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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the September 17, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
Freon used to be one of the country’s major disposal
problem, but laws were passed in 1992 to make it illegal to
flush out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from a refrigerator, and now
everyone knows what to do.
Computer equipment is the current disposal dilemma. An estimated 215
million computers will be discarded over the next three years, each
containing from two to eight pounds of lead that will end up in the
waste stream — unless individuals and corporations recycle their
computers or have them cleansed of toxic materials before disposal.
For almost five years a struggling nonprofit, Trenton Materials
has been trying to recycle and cleanse Central New Jersey’s electronic
extras (see following story). Founded in 1998 by Carol Royal, the
nonprofit takes donations of electronic equipment, office furniture,
medical equipment, and building supplies and makes them available
to the public for only the handling fees. It had been self supporting,
in part thanks to a benevolent landlord, but under a new landlord,
the rent has been raised. The current co-directors, Geri LaPlaca and
Cheri Stewart, are hoping to get government funding and private grants
to get the money needed to make their move.
Meanwhile a much bigger company, a public firm called WindsorTech,
has opened at Lake Drive in Hightstown with a similar purpose —
equipment recycling and remarketing, as well as data security.
does on a big scale part of what Trenton Materials Exchange does on
a small scale. Whereas Trenton Materials Exchange employs volunteers
to strip computers of data and programs before they are resold,
does this on an assembly line.
Five partners chipped in a total of $900,000 to start WindsorTech,
among them the 41-year-old CEO Marc Sherman. His parents had a scrap
metals company in Trenton, and he went to the proverbial school of
hard knocks. He had worked for a company similar to WindsorTech, but
— in a situation similar to Greg Lazzaro’s and Stephen Cooper’s
(page 43) — the parent company closed it down. He established
the company in Hightstown to be near potential clients and to the
ports, and he commutes from Palm Beach.
The company’s very ambitious plans include taking over the field.
"We would love to roll up the industry," says Robert Jackson,
vice president of investor relations. "like Waste Management
the waste business in the 1990s. We think with the business model
we have, the infrastructure we have built, and our collective
with mergers and acquisitions, we have a great chance of consolidating
the data security and environmental compliance industry."
Last year Sherman and WindsorTech partner David Loppert engineered
a reverse buyout with a public firm, Delta States Oil. For weeks
has been saying the SEC permission will come "any day now"
to trade on Nasdaq’s over the counter bulletin board. But Jackson
is still waiting. The marketmaker in this stock is going to be
an Idaho-based firm that has worked with Jackson on similar reverse
Why does WindsorTech need to be a public company? Because it is
such sensitive information. WindsorTech’s service is to scrub the
hard drives and provide an airtight environmental audit trail, so
that, down the road, corporations will not be held liable for what
happens to that computer. Being a public company, says CEO Sherman,
will add an extra shine to the impeccable reputation that Windsor
WindsorTech’s audit report and certificate of disposition includes
function, condition, configuration, fair market value of sold or
items, and whether sold to international market place whole or in
parts. Cost per computer, including keyboard, mouse, monitor, and
That’s not a lot of money, so for Windsor Tech to make money, it must
work at high volume. Eight computers on a pallet get loaded onto a
conveyor system, and cables are plugged into each parallel port. The
software kicks in and gathers data on the manufacturer, serial number
processor speed, memory available, network cards, CD-Rom, CD-rewrite,
and so in. That information is processed as a batch as pallets move
along and are put into racks for resale. "We have redundant record
keeping, with the data maintained at our facility and sent back to
the corporation," says Jackson.
Equipment that doesn’t work and is broken down takes a different audit
trail. WindsorTech pays WasteManagement 45 cents a pound, or about
$10 per monitor, to separate out toxic materials and send them to
a special landfill.
Most of the computers are sold either whole or as parts to developing
nations, less tech savvy than the United States. WindsorTech either
gets a commission as the middleman or accepts the computers for
to a charity.
"Fortune 500 companies are more concerned that the equipment is
free of any sensitive data and removed from service in a proper
from an environmental standpoint than about getting money back for
the computers," says Jackson.
In the newest program, Charitable Technology Exchange, WindsorTech
takes donated PCs, cleanses them, and sells them. The donor gets the
tax benefit and the audit trail, and the charity gets the cash.
Most of WindsorTech’s personnel, including founding
partners Ed Cummings, Carl Saracino, and Mike Sheerr, had worked for
Intellisale, a remarketer of excess and off-lease computer equipment
in North Jersey, or its parent company, Palm Beach-based Applied
After ADS closed Intellisale down to focus on life sciences businesses
and digital tracking, Marc Sherman took six months off to assess what
went well and what did not go well, and he started fresh.
