Chameleon Moves

Name Change:

What’s New in Home Entertainment

Millstone’s Young Owner

Name Changes

Stock News:Orchid

Tech Who’s Who


Corrections or additions?

This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the October 23, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

Gravity Shift Solutions, a 15-year-old multimedia firm,

has moved from 182 Nassau Street to the home of Newton Interactive

at 2425 Pennington Road in Pennington. The combined firms are now

known as Newton Gravity Shift and have 50 people in 12,000 square


Peter Sandford and Robert Christensen, founders of Gravity Shift,

went to Rowan College, Class of ’83 and ’84 respectively. Christensen

had been a producer and director at Press Broadcasting Company in

Asbury Park, and Sandford had worked in Philadelphia at WTXF, Channel

29. They founded the firm as RAC Productions in 1987 and moved to

Nassau Street in 1998, then changed the name. Now Gravity Shift offers

technology-driven E-business applications for Web applications, interactive

programs, video, and event-based media.

"The majority of our work is web-based, but we are still doing

multimedia work," says Sandford. Gravity Shift’s clients include

the Vanguard Group and Rutgers University, and it produced a CD-ROM

on diversity training for the state of New Jersey.

Debra Newton, founder of Newton Interactive, grew up in Dayton, Ohio,

and says she absorbed the entrepreneurial spirit from her father,

who had a tool and die company. "I lived and breathed having a

business and seeing the time and energy needed to grow and maintain

a company," says Newton She dropped out of school and 12 years

later — by then single and with a seven-year-old child — went

back to college and graduated from St. Mary’s College in California.

She did meeting management for a large labor law firm, and then moved

east to do pharmaceutical marketing for Carter Wallace. She founded

her company as Newton Resource Group in 1991. Even before this merger,

it showed five-year growth of 479 percent and placed 465th on the

latest Inc. list of 500 fast growing companies.

Newton Interactive lists its core focus as digital media solutions,

specifically Internet-based technologies, particularly (though not

exclusively) for the pharmaceutical industry. Among Newton’s products

is a custom training and learning portal, Assessor, that combines

a test-taking system with web-based course content. This tool can

cut down the time it takes for teachers to grade tests.

"We had done some work with Debra recently, and the more we talked

the more it made sense for us to do this. It started taking shape

in the spring of this year," says Sandford. "Newton Interactive

has concentrated on health care, and the combined entity offers a

stronger, more viable partnership within pharma. But it will also

leverage the solutions that we developed for the healthcare environment

outside of health care."

"The merger gives us not only new market areas and expanded products

and services but it also lets us tap proven talent," says Newton.

"Growth puts formidable demands on any management team, and a

CEO who is the `chief everything officer’ is not effective.

"To organically grow a company takes hours and hours of commitment,

and it can be difficult to find the right people," she says. The

right person can be another entrepreneur, someone who has been in

the trenches and understands the risks and the time commitment required.

"Often," says Newton, "our real work starts at 6 p.m."

"When I talked to Pete and Bob in the spring about bringing the

two companies together, I was delighted to recognize that they are

on the same business wavelength as I am. Also we found our corporate

cultures to be very similar, which has made for a seamless merger."

Everybody is doing what they did before. Christensen is leading the

creative, technology, and production services, and Sandford is taking

some of the sales management load from Newton. "There is little

duplication in the other staffing areas," says Newton, "and

we didn’t have overlapping clients, so we can play off the strengths

of the two companies."

Newton Gravity Shift, 2425 Pennington Road, Pennington

08534. Debra Newton, CEO. 609-818-0025; fax, 609-818-0045. Home


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Chameleon Moves

Daniel P.T. Thomas has quadrupled his space with a move

of six people from 500 square feet at 947 Wall Street to Main Street

in Kingston. Though like most companies, his has been buffeted by

the winds of the recession, he is jubilant about his current expansion.

