Corrections or additions?
These stories by Peter J. Mladineo and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper
on April 29, 1998. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
Technological changes, Mike Bloomberg predicts,
will make ours a much more open and egalitarian world: "The good
news is that we will all probably keep our jobs," says Bloomberg.
"The bad news is that everything will be much more competitive.
If you are below the median, in the new world it will be much more
difficult to hide. You will have to improve your skills, and you will
have to make your product better, because barriers of distance, time,
and currency are going away." As an example, Bloomberg pointed
to the formidable competition that Airbus now presents to Boeing,
once considered indomitable.
Michael R. Bloomberg, CEO and founder of Bloomberg Financial Markets,
spoke this Monday, April 27, at the New Jersey Economic Development
Authority’s networking conference called "Bringing Business and
As technology advances and gizmos get easier to use, the need for
technical skills may actually decline, Bloomberg told the gathering
of more than 200 at the Hyatt. "It will be more, not less, important
to know how to read, to have good interpersonal relationships, and
to know how to set up the math problem," he said.
He opposes putting PCs in elementary and junior high school because
children need smaller class size and interaction with a teacher more
than they need to learn technology that will be out of date when they
enter the work force. "There is nothing about technology that
a sixth or ninth grader could possibly learn that will be useful to
them when they graduate. The thinking process will become more important
in everything we do."
"Technology will be here whether you go out and buy it or not.
Everything you touch has, or will have, a computer built into it,"
said Bloomberg. These ubiquitous products do not involve products
of the well-known companies that dominate the PC market. "Intel
is a minor player and most of these chips don’t run Microsoft software."
"The real innovation in your company has not been in the office
but on the shop floor, at construction sites, and in road building.
The same people, with the same level of intelligence, are doing these
jobs that used to do them with a pickax and shovel. Today they do
it with automation."
Bloomberg proved his point about how technology evolves by using the
VCR as an example. "VCRs have always been a particular annoyance
to me because they have a terrible design. The buttons are tiny and
not backlit. You can’t see them, and your fingers can’t touch them.
You can’t use VCRs for time shifting — you can’t replay `Baywatch’
five minutes later than the program begins." In contrast, on a
computer disc you can record and play at the same time. "So now
we don’t use VCRs for time shifting, we use them for playing blockbuster
Bloomberg offered these views in response to questions from the audience:
hype on teleconferencing to yesteryear’s anxiety about how the telephone
would replace letter writing and going to dinner with customers. That
partly came true, he admitted, but though "growth in restaurant
traffic has not increased with the economic activity, tickets to sporting
events are still out of sight."
He believes that videoconferencing will be added to every business
call but plans to find a software program "that will play my picture
so you think I am paying attention, when really I am opening my mail."
"There won’t be a lot of working at home. In tough times, to supervise
and excite people, you still have to do it interpersonally."
Euro currency will have a more serious effect on commerce than the
and will never work completely for cars: "One kind of transaction
that will never be automated is automobiles. People like to
kick the tires, open the hood, and go for a test drive. People will
go one place for the demo and another place for the transaction. You
will pay for a test drive or agree to have your service done at that
"All of a sudden people are thinking Matt Drudge is a reporter.
That’s like saying the New York Observer is a newspaper."
He used the Monica Lewinsky coverage to show how wrongheaded it is
to believe that the press leads the public. "The press thought
the public would believe one thing, and they fed the frenzy, but the
public went in the opposite direction," said Bloomberg. Paula
Jones preceded him in an entrance line recently and, he said, "people
were actually hissing at her."
United States schools, "in Japan the kids are going to schools
eight days a week, and Japan is falling apart."
ever proposed (second only to its position on the IMF, International
Monetary Fund) is to not let in the people we need to fulfill the
jobs, people who could be moved almost overnight. We will, nevertheless,
let them work via telecommuting."
turnover than most businesses, and though it is known for paying well,
Mike Bloomberg prefers to think it is because the firm has created
a great work environment with good lighting, nice work stations and
free snacks — not an extravagance "when you realize the food
keeps workers from getting in their cars to drive five miles to eat."
