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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the February 11, 2004 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
Yet another airline is leaving Mercer County’s Trenton/Mercer Airport. Shuttle America will stop its service from Trenton to a Boston suburb at the end of April. The airport will continue to serve a healthy corporate jet business, but this defection throws a wrench into the county’s renovation plans.
Shuttle America is an independent affiliate of US Airways, which has opted to increase its presence in Pittsburgh. To respond to the larger airline’s request, says Shuttle America president Scott Durgin, his company is closing flights from a total of five airports. Shuttle America, which narrowly avoided bankruptcy several years ago, used to also fly from Trenton to Florida via Greensboro, and to Buffalo.
Shuttle America’s four daily flights to Hanscomb Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, cost from $208 roundtrip on weekends, to $240 to $308 roundtrip bought in advance, to $284 or $324 one-way for a last-minute reservation. Ronson Aviation continues to operate a charter, cargo, and service business at the airport.
Meanwhile Southwest Airlines — once a candidate for occupying Trenton’s airport — is moving into the Philadelphia market. In other markets to which Southwest has moved, fares dropped dramatically.
Trenton-Mercer has been left at the altar — or should we say has been to divorce court — numerous times. Starting in 1983 its commercial carriers have included United, Allegheny, Holiday Airlines, Piedmont, a subsidiary of USAir, Colgan Air, and Eastwind. Destination cities have included Newark, Baltimore, Greensboro, Rochester, Boston, and Pittsburgh.
The latest dropout, Shuttle America, says Morten Beyer, a consultant at Virginia-based Morton Beyer & Agnew Inc. (mba-consulting.com), was in trouble from the beginning for three reasons: It operated turboprop airplanes, didn’t have sufficient capitalization, and didn’t offer a commanding presence. “People tend to avoid smaller unknown airlines, the upstarts always have trouble getting off the ground,” he says.
Beyer has had his own rueful experience with the Trenton-Mercer Airport because he was on the board of the now-defunct Eastwind Airlines. He hastens to say that this company did not go bankrupt, and that the owner paid all the bills.
His prescription for the airport: “Get a rich airline. Get someone to come in there with adequate funds so they could provide decent service to the city.”
Beyer’s best guess for which airline might come: Jet Blue, which he says is buying 100 90-seat airplanes (a good size for Trenton) from Brazil. “They have not enunciated what they are going to do with all these airplanes. Trenton should put Jet Blue on their list.”
His second choice is Atlantic Coast Airlines, out of Dulles International Airport, for similar reasons. “They have canceled their arrangement with United, formed Independence Air, are buying a bunch of new airplanes, and are trying to figure out what to do next.”
It’s not out of the question for Southwest Airlines to eventually come to Mercer. Impatient with delays, Southwest cut short a faltering courtship with Mercer County several years ago, but by this spring it will be ensconced at Philadelphia Airport and, eventually, Philadelphia is going to run out of airspace, says Beyer. In the meantime, expect Philly fares to drop. “Wherever Southwest goes, it imposes its fare structure, and it doesn’t give a damn what it does to anyone else. They make a success out of whatever they do.”
Newark is almost maxed out, and Philadelphia is close to it. New runways and terminals would take 10 to 20 years to get built. “If air travel is going to grow, it will have to grow in the smaller airports,” Beyer says.
But air travel has been contracting, not growing, since 9/11, and the short hauls (under 500 miles) have dropped by one-third, in comparison to the cross country trips, which dropped just five percent. What with security hassles and delays, travelers prefer turnpikes and Amtrak for short trips. “It almost reached saturation four years ago, but it’s not coming back very fast,” says Beyer. “Based on normal return, within five years a lot of smaller airports will have opportunities.”
Beyer, an old airline hand, says his father wrote the Railway Labor Act that governs the airlines today and was chairman of the national mediation board. An alumnus of Swarthmore, Class of 1943, he has been in love with airplanes all his life. Rejected for service in World War II, he worked for Pan Am, learning from the ground up. He ran Capital International Airlines (a charter company), Modern Air Transport, Grand Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Alitair in Philadelphia. In the interim periods he consulted.