He attributes it to the fact that his agency is in tune with what

clients need. "They want small, niche, specialist, and affordable,"

he says. "They hear of us by word of mouth, and though we are

small we are up against major agencies for big accounts."

"Our strength is marketing communications in the widest sense

of the world — electronic media, print, sales aids, detail aids,"

he says. "Like many agencies we have learned our way into pharmaceutical.

I’ve gotten into every big pharma company in the last year and am

chipping away slowly. Places like that are ripe for the picking if

you know what you are doing. They are all very conservative and they

love letting us loose."

The son of a British military officer who served as the Queen’s Chaplain,

Thomas declined to take the ordained path — to go to the British

military academy at Sandhurst. Instead he went off on his own to London,

found a job at Ketchum Advertising, and put himself through college

via night school. When he moved to Princeton he was a vice president

at QLM Marketing at Research Park, and he founded his own firm in

1996. Now he has six employees and 2,000 square feet at his new location.

His current work is a varied lot. It includes internal and external

newsletters for Bristol-Myers Squibb, sampling and displays for the

Coty’s "Move" fragrance to be used at teenage concerts, juice

boxes for Flemington-based Johanna Foods, and corporate redesign and

advertising for Techne, the Washington Road-based laboratory equipment


What’s missing in the market right now is "personality," says

Thomas, and that’s what he aims to supply.

— Barbara Fox

Chameleon Marketing Inc., 4595 Route 27, Kingston

08528- Daniel P.T. Thomas, president. 609-921-6588; fax, 609-921-6516.

Home page:

Top Of Page
Name Change:

Root to Princeton Imaging

Scholars and purists tend to cling to the paper copies

of their favorite journals. And why? Not just because they treasure

the boxed sets, but because the electronic versions don’t always render

the true colors faithfully. If you are studying birds or tumors, you

want to be sure you are looking at the right shade of red.

For the last 10 years Root Technologies has focused its business on

converting journals and other paper documents to electronic forms

of all kinds. To represent its business focus, Root Technologies is

changing its name to Princeton Imaging. Its clients come from all

industries, but the company has a particular focus on scientific organizations.

"We image documents for archival use or sometimes to Word, Excel

or other electronic form for further use by our customers," says

CEO Tom Johnson. Digitizing scientific journals, he says, is not so

much of a commodity business as you would think, because having to

do the photos and getting the true colors really separates out the

amateurs. "There are many tradeoffs involved in file size and

quality, and we have technical edges over our competitors," he

says, "because a lot of what we do is custom work, and if we need

to we write our own software. Our competitors use off-the-shelf software,

and when it can’t do what they are looking for, they are stuck."

National clients include AT&T, Lucent, Kraft, Playtex, Monsanto, and

the military. Lucent Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers

Squibb, and Merial are among the many Princeton-based scientific clients,

and the firm also does litigation support for Herrick, Feinstein.

For the Acoustical Society of America it made a 10 CD set of journals,

dating to 1929, and it also did a large online library of mosquito

studies for the Smithsonian Institute. Available on the web are the

largest online collection of ornithological papers, the result of

120 years of journals from three societies (

and Rutgers’ Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (

Among Johnson’s more esoteric offerings is a 600 DPI face-up book

scanner so it can work with rare and valuable books. Other services

include turnkey document archival and delivery systems, large format

scanning (engineering drawings up to E size), recovery of damaged

database files or files specific to an outdated software, high volume

document scanning up to 400 DPI, putting scanned documents on the

web with DjVu conversion, high volume Acrobat PDF conversion, and

even conversions to HTML. "Automatic HTML conversion tools do

only part of the job," says Johnson. "We can convert spreadsheet

files and even complex tables."

Johnson’s new web page ( has a helpful

glossary of document imaging terms for those who have always wondered

how to tell a TIFF from a GIF, and he also explains some more unusual

esoteric terms, such as "dithering" and "lossiness."