Intellisale had gotten into selling computers to retail clients on
the Internet, but Sherman chose to concentrate instead on data
and environmental compliance. He leased the warehouse on Lake Drive
in October, 2001, and now 15 to 20 of the 27 employees work there.
The remainder work from Florida.
At its peak the warehouse will be able to process 30,000 computers
a month, but its automated system came online only at the end of last
year, and it is working nowhere near capacity now. In fact,
has just two corporate asset management contracts, one with Lockheed,
another with a northeast-based energy company.
Can one’s conscience be clear when old computers are made ready to
send to eastern Europe or Africa? Not quite. People there may not
care about green recycling.
It’s an "end of life" issue. "In the United States, we
probably began worrying about this only 10 years ago. and our
was vastly advanced from what the developing nations have now,"
says Jackson. "The fine line we try to walk is between
the worldwide environment and allowing developing nations access to
the technology they would otherwise not be able to afford."
— Barbara Fox
Marc Sherman, CEO. 609-426-4666; fax, 609-426-4543.
Trenton Materials Exchange operates a year-round
drop-off and refurbishing program. In conjunction with the Mercer
County Improvement Authority, it is collecting computers this
September 20, at Bakers Basin. A similar collection last Saturday
in Princeton brought an unexpectedly large response — two
totaling 20,000 pounds.
Working computer systems are refurbished and distributed at no cost
to children, people with disabilities, and older adults of limited
means. Very dated and broken equipment is sent to a licensed
for recycling in an environmentally appropriate, safe manner.
The organization’s lease is supposed to expire on September 30, and
it is looking for funds to move.
Box 693, Trenton 08604-0693. Geri LaPlaca, co-director. 609-278-0033;
fax, 609-278-4900. Www.tmex.org
After almost four years in a corner store at Princeton
Shopping Center, the site of the former Clancy Paul store, Radhey
Gupta moved his four-person computer business, OM Solutions, to
Park. The space is the same, 1,100 square feet, but the new space
is more efficiently configured, and many of his customers are in
OM Solutions is an authorized dealer for Dell, IBM, and Hewlett
computers, Kingston memory, ViewSonic monitors, and SonicWall
The advantage in ordering through the store rather than from the
is that OM Solution unpacks the box, checks your purchase to be sure
it is working, and custom configures it. If you want Adobe and virus
scanner on your harddrive, OM buys them and installs them.
"We have more than 2,000 customers," says Gupta, who is proud
of the service he offers, "and we have lower overhead. We match
all big store prices, and we also do home setup and delivery."
OM sells printers, servers, scanners, fax machines, and PDS systems
and all supplies. It offers hourly and monthly service contracts,
inhouse and onsite repair, data recovery, network installation,
and web design/hosting. One on one training costs $89 an hour.
Gupta graduated from Delhi University, Class of 1977, and went to
Monmouth College for a master’s in computer science. Until four years
ago he was an IBM project manager for software development in West
Orange, and he took over the computer store business, buying it from
Clancy Paul and changing the name, when he was 43. His daughter is
a recent graduate of New York University’s business program, and his
son is studying to be a biomedical engineer at Johns Hopkins.
Gupta’s mantra: to have no hidden costs to surprise customers. And
OM is "green-minded." When it replaces a customer’s computers,
it offers to take the discards to be recycled at Trenton Materials
Radhey Gupta, owner. 609-683-0060; fax, 609-683-0071. Home page:
Just two years after Surendra Chaturvedi, right, moved
from Kansas to Princeton to work at Orchid Biosciences, the company
downsized and he lost his job. So he started his own company, Primesyn
Lab Inc., and he moved to 515 square feet at Princeton Corporate Plaza
this past spring.
"Changing from being a scientist to being an entrepreneur —
managing the lab, looking for the market, talking to the customers,
bringing everything together — is a challenge," Chaturvedi
What helped was growing up in Mumbai, India, where his father had
real estate and apparel manufacturing businesses. "I have a
gene in my blood," he says. "And I have had business courses
in the past, so I know how to manage a project."
Thanks to the alternative program offered by the state unemployment
office, he has also been able to take courses in accounting and
at Mercer County Community College. Available to unemployed people
who want to be entrepreneurs, these courses are an approved
to pounding the pavement.
