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These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the August 25, 2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
When Raytheon came to the Carnegie Center in 1997, it was the biggest move-in since Merrill Lynch built its headquarters on Scudders Mill Road in 1984. The $12 billion firm planned to move 1,400 employees from three locations to establish the eastern regional headquarters for a fourth business, Raytheon Engineers & Constructors. As an enticement for the move the Department of Transportation hastened the construction of the overpass on Meadow Road at Route 1.
Three years later, the beleaguered Raytheon sold this unit, and it is now owned by the Washington Group International, based in Boise, Idaho. Princeton is still the headquarters for Washington Group’s power and biopharmaceutical units, and work is also done here on rail transit and highway projects, and contract maintenance for refineries and chemical plants. The company reported in March that it has from 900 to 1,000 employees at Carnegie 506 and 508.
Yet the company vacated more than 130,000 square feet at 508 Carnegie Center in December. It has already subleased more than 31,000 square feet and it wants to unload an additional 100,000 square feet in this building. The three-year leases, signed for well under market rates, are being marketed by CB Richard Ellis. Carolyn Sica and Suzanne Macnow represented the Washington Group in these subleases. The new subtenants include the following:
American Management Systems, now owned by CGI, occupies 17,100 square feet at 508 Carnegie and was represented in its sublease from the Washington Group by Trammell Crow.
Formerly based in Virginia, American Management Systems provides business and information technology solutions such as E-business strategy, business re-engineering, change management, systems integration, and systems development and implementation. Roseanne Benson is in charge of the 75-person office.
In March American Management Systems was sold to CGI, which with 25,000 employees is the largest Canadian independent information technology services firm and the fifth largest in North America. Now AMS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CGI. Meanwhile the U.S. assets of the Defense and Intelligence Group of AMS have been purchased by CACI International Inc.
Petrone Associates expanded from 600 Alexander Road to 4,000 square feet at the end of May, and in its three-year lease it was represented by the Sitar Company’s Gregg Nowell, based in Iselin. Thirty people work here, and the firm has an additional 35 representatives throughout the state. An agency of Guardian Life Insurance Company, it offers life and disability insurance, pension, and financial planning.
Tom Petrone founded the firm in 1965, and he became associated with Guardian in the 1980s. Three of his sons – Andrew, Michael, and Brian – work in the business, which focuses on small to medium-size businesses, particularly the professional practices of physicians, attorneys, and CPAs.
"We are a full service financial services organization designed to handle small businesses and small group planning, retirement planning and benefit planning," says Dan Wilson, Petrone’s career development supervisor (Rider University, Class of 1996).
The secret of the firm’s success? Good client services, says Wilson. "And customer relations and expertise – many of our representatives have 15 to 20 years experience, and it pays."
For their clients, which include many family businesses, Petrone Associates emphasizes planning for business continuation – a potential trouble spot for family businesses, says Wilson. "Unless mapped out and done correctly, the family can have a huge estate tax liability and a big family problem. We do a lot of sophisticated estate planning, working with attorneys and accountants." Park Avenue Securities, which is division of The Guardian, handles Petrone Associates’ stock, mutual funds, and IRA transactions.
Zydus Pharmaceuticals USA expanded from 2,375 at 300 Alexander Park, with a lease of 9,450 square feet at 508 Carnegie, and it was represented by Paul Goldman of Commercial Property Network on Emmons Drive. It supplies finish dosage formulations to the United States generic market place.
Based in India, the firm was founded in 195 by Ramanbhai B. Patel. Offering pharmaceutical services, products, and R&D, it exports branded formulations to 43 countries worldwide and has 20 global brands, particularly in the areas of cardiovasculars, gastrointestinals and pain management. The firm also owns a generic drug company in France, formerly known as Alpharma France, and it has partnerships with Schering AG and Boehringer Ingelheim.
If you went to high school with Troy Vincent, and if you stayed active in your church and community, and if you have your stockbrokers license and are a financial planner, and if you have experience in the mortgage industry, then maybe you have what it takes to open your own mortgage company. If your wife can join you in the business, so much the better.
