Scaling Back, But Living the Dream: Richard Speedy

Old Potato Barn Now an Office Park

Scriplogix Sells With High Tech

Also Here: Fortuna

Expansion at ETS

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the July 23, 2003

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Gear 3 Technologies Challenges DSL

Bill Mavracic’s face lights up when he talks about

lighting

up a building. As a partner with Gear 3 Technologies LLC, he offers

high speed broadband Internet access plus other services to office

parks. The company occupies some of QLM’s former space in Research

Park and has five full-time and three part-time employees.

Targeting the small to medium-sized businesses that can get lost in

the shuffle by big telecoms, Gear 3 sells segments of the fiber line

to the tenants of a building or park. For instance, Mavracic says

that 80 percent of his neighbors at Research Park are Gear 3 clients.

Other client parks and buildings are Montgomery Knoll, 600 Alexander,

20 Nassau Street, and the Needleman building in Cherry Hill. "We

light up new parks every other week," says Mavracic. Soon

Branchburg

Commons will be added to that list.

Using bandwidth from such providers as AT&T, Verizon, and

Intellispace,

Gear3 provides ethernet and brings in T-1 and fiber lines, most of

them underground, and its clients divide or share the service.

Mavracic

believes this service is less expensive than and superior to DSL

copper

wiring, which is usually on a pole. "We provide T-1 fiberoptic

type access at a cable price. On a T-1 line, all our speeds are

symmetric,

whereas DSL has different speeds in uploads and downloads, and by

distance."

DSL-enabled buildings, in fact, are among his target customers.

"We

are always interested in parks with DSL, because with our technology

and service you get so much more. As long as it makes business sense,

we would have fiber run to your park."

The Internet access can be accompanied by web hosting and E-mail (for

from $8 to $159). With Gear 3’s Express Net product, a shared service,

Internet for one computer is $69, 12 workstations are $350, and

30-plus

workstations are $500. "But the access is at much higher speeds,

768k and above." Gear3 can also split off a dedicated bandwidth

for a larger company.

Mavracic compares that to dial up service: AOL’s unlimited access

dialup is $23.90 per month, then you pay $18 for the phone line. If

it is a business, the phone line will incur message units. For regular

surfing and E-mail, therefore, add about $17 more for a total of $59.

He compares that to $69 for high speed T-1 quality Internet service.

"The service comes with some free E-mail addresses, plus it’s

not DSL or cable, and has 99 percent reliability." Mavracic has

a grim picture of the DSL service policy. "In a blackout, the

first thing the phone company will do is establish the T-1 lines.

The last thing they do is establish DSL."

The partners — Mavracic, Mike LaMastro, and Pat LaMastro —

each have a dozen years technical experience, and the company can

provide technical services for both the Mac and the PC.

Bill Mavracic (accent on the second syllable) grew up in Feasterville,

where his father was an engineer, and majored in communications at

Temple University, Class of 1992. He worked at Kinko’s as computer

services manager and then in Manhattan as an IT manager before

starting

a home-based business, MacHeadz, doing IT for ad agencies. He and

his wife, who works for a mortgage company, have two preschool

daughters.

The LaMastro brothers grew up in Manville, where their father was

an automobile service manager. Pat went to Metropolitan Technical

Institute in Fairfield and worked as IT manager for the school board

in Watchung.

Mike went to Kean University for two years but graduated from an Ohio

school, the Recording Workshop, known for audio engineering. He

finished

first in his class and nabbed an internship at a big national

facility,

the Sound Track Group. Then he worked at the studio of the group Bon

Jovi and was assistant engineer for the Live From London CD, issued

in 1995. Now married (his wife works for a pharmaceutical firm), Mike

runs the financial end of the business and produces his own band’s

albums as well as some others.

"I was fresh out of school and working for less than I could

afford

but I had backing from my family," says Mike. "Then I had

to go out and get a higher paying job. It ended up taking me to

Waltron

Ltd. in Whitehouse, where I worked on computers for water analyzers.

At the time my brother Pat was an IT director, and occasionally he

would bring me along for outside jobs. One day he said we could do

this on our own. We quit our jobs and started PC Services in 1998

in our house in Manville."

MacHeadz merged with LaMastro PC Services, changed the company’s names

to Gear 3 Technologies, and the partners designed their own logo.

Their attorneys are Nee, Beacham, Gantner in Hillsborough, and they

have an accountant from H&R Block.

Here’s how to tell what your Internet speed is, says Mavracic. Check

your contract. If it is less than 768k you might want high speed

broadband.

"Property managers can definitely benefit from the services we

offer," says Mavracic.

Gear 3 Technologies LLC, 470 Wall Street, Research

Park, Princeton 08540. Bill Mavracic, CEO. 609-252-1155; fax,

609-252-9660.