His summary of how to accumulate and keep skilled workers: "Create
an environment where people are challenged and can work very hard
— good people like doing that — and share the revenue with
everyone from the most junior people up."
Try to take away class distinctions "which are more evident in
New Jersey then in New York. Here, when you drive up, there is a parking
space by the door reserved for the president. It is telling everybody
else that they are second rate. And I’m not sure I would want to advertise
that I were not in. I would want that first space empty so people
rush in early to get it."
Another speaker at the NJEDA conference, Rae Rosen,
senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, sounded
a loud alarm about the scarcity of skilled labor and warned that businesses
need to take matters into their own hands to get the workers they
"The labor force simply isn’t growing as fast as the demand,"
said Rosen. "In five to ten years it will grow at half the growth
rates we are used to. Your alliances with community colleges, technical
schools, and training programs are going to be critical. Make
it clear to the community colleges that you need `this program,’ not
`that program,’ and do not rely on the United States government."
Rosen told of eight Stamford, Connecticut, manufacturers that were
ready to leave the state because of a worker shortage — they were
having to bus engineers to Stamford from Brooklyn. But the local community
college turned on a dime to create a new major for their specific
skill set, and these eight firms stayed in the state.
Many of those attending agreed with Rosen: "It’s not easy to go
out and find employees, and to maintain them," said Daniel Walton
of Systech Inc., an automated inspection system manufacturer with
plans for expansion at Exit 8A.
"We are a distance learning software company, and we need more
software developers, and also sales and marketing people," said
James Scott, chief financial officer of Systems Task Group at 4365
Route 1 South.
"There was a time when access to credit was the most important
problem, but priorities have changed," said Jay Biggins of Arete
Capital on Nassau Street. "I would wager that, to business owners,
labor and the skill sets required are the most important problems."
Rosen points out that though employment growth may be faster nationally,
New Jersey’s labor force is growing nearly two times as fast as New
York State. "The employment forecast is strong for both New Jersey
and New York City, and this has helped fuel income growth in New Jersey,"
said Rosen. "In business services, health, and social service
jobs New Jersey has outpaced the nation. The construction sector is
vibrant, in part because New Jersey was overmalled but is now building
More of Rosen’s conclusions:
employment more rapidly than anywhere else in the nation. Still, the
state competes well in high technology areas.
and wealth, but its median income is below the national average. In
contrast, New Jersey has one of the highest median incomes in the
United States. "We think that is because you recovered more quickly
than New York," said Rosen. Also most of New Jersey’s jobs are
in the higher pay scale.
in New Jersey, where the numbers of workers leaving are matched by
the numbers entering from overseas.
much lower than elsewhere, with 5.1 percent of its Gross State Product
resulting from exports compared to 9.3 percent in California. "Because
we have a diversified economy, we have some insulation from the downturn.
In contrast, New York City is highly tied to the financial markets
and therefore more sensitive."
If computer engineers are in short supply, blue collar machinists
are another scarcity. "It will be driven home, if not at the peak
of this cycle, then at the next one," warned Rosen. She advocates
setting up apprenticeships for highschoolers. Instead of dipping ice
cream for $4 an hour, these students would work in a machine shop
for the same wages.
"I came away more disheartened about the state labor force,"
said Maxine Ballen, president of the New Jersey Technology Council.
"But the state labor department has made a lot of inroads. We
are doing a lot in New Jersey, but nobody knows it."
— Barbara Fox
If any segment of the population would be ripe for an
innovative credit card, it would be college students. That is the
target market for the National College Registration Board, founded
by three University of Pennsylvania alumni and recently relocated
to 251 Wall Street. The firm aims to sell debit cards for a fee of
$25. In return, the company claims, students get a card that entitles
them to discounts on many national brands and that "allows parents
to set aside funds specifically for their students’ essential college
But the company may have promised too much. This past weekend an AP
story reported that the NCRB’s offer was "deceptive" and hinted
that the company was a potential lawsuit target. One outraged parent
quoted in the article even described the card as a "scam."