His first prescription for Trenton’s airport, to find a rich person to start an airline, isn’t totally impossible. That’s because, he says, the airline business is like a religion. “Once you are in it,” he says, “you can never go out. It is also sort of like a disease. It gets hold of you and you always want to be flying in an airplane, buying an airplane, or owning an airplane.”
And Trenton/Mercer would be a good place to start.
“You want to start someplace where you don’t get crushed by the competition, where advertising does not cost $10,000 a page. A couple of million people live closer to Trenton than Philadelphia, and you have a nice clean airport without long taxi times and air traffic delays.”
Shuttle America, Trenton Mercer Airport, West Trenton 08628. 888-999-3273. Home page: www.shuttleamerica.com
Anne M. Van Lent was featured in U.S. 1’s Women in Business issue in 1999 when she was working for the Sarnoff Corporation. Now she is chief financial officer at Barrier Therapeutics, and last week she filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to take the company public on Nasdaq. The College Road-based pharmaceutical could raise up to $86.25 million in a sale of common stock. The symbol will be BTRX.
Nothing in the SEC filing indicates how many shares will be issued, what they will cost, and when the IPO will take place.
Founded in 2001, the company develops and markets dermatological products based on intellectual property licensed from Johnson & Johnson affiliates. Eight of its products are going through clinical development, and four of them are in or ready to enter Phase III. They are for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis, Candida-associated diaper dermatitis, fungal infections (including vaginal candidiasis and tinea pedis), and congenital ichthyosis. Other therapies are for the treatment of acne, psoriasis, fungal infections, allergies, and dermatitis.
“Our philosophy is to focus on dermatological prescription drugs that have a distinct advantage to what is on the market,” said CEO Geert Cauwenbergh in an earlier interview.
So far the company has raised more than $77 million by issuing various forms of preferred stock. As of September 30, 2003, the company had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaling $27.8 million and working capital of $26.8 million. Morgan Stanley is the lead manager, and Banc of America Securities and J.P. Morgan Securities are co-managers.
Barrier Therapeutics Inc. (BTRX), 600 College Road East, Princeton 08540. Geert Cauwenbergh, CEO. 609-375-2200; fax, 609-375-2660. Home page: www.barriertherapeutics.com
When Jim Nawn opened the flagship store for his Panera Bread franchise on Nassau Street, he claimed he would soon have 39 more cafes in central and north Jersey. Now he is up to 23, adding nine last year and five this year, including one on Route 130 at Hamilton Marketplace.
“That was the plan and we are on plan,” says Nawn. “Forty was the number, and I expect that number to be higher.”
Last week Nawn moved his corporate offices from 1,600 square feet at the Nassau Street store to 3,400 feet at 600 Alexander Park. In addition to 1,200 bakery workers, he has eight managers in the field, five full-time employees in this office, and is hiring an additional bookkeeper, a receptionist, and an entry level marketing manager.
With 600 bakery cafes nationwide, Panera Bread now figures on building one cafe for every 100,000 people. But Nawn and the other franchisees think it should be one for every 75,000 people. Because Nawn has the franchise rights for a population area of 5 million, the revised new formula would raise his total from 40 to 50 or 60 stores. A Long island brokerage, Ripco, is in charge of finding the new locations.
Anyway, he says, population matters less than trade areas and traffic patterns. “Nassau Park is distinct from downtown Princeton which is distinct from Forrestal Village,” says Nawn, adding that he would consider a Panera for the Village only if it developed a better opportunity for weekend and evening business.
Like Starbucks and Au Bon Pain, Panera falls into the category of “quick casual” and aims to combine speed of service, quality of food, and comfort of environment. “We are testing free WiFi access in our bakery cafe in Princeton and plan to roll it out everywhere,” says Nawn, “and we are the first restaurant concept to give that at no charge.”
The idea of WiFi on Nassau Street is a touch ironic, considering that Panera Bread occupies the same space as the ill-fated Verdge/Totally Wired cafe, which came and went in 1996-’97. “Verdge was a little before its time,” says Nawn.
Nawn hopes to reconfigure the 1,600 square feet at the Nassau Street store, formerly occupied by his office, into meeting rooms. Attorney Julie Bowers Coale and architect Robin Lundin Murray have helped him with these plans, scheduled to be presented to the Princeton zoning board on February 26. Barry Weisfeld, owner of Princeton Record Exchange, is the landlord. Greg Seymoure is Nawn’s partner and chief operating officer.
