officer at Progress Bank, and they
have a four-year-old son.
Though Kalinsky had never considered himself a liberal, he stood out
as a "freethinker" compared to others in the officer corps.
"I adapted and got what I wanted out of it. Our whole organization
is focused on core values — honor, knowledge, innovation, focus,
and community — and I got that from the military," he says.
Back in civilian life, he joined forces with a boyhood friend, Rutgers
alumnus Allen Jordan, whom he has known since they were seventh grade.
They both worked for Aerotek, one of largest contract recruiters in
the United States, and then for R.D. Rabb in Chadds Ford.
Now Kalinsky and Jordan are building a management consulting company
based on people solutions. Funding is from a family member who dipped
into retirement funds, and Kalinsky says he is on schedule to pay
back the loan.
"Recruiting is the easy part," he says. "The investigation
before we start is where we earn our money. We interview everyone
from the receptionist to the most senior person who feels the headache
of not getting people hired." The goal is to figure out what makes
the company attractive. Nycomed Amersham, for instance, valued helping
its employees develop their careers but needed help communicating
that value to potential hires.
"We interview the hiring manager, take a snapshot of the current
hiring environment — how long it takes, where are they sourcing
from, and how much are they spending," says Kalinsky. All this
information gets compared to what a company’s competition is doing
and gets put into a recruiting and retention marketing program.
Also offered are programs to train managers on how to interview
Among the admonitions:
are more likely to stay. "Drug trials take three to five years,
and you don’t want a lot of turnover."
them referring us to the next client. From making one cold call, we
have had 10 clients in less than a year," says Kalinsky. "We
don’t say we will reinvent the wheel, but we hope the clients come
to us to help themselves long term, not only to get the people but
to keep the people."
Street, Suite 12A, Trenton 08608. Michael Kalinsky. 609-695-9900;
fax, 609-695-0601. Home page: www.empyrean-group.com
27, Kingston Mall, Princeton 08540. Giovanni Procaccini, owner.
The young Procaccini brothers, owners of La Borgata Ristorante just
north of Princeton on Route 27, got into a legal battle with MGM
a future Atlantic City casino with the same name. Even though the
casino is not yet in operation, MGM had obtained global copyrights
to the name in 1992. John Procaccini says that he has been told he
could have won his case in court, partly because it is hard to
a noun, and partly because he had already started using that name.
"But they have a lot more money, and I didn’t have the money or
the time to take them to court," says Procaccini.
The new name for the Italian restaurant, featured in U.S. 1’s fall,
2000, dining guide issue, refers to an 18th century resident of the
Procaccini family’s village in Italy. "Our borgata, or village,
within the town of Petronella was the only borgata to have a princess.
The princess liked it so much that she built her own house there in
1792. So we named the restaurant La Principessa, the Italian term
for princess." He says that many of clients relate to the name
because of the movie "Life is Beautiful," in which one of
the Jewish-Italian characters falls in love with an Italian woman
and goes around saying "Buon Giorno Principessa."
Karen Wolf, president. 609-409-3300; fax, 609-409-3320. Home page:
If you are buying furniture or office equipment and are tired of
same-old, check out this new catalog. Topdeq, a German mail order
catalog business, opened at Exit 8A in January and has sent out its
first mass mailing to 75,000 businesses. It maintains a warehouse
behind its office and will fulfill orders from that location.
Topdeq sells direct to consumers, "IKEA style," with breezy,
informal descriptions and futuristic designs, often by name designers.
The catalog offers everything from trash cans to display cases. But
when Topdeq translated the parent company’s catalog, Takkt, into
it eliminated items it thought would not have appeal in the U.S.
Catalog items range from an Alessi Bauhaus ashtray for $66, a serving
cart (considered worthy of display at the Museum of Modern Art) for
$89, a space-age coat and umbrella stand for $148, a teeter-totter
seesaw workseat for $369, a "playfully elegant" trestle table
with glass top for $420, and a workstation that can shift from side
to side to accommodate different tasks for $1,099.
One cut-rate gem in the current catalog, touted on the cover, will
give architect Michael Graves’ Nassau Street studio store a little
competition. Topdeq is selling Graves’ Alessi-designed tea set —
the one with the whistling bird spout, not the Target store model
— for $343 plus shipping, reduced from $381. It includes teapot,
sugar bowl, spoon, creamer, and serving tray. The kettle alone is
$101, down from $112.
Topdeq’s new neighbor at 3 Security Drive in Cranbury Business Park
will be the record storage and data management company Sequedex LLC.
Brunswick 08901. Graham Lustig, artistic director. 732-249-1254; fax,
732-249-8475. Home page: www.arballet.org.
The new executive director is Jeffrey A. Kesper, who comes to the
dance company from the Southern Arts Federation in Atlanta, a regional
organization serving nine states. A Rutgers alumnus and a North
resident, he had been executive director of the New Jersey State
on the Arts from 1983 to 1990, a time when dance flourished in the
He has also been the head of the Middlesex County Cultural and
Commission and a librarian in north Jersey. ARB, the resident dance
company of New Brunswick Cultural Center, is a national touring
associated with not-for-profit Princeton Ballet School.
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