Home page: www.gear3.com

Top Of Page
Scaling Back, But Living the Dream: Richard Speedy

Richard Speedy’s first business location could not have

been more humble — a garage with no plumbing and no phone behind

Andy’s Tavern on Alexander Street. Then he and his partner, Toby

Richards,

moved their commercial corporate photography studio to an old stone

barn at the corner of Sherbrooke Drive, across from the Acme Shopping

Center in Princeton Junction. Now he has moved to a home studio, a

converted factory building, in Hopewell and has a new phone, fax,

and web page. He saves on rent, and this gives him time to pursue

his passion — photographing the mountains and people of Mexico.

"Many of our projects are location projects and we didn’t need

the big facility," says Speedy, telling why he decided to

downsize.

"And we had zero walk-in business."

The move did, unfortunately, eliminate the convenience of being close

to the train station. "We hire models, makeup people, photographic

assistants, artists, background painters, and many of those people

live in New York City," he says. "They didn’t walk, we just

picked them up. We still pick them up, but it’s a little more of a

ride now." But no matter how many taxi fares he has to pay, it’s

still less than the rent. "A whole lot less," says Speedy.

He and his partner, Toby Richards, are hired by advertising agencies,

design firms, and corporate communications departments to shoot ad

campaigns and annual reports. Clients tend to be pharmaceutical, high

tech, and financial companies. Richards shoots most of the annual

reports and Speedy focuses on the ads, and about half their work is

digital. Their only staff member is an offsite bookkeeper, and they

hire a host of freelancers, sometimes for a period of several months.

"There is a good network of talented people around here and we

try to help each other out these days," says Speedy.

Speedy grew up in Princeton, where his father wrote manuals and did

fundraising for the Boy Scouts of America headquarters. (At age 93,

his father just published a memoir, "Coming of Age at 90.")

After graduating from Princeton High, Speedy spent a year a college

in Ohio, then took photography courses in Manhattan, which led him

to Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California. After graduating

in 1972 he worked as a photographer’s assistant in Manhattan. In 1980

he encountered his future partner at an exhibit in the gallery at

Bristol-Myers Squibb. The two photographers were standing side by

side, admiring each other’s photos, and then they introduced

themselves.

They opened a studio later that year.

Since they had zero clients, the going was hard. "We had a garage

behind Andy’s Tavern (now Soonja’s). We had no plumbing and no phone

for nine months. Our clients would have to go to the tavern to use

the facilities. And I would go to the tavern and sit at the bar and

make sales calls. When we found our clients in high-heeled shoes

wading

through the mud we realized we needed to move." After six years

in the garage, the studio moved to the barn in 1986.

Speedy is passionate about his personal photography project —

creating his own treasures of the Sierra Madres. He rides or hikes

into the mountains of northern Mexico four times a year to photograph

the landscape and the culture of the Tara Humara Indians. On one of

these trips he met his future wife, Mara, and they have an

eight-year-old

son.

"It’s very exciting, very fulfilling," says Speedy. "The

beauty of having a low overhead and a minimal staff is that it gives

me more time to work on personal projects. They may not create a huge

source of revenue, but they feed the artistic side and get me up in

the morning. And that’s why I got into photography in the first place.

After all these years I am living that dream."

Richards and Speedy Studio, 53 Railroad Drive,

Hopewell 08525. Richard Speedy. 609-466-9669; fax, 609-333-0359. Home

page: www.richardspeedy.com

Top Of Page
Old Potato Barn Now an Office Park

It’s an atypical building for offices — a

150-year-old

stone barn across the street from a shopping center. Once it was used

to dry potatoes on the Dey Farm. Then, for 17 years, it was occupied

by Richards and Speedy photography studio. An addition was added in

1986, and it is currently divided into five tenant spaces. It is

leased

by Charles P. Kaempffer of the Freehold-based KMK Realty Group, the

leasing agent for offices in Twin Rivers and nine other properties

(732-625-1055; fax, 732-625-1060).

Early tenants are Mr. Handyman (609-799-2346), which moved into 600

square feet two months ago, and Stein Construction, which has 2,400

square feet. Three spaces ranging from 1,000 to 2,200 feet remain.

Stein Construction, 61 Princeton Hightstown Road,

CDNJ Plaza, Princeton Junction 08550. Scott Stein, owner.

609-799-7977;

fax, 609-799-7743. Home page: www.stein-services.com

Stein Construction does construction management and general

contracting

for commercial buildings. Scott Stein, the founder, has an economics

degree from University of South Florida. In 1992 the firm was known

as Interior Renovation and did corporate interiors.

It merged with a drywall company and became known as Interior

Contracting

Corporation, but it has been operating under the Stein name for about

18 months. The firm moved from North Brunswick to the barn two months

ago. "Now we do both — corporate interiors, retail or office

— and we also do some ground up work," says Elaine Stein,

Scott’s sister. Recent clients include a 6,000 square foot jewelry

store in Manalapan and a retail strip in Marlboro.

Top Of Page
Scriplogix Sells With High Tech

Vasant Kumar Ramaswamy sees the need to market

pharmaceuticals

using both old and new methods. "The most effective is

belly-to-belly

selling," he says. "Many companies try to replace that with

technology, but we use technology to enhance the face-to-face

time."

Aiming to use technologies that are intuitive, he suggests that even

the stethoscope might be developed into a tool for communication.