Chaturvedi graduated from Bombay University, Class of 1979, earned
his PhD from the University of Oklahoma, and did post doc studies
at Northwestern with Robert Letsinger, known as "the father of
the gene machine." He worked at a contract chemical manufacturing
company in Kansas and at Applied Biosystems in the Bay Area of
before coming to Orchid in 2000.
His two-person company is a specialized lab to make difficult and
unusual DNA for diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies. Among his
clients are Orchid Diagnostics in Stamford, Connecticut, and he is
working on a collaborative grant-funded project with a researcher
at Cornell. His wife, Kalpana, works for Janssen Pharmaceuticals,
and they have two children in the Princeton schools.
Corporate Plaza, Suite H, Monmouth Junction 08852. Surendra
owner. 877-774-6303; fax, 732-274-0907. Www.primesyn.com.
Princeton Junction 08550. 609-716-8500; fax, 609-716-8686.
Cody Eckert designed the East Windsor Senior Center
that will be dedicated on Sunday, September 21, at 2 p.m. on Lanning
Boulevard. Presbyterian Homes of New Jersey donated three acres on
Lanning Boulevard for the center, and the $1.8 million cost was paid
for by grants and donations. Uliano Construction did the building,
and Warren Buonanno was the project architect. Eckert’s firm also
designed the county veterans’ home being constructed on the grounds
of the Mercer County Geriatric Center.
East Windsor’s new 10,825 square feet has a large multi-purpose room
with a recessed stage and adjoining kitchen; it leads out to a deck
with table and chairs. Also included are rooms for computers, arts
and crafts, games, reading, health screening, and a television lounge.
"We’re known for our ability to use color in an analytical
says Eckert. She points out that colors in each room were selected
for their psychological effect, to enhance the activity.
Much thought was given to how the multipurpose room would function."It
is centrally located and has a good-size lobby so that large groups
can mill about on their way to various functions," says Buonanno.
"We used changes in ceiling heights to add interest to a one-story
The lighting feels soft and comfortable but provides high levels of
illumination for senior citizens who may have vision problems."
Street, CN 5297, Princeton 08543-5297. Robert A. Davies III, chairman
and CEO. 609-683-5900; fax, 609-497-7177. Home page:
Church & Dwight will soon own more toothpaste. It has bought the oral
care brands of Unilever in the United States and Canada for $104
in cash plus additional payments based on performance. Church &
Lakewood plant will manufacture the acquired toothpaste brands.
Included in the sale are Pepsodent and Aim (positioned as
brands), and the Mentadent brand of toothpaste and toothbrushes
as "serious" tooth care, plus exclusive licensing rights to
Close-Up toothpaste. These brands brought $61 million for the first
six months of the year. The deal is expected to close by the end of
The deal would triple the company’s unit sales and more than double
dollar sales within the U.S. oral care sector, says Robert A. Davies,
Princeton 08542. 609-252-1230; fax, 609-252-1240.
Drury Capital, an asset management firm, has established an office
at 47 Hulfish Street.
08542. Adam Ash, president. 609-921-0222; fax, 609-921-0292.
White Hound Advertising has left its offices at 234 Nassau Street.
Adam Ash, the agency’s president, says his shop is still in business,
but declines to provide a new address.
Windsor Corporate Park, Suite 110, Cranbury 08512. Glenn Kapuscienski,
general manager. 609-918-9400; fax, 609-918-9411. Home page:
Adding to its current 4,446 square feet, Liberty Communications
signed a five-year lease for an additional 3,022 square feet at
Corporate Park. The firm, a Cardinal Health Company, was represented
by Thomas Romano of Buschman Partners, while Sab Russo and Matt
of CB Richard Ellis represented the owners, GMH Capital Partners.
Suite 3100, CN 5308, Princeton 08543-5308. Michael Becker, president
and CEO. 609-750-8200; fax, 609-452-2476. Home page:
Last week Cytogen sold its right to collect royalties on a treatment
for ovarian cancer to a British firm, Antisoma, for $500,000. Earlier,
it appointed Christopher P. Schnittker as the new chief financial
officer, president, replacing Lawrence R. Hoffman, who resigned in
December. Schnittker is a certified public accountant who most
had been CFO of Genaera (formerly Magainin Pharmaceuticals).
professor at the College of New Jersey, he helped found the Trenton
LPN and hospice nurse at Princeton Medical Center and a charge nurse
at Applegarth Nursing Home.
who helped develop the first touch screen, he worked at AT&T Bell
Labs and Lucent Technologies.
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