Grounds For Sculpture has a new executive director. David Miller, who has spent most of his professional life promoting the arts, says that his mission includes evaluating every aspect of the multi-faceted organization’s operations with an eye toward raising its national and international profile and making sure that it is making the best use of its revenue and funding. Also on the horizon is planning for the development of a recently acquired seven-acre tract of land adjacent to the original 35-acre arts campus.
By coincidence Miller’s first day, July 20, fell on the date of Grounds For Sculpture’s first ever staff art exhibition.
Would he be contributing? “Oh, no,” Miller laughs, “but it was a wonderful way to meet staff members.” In answer to a question on whether he is an artist, he says, “it’s debatable.” The son of a Medford dentist with a keen interest in politics and a mom who spent her days keeping up with four active boys, Miller says that he started taking piano lessons at age 7 and played professionally as a young man.
“The music was eclectic,” he says, “ragtime, the Beatles, all sorts of songs.” Performing in “seedy bars” with a good friend, he performed as he began what he thought would be a career in teaching social studies. A 1973 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he had majored in English literature and minored in history. Soon after graduation he began to work toward his teaching certification and became a permanent substitute at Rancocas High School, his alma mater. But after two years the economy had turned sour and he was RIFed, which is education speak for laid off.
“I was disappointed,” he says. “I really enjoyed teaching. I enjoyed working with students.” He quickly adds, “I still enjoy teaching.” In addition to being the acolyte master at St. David’s church in Cranbury, where he “trains, schedules, and teaches” 22 youngsters, the work he found after leaving Rancocas High School has provided rich opportunities for teaching.
Miller has been instrumental in working to raise the profile and the status of the arts in New Jersey and to help all kinds of arts organizations to work together, a strategy that is especially important in a down economy. He has done most of this work as a state employee, and before that as a county employee.
His first job in arts administration and planning came in 1976 when he was offered a job with the Burlington Cultural and Heritage Commission. This “very full time career” spelled the end of his life as a musician and the beginning of his education in a field that was very new at that time. “I was very lucky,” he says. “They needed somebody who knew a little about a lot of things. It was a great opportunity to learn.”
It turns out that he was in the right place at the right time. “There was a transition in 1980-’81,” he says. “The New Jersey Council on the Arts had a brand new grant program to promote local cultural programs. The first grants went to organizations like ours.” The definition of “the arts” was being expanded. All kinds of programs and initiatives were being tucked under the arts umbrella. It was a heady time, and Miller soon had an opportunity to make a contribution on the state level. His good friend, Jeffery Kesper, who had held the Cultural and Heritage Commission job in Middlesex County, was named executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in 1983. A year later he invited Miller to work with him to develop grant funding programs.
Again, the timing was just right. “Tom Kean was governor,” Miller recalls. “He was the most amazing supporter of the arts.” Kean substantially increased the state’s budget for the arts. “There were many, many more programs,” says Miller. “Local arts development programs quadrupled.” The expansion of arts organizations in multiple directions was encouraged and supported. “A good example is the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts in Cape May,” he says. “They hold an amazing music festival in May and June; they restored the Cape May Lighthouse; they give tours of historic properties.”
Generous funding for the arts was not to last forever. Ronald Reagan became president, and a Republican-dominated Congress, horrified to learn that public funds helped to support the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe, began a national debate on whether tax dollars should be spent on the arts.
Miller realized that the arts would have to make a better case for themselves if they were to continue to attract support. “We had to have a larger understanding of what the arts mean to people and to communities and to industry,” he says. So, in 1990, he and Barbara Moran, who succeeded his friend Jeff Kesper as executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, began a decade-long project that resulted in the first statewide Arts Plan for New Jersey. They worked with hundreds of people and organizations, and set about forging new partnerships. “We worked with travel, hospitality, hospitals,” he says. “We talked about public value.”
One result was partnerships among arts organizations that, says Miller, are unique to New Jersey. “I go around the country giving presentations,” he says. “When people hear about the New Jersey Theater Alliance, they want to know ‘how do you get 19 theater groups to work together?’ When they hear that 41 arts organizations share mailing lists, their jaws just drop. It’s unheard of!”
Miller spent his last six years at the New Jersey State Council on the Arts as its executive director. After spending 23 years with the organization, he retired from public service. “Twenty-three years is a long time to be in one place,” he says. “I was a real dinosaur! People change positions every two years now. And I was more and more intrigued by what could be accomplished in the private sector. I had gotten to an age where retirement was allowable in the state pension system, and I was able to afford to retire and see what opportunities were out there.”