Some excerpts:

Resolution : the number of dots per inch (DPI) that were

stored during scanning. The greater the number, the greater the amount

of visible detail, and the more space the image will occupy.

This is why images that a company displays on its website are almost

never suitable for printing in any publication. Most images displayed

on screen use from 72 to 100 DPI, but any common printer needs at

least 300 DPI.

JPEG : image file format best suited for photographs. It

is not appropriate for text because it supports "lossiness,"

which means it will throw away some detail to achieve better compression.

TIFF (Tag Image File Format : standard format that incorporates

multiple compression techniques, allowing the user to specify the

best format for a type of image, and that one file can contain multiple


GIF : file format used on the web that uses LZW compression

and is good for color and grayscale images. It is "lossless,"

which means it will not compress as well as JPEG, but it will retain

all of the image’s quality. In black and white it does not compress

as well as GF.

GF Compression : produces good results for black and white

and is frequently used as an option in TIFF files for black and white.

It is also used in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files.

Skew : during printing or scanning the contents of a page

are almost never exactly vertical. De-skewing is a process where the

computer detects and corrects the skew in an image file.

Anti-Aliasing : smoothing curves and diagonal lines by

adding pixels of intermediate shades or colors around the line.

Dithering : adding more colors or shades of gray to an

existing image to improve the appearance of the image. Can be thought

of as the inverse to quantization.

Johnson’s father was an optical engineer, working on lasers

and lenses, who also did computer work. Tom went to Kean College,

Class of 1980, and the Stevens Institute of Technology, and then he

worked for Bell Labs and BellCore. He opened the business in 1987

in Middlesex as a generalized computer consulting firm, moving to

Research Park in 1996. His brother Gary joined the business two years

ago, and two other brothers also work in this eight-person business.

"We definitely don’t want to grow a lot," says Johnson. "Our

goal is to look for the right kinds of projects and focus on what

we do well — what is fun and interesting."

To herald the new name, the firm is issuing its own CD, the 1902 Sears

catalog, complete with illustrations of funky sinks and quaint bathing

suits ( "It is fun and

interesting, and it can be used as clip art — there are so many

figures on every page," says Johnson. The CD sells for $25 and

ships November 15. The next publication, at the end of the year, is

a CD-ROM version of the famous 1911 Century Dictionary.

Johnson offers some advice for the amateur who wants to put hard copy

into digital form. "Learn how to properly use a scanner,"

says Johnson. "Make sure you understand the best kind of scanning

and the best compression for your particular job. If you don’t do

that, you could end up with very large files that don’t look as good

as they could."

Princeton Imaging/ Root Technologies Inc., 14

Wall Street, Princeton 08540. Thomas D. Johnson, project manager.

609-430-1320; fax, 908-359-9250. Home page:

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What’s New in Home Entertainment

Call a spade a spade and a toy a toy. That’s what Paul

Cottingham thought when he renamed his company PHC Toys. Cottingham

sells, services, and installs home theaters — everything from

modest to grandiose. One customer has the equivalent of a $50,000

drive-in theater in his back yard. "This is something people want,

not what they need," says Cottingham.

Cottingham has moved his business from 1 Circle West in Pennington

to the Glen Roc Shopping Center. But don’t just stop by — make

an appointment, or you are likely to find that he is out on the road.

He markets his business by word of mouth and even in this recession,

the calls keep coming in. He sells equipment direct from the manufacturer,

anything from $500 to $250,000.

Rentals are available for big screen outdoor parties. For one such

rental, a Halloween party, Cottingham played all the B movies —

Bride of Frankenstein, War of the Worlds — and put up a temporary

cardboard screen. "Our client, an attorney, liked it so much we

fabricated a permanent powder coated screen for him." The

owner can float on a raft in his swimming pool while viewing a 17-foot

screen with Dolby digital surround sound.