Christopher and Loletha Johnson opened Promise Land Mortgage at the Trenton Business and Technology Center at 36 South Broad Street. They offer commercial and residential mortgages.
"We started in the incubator because it offers affordable office space, and our overhead is drastically reduced, because we have access to copiers, printers, computers, and fax machines, which we didn’t have to purchase," says Christopher Johnson. "We can use the conference to meet with our clients.
"Our clients are first time home buyers, existing home owners, and real estate investors. We don’t hold the mortgages, we are the mortgage brokers, and we try to find the best scenario to meet our client’s needs."
The Johnsons say they take a holistic approach to home ownership. "Whereas the industry looks only at debt that appears on credit reports, we look at all of the financial obligations, including utility bills and food bills, and we do projections on the cost of maintenance, so they are fully prepared. If we see they mismanage their finances, we might put them on a budget and recommend that they cut their cable or cell phone bill," says Johnson.
Both were born and raised in Trenton, went to Trenton High School, and when they were married six years ago, they moved to Willingboro. Loletha Payne Johnson went to College of New Jersey, Class of 1991. She was a pharmaceutical sales representative for J&J and a registered nurse at Medical Center at Princeton and the Visiting Nurses of Delaware Valley.
Christopher Johnson’s mother was in the insurance business, and his father worked for the city of Trenton. After majoring in chemistry at Stockton State, Class of 1993, he worked as a car salesman and was in sales with Xerox and Canon ABS.
He has worked for a mortgage company in South Jersey for seven years and also as a licensed stockbroker for Eltkon Financial Services in Trenton, which is owned by Troy Vincent, who went to high school in Trenton before he moved to Bucks County and became a star for the Philadelphia Eagles. The name of the company is a Biblical term for "the place to seek godly advice." Like Eltkon, says Johnson, who is also a minister in his church, Promise Land is a Christ-centered company.
"We like to transform the way clients think about homes. Most think of homes as just a dwelling place. But as an investment advisor, I think they should think of it as part of the portfolio," he says. "We want them to understand the power of that investment, to take the home purchaser from being a home purchaser to being a real estate investor."
It is not easy to open a mortgage company. Shortly after they were married, the couple took a course in Secaucus on how to do it. To get a license from the state, the company is required to have a liquid net worth of $50,000 plus an additional $50,000 to open its doors.
Some of their potential clients may have had bad experiences with financial institutions ranging from banks to loan companies. "They can go to a company that they can trust, that can help them make their dreams come true," says Johnson.
In June Gene Ruggiero, above, opened the Princeton office of a company based in South Bend, Indiana. Interact Mediaworks offers high-end animation of procedures and techniques for high tech firms, particularly for pharmaceutical and medical device firms.
Ruggiero grew up on Long Island and went to Brooklyn College, Class of 1977, majoring in business economics. After working for Philip Morris for 17 years in marketing and sales, he wanted to get out of the tobacco industry and went to work for MarketSource. In the field services arena, he represented consumer package goods manufacturers to retail chains.
For several years he worked at Interact Multimedia on Cornwall Road in Monmouth Junction and last month he opened the Princeton office of a company based in South Bend, Indiana. It has another office in Utah. The company’s clients include Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon, Porsche, Bosch, Motorola, Biomet, and such orthopedic firms as DePuy, Honeywell, Hewlett Packard, and such orthopedic firms as DePuy.
The tag line for the company is "communication through visualization," "When people see what we do, the job sells itself," says Ruggiero.
In May Carpediem Capital moved from 239 Prospect Plains Road to 1,500 square feet at 7 Centre Drive. A five-person investment banking firm, it works with mid-size companies, consulting on capital buyouts and divestitures. Wayne Nixon, the president, negotiated his five-year lease with the landlord, Corporate Office Properties Trust.
Nixon went to the United States Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1978, and earned his MBA in finance from the Wharton School. Serving his term in the U.S. Army in the air defense artillery in Germany, he worked at Johnson & Johnson and Kidder Peabody.
