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These articles were prepared for the May 3, 2006 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
The American Metro Center, the 100-year-old factory near the Hamilton train station that has been converted into a Class A office building, is in the news in two ways. It is one of three finalists for the Economic Impact Deal of the Year award, to be announced at the gala of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties on Wednesday, May 10, at 6 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Last year the event sold out with 900 people attending. Cost: $450. Call 732-729-9900.
The transformed American Standard toilet factory, owned by Preferred Real Estate Investments, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, is also about to be purchased by a buying group headed by Rutherford-based Lincoln Equities Group. Meritage Properties and Avenue Capital are reportedly also involved. The selling price has not been disclosed.
The plant had an 80-year history of making toilet fixtures. PREI bought the 112-acre property in 2004 for $9.3 million and rehabilitated the 450,000-square-foot building. It is part of Hamilton Township’s redevelopment zone.
Competing against the American Metro Center in the contest are Pfizer’s sale of the 1.3 million-square-foot former AT&T corporate headquarters to Verizon and the assembling of 315 acres for the Port Reading Business Park that was accomplished by ProLogis.
Accordis Inc., 318 Wall Street, Princeton 08540; 609-497-2400; fax, 609-497-2407. Hamilton Potter, president & CEO. Home page: www.accordisinc.com
Accordis Inc., a medical accounts receivable management company, opened a corporate headquarters in Princeton at the beginning of this year. It offers business and office services for hospitals and emergency transport agencies.
CEO Hamilton Potter selected Princeton as the headquarters because of its good business climate and its proximity to important potential clients. Potter owns the holding company that purchased Accordis, which has 240 employees in seven offices, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Its clients include hospitals, municipalities (which may own hospitals, clinics, and EMS services), physician groups, and ambulance operations.
When working with a new customer like a hospital, says Potter, Accordis will usually take over a part of the accounts receivable function that the hospital finds particularly difficult. "One person’s headache is another person’s business opportunity," says Potter.
Potter believes that Accordis can sometimes do a better job than healthcare institutions, which have saving lives as their primary mission. Yet for any healthcare provider, he says, "the income stream is critically important for their survival and ability to fund operations. If we can do a good job in those areas, we can have loyal customers."
Potter, who grew up in New York City, earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College in 1978 and his MBA from Stanford University.
Fleetmatics, 196 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Building 2B, Suite 116, West Windsor 08550; 609-936-7300; fax, 609-936-7301. Luke Malchodi, business manager. Home page: www.fleetmatics.com
Fleetmatics expanded from Long Island to the Princeton area in February. It offers tracking and global positioning (GPS) systems for business owners, typically those in such service industries as HVAC, plumbing, locksmiths, elevator technicians, and concrete – anyone with a fleet.
The software was developed in Ireland, where the company started. The founders took it public in Ireland, and it has offices in Long Island, Boston, and Chicago.
Luke Malchodi, the son of a printer, is the business manager at this office. He started his career as an insurance agent but saw the possibilities in the fleet software business. "The company was growing very fast and there were opportunities for advancement," he says.
Some of Fleetmatics’ competitors are QualCom, which specializes in long hauls, and Trimble System, which caters to the concrete industry.
Allies Inc., 1262 Whitehorse-Hamilton Square Road, Suite 303, Hamilton 08690; 609-689-0136; fax, 609-689-0831. Krystal Odell, president/CEO. Home page: www.alliesnj.org.
Allies Inc., which provides residential and employment services for individuals with developmental disabilities, moved in February from 2275 Route 33, Suite 303, Hamilton Square to 10,000 square feet in Hamilton. "We’re growing like crazy," says president and CEO Krystal Odell, who founded the organization with Elise Gambino, vice president.
Allies, which started in Odell’s basement in 1999, helps disabled individuals – both those with physical issues like deafness or cerebral palsy to people with intellectual disabilities, from learning problems to Down syndrome to autism. Allies helps them find an appropriate place to live, whether with their parents, at their own homes, or in group homes, and also to find jobs and stay successful within them. Allies has also helped younger people who have had tracheotomies to live in a community home with peers rather than a nursing home.
Today Allies has 400 employees, including helping professionals who work in group homes and in the two retail businesses it runs, a basket business and a print and design company. Fifty out of the 400 are disabled, and Allies also places its clients in other businesses in the area.
All in One Basket, for example, has stores in Medford and Somerville and will soon be opening one in downtown Trenton. It creates custom baskets to express sympathy, holiday greetings, or congratulations for a new baby as well as baskets for executives and realtors.
Pyramid Print and Design does websites, brochures, and fliers, from copying to designing a whole campaign. "We are a very cost-efficient alternative," says Odell, emphasizing the talent of her employees. A deaf woman with a degree in graphic design, who is now the graphic designer and supervisor at Pyramid, was working late shift at a local liquor store when Allies found her.
Allies also works in community schools, helping students to job sample and try out careers. "We focus them in areas where they can be successful and come out and work," says Odell. The organization also partners with community groups for client programming and cooperative projects, for example, campouts with Boy Scouts, or gardening classes with a master gardener from the Rutgers Cooperative Service, and active mentoring from the state police.
Odell, who has a degree in education, has been active in this field professionally as the state director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities under the Department of Human Services as well as personally – she has a sister with Down syndrome.
Resolute Natural Resources Co., 103 Carnegie Center, Suite 310, Princeton 08540; 609-750-9100; fax, 609-750-9175. Rick Betz. Home page: www.rnrc.net
Rick Betz, who works for a Denver-based firm that buys oil and natural gas resources, has moved his one-person office from shared space at Regus in Princeton Overlook to the Carnegie Center.
Betz graduated from Villanova in 1984, earned a Wharton MBA, and went directly into banking, working in the oil finance practice at JP Morgan Chase. The son of an engineer, he and his wife live in West Windsor.
Betz declines to provide details about the company, which is private, except to say that since the founding date of 2004 the firm has closed a number of acquisitions and has 50 properties overall.
Betz joined Nick Sutton, the founder and CEO of Resolute, to start the firm. "I wanted to try something different," says Betz of his decision to leave institutional banking. "Former clients offered me an opportunity to join them."
Resolute Holdings is the parent company of Resolute Natural Resources Company, an oil and natural gas exploration company founded in early 2004. Resolute operates approximately 300 wells in the Paradox Basin of Utah. The company was formed by former senior officers of HS Resources Inc. a Denver-based independent sold to Kerr-McGee in 2001, and Natural Gas Partners, a Dallas based energy venture capital firm. The company also has offices in San Francisco, Denver, and Tulsa.
Betz uses his industry connections to find "producing properties," perhaps an older oil well that a Chevron or an Exxon might want to sell in order to upgrade their portfolios. "We identify a mature property that might be owned by a Chevron or Exxon, not a core property. We rejuvenate it, try to increase production, and sell it or operate it."
What made it a good time to start this business? The people were available, and Betz had just sold a previous company, so his former clients had some time on their hands. "Also we had capital available to support a proven management team – the stars lined up, if you will."
MedaSorb, 7 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate Plaza, Monmouth Junction 08852; 732-329-8885; fax, 732-329-8650. Vince Capponi, vice president operations and COO. Home page: www.medasorb.com
Renal Tech International changed its name to MetaSorb because its technology, medical devices used in blood purification, can apply to areas other than kidney function.
Richard David Richey, 81, on April 29. A master restorer and refinisher of antiques, he owned the Little Old Mill on Grover’s Mill Pond.
Isaac Witkin, 69, died on April 24. He was a world-renowned sculptor and art activist at Grounds for Sculpture.
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