Cottingham has aspirations of opening a drive-in movie theater, complete

with sushi and Italian food, but the economics are daunting. "It

seems as though Hollywood gets 95 percent of the door. But you can

charge for parking based on the fact that the land costs you money.

Monday night football would be cool to have outside."

He offers tips to future owners of a surround-sound system at home:

When prewiring, you of course need to think about placement of electrical

switches. But also decide where you will put the television, telephone,

networking computers, nanny cams, and inside and outside speakers.

"People finish the basement and sheet rock the ceiling, then call

me and say they are ready," says Cottingham. "I have to ask

them how much they like that sheet rock." To wire a home for fiber

optic after the sheet rock is up costs double.

If you think you might want to install fancy wiring at some later

time, take pictures before the sheet rock goes up, to show where all

the wires and pipes are. Or call Cottingham to take the pictures.

"Later on, we have a picture of the wall, cut a hole, and the

wire is right there for you," says Cottingham.

He also does what could be called "prophylactic" wiring. "If

we wire 8 or 10 rooms for music and they say they don’t want telephone

or speakers in the garage, I just do it. Because sometimes you can’t

get there again."

"Some of the architects are starting to realize that they should

get in touch with us in the planning stages," he says, "because

quite often we will move a fireplace or a window because it is in

the wrong place for surround sound."

Cottingham’s father, formerly a mounted policeman in the West, had

a Lawrence-based detective and insurance investigation agency. At

40, he is married and has three school-age children. He was a manager

at Sound Automotive for 10 years before going out on his own. Though

he was self-taught, certificate courses are now available through

the Custom Electric Design and Installation Association.

Most electricians hook up "black and white" wires, not fibers,

says Cottingham, and they don’t do structured wiring for communications

data. "They do the high voltage 110 for the television sets and

we do the low voltage, 12 volts, for the LCD panels. You could practically

stick your tongue on our wire. We have put flat screen TVs near jacuzzis

in the master bedroom."

Popular now: plasma screens and DLP digital light processor projectors

for 120-inch screens. "We are doing a lot of media rooms —

dedicated rooms for surround sound and family entertainment. The LCD

technology is so good that you no longer need one of the giant boxes

hanging from the ceiling."

"The market is constantly changing," says Cottingham. "Every

day there is something else you can have."

PHC Toys, 212 Scotch Road, Glen Roc Shopping Center,

West Trenton 08628. Paul Cottingham, owner. 609-883-4477; fax, 609-883-2230.

Home page:

Top Of Page
Millstone’s Young Owner

At age 26, Tara Kolb has joined Mike Kendrick to buy

a printing business, the Millstone Group, at Research Park. Formerly

a Minute Press franchise at the Princeton Shopping Center, the Millstone

Group is a family business, founded 30 years ago by John and Joan

Emmerick as Minute Press (no relation to the national franchise, Minuteman

Press). The company does graphic design, marketing strategy, and design

for corporate, business-to-business and consumer clients.

The team of Kolb and Kendrick is also a family business, because Kendrick

is Kolb’s maiden name; Mike is her uncle on her mother’s side.

"I’m a partner during the day and an uncle at night," says

Kendrick. He has had his own printing business, Kendrick Graphics,

for seven years, and by partnering with his niece he acquires printing

capabilities plus the services of a staff designer and photographer.

"I had agreements with a lot of different companies, but to have

it all `in house’ is nice," says Kendrick.

Kolb, 26, was just out of college when she was hired as art director

at the Millstone Group. "It was a great opportunity, and not even

two years later John and Joan were mentioning retiring," she says.

"They groomed me to take over the company. They wanted to make

sure it would run the same way they had run it for the past 30 years.

They did a lot of traveling, and I would be two or three weeks by

myself, so it was a natural transition." Other potential buyers,

she believes, would probably have bought the firm for the client list

and broken up the company.