Upon his retirement, Miller went right to work again, as executive vice president of the Foundation for New Jersey Public Broadcasting, the non-profit fundraising arm of NJN Public Television and Radio. He left that position after a year or so to become a consultant to the Nonprofit Finance Fund for the development of its New Jersey program.
“I was excited by the prospect of consulting,” he says. “As we updated the Arts Plan for New Jersey in 2005-’06 I had become more and more concerned about the stability of non-profit arts organizations.” In his work for the Nonprofit Finance Fund, Miller worked to diagnose problems and help to formulate solutions — more effective marketing, perhaps, or improved audience development — for organizations in financial trouble.
In the ’90s, when Miller was working with arts organizations to help them persuade a dubious electorate of their value to many facets of American life, the political climate was a problem. Now the economic climate is the problem. Even a solid understanding of the contribution the arts make is not enough to preserve all state funding. Asked his opinion of Governor Corzine’s willingness to support the arts, Miller refuses to criticize any cuts, saying that “the state is facing very difficult choices.” Meanwhile, the planning done in the ’90s, and the partnerships that it forged, could help arts organizations weather the ongoing recession. “In general there is a much more collaborative spirit,” says Miller. “There are co-productions, there is sharing of personnel and of marketing, and some organizations are considering merging.”
Amid the gloom dulling the luster of the arts, Miller finds some sunshine at his new home. “I just looked at the attendance figures for July,” he says. “We had the most visitors ever.” Some 80,000 people paid $10 apiece to stroll the grounds and experience 250 sculptures placed on rolling hills and beside landscaped ponds. Miller thinks that Grounds For Sculpture may be experiencing an uptick in visits thanks to the Staycation effect that is keeping some vacationers close to home this year. This is good news indeed, as the sculpture park draws what Miller terms a “significant” percentage of its revenue from attendance.
Visitors also contribute to the success of the non-profit by eating at its restaurants, including the highly regarded Rat’s, and by holding weddings, celebrations, and corporate events on the grounds. Other funding comes from foundations of J. Seward Johnson, the sculptor and philanthropist who founded Grounds For Sculpture. The organization also benefits from grants. It has 22 full-time and 19 part-time employees, and, Miller emphasizes, a large and important cadre of volunteers.
Miller, a Hightstown resident, is married to Ann Marie Miller, the executive director of Art Pride New Jersey. She joined Art Pride, an advocacy organization, on a part-time basis in 1995, after their son, Michael, soon to be an eighth grader, was born. She was made executive director the following year. Prior to her work with Art Pride, she had been the development director for McCarter.
Miller says that he is now in “sponge” mode, getting to know his staff and learning about his responsibilities, which include overseeing a busy, high-profile restaurant. “I’m getting a crash course in restaurant management,” he says.
It is a job that comes with a view. “I turn around to look out my window during the day, and I see a stream with big orange koi, a tall white marble sculpture, and visitors walking down the path.” As entrancing as the natural beauty and the art, he says, is the wonderful diversity of visitors. “I see a family in the most colorful saris, followed by a Chinese American couple with a baby, followed by women wearing burkas. I hear all languages.”
Grounds For Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton 08619; 609-586-0616; fax, 609-586-0968. David Miller, executive director. Home page: www.groundsforsculpture.org.
Recruiting Ads Move From Print to Online
Fred Block began his career in recruitment advertising in 1964 with the belief that the best ads are not written, they are rewritten. Forty-five years later he still follows that belief.
Things were more straightforward then, of course. Newspaper classifieds were just about the only source for job listings and every paper ran pages and pages of them. Making a living in recruitment advertising began with opening papers, circling 100 or so ads that looked as though they could use some editing, calling the companies that placed them, and re-writing the ads of those companies that felt you were right.
Fundamentally, the job has not changed. But these days Block does not have to fish for ads in the almost non-existent newspaper classified section. After 46 years — four on his own as Devon Advertising Agency in Jamesburg — Block has developed a solid client base in academe, non-profits, and the private sector, re-tooling the ads people now read primarily at places like CareerBuilder.com or Monster.com. Print ads still come along, but the recruitment advertising market is comprised of less than 40 percent of those now, he says.
Block’s clients — universities, major financial firms, and numerous other businesses — have been customers of his for years, he says. New business comes in on referrals, but most business is brought in by companies that are looking to attract just the right candidate to an opening.