Now the National College Registration Board is offering refunds, and
trying to counteract the negative publicity. "A university administrator
called us a scam. That’s a joke and that really angers us. We’ve been
working four years on this project. It’s really our blood sweat and
tears," says Matthew Levenson, 23, one of the founders, along
with Chris Cononico and Mike Vaughan.
The NCRB sells the Campus Card, which claims to help students gain
discounts on meals, books, airline tickets, copy centers, pharmacies,
and hair salons. It markets them nationally as a way for parents to
make sure college children have money for meals, books, and essentials.
Campus Card also can be used as a debit card if extra money is deposited.
"They deposit money that’s federally insured and fully refundable
and they can use the card to make purchases," says Levenson. "It’s
a way for parents to monitor money."
But the NCRB, it seems, was borrowing other school’s logos and marketing
the card by sending official sounding letters to first year students
implying that the NCRB was affiliated with the school. The University
of Michigan got wind of the letter, which claimed that the Campus
Card was a "student identification card issued to all registered
college students" and was "required for many services and
purchasing privileges." The promotional materials also used a
logo from the University of Michigan, which dispatched its campus
police to investigate the company.
Almost immediately, the NCRB offered to give out refunds to "anybody
who was confused" about the offer, says Levenson. "We’re not
looking to go head-to-head with the university system," he adds.
Levenson argues that school officials are wary of the Campus Card
because its off-campus offers could potentially detract from sales
at school cafeterias. "This has the potential to cannibalize some
of their on-campus sales," says Levenson.
The company moved from Philadelphia, where it operated as University
Support Services. "We got about half of Penn participating in
our program," says Levenson.
Will this negative publicity hurt? "We’re obviously not happy
about it, but most people understand it. It’s really going to help
college students quite a bit."
Princeton 08540. Matthew Levenson, partner. 609-688-0447; fax, 609-688-0626.
If Robert D. Battis has his way, Mercer County will
become the epicenter of the profuse laser marking industry, which
is responsible for putting the microscopic lettering on chips found
in electronic devices. His company, Laser Energetics Inc. moved from
Orlando, Florida, to 8,000 square feet at 4044 Quakerbridge Road in
January. The company has plans for another major expansion this year.
Sometime in late July or early August the firm plans to go public
and start selling stock on NASDAQ. Also, says Battis, the 10-employee
firm will move to larger quarters somewhere in the Princeton area
soon — perhaps into a 40,000 to 50,000-square-foot space, where
it will hire significant additional staff. "Our plan is to make
Mercer County the UV laser marking capital of the world," he says.
But that move won’t even be enough to keep up with the chip industry,
which some expert says is a $30 billion industry that has already
churned out some 3 trillion chips. "Not having enough capacity
is going to be the biggest problem for the industry," says Battis.
To see evidence of the kind of work that Laser Energetics does, just
open a stereo, VCR, camcorder, cellular phone, or a watch. All of
these devices contain ceramic chips, known to laser people as surface
mounted devices (SMDs). All SMDs have markings on them, which are
either applied with ink or burned in with lasers. Laser Energetics’
proprietary ultraviolet laser-marking process replaces ink, which
can be scratched off, says Battis. For laser marking, the ultraviolet
spectrum works better than infrared, which use more heat and can crack
Laser Energetics’ machines mark mostly capacitors, resisters, and
silicon wafers, and most of its customers are microelectronics companies
(although Battis won’t name them because of non-disclosure agreements).
He is also pitching the firm’s laser marking services to the bevy
of pharmaceutical firms in this area. "With our experience and
part handling, we are working on a process for marking pills and that
will hopefully get the attention of Squibb and some of the other pharmaceuticals
in the area," he says. "We’re developing several types of
new laser technologies. We work with ultraviolet lasers and we’re
coming up with some very compact, laser diode-pumped UV lasers for
laser marking and for laser materials processing."