Currently he is consulting to a private label cosmetic manufacturer about growth and business expansion. Another client is a label and ticket company in Ohio.
Datacolor, a company that provides digital color-control systems, has bought Milori Inc., a privately held company that has a similar product – color calibration systems for the projection and presentation markets.
Based in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, Milori develops and sells automatic and manual video calibration systems for video technicians for use in the corporate and home-theater markets.
Datacolor makes of color control communications, systems, software, instruments, and equipment. It is owned by Eichhof Holding Company.
On July 1 Carl DeWorsop opened a franchise of Cartridge World, which refills inkjet cartridges and remanufactures laser cartridges. The son of a doctor and nurse, he was born and raised in Bangalore and went to Christ College, Class of 1982. He and his wife (who works at Sovereign Bank) have an infant daughter, and his mother lives in Plainsboro. He worked for Pitney Bowes and for Integrated Corporate Solutions, and then opened a business in his home, selling business machines. This franchise complements that.
DeWorsop sells new cartridges and compatibles (private label), but the main business is ink and laser cartridges. Soon he will sell popular brands of printers and printer supplies. In his other business he sells Panasonic, Minolta, Mita, and Canon copiers and fax machines, and NeoPost mail machines.
To open the franchise store costs $150,000, including store buildout, and the franchisers sell the supplies. "I am the second store in New Jersey and several Cartridge Worlds are doing $25,000 a month," says DeWorsop. "There are 14 stores sold in New Jersey so far."
Sam Lem and his wife, Jennifer, have started a staffing company to provide RNs, LPns, and certified nursing aides for nursing homes and hospitals. "We were looking for opportunities and we realized there was a nurse shortage," says Lem, who is in the beginning stages of setting up the business.
A graduate of Baruch College and New York City Technical College, he worked for Merrill Lynch and also for IBM in Piscataway as manager for an AT&T project. He also worked as a programmer for a telecommunications firm. The couple has one school-age and one preschool child.
As the official provider of information services to the Republican convention in New York City, Factiva will offer continuously updated news and information from more than 9,000 sources. It will also offer on-site services and research experts. "The media will benefit by having easy access to a credible research tool," says Bill Harris, CEO of the 2004 Republican National Convention (www.gopconvention.com).
The NJTC Venture Fund made an additional investment in Valera Pharmaceuticals on Friday, August 20. Valera completed an $11.5 million Series C financing that included new and existing investors. One new investor, New York-based venture capital firm Psilos Group Managers, led the round along with a previous investor, Sanders Morris Harris, a Houston-based investment banking and investment management firm. Other previous participants were Wheatley Partners.
Valera specializes in urology and endocrinology products, and, under the name Hydro Med, it belonged to parent company GP Strategies of New York.
Barrier Therapeutics has had some success curing one kind of diaper rash in a Phase III clinical trial. Its drug, Zimycan, was twice as effective against Candida-associated diaper dermatitis as the alternatives.
"These Phase III clinical results provide Barrier Therapeutics with a clear path to filing an amendment to our new drug application for Zimycan in the U.S.," says CEO Geert Cauwenbergh. Barrier’s product has an anti-fungal agent in a zinc oxide petrolatum base.
"Currently there is no treatment specifically developed and approved for Candida-associated diaper dermatitis in the U.S. This means that infants are often treated with drugs that have been developed for adult uses. The formulations of these products are not necessarily suitable for use on infant skin, and the potency of the active ingredient is not adjusted for infant use," he says. No prescription drug can be prescribed in the United States for Candida-associated diaper dermatitis, which is thought to be responsible for 40 percent of the diaper rashes.
Gentara, a one-year-old biotech firm based on research from Princeton University, has moved out of state to Pennsylvania, where it is being partially funded by monies from Pennsylvania’s tobacco settlement.
Originally known as Apop Corporation, Gentara’s business interests had been incubated at Healthcare Ventures on Nassau Street. Healthcare Ventures LLC led an $8 million start-up financing that also included participation by a venture capital fund financed by Pennsylvania’s tobacco settlement investment. Harold Werner, a partner at Healthcare Ventures, is on Gentara’s board.