One service that Nawn has not found locally is a source of credit. Banks generally charge high rates for restaurant credit, so he turned to a bank in the midwest where he had connections.
Nawn went to Holy Cross, Class of 1987, and has his MBA from Hofstra. He spent 10 years at a pharmaceutical firm, Astra, and worked in Boston, Philadelphia, London, and Budapest. His wife, Ann, is a social worker, and they have three school-age sons.
“As we grew from me being the only employee, I have been pushed into a role where we’ve got specialists, and leading the organization is my primary job,” says Nawn. “I am more of a middle-sized company manager than an entrepreneur, and I am enjoying the organizational development side of the business.”
Panera Bread/Fenwick Group LLC, 600 Alexander Park, Suite 303, Princeton 08540. Jim Nawn, managing member. 609-688-1692; fax, 609-688-1742. Home page: www.paneranj.com.
In November, 1999, Gary Pudles was on the cover of U.S. 1 as the head of a young but expanding company, AnswerNet. Four years later his firm ranks 21st on INC Magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies list. (Other Princeton-based firms on that list include Vaughn Drive-based Floorgraphics, number 11, and Heartland Payment Systems, number 366).
Pudles and his partners, Bill and Barbara Robertshaw, did a rollup of the answering service business and now own the world’s largest telemessaging call center business. The INC listing cited nearly 5,000 percent growth over five years, involving $30,166,870 as revenue for 2002, and 1,000 current employees.
Between the partners, they have 51 contact centers (18 owned by the Robertshaws), all operating under the brand name AnswerNet. With six divisions and two fulfillment centers in the United States and Canada, the firm offers all types of customer-relations management including customer service, inbound, E-bound and outbound telemarketing, fulfillment (both print and product) voice support for Internet sites, communications systems disaster back up, and retention programs.
Pudles went to Syracuse, Class of 1984, to law school at American University, and is a member of the Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia bars. At a traditional law firm he started a real estate litigation and business practice. His next job was to run Muzak when the delivery of “elevator music” was changing from an FM radio broadcast to a one-meter satellite dish, from two channels to unlimited choices.
He helped launch the first Personal Communications Systems (PCS), the Sprint Spectrum System — leasing, zoning, and building 350 sites in 18 months. Then he participated in a start-up for Apex, a specialty real estate management company renting rooftop space to telecommunications companies. Then he partnered with Bill Robertshaw, founder of ProCommunications, to found AnswerNet (U.S. 1, November 3, 1999). Last year he won an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for service businesses and went on the speaker’s circuit, most recently for the Wharton Venture Initiation program.
“It’s been a great partnership,” says Pudles. “I couldn’t ask for better.”
AnswerNet Inc./Signius Communications Inc., 345 Witherspoon Street, Princeton 08540. Gary A. Pudles, president and CEO. 609-921-7450; fax, 609-921-7632. Home page: www.answernetnetwork.com.
Arlington Capital has merged with Windsor Financial Mortgage Corporation and is now the largest independent retail mortgage lender in the Philadelphia and south Jersey region. It produces more than $1.5 billion in loans annually. No layoffs are planned.
Of Arlington’s six branches, Princeton is one of the most successful, having doubled in size in the last two years, says Kevin Kenyon, president. He is married to Jane Henderson Kenyon, the real estate agent. Arlington is based in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, and had 155 employees before the merger.
The acquisition of Windsor adds 65 employees and four retail branches: Marlton, West Chester and Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Wilton, Connecticut. Windsor also has a successful Internet operation, and though Windsor’s retail name will change to Arlington’s, the website will retain the Windsor name. The privately held company offers retail mortgages, wholesale lending, and Internet-based programs.
Arlington Capital Mortgage Corporation, 33 Witherspoon Street, Princeton 08542. Kevin Kenyon, president. 609-921-3131; fax, 609-921-8558. Home page: www.thinkarlington.com and www.windsorfinancial.com.