Currently, Battis claims, Laser Energetics has the capability to print
roughly 20 million chips per week using a machine he invented, the
PSLM 1000 Ultramark High Speed Marking System, which can mark up to
30 chips per second on both sides. "It’s the fastest machine in
the world right now," he says. "That’s the backbone of the
marking side of the business. Using our technology you could actually
write your name and address on a human hair."
In his spare time Battis, 39, writes song lyrics, takes in art, and
goes ocean fishing with his two sons, 11 and 7. As an inventor, Battis
displays abundant state pride. Lasers were invented in his hometown,
Summit, by Bell Labs engineers, one of whom was a childhood neighbor.
At age 10, Battis’ family moved to this area, and he attended Notre
Dame High School (Class of 1977) where he was captain of the track
team, and then Seton Hall University, where he majored in chemistry,
and joined its esteemed track and field team. ("When I went to
Seton Hall it was a whole new ballgame," he says. "We still
have the record for the mile relay.")
After college, Battis worked in a materials sales division
of Rheometrics Inc., a Piscataway-based materials company. Before
starting Laser Energetics, he spent five years as national sales manager
for Lambda Physik, a division of Coherent Laser. "Lambda is the
most profitable laser company of all time, Coherent is the biggest
laser company in the world," he says. It was at Lambda where Battis
started to identify entrepreneurial opportunities. "I ran all
over the U.S. populating industrial production lines with Lambda Physiks
lasers," he says. "I spent a lot of time doing that and learned
a few niches within the industry."
Finding those niches have paid off, so far, Battis maintains. "We
have no competitor in this part of our business right now. Because
it’s a process I’ve brought to this industry, we have a niche business
right now and we think the barrier to entry is two to three years."
— Peter J. Mladineo
Mercerville 08619. Robert D. Battis, president and CEO. 609-587-8250;
08540. Tony Montrone, principal. 609-514-1090; fax, 609-514-0910.
Tony Montrone has left Environ, where he was a principal,
to join a Kansas-based environmental health and safety consulting
firm, and he has opened an office in Daily Plan-It.
Montrone, an economics major at Syracuse, Class of 1973, has an MBA
in management from Michigan State. He is married to Lisa Montrone,
head of sales and marketing information systems for Bracco Diagnostics
on College Road. He spent 12 years at the federal Environmental Protection
Agency, where he headed the hazardous waste enforcement program and
the groundwater task force, worked for 10 years in the Arthur D. Little
environmental group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and spent 18 months
as a principal in Environ before opening the Princeton office of this
Named Development Planning and Research Associates when it was founded
in 1961, the firm has been known by its initials since the early 1970s.
It has a strong presence in the midwest and southeast, with 200 employees
divided among Arlington, St. Paul, Dallas, Denver, Knoxville, and
its headquarters in Manhattan, Kansas. "We call it the Little
Apple," says Montrone.
Montrone had dealt with DPRG in various capacities since 1975. "I
saw an excellent opportunity to join an environmental consulting firm
that has been in business since the 1960s, and they were looking to
expand their consulting operations into the northeastern United States,"
Much of his work is determining the environmental and financial liability
involved in mergers and acquisitions, with the potential for groundwater
contamination that requires costly treatment. "In one deal the
estimate of liability was $350 million, but the deal was worth only
$300 million," says Montrone. "It didn’t go through."
Suite 116, Mercerville 08619. Walter McKelvey, senior vice president.
609-631-4000; fax, 609-631-4055. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In July the construction firm will expand its northeastern offices
from 11,500 square feet at University Plaza to 19,000 square feet
at Crossroads Corporate Center. Aubrey Haines and Karen Iman of GMH
Realty represented the owners, Leggat McCall Properties, and Fennelly
Associates represented Gilbane. This office manages construction projects
in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware. Gilbane’s Advanced
Technologies Sector (serving national clients in pharmaceutical, biotech,
electronics, chemical, and food industries) is also here.