Ramaswamy founded Scriplogix simultaneously in New Jersey and New

Delhi two years ago. He has moved eight employees into 2,400 square

feet at 300 Alexander Park (the Hillier "treehouse"), and

he has 17 employees in India. (Scriplogix shares the space with

Fortuna

Technologies, see story below).

"We keep the quality of experience high. If we have to choose

between experience and functionality, we always choose experience,

so patients and doctors walk will away saying `that was easy, that

was cool.’"

"First we show the sales force that our tablet PC will not replace

them. Then we help them manage the attention of the physician with

a few taps on the screen, and we show the physician that the tablet

PC makes him look better with the patients."

For example, his company prepares an animated sequence on an ear

problem.

Tapping the screen elicits a sequence illustrating the problem and

showing how to administer the medication. Then the doctor gives the

parent and child a CD to play at home and link to WebMD. "We make

it fun and games, so the children learn," he says. "One device

will not cut it. It has to be a combination of online and

offline."

Ramaswamy says he is in the business of attention management, managing

the attention of physicians and patients, and he offers product

marketing

strategies, economic models, and working hardware and software

products

for life sciences companies.

"Our `go to market strategy’ is that we help you weave in creative

strategies in marketing and patient communication to alter the average

impact," says Ramaswamy. "We say to the physicians, here are

ways to communicate with patients and here are some technology

enhancements

to make compliance better." His goal: to build a patient and

physician

relationship, moving from technology to nontechnology to technology

again.

Ramaswamy, 40, is married to an art curator and writer, and they have

a school-aged son. The son of a business executive, Ramaswamy majored

in mathematics and economics at the University of Madras, is a

certified

accountant, and has a business degree from Delhi University. Most

recently he was vice president of strategy and CIO for Ranbaxy

Pharmaceuticals

Inc., which has its headquarters in New Delhi but has a U.S. branch

at 600 College Road.

Ramaswamy’s previous job as an economist for the World Bank in New

Delhi and Washington gave him a good perspective on what he calls

the "economics of information." "That was macro economic

policy. At Ranbaxy, I practiced translating some of those concepts

to an India-based company that was going global," he says.

"Then

I realized if I took the idea of economics of information, and applied

it to life sciences, using technology to do so, we had a proposition

that was valuable."

Ranbaxy Pharmaceutical’s vice president of business development, Chuck

Caprariello, says that Ramaswamy played a pivotal role in the

strategic

planning for Ranbaxy. "He was instrumental in identifying SAP

as the system that would bring the global regions together to

communicate

with one software tool. He coordinated the implementation of the

entire

operation from beginning to end, and this allowed us to be competitive

in the global marketplace. He is very highly regarded in our

organization."

Ramaswamy will use his company’s location in India to do some work

less expensively, but he is careful to say that only part of the work

— the repeatable part, not the creative part — will go there.

For instance, he will create a program for acne that works for

teenagers

and doctors in the United States and then adapt that for repeatable

deliveries in other countries. "After crafting the strategies

to understand the market here, then a piece of it can be translated

at lower cost."

Scriplogix LLC, 300 Alexander Park, Suite 201,

Princeton 08543. Vasant Kumar Ramaswamy, CEO. 609-806-3200; fax,

609-806-3500.

Www.scriplogix.com

Top Of Page
Also Here: Fortuna

Vasant Ramaswamy has another company under his wing,

a business and technology computer consulting firm named Fortuna

Technologies.

He has been with the company for two years. Fortuna and Scriplogix

have eight employees each, and they share 2,400 square feet at

Alexander

Park.

"It has been a Silicon Valley company, and I saw there were

synergies

between the two," says Ramaswamy. "They had no particular

expertise in life sciences and were interested in someone who could

help them grow. I opened the office on the east coast.

The 10-year-old firm has 200 employees in the U.S. and 50 employees

in India, Europe, and Malaysia.

Fortuna Technologies Inc., 300 Alexander Park,

Suite 201, Princeton 08540. Ravi Suri, business development manager.

609-419-0532; fax, 609-419-0162. Home page: www.fortuna.com

Top Of Page
Expansion at ETS

As he vowed to do last year, Kurt Landgraf, the CEO

of Educational Testing Service, has started his expansion program

at the Rosedale Road campus (U.S. 1, November 13, 2002). Plans

submitted

to the Lawrence planning board call for an additional 800 employees

to be added to the current 1,650 workers on this campus. To be

demolished:

the two-story Conant Hall, the cafeteria, and the library, Brigham

Hall. To be built: three buildings and a five-level parking garage.

If the plans are approved, two of the buildings and the garage could

be built by 2005.

In an interview last year Landgraf spoke of his plans for a $100

million

capital expansion program and noted how expensive it would be to

retrofit

the 1950s buildings for energy efficiency. "It’s not like we are

working in a hovel, but the best way to rehabilitate these buildings

is to put new ones up," he said then. "And they are not

conducive

to an interactive work space."

Educational Testing Service, Rosedale Road,

Princeton

08541. Kurt F. Landgraf, president. 609-921-9000; fax, 609-734-5410.

Home page: www.ets.org


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