Contracts Awarded

Crosstown Moves

Leaving Town

Management Moves

Top Woman Emerges at Bristol-Myers Squibb


Corrections or additions?

Life in the Fast Lane: P.J. Dempsey Sells Morgan Mercedes

These articles by Barbara Fox and Peter J. Mladineo were published

in U.S. 1 Newspaper on January 21, 1998. All rights reserved.

It requires boldness to start a business, and courage

is needed at various points along the expansion road, but the


that really calls for fortitude is when you sell a business. One of

Princeton’s most prominent entrepreneurs, P.J. Dempsey, has sold her

human resources firm, Morgan Mercedes. She’s happy with the result

but admits the process was a harrowing experience for which few


owners are likely to be prepared.

Though she teaches the course at Mercer County Community College for

women entrepreneurs, Dempsey says this did not prepare her for merger

negotiations. And she was hard pressed to find another woman who had

sold her business.

Dempsey now realizes that women need to understand how to position

themselves to put themselves in a position to merge, to sell.


this is the next step for women," says Dempsey. "I learned

a lot of things I would have changed, had I known. You only have one

chance and you’d better get it right."

Dempsey has been in the employment industry since 1976 and founded

Morgan Mercedes Human Resources Group in 1984. Her father was an


engineer in Michigan, and her mother sold real estate. With degrees

from Saginaw Valley State University and St. Louis University, Dempsey

spent three and a half years with the State of Missouri Division of

Family Services, worked for an employment agency in St. Louis, and

was eventually recruited by Roth Young in New York City as a national


When Dempsey and Margaret Hindmarsh started Morgan Mercedes,


desire for a yellow Mercedes and Dempsey’s for a Morgan sailboat


the firm its moniker. (Hindmarsh later married and moved to Florida).

In the 1990s Dempsey added temporary placement to what had been solely

a permanent placement business. Since then the company has diversified

again and become an offsite human resources department. In 1996 she

won the small business person award from the Mercer County Chamber.

On Tuesday, January 13, she sold the business to the

Placers, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Accustaff, based in


Florida. Alan Burkhard, owner of the Placers, has his headquarters

in Christiana, Delaware, and has 120 employees and 12 offices. "We

think it’s a nice merger," says Dempsey. As part of a larger firm

she can offer 401Ks and health care benefits that will help her


"We do have our niche market, but everyone is vying for the same


This opportunity turned out to be "win win," says Dempsey.

"I’ll still be here and my staff will be here and we’ll still

be Morgan Mercedes. We’ll be expanding in New Jersey, but I’ll

have the rewards of opening new offices without the risks." She

declines to discuss money aspects of the transaction but notes "I

will still have an interest in the company and am still very


in the bottom line."

The deal started at a convention in October: "I got off the plane

with a guy from the Placers who said his company was interested in

expanding into Princeton, and I said `I’m in Princeton.’ Then the

first day, in a crowd of 1,700 people, Alan happened to be sitting

right next to me."

Once discussions began, things got hectic. "One day the deal’s

on, one day the deal’s off, and in the meantime you have a business

to run." She had broken her hand, to add to the complications,

so when Burkhard would call on the telephone to impart confidential

information, she couldn’t write it down — nor could she put anyone

in her office on the phone, because she wasn’t supposed to leak


to her employees.

Whom did she call for advice? "I turned to my first ever client,

Bob Clancy, who has become a good friend and mentor of mine."

Clancy and Glenn Paul, co-founders of Clancy Paul, had sold their

firm to a national company in Omaha. "Bob said, `Get yourself

positioned for how you really feel and trust those instincts.’"

"My broker, Barbara Clarke at Merrill Lynch, gave me sound


Larry Oring of Oring Levinson Burness of Parkway Avenue was her


and Dan Murray and Dennis Casale were the merger and acquisition


from Jamieson Moore Peskin & Spicer of Alexander Park. Christa


her operations manager, was the only person in the company who knew

about it. "She kept a real perspective on it and kept me very


Gail Eagle (of Gail Eagle Associates Custom Publishing) was her


section: "She understood that in selling a business there is also

a sense of loss, that you don’t understand how much of your self image

is as a woman business owner." This change in self-image turned

out to be one of the most surprising and formidable obstacles to her

making the selling decision: "I never realized how much I


with being an entrepreneur," says Dempsey.