Now renamed, Gentara has established a 13-person headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
The company is based on technology developed by Princeton’s George McLendon (who just left his job as chair of Princeton’s chemistry department to be dean and arts of sciences at Duke University) and Yigong Shi, a molecular biologist.
Shi went to Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, Class of 1989, and has his doctor’s degree in biophysics and biophysical chemistry from Johns Hopkins. He has been at Princeton for four years.
"What we are doing is visualizing protein complexes in three dimensions," says Shi. Together he and McLendon designed inhibitors to program cell death, known as apoptosis, in order to treat HIV infections and cancer. They also collaborated with Hartmut Hanauske at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Princeton University has licensed this technology to the new firm. "It is a learning experience, and I feel happy about it," says Shi.
"We have a real head start in our cancer program based on the work of our founding scientists at Princeton University," says Mark McKinlay, Gentara’s chief scientific officer. "The program is exciting because the drugs we develop may be useful for many different types of cancer and we should be able to use a laboratory test to pre-select patients most likely to respond to therapy."
"The state’s commitment to life sciences companies combined with the alignment of support from Pennsylvania Bio and other regional support organizations have created significant momentum," says Gentara’s CEO John Gill. "There’s something good happening here and now we’re part of it."
Other start-up companies in suburban Philadelphia include BioRexis, Eximias, Acuity, Nucleonics, and Morphotek.
Pennsylvania put some of its tobacco settlement money into life sciences research, whereas New Jersey did not. But the McGreevey administration has responded by announcing it will start a $10 million biotech venture fund, to be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
As expected, Bala Consulting Engineers closed its Windsor Corporate Park office on May 1 (U.S. 1, April 28). It has not opened another New Jersey office. Its space at Windsor Corporate Park is being occupied by CareGain.
Bala is a multi-discipline consulting and engineering firm focusing on commercial office space, higher education, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industries.
Bankruptcy Creditors Service Inc., 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton.
Citing a better tax situation, Bankruptcy Creditors Service has relocated from a mailbox service to 572 Fernwood Lane, Fairless Hills, PA 19030. The new phone is 215-945-7000; fax 215-945-7001. Peter Chapman publishes newsletters focussed on companies in Chapter 11.
Kemper Environmental has closed its 15,000 square feet in Forrestal Village, and the functions have been moved to the headquarters at 1 Kemper Drive, Long Grove, Illinois 60049.
After 30 years as president and executive director at Eden Institute, David Holmes is retiring, leaving former board chairman William Noonan to replace him while the board begins a nationwide search. Holmes says he has been considering "how to have a wider impact on the epidemic of autism and the extreme shortage of funding to address it" and concluded that "having that impact will require more of my time and energy than the vastly expanding duties at Eden will allow."
Holmes is the founding director of the Eden Family of Services and chairs the panel of professional advisor at the Autism Society of America. Among his numerous books and articles is "Autism Through the Lifespan: the Eden Model."
Noonan, a retired Merrill Lynch executive, has been on the board for 17 years.
Joan Hollendonner, in a new position – the vice president for programs – will plan events and do community outreach, all in an effort to enhance grantmaking. Hollendonner had spent 15 years at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on College Road, where she was a senior communications officer and program officer.
"She will help us become more strategic. She also will help PACF become a more active community partner by building relationships with area nonprofits and funders, and bringing them together to talk, learn, and mobilize around important issues," says Nancy Kieling, executive director.
PACF offers charitable giving expertise to individuals and corporations, and makes grants to nonprofit organizations and schools.
Alphanet Learning Solutions changed its name when the parent company, Fort Lee-based WorkKnowledge, was bought out by Online Consulting, based in Wilmington Delaware. This two-person office offers authorized computer training in Microsoft, Novell, and Citrix operating systems, says Tim Warren, the client development manager.
Online Consulting used to have an office on Vaughn Drive.
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