Nassau Broadcasting Partners LP, 619 Alexander Road, Box 1350, Princeton 08540. Louis F. Mercatanti Jr., CEO. 609-419-0300; fax, 609-419-0143. Home page: www.nbplp.com
Joan E. Gerberding is leaving Nassau Broadcasting after 24 years. “Nassau has been my home for a long time and I will always value my time here. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished,” says Gerberding. “But I need to reassess where I am at this juncture of my career and my life, take some downtime to rest and recharge, then I want to consider some new challenges and tackle them.”
As part of the executive team, Gerberding helped the firm expand from two stations with national advertising revenue of $2 million to more than 20 stations across New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania with national revenue of $10 million. As president of Nassau Media Partners, she integrated digital media containing targeted content and advertising into consumer venues. G. Daniel Henrickson will lead the digital business now.
She is the immediate past president of American Women in Radio and Television.
Tyco International Ltd. (TYC), 9 Roszel Road, Princeton 08540. Edward Breen, CEO. 609-720-0024. Home page: www.tyco.com.
After six months at Tyco, Erica Ferry has left her position as director of corporate citizenship to take a position with another firm. She was coordinating Tyco’s involvement in non-profit organizations, employee volunteerism, community events, and requests for charitable giving. She came to Tyco in September, 2003 from Pharmacia Corporation, which was bought by Pfizer in April 2003.
Mercer County Executive, 640 South Broad Street, Box 8068, Trenton 08650-8068. Brian M. Hughes, county executive. 609-989-6518; fax, 609-278-4819. Home page: www.mercercounty.org
David J. Miller has been named the chief financial officer and treasurer for Brian Hughes, the new county executive. Miller, an alumnus of the Rutgers University School of Business, has been working in Camden, where he was the city’s comptroller and CFO. He was also assistant bureau chief for the New Jersey Division of Local Government Services, which is part of the Department of Community Affairs. As such, he is a recognized expert in organizing and improving finance plans and budgets. His annual salary will be $105,000.
April Aaronson will direct the Department of Human Services, Edward M. Patik the Division of Housing and Community Development, Aaron T. Watson the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Carl West the Central Services Administration.
American Re Corporation, 555 College Road East, Box 5241, Princeton 08543-5241. John P. Phelan, chairman, CEO. 609-243-4200; fax, 609-243-4257. Home page: www.amre.com
Douglas Boyce has joined American Re as vice president responsible for day-to-day oversight of the Company’s insurance company operations. He has been chief underwriting officer of the Legion Insurance Group and CEO of the Interstate Insurance Group.
Trenton Materials Exchange, 800 New York Avenue, Box 693, Trenton 08604-0693. Home page: www.tmex.org.
After five years, after growing from a virtual office to a bustling three-store warehouse, this nonprofit recycling center has closed, having lost its lease. It collected donations of electronic equipment, office furniture, medical equipment, and building supplies and made them available to the public for only the handling fees. Phone and fax have been disconnected, and the website offers the hopeful statement “check back later.”
WindsorTech Inc.(WSRT), 70 Lake Drive, Hightstown 08520. Marc Sherman, CEO. 609-426-4666; fax, 609-426-4543. Home page: www.windsortechinc.com
Meanwhile WindsorTech, which offers similar recycling services on a for-profit basis, saw revenues rise to $1 million in December. “Our infrastructure is built and ready to handle over 30,000 pieces of end-of-life IT equipment per month,” says Marc Sherman, CEO. The firm offers data security/erasure, environmental compliance, IT asset management consulting, and remarketing services to corporate, public and academic customers.
SunTech-Sunwoo USA Co. Ltd., 117 Route 130, Cranbury 08512. Philip Shin, general manager. 609-860-6770; fax, 609-860-6775. Home page: isunwoo.com
A 25-year-old sporting goods manufacturer moved its United States office from Old Bridge to Cranbury last fall. Based in Korea, Suntech-Sunwoo makes high-end fishing rods and golf shafts at two factories in Korea and one in China. One of its golf shaft clients is Callaway.
Microjazz Studios, 9 West Front Street, Trenton 08608. Scott A. Miller. 609-352-0668. Home page: www.microjazz.com.
Scott A. Miller has opened his own record label and recording studio next to Utopia restaurant in Trenton. He specializes in jazz music production and promotions.