Gilbane is the third largest general building contractor in America
and is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded in 1873,
it has 130 employees working from this facility.
Road, Suite 204, Princeton Junction 08550. 609-716-7300; fax, 609-716-7401.
An alumnus of Stockton State College, Class of 1981, Josephson started
out as an accountant, and then worked in computer sales for ADP, before
going to Seton Hall for law school, graduating in 1994. He moved his
general solo practice from Hightstown to Princeton Junction in
February. His areas of focus are residential real estate, matrimonial,
negligence (representing plaintiffs), and bankruptcies (representing
08540. 609-683-8848; fax, 609-683-8123.
Michael J. Myers, the venture capitalist, moved his office from 1
Palmer Square to a home office at 113 Herrontown Lane.
Street, Suite 12, Princeton 08542. Carol Wilson, director. 609-497-1907;
fax, 609-497-1927. E-mail: GSPrincip@aol.com.
The continuing education service for school administrators and teachers
moved to 195 Nassau Street from 20 Nassau Street. The organization
is affiliated with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
Lawrenceville 08648. Brown Williams, chairman. 609-912-9400; fax,
609-912-0044. Home page: http://www.pvimage.com.
Douglas J. Greenlaw, the 47-year-old president and CEO,
announced his intentions to step down by year-end. He was named president
and CEO in January, 1997, and oversaw its initial public offering
in December. From 1994 to 1996 he was president and chief operating
officer of Multimedia Inc. (which owns broadcast stations, cable systems,
newspapers, and a division of eminent talk shows) and supervised its
sale to Gannett. He had also been chairman and CEO of Whittle Communications’
Venture Division and vice president of MTV Networks.
Last week PVI announced it has made a small piece of advertising history.
Its live video insertion system, which electronically creates ads
to appear on the backstop behind the catcher without actually being
present at the game, now includes animation. For the San Diego Padres,
the animated image lets viewers see how fast the pitcher is actually
During the opening games for the San Diego Padres, ads for Amitron
featured an animated clock, allowing viewers to see the actual time
of day being periodically updated by PVI’s technology. The animation
system is also being used for the San Francisco Giants.
The animation is not a breakthrough for PVI — the real innovation
occurred when PVI designed the system to insert ads off-camera, which
was first employed by west coast teams in 1995.
Street, Box 300, Trenton 08625-0300. 609-984-1900; fax, 609-292-7665.
Lonna R. Hooks has resigned as secretary of state, effective June
30, to become executive director of the Global Leadership Institute
at Bloomfield College.
Square Commons, Hamilton Square 08690. 609-631-8004. Home page:
This sales office for a custom chemicals firm has closed and inquiries
are being handled by Howard Foote in Sacramento, California. A new
phone number is 800-311-9668. For major pharmaceutical firms, it creates
formulas for custom chemistry and synthesis, mainly of intermediates,
on both a small and large scale.
Sam Rao, vice president R&D. 609-987-8767; fax, 609-987-8807.
The largest manufacturer of room air conditioners in the nation moved
its research and development facility out of 6,500 square feet in
College Park. Sam Rao had headed up the center, which was working
on nontraditional heat transfer products in a joint venture with China.
Township 08619. 609-631-9500.
The scissors manufacturer moved from Hamilton to downtown Boston.
The new address is 142 Berkeley Street, Fourth Floor, Boston, MA 02116.
The new phone and fax numbers are 617-859-3800 and 617-859-3808.
Cranbury 08512. 609-448-8864.
Vector Marketing closed its cutlery sales office. The nearest Vector
office can be reached at 732-920-7790.
of events operations at Rider.
at Star Technical Institute on Carnegie Road in Lawrenceville.
purchasing for New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co.
Corrections or additions?
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