Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox and Kathleen McGinn Spring were
prepared for the February 18,
2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane: RCN
After naming a new president on Thursday, February 12, and missing a
$10.3 million interest payment on Saturday, February 14, RCN
Corporation, reeling under its debt load, is preparing to file for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Barak Ben-Cohen, vice president for public relations, says that the
company has entered into a forbearance agreement with creditors that
extends until March 1. "We anticipate reaching an agreement with bond
holders and banks, and proactively using the Chapter 11 process to
consummate the deal," he says. And if no agreement can be reached?
"Chapter 11 is a vehicle the company can use to protect itself," is
The company went public in 1997, and saw its stock rise to a high of
$75 early in 2000. Its plan was to go head to head with the country’s
largest communications services providers by winning customers for its
bundled cable, phone, and Internet service. Going for some of the
country’s largest markets, RCN built infrastructure in seven markets,
including New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and
In doing so, it incurred a mountain of debt. The company, which has
lost more than $4 billion in seven years, is carrying $1.7 billion in
debt. It spent $56 million on debt service in the last quarter.
With a debt restructure its top priority, the company named John Dubel
president and COO. Dubel is known as the man who restructured
Dubel is a principal with Michigan-base AlixPartners, which has also
been retained by RCN to help in financially restructuring the company.
Dubel was CFO of WorldCom during its restructuring, and a press
release cites his experience "in both out-of-court and in-court
financial restructurings, operational reorganizations and cost
reductions, strategic repositioning and divestitures."
In 2002 RCN raised $165 million from the sale of its Princeton-area
cable system, but nine months ago the workforce had been slashed by
almost 50 percent and was down to about 2,700 people. In October, 2003
RCN hired Merrill Lynch to help figure out ways to raise money.
Billionaire Paul Allen, who had invested $1.65 billion in RCN in 1999,
got just three cents on the dollar when he sold 40 percent of that
investment earlier this year. Allen still owns a 14.9 percent stake
and is RCN’s second-largest shareholder.
At his most recent assignment Dubel made a job leap to CEO, bypassing
the CFO’s job. He was CEO of Cable & Wireless USA, the US subsidiary
of the British telecom giant that bought the assets of MCI. In
December, 2003, Dubel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for
Cable & Wireless, announced the sale of its telecommunications and
Internet assets, and said that more layoffs would be added to the
already massive layoff list.
David C. McCourt retains his position as chairman and CEO. The company
has launched a new website, at www.rcntomorrow.com, to address its
situation, and McCourt appears, smiling and confident, on its first
page. He tells customers and investors that, while other telecom
companies with massive debt have gone under, RCN will survive. The
reason, he says, is "vision."
08540. David C. McCourt, chairman and CEO. 609-734-3700; fax,
609-734-4586. Home page: www.rcn.com
– Kathleen McGinn Spring
Kalevi Onnela, CEO. 609-924-7310; fax, 609-924-1729. Home page:
After 12 years of legal negotiations, Princeton Gamma-Tech will pay a
$21.5 million settlement, and the money will be used to build a water
treatment plant for removing high levels of the potentially cancerous
compound trichloroethylene from wells in Rocky Hill and Montgomery.
In this Superfund case, the insurers – Hartford, North River, and
Federal – will likely be the ones to pay. In 1997 Gamma-Tech
successfully proved that it had insurance protection from the charges
that it had contaminated the groundwater. The volatile organic
compound was discovered in Rocky Hill in 1978.
Founded in 1965 and now a member of the Outokumpu Group of Finland,
the 45-employee firm develops and manufactures high-technology
radiation detectors and micro-analyzers.
The consent decree does not require PGT to admit guilt in the water
contamination matter. Currently Rocky Hill borough water is being
treated by an air stripper, and most Montgomery households are now
using public water.
Architects do it, and engineers do it, but only dedicated construction
managers confine their services to construction management, a
combination of skills that include accounting, design, and of course
actual construction knowledge.
Currie & Brown has moved to town to join a handful of construction
managers that have set up shop here. Like many of its compatriots,
including Hanscomb Faithful & Gould, it hails from Britain, which is
known for training people for this niche.
The president of the United States business and the director of the
international division is Iain McWhinney. A native of Glasgow, where
his father was an engineering designer, he started with the company
straight out of high school and went to college, Caledonia University,
part-time. He came to the United States in 1994.