Often times, Block says, companies simply over-write. Strapped HR execs spell out every word, taking up valuable real estate in print and online. For classified ads, such a practice could end up adding money unnecessarily. “Drug Corp., a Fortune 500 biopharmaceutical firm located near beautiful downtown Princeton, is seeking a qualified research analyst with at least five years experience in X, Y, and Z” could easily be trimmed to “Drug Corp. seeks analyst. X, Y, Z.”
People in the industry, Block says, will know Drug Corp, know it is a Fortune 500, know it is in Princeton, and will know they need at least five years under their belt to be able to work comfortably with X, Y, and Z. The benefits are that only qualified people will apply, and Drug Corp just saved itself a pile of pointless words that cost money.
Display advertising holds similar ways to trim money, Block says. Shorter text simply takes up less space, which is important, as display ads are sold by the column inch. Often logos run needlessly large (or needlessly in general). Or they run on Sunday in the New York Times for $6,000 as 2-by-6-inch ads, when they could be pared to 2-by-3 and run in more targeted newspapers better suited to your company for less than $3,000.
Finding the right outlet for ads is a lot of what Block says it takes years to master in his business. And, he says, experience gives him the wisdom to know that just broadcasting a message to the largest possible audience will not get you any more qualified candidates than you would get with more judicious placement.
HR personnel are Devon’s biggest fans, Block says. Strapped for time as well as cash, many HR people throw money away on wastefully wordy ads, but also on trying to go lavish where it is unwarranted. “You don’t want a $6,000 ad for a $20,000-a-year receptionist,” he says. Big ads like those should be reserved for jobs offering a six-figure income.
A lucrative sub-market for Devon, Block says, is immigration ads. According to federal law, any U.S. company looking to hire a non-citizen must advertise the position it hopes to fill. Before a company can hire a non-citizen, it must make the job available to U.S. citizens, and if someone is qualified the job must go to that person. Writing these ads can be tricky, Block says. There is a complicated web of legal and regulatory terminology that often accompanies such ads, and a misstep could spell trouble for a company.
A graduate of NYC Community College in 1964, Block has studied advertising through City College of New York and the School of Visual Arts. He has worked as an art director and senior account executive for several recruitment ad agencies in New York before founding Devon Advertising in 2005. — Scott Morgan
Devon Advertising Agency LLC (DevonAd), 96 Drawbridge Drive, Monroe 08831; 609-235-9452. Fred Block, president and CEO. Home page: www.devonad.com.
New in Town
PSI Test Center, 3525 Quakerbridge Road, Suite 1000, Hamilton 609-588-0919. Steve Tapp, CEO. Home page: www.psionline.com.
PSI, a national chain of testing centers for the real estate, insurance, and other trade industries, has opened a location in Hamilton.
Headquartered in Burbank, California, the center offers assessment programs and administers certification tests for insurance and real estate professionals.
Educational Testing Service, Rosedale Road, Princeton 08541; 609-921-9000; fax, 609-734-5410. Kurt F. Landgraf, president. Home page: www.ets.org.
Pascal (Pat) D. Forgione Jr., who was superintendent of the Austin Independent School District (AISD) for 10 years, has joined Educational Testing Service (ETS) as executive director of a new Center on K-12 Assessment and Performance Management. This new position at ETS will focus on social responsibility, equity, opportunity, and quality in its research and development work to advance the field of educational testing and data management in public and private school systems.
The center will focus on the improvement of assessment and performance management methodologies, technologies, policies and practices through useful, timely and high-quality guidance and scholarship. Forgione and his staff also will conduct periodic surveys to identify timely and policy-relevant issues and topics in assessment and will issue regular reports on developments in K-12 assessment.
Prior to heading the AISD, Forgione held leadership positions in other assessment and management programs at the national and state levels. From 1979 to 1991, he oversaw Connecticut’s statewide student and teacher assessment programs, as well as the evaluation of the state’s major state and federal compensatory programs. Forgione also served as U.S. Commissioner of Education Statistics under Secretary of Education Richard Riley. From 1996 to 1999, he headed the National Center for Education Statistics in Washington, D.C., which collects, analyzes and disseminates data on all levels of education in the United States, conducts studies on international comparisons of education statistics, and develops the use of standardized terminology and definitions for the collection of those statistics.
Intellisphere, 666 Plainsboro Road, Suite 300, , Plainsboro 08536; 609-716-7777; fax, 609-716-4747. Michael Hennessy, CEO. Home page: www.mdnetguide.com.