At the closing at Jamieson Moore’s office, she had one lawyer and

the Delaware firm brought three. The buyers’ lawyers had come to


office the previous day to update and spot check the "due


search. "Our lease, our books, our personnel files — we had

submitted 42 files of paper over six weeks," says Dempsey.

The two-hour closing went smoothly thanks to a "dress


staged the night before. "Then we came back to the office and

I sent each one of my employees, all of whom happen to be women, a

dozen roses." The week before she had let drop some hints.


tell you not to tell your staff, but I just couldn’t imagine doing

it cold," says Dempsey. "I was really glad that I let my


buy into the process."

After the closing comes the "cognitive dissonance" when you

wonder whether you’ve done the right thing. Dempsey is convinced she

has: "We had always prided ourselves on being different. We are

finding creative solutions to solving HR (human resource) problems.

Maybe it’s by screening resumes or maybe it’s taking onsite people

for a client company, or maybe it’s hiring all the people for a


so I couldn’t move into cookie cutter companies."

"The exciting thing is that I can continue to be as creative as

I want to be. Alan likes to think out of the box and so do I."

Morgan Mercedes Human Resources Group, 34


Road, Princeton Junction 08550. Pamela J. Dempsey, owner.


fax, 609-716-1706.

— Barbara Fox

Top Of PageExpansions

Atlanta Technologies & Systems Inc., 3371 Route

1, Lawrence Commons, Suite 218, Lawrenceville 08648. Nitin Shah, COO.

609-720-1111; fax, 609-720-1112. E-mail: harini@atsysinc.com. Home

page: http://www.atsysinc.com.

Atlanta Technologies, a subsidiary of East West Service, has moved

to its own space in Lawrence Commons. Atlanta was started in 1993

by Avinash Diwan as a computer consulting arm of East West, which

manufactures exit signs, electrical outlets, and surge protectors.

The head of the Lawrence Commons office is Nitin Shah, COO, who left

HexaWare Technologies (which recently moved from 13 Roszel Road to

5 Independence Way) three months ago. Shah has an undergraduate degree

and an MBA from Rider (Class of 1991).

Atlanta provides consultants to end-user clients that include Dow

Jones, Eli Lilly, Blue Cross Blue Shield, American Express, and Bank

of New York. He says the firm is currently providing contractors but

is considering taking on elaborate turnkey projects and doing offshore


Atlanta vacated 150 square feet at 3 Nami Lane in Mercerville and

now occupies 1,500 square feet. Shah welcomes the added space.


adding employees and more and more consultants."

Top Of PageContracts Awarded

Anthra Pharmaceuticals, 102 Carnegie Center, Suite

103, Princeton 08540. Michael Walker, president. 609-924-2680; fax,


Anthra Pharmaceuticals has filed its first new drug application for

a product intended for the treatment of superficial bladder cancer.

The product, AD 32, might be used for patients who might otherwise

have to have their bladders removed. Its first product was an enzyme

inhibitor that improves the efficacy of chemotherapy in the treatment

of advanced bladder cancer (U.S. 1, August 3, 1994).

Top Of PageCrosstown Moves

KDC Group Inc., 114 Main Street, Kingston


Building, Kingston 08543. K. David Cadieu, president. 609-252-9060;

fax, 609-252-1871.

David Cadieu has moved his pharmaceutical recruiting firm, KDC

Group, to Kingston. He previously worked for the Personnel Group in

Warren. Cadieu, 30, went to Susquehanna University (Class of 1990).

Chartwell Navigation Inc., 370 Wall Street,


08540. Pauline Carr, president. 609-494-2881; fax, 609-924-5906.

The shipping logistics business had moved to a home office, but is

now back at Research Park (U.S. 1, August 13, 1997).

Sports Track, 228 Alexander Street, Princeton


Francis Goodzeit, managing editor. 800-392-5238; fax, 609-921-1307.

