Bloomberg on Bloomberg

Labor Force Worries

Essential Product? Or Essentially a Scam?

Laser Energetics

Start-Ups

Expansions

Crosstown Moves

Management Moves

Leaving Town

Deaths

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

Top Of Page
Bloomberg on Bloomberg

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

Capital Together."

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than they need to learn technology that will be out of date when they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

movies."

Bloomberg offered these views in response to questions from the audience:

Teleconferencing and virtual offices? He compares the

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."

Year 2000 problem? Bloomberg thinks that the change to

Euro currency will have a more serious effect on commerce than the

calendar rollover.

Automated transactions are working in the securities business

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

dealer.

The media: Because anyone can get published on the Internet,

"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."

On education. Though it is fashionable to downgrade the

United States schools, "in Japan the kids are going to schools

eight days a week, and Japan is falling apart."

Immigration. "Almost the stupidest thing that Congress

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."

Employment policies. Bloomberg Financial enjoys a lower

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."

Top Of Page
Labor Force Worries

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

need.

"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

and renovating."

More of Rosen’s conclusions:

Manufacturing is New Jersey’s weak area, where it lost

employment more rapidly than anywhere else in the nation. Still, the

state competes well in high technology areas.

Median income: New York State has extreme pockets of poverty

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.

Immigration policies are critical to the worker population

in New Jersey, where the numbers of workers leaving are matched by

the numbers entering from overseas.

Exposure to problems in Asia: New Jersey’s exposure is

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

Top Of Page
Essential Product? Or Essentially a Scam?

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

living needs."

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."

Peter Mladineo

National College Registration Board, 251 Wall Street,

Princeton 08540. Matthew Levenson, partner. 609-688-0447; fax, 609-688-0626.

Top Of Page
Laser Energetics

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

the chips.

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

Laser Energetics Inc., 4044 Quakerbridge Road,

Mercerville 08619. Robert D. Battis, president and CEO. 609-587-8250;

fax, 609-587-9315.

Top Of Page
Start-Ups

DPRA, 707 Alexander Road, Suite 208, Princeton

08540. Tony Montrone, principal. 609-514-1090; fax, 609-514-0910.

E-mail: amontrone@dpra.com. Home page: http://www.dpra.com.

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

firm.

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,"

says Montrone.

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."

Top Of Page
Expansions

Gilbane Building Company, 3705 Quakerbridge Road,

Suite 116, Mercerville 08619. Walter McKelvey, senior vice president.

609-631-4000; fax, 609-631-4055. E-mail: wmckelvey@gilbaneco.com.

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.

Top Of Page
Crosstown Moves

Seth D. Josephson Esq., 55 Princeton-Hightstown

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

debtors).

First Century Partners, 113 Herrontown Lane, Princeton

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.

Principals’ Center for the Garden State, 195 Nassau

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.

Top Of Page
Management Moves

Princeton Video Image Inc. (PVI), 15 Princess Road,

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

throwing.

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.

New Jersey Department of State, 125 West State

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.

Top Of Page
Leaving Town

Aerojet General Corporation, 2119 Route 33, Lexington

Square Commons, Hamilton Square 08690. 609-631-8004. Home page:

http://www.aerojetpd.com.

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.

Fedders, 307 College Road East, Princeton 08540.

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.

Armada Art Inc., 3 Nami Lane, Unit 8, , Hamilton

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.

Vector Marketing, 379 Princeton-Hightstown Road,

Cranbury 08512. 609-448-8864.

Vector Marketing closed its cutlery sales office. The nearest Vector

office can be reached at 732-920-7790.

Top Of Page
Deaths

Elizabeth-Anne Murphy, 31, on April 20. She was coordinator

of events operations at Rider.

Kimberly A. Bernath, 25, on April 22. She was a secretary

at Star Technical Institute on Carnegie Road in Lawrenceville.

William A. Venanzi Jr., on April 24. He was director of

purchasing for New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co.

Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

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