Pharmacy & Healthcare Communications, an Intellisphere company, has named Bea Riemschneider editorial director of Pharmacy Times, a monthly journal for pharmacists. Riemschneider will oversee the 112-year-old publication as well as its website, www.PharmacyTimes.com. She will also direct the custom supplements, including Pharmacy Times Careers and Pharmacy Times OTC Guide, as well as the new website, OTCGuide.net, which provides data on pharmacists’ recommendations for 145 categories of over-the-counter products.
Riemschneider was formerly editor-in-chief of Physicians’ Travel & Meeting Guide, a monthly publication. She directed custom publishing efforts for the brand. Riemschneider also launched a medical meetings website in 2000 with more than 40 physician specialties and disease states represented.
Pharmacy Times is the largest circulation publication in the field with 162,000 pharmacists in chain drug stores, community pharmacies, supermarkets, hospitals, and other care facilities.
PharmacyTimes.com is part of HCPLive Healthcare Professional Network (www.hcplive.com), a website for health care professionals.
Laureate Pharma LLP (SFE), 201 College Road East, Princeton 08540; 609-919-3300; fax, 609-452-7211. Robert J. Broeze PhD, president. Home page: www.laureatepharma.com.
Laureate Pharma, a biopharmaceutical development and protein production company, has appointed Daniel E. Leone as vice president of business development. Leone will be responsible for Laureate’s worldwide business development activities, including sales and marketing. He will be supporting the company’s contract development, manufacturing, and bioprocessing business.
Leone comes to Laureate from Ben Venue Laboratories, where he was executive director of contract manufacturing. He holds an MBA from Duke University and masters and bachelors degrees in chemical engineering from Manhattan College.
Novo Nordisk Inc. (NVO), 100 College Road West, Princeton 08540-6213; 609-987-5800; fax, 609-919-7801. Jerzy Gruhn, president. www.novonordisk-us.com.
Novo Nordisk, the global healthcare company focusing on diabetes care, has appointed Per Falk as vice president for Clinical, Medical and Regulatory Affairs for North America.
Falk brings 23 years of medical, research, and pharmaceutical experience to his new position, where he will lead clinical research and medical affairs in endocrinology and biopharmaceuticals, as well as regulatory affairs and medical communications.
He joined Novo Nordisk in 2002 as a vice president to establish the experimental medicine unit in Denmark. Later he served the company in Tokyo where he was responsible for drug development and market authorization of Novo Nordisk’s medical entities in Japan and Australia. In 2008 he became associate vice president responsible for clinical development and medical affairs for all of Novo Nordisk’s diabetes and metabolism products.
Falk earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Gothenberg in Sweden.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, James Forrestal Campus, Box 451, Princeton 08543-0451; 609-243-2000; fax, 609-243-2751. Stewart Prager, director. Home page: www.pppl.gov.
Federal stimulus funding worth $13.8 million has been earmarked for use at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory under a two-year grant that has been announced by U.S. Department of Energy.
The grant provides $8.8 million for fusion energy initiatives plus an additional $5 million for work on infrastructure at the laboratory, a collaborative national center run by the federal government and Princeton University.
The lab was one of 10 U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories selected to receive funding out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus bill signed into law earlier this year.
“The additional research capabilities enabled by this funding will accelerate the advancement of understanding in plasma science, fusion science and fusion technology, which form the knowledge base needed for an economically and environmentally attractive fusion energy source,” Stewart Prager, director of the laboratory, said in a prepared statement.
Laboratory officials plan on using the federal stimulus funding to “upgrade and expand the use of the laboratory’s primary fusion device, the National Spherical Torus Experiment.”
The stimulus dollars represent extra support beyond the laboratory’s regular annual funding. The funding will allow fusion operations at the laboratory to be expanded by at least five weeks over the next two years. Also, the lab will have the funding to hire additional postgraduate staff.
Charles Baldwin Sr., 83, on August 9. The Pennington resident was the owner of Charles Baldwin Tractors.
Marie Josephine Carveth Woodbridge, 90, on August 7. Interest in drama and stage make-up led to her involvement with the Princeton Community Players and the Princeton Ballet Society. She was also a horticulturist who became one of Mercer County College’s oldest graduates when she earned a degree in 1997.
Richard G. Van Noy, 68, on August 4. After retiring from General Electric he served as deputy director ofthe Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, executive director of the Mercer County Improvement Authority, and administrator of Hopewell, West Windsor, and Robbinsville townships. He also served as mayor of Hopewell and as a director of the Mercer Insurance Group.