Home page: http://www.sportscampus.com.

This online college sports news service was launched in March, 1995;

it furnishes sports stats in a product called the Sports Campus.


it closed an office at 350 Alexander Road and is operating virtually

now, says Frances Goodzeit, managing editor, the firm has expansion

plans that may include a joint venture. David Porter (a sportswriter

with the Times of Trenton) covers the news side.

Top Of PageLeaving Town

SoftNet Web Creations, 410 Wall Street, Princeton

08540. Peter Maracotta, president. 609-430-9310; fax, 609-430-9466.

E-mail: pmaracotta@softnetweb.com.

The computer consulting firm that did website development closed its

office at 410 Wall Street. Its phone, fax, and toll-free numbers have

been disconnected.

Peak AnalytiX Inc., 114 West Franklin Avenue, Suite

K20.4, Pennington 08534-1486. John Mikrut, president. 609-737-8133;

fax, 609-737-1724. E-mail: peakx@aol.com. Home page:


The phone and fax have been disconnected Peak AnalytiX was an analysis

services company, specializing in scanning electron microscopy,


probe microscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, and optical


It had a website http://www.peaklab.com, which appears to have

ceased construction.

Top Of PageManagement Moves

Opera Festival of New Jersey, 228 Alexander Street,

Princeton 08540. Deborah Sandler, general director. 609-279-1750;

fax, 609-279-1832.

After six years Deborah Sandler has resigned as general director of

the Opera Festival of New Jersey to be general director of Kentucky

Opera in Louisville. She will make that move in August, after this

summer’s season.

Top Of PageTop Woman Emerges at Bristol-Myers Squibb

In a seven-way shakeup Bristol-Myers Squibb moved around

its top executives and promoted Christine Poon to the highest post

ever filled by a woman. Poon will be president of Medical Devices,

a newly created position that has responsibility for both ConvaTec

(on Headquarters Park Drive in Skillman) and an Indiana-based



Five of the seven appointments pertain to Princeton’s part of the

B-MS business: Samuel A. Barker, Richard Lane, Peter R. Dolan, and

Donald J. Hayden Jr., and Poon. Spokesperson Anthony P. Carter says

the moves aim "to strengthen our core businesses in every


Poon is "certainly the first woman at that level," he says.

A native of Wyoming, Ohio, Poon majored in biology at Northwestern

and earned a master’s degree in biology/biochemistry at St. Louis

University and an MBA in finance from Boston University. She worked

for DuPont, first as a chemist, then in management positions including

manager of market planning in clinical systems. In 11 years at


Squibb (starting as manager of marketing research at Squibb


she has had 13 promotions, and her most recent jobs were with the

Pharmaceutical Group as senior vice president of the northern region

and president of Latin American and Canada. She will have offices

in New York, Princeton, and Skillman.

Barker, 55, has been president of U.S. Pharmaceutical Group but will

now be vice president of Franchise Management and Strategy of


Pharmaceutical Group. This is a new position, and he will work closely

with Kenneth E. Weg, president of Worldwide Medicines Group. Barker

went to Henderson State and has graduate degrees from the University

of Arkansas and Purdue.

Lane, 46, came to the firm in 1995 as president of the primary care

business of the U.S. Pharmaceutical Group. He will now succeed Barker

as president and report to Weg. Lane went to Temple and has a Wharton

MBA; his offices will be on Scudders Mill Road.

Dolan, 41, headed the nutritional and medical devices group in


and will now operate out of Princeton as president for Pharmaceutical

Group Europe. He has an MBA from Dartmouth.

As president, Intercontinental, Worldwide Medicines Group, Hayden

adds Canada and Latin America to his responsibilities; he had already

been in charge of Asia/Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, and


He went to Harvard and has an MBA from Indiana University.

The changes come a year after Peter Ringrose left Pfizer to replace

Leon Rosenberg as president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical

Research Institute; Ringrose was the third chief in seven years.

Top Of PageMilestone

Died: Carl C. Storey on January 14. He was a partner of


Pike-based Quinn and Storey, managers of condominium associations.

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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