Empyrean: HR Outsourcing

Name Changes

New in Town

Management Moves

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


of RSS.

"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

services industries,

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.

Restricted Stock Systems Inc., 412 Wall Street,

Princeton 08540. Lisa Corvese, president. 609-430-7400; fax,


Top Of Page
Empyrean: HR Outsourcing

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:

Be very detail oriented — do not leave any stone


Ensure that the interview process runs as smoothly as


Spend a little more time up front with a new hire, so they

are more likely to stay. "Drug trials take three to five years,

and you don’t want a lot of turnover."

Most important, treat any candidate as a potential client.

"Our biggest concern is that we walk away from clients with

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."

Empyrean Management Group Inc., 36 South Broad

Street, Suite 12A, Trenton 08608. Michael Kalinsky. 609-695-9900;

fax, 609-695-0601. Home page: www.empyrean-group.com

Top Of Page
Name Changes

La Principessa Ristorante and Pizzeria, 4437 Route

27, Kingston Mall, Princeton 08540. Giovanni Procaccini, owner.


fax, 609-921-9363.

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."

Top Of Page
New in Town

Topdeq, 3 Security Drive, Suite 303, Cranbury


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.

Top Of Page
Management Moves

American Repertory Ballet, 80 Albany Street, New

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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