AraLight/Xanoptix, Merrimack, New Hampshire. 603-546-0600. Home page: www.xanoptix.com
AraLight Inc., featured on the cover of U.S. 1 on May 9, 2001, was sold to a New Hampshire company, and the sale was concluded on January 20. A 2001 spinout from Lucent Technologies, AraLight had a 75-patent portfolio from Bell Labs, and many of its 35 workers on Cranbury South River Road were former Lucent workers.
The buyer, Xanoptix Inc, is located in Merrimack, New Hampshire, and has closed AraLight’s Cranbury South River Road office. AraLight had worked with Xanoptix on commercializing chip hybridization technology and high density parallel optics.
“Xanoptix has demonstrated its ability to bring hybridization and advanced parallel optics to reality and we are pleased to combine forces to establish clear leadership in the marketplace,” says Steve Socolof of New Venture Partners, founding investor in AraLight. Rob Baxter is the CEO of Xanoptix.
Xanoptix’s core technology, according to company materials, is a hybrid-integration process that stacks components vertically rather than laying them side-by-side. This technology is at the heart of Xanoptix’s first product, a 72-transceiver parallel optics module called the XTM-72.
SafeStone Technologies Inc., 1364 Welsh Road, North Wales 19454. Sean Jahr, executive vice president, Americas. 800-558-3544. Home page: www.safestone.com.
The security management firm moved last year from 600 Alexander Park to North Wales, Pennsylvania. It is an IBM systems management business partner.
WinMill Software, 420 Lexington Avenue, Fourth Floor, Princeton 10170. 212-850-0700; fax, 212-697-6326. Home page: www.winmill.com
Winmill Software closed its 15-person training and sales office at 100 Canal Pointe Boulevard last fall and now serves its New Jersey clients from the Manhattan headquarters. An account representative says that one of its clients is “a major university in the Princeton area.”
Chameleon Marketing Inc., 4595 Route 27, Box 576, Kingston 08528. Daniel P.T. Thomas, president. 609-921-6588; fax, 609-921-6516. Home page: www.chameleon-inc.com.
Dan Thomas has decided to focus his marketing communications business solely on the healthcare industry. Among his new contracts are projects for Imclone Systems, Ventiv Health, the American Liver Council, Pandel Hyrdrocortisone, and o.b. Tampons.
Princeton University Chemistry Department, 121 Frick Laboratory, Princeton 08544. 609-258-3916; fax, 609-258-1595.
A new drug that can treat cancer caused by asbestos exposure, credited to Edward Taylor, has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Taylor is a professor emeritus in Princeton’s chemistry department, and the drug, Alimta, was developed by Eli Lilly and Co.
On February 5 the FDA announced that Alimta is the first treatment approved specifically for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Taylor has been working on anticancer drugs since 1946 when he became curious about why the structure of chemical compounds was so important for processing folic acid in living organisms.
SERV Behavioral Health Systems, 380 Scotch Road, Trenton 08628. Gary Van Nostrand, president and CEO. 609-406-0100; fax, 609-406-0307. Home page: www.servbhs.org
In partnership with the Ujima Ministries in Trenton, part of the Ujima Church, SERV has opened Ujima Village, which has 52 units of affordable housing for seniors and adults with disabilities. Eleven apartments have been leased so far. Income-qualifying seniors 55 or older or those at least 35 years old with a disability may apply for one or two-bedroom apartments priced below $600. Call 609-406-0737.
Senesco Technologies Inc. (SNT), 303 George Street, Suite 420, New Brunswick 08901. Bruce C. Galton, CEO. 732-296-8400; fax, 732-296-9292. Home page: www.senesco.com
On Tuesday, February 3, Senesco announced a private placement worth $2.5 million, and that this funding will carry the company through June, 2005. A development-stage functional genomics company, it aims to enhance the quality of fruits, flowers, vegetables and agronomic crops through the control of aging in plants.
Evelyn Marie Singleton-Willis, 61, on February 7. She was co-owner of Stacy at Evelyn’s at Lawrence Shopping Center.
Doris Carlene Banker Ansell, 60, on February 7. She was a nurse educator at Capital Health System
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