"Ever since I was little, I could copy anything you gave me,"

says Kolb. Her father and grandfather worked for USX in Fairless Hills,

as did Kendrick’s father. She graduated in 1998 from the University

of the Arts in Philadelphia. While going to school, she was a designer

at MetLife in the Carnegie Center, and she moved from that job to

the Millstone Group.

She is expanding the company to add four-color and six-color printing

and digital capabilities and is aligning it with Kendrick Graphics,

which has contracts for printing for many of Philadelphia’s sports


Her clients, which include schools and professional offices, have

not been seriously affected by the recession. "We will do design,

photography, or printing for anybody who walks in. Not many places

can you find that all in one company," she says. Sam Stia, on

the faculty at Mercer County Community College, takes care of the


Kendrick grew up in Bristol and took a customer service job in the

airline industry straight out of high school. When deregulation came,

he worked at a family member’s packaging company and began his sales

career. After a stint at another company as marketing manager he went

into the print brokerage business, working for Curtis 1000 as the

Philadelphia sales representative. "I thought I was going to retire

there but in 1995 there was a change in the company’s philosophy and

I thought it was best to go out on my own."

He and his wife, who is also in the printing business, have two teenage

children. "My wife is the one who talked me into going into my

own business. I had had a number of offers from other printing companies

but they were for starting up new territories. She said, `If you are

going to do it for them, why don’t you do it for me.’"

Millstone Group, 45 Wall Street, Research Park,

Princeton 08540. Tara Kolb, president. 609-924-1502; fax, 609-921-7037.

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Name Changes

Princeton Multimedia Technologies company is changing

its name to better reflect what it does — develop health and nutrition

software, including packages for research nutritionists. The new name

will be VioCare.

"Vio is derived from the Latin word `vivo’ which means life,"

says Rick Weiss, president, "and we combined it with `care’ to

focus on technology tools to support healthcare organizations, disease

management, clinical trials, and clinical research, — through

electronic health relationship management portals (EHRMs)."

The firm is working with the Princeton Medical Center, the Princeton

Regional Health Department, and other community groups to provide

a website for the Lighten Up Princeton effort, which is in progress

now through December 17. "This project provides service to the

community and give us some exposure, and it starts building a natural

relationship with a local hospital," says Weiss, a graduate of

Carnegie Mellon (Class of 1980) with master’s degrees from Princeton


One of Weiss’ four employees has spent most of his time for several

weeks on the community website, but this pro bono effort is actually

part of his business plan, says Weiss, who works with research hospitals

around the country. "Hospitals can use health portals like this

one to be the `glue’ between the patient and the doctor," says

Weiss. "The website can deliver tools that the patient needs,

and the individual has power over the data." For instance,

has tools for calculating ideal weights and resting metabolism rates.

It offers chat pages for exchanging recipe ideas and other weight-losing

tips, and a tracking program.

Another way to help doctors communicate with their patients can be

through a pocket PC. From the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute,

Weiss’ company has a $200,000 grant to help consumers track their

diet on the pocket PC. He is working with Steven Heymsfield, a body

composition and obesity expert at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. "Our

system provides feedback, and the information can be uploaded to a

website so the healthcare provider can see your records and send information

to you. Education on portion information, licensed from the U.S.D.A.,

will be incorporated into the tracking program," Weiss says.

Princeton Multimedia Technologies Corp., 145 Witherspoon

Street, Princeton 08542. Rick Weiss, president. 609-497-4600; fax,


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Stock News:Orchid

Posts New Plan

Orchid BioSciences makes its payroll by using its existing

toolset, SNP genotyping services, to do clinical-quality geno-profiling.

And though they may have the among best tools on the market now, these

tools are fast becoming out of date. So rather than spend lots of

money on continuing to develop the tools — and miss its promised

target of profitability by 2003 — Orchid announced earlier this

month it would ditch the tool business and concentrate on its high

growth service business, genotyping. It will sell its Orchid Life

Sciences business unit.

It also added a new person at the top, George Poste, as chairman,

leaving Dale Pfoste as president and CEO. Both names are pronounced

the same way, as in fence post.

Orchid has a much publicized contract to do identity genomics for

victims of the World Trade Center, but it also works in the profitable

areas of forensic, paternity, agriculture, and HLA testing for organ

transplantation. Orchid’s GeneShield unit is working on ways for genomic

knowledge to make medical care — diagnostics and healthcare —

more appropriate for each individual.

Pfost predicts revenues will reach $65 million this year. In the last

year he trimmed the workforce from 700 to 540, and of those laid off,

80 were in Princeton. About 100 people work on College Road now. He

also cut expenses by about $2 million per quarter. Nevertheless, the

company’s stock is trading at 50 cents, compared to its high of $55

in 2000, just after it went public.

George Poste, 58, is the former president of research and development

and chief science and technology officer at SmithKline Beecham. He

has been a member of Orchid’s board of directors for two years. He

chairs the task force on defense against bioterrorism for the United

States Department of Defense.

A naturalized American citizen who was educated in England, Poste

has a degree in veterinary medicine and a doctor’s degree in virology

from the University of Bristol. He has been associated with 29 successful

drug and vaccine registrations in the United States and internationally.

He is non-executive chairman of diaDexus, the joint venture in molecular

diagnostics between GlaxoSmithKline and Incyte Pharmaceuticals located

in Santa Clara, CA, and non-executive chairman of Structural GenomiX

in San Diego. He has published over 300 scientific papers and co-edited

15 books, primarily in the fields of cancer research and drug delivery.

In 1999 Poste retired from SmithKline Beecham, where he had been for

20 years in such posts as chairman of R&D and chief science and technology

officer. That year he was awarded the honor of Knight Commander of

the Order of the British Empire, bestowed by Queen Elizabeth in 1999

for services to the development of biosciences. He is now CEO of

Health Technology Networks, a healthcare consulting group based in

Philadelphia and Arizona. It focuses on the genetics, computing, and

other advanced technologies for healthcare R&D and Internet-based

systems for healthcare delivery.

Poste is expected to expand Orchid’s commercial applications of its

geno-profiling technologies. "For Orchid, no individual could

better embody where we have been and where we are heading than George

Poste," says Pfost. "George has been one of the most prescient

leaders in the field of genomics, molecular diagnostics and pharmacogenetics

— precisely the markets that represent Orchid’s future," says


"I believe no other company is as well positioned to emerge as

the premier company in the use of geno-profiling to improve the diagnosis,

classification, and treatment of disease and to drive the rational

use of prescription medicines for optimum treatment outcomes,"

says Poste.

Orchid BioSciences Inc. (ORCH), 4390 Route 1 North,

Princeton 08543. Dale R. Pfost Ph.D, president. 609-750-2200; fax,

609-750-6402. Home page:

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Tech Who’s Who

Joe Alea is the new executive vice president of product development

at University Square-based Princeton Softech (

He comes from Concerto Software, a $100 million global provider of

enterprise and mission-critical customer interaction management (CIM)

systems, He also worked at McKesson, Lockheed-Martin, and Gould

Computers. Don Cohen, a co-founder of Princeton Softech, has

been promoted to be CTO and executive vice president of product integration.

On December 1 James B.D. Palmer will replace Peter Ringrose

who resigned in July as head of the Pharmaceutical Research Institute

at the Route 206 offices of Bristol-Myers Squibb. The 49-year-old

comes from GlaxoSmithKline, where he was senior vice president for

new product development. He has a medical degree from Aberdeen University

and began at Glaxo in 1985.

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Charlotte D. Solomon , 54, on October 16. She was a program

administrator with Educational Testing Services.

Carolyn E. Messerknecht , 39, on October 17, from injuries

received in an automobile accident. She was a product manager for

a division of Siemens Medical Systems.

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