Founded in 1885, Currie and Brown has just under 100 technical staff
people operating from five primary offices in the United States, and
globally it has 1,400 people in 75 countries. The Princeton office has
25 technical staffers in just 7,500 square feet, but because of the
needs of the business – getting out there to the job sites – only 8 or
10 people are in the office at any one time.
Last year McWhinney moved an office from King of Prussia, outside of
Philadelphia, to Princeton. "Most of the staff from the Princeton
office supports pharmaceuticals," says McWhinney, with a still
noticeable Irish accent. He names eight of the top 12 pharmaceutical
companies as clients, including J&J, Merck, Glaxo, Wyeth, Novartis,
and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
He says the pharmaceutical business seemed to be migrating to New
Jersey rather than to Philadelphia and Delaware, a comment that state
boosters of New Jersey’s pharma business will be glad to hear. "The
move was driven by the workload, and the location was far better," he
says. "We can get down to the Philadelphia clients and up to the New
York clients easily. We are right in the center."
As for the actual job: "I continually have to explain what we do. The
discipline that we are in is a service very clearly recognized in the
UK and other parts of the world. But elements of what we do done by
engineers, project managers, architects, and accountants. We like to
feel we represent the best elements of all of those professions."
Don’t architects resent having some of their job, overseeing their
beloved project, farmed out to an outside firm? "They do at the
beginning," says McWhinney. "But we have developed some excellent
relations, with companies like Hillier (the architecture firm) and
Vanderweil (the engineering firm that actually has an office in the
same building with McWhinney). "We ‘bed’ in with them," he says,
breaking into a Scottish expression.
Is it money out of the architects’ pockets? "More often we are engaged
by the client," he says. "Large corporate clients are making the
separation, passing on the construction supervision and the accounting
elements to us."
He contrasts his job now with an earlier one, the building of an
industrial gas facility in an old gold mining camp in Wyoming. "We
were surrounded by cowboys, and the nearby towns were called ‘Hole in
the Wall’ and ‘Dead Man’s Butte.’ But construction the world over is
very similar. There are all these personalities involved. New Jersey
has these characters like any other part of the world."
08540. 609-759-7000; fax, 609-759-7001. Home page: www.currieb-usa.com
This month the CEO of Hanscomb Faithful & Gould moved to Princeton,
and this office doubled in space in one year to 10,000 feet and in
staff from 25 to 50 people. Until the merger two years ago there were
separate Princeton offices, one for Hanscomb and one for Faithful &
Gould, both companies with roots in the United Kingdom (U.S. 1, July
The company acts as owners representatives and independent project
managers that do risk management, program management, project
controls, and value engineering. "Project services such as cost
estimating and cost management are our bread and butter," says Sarah
Mannino, regional marketing manager. "Most of our major competitors do
not have certified value specialists on staff."
In 2002 Atkins, which trades on the London stock exchange, bought the
privately-held Hanscomb for $27.5 million. Both companies had been
founded immediately after World War II to assess bomb damage in
London. Atkins already owned Faithful & Gould, so it named the
combined firms Atkins Hanscomb Faithful & Gould. But the Atkins name
rings no bells in the United States. So to brand the company and
showcase the Hanscomb and F&G names, the Atkins name was dropped, says
In February Paul Wood moved to Princeton with his family. He graduated
in 1981 from the University of Westminster in the United Kingdom and
is HFG’s CEO and COO. Chris J. Taylor remains in this office with a
new title, chief business officer, and Duane Roggow is in charge of
Suite 212, Princeton 08540. Paul Wood, CEO. 609-514-0900; fax,
Shawn Huxel has opened a medical device company at Princeton Pike
Corporate Center, Osseus LLC, joining more than a dozen similar firms
in Princeton. In this closely held private company incorporated in
Florida, Huxel’s partner and co-founder is Dean Cole, a Florida-based
trauma surgeon, who invents innovative orthopedic implants, a new
generation of internal fracture fixation devices for use by
orthopedic, trauma, and reconstructive surgeons.
Huxel oversees the manufacture, packaging, and sales of the patented
surgical instrumentation and implants. The son of a retired United
States Air Force NCO, Huxel is an engineer from Hofstra, Class of
1987, with graduate credits in engineering from Rutgers and a master’s
degree and MBA from NJIT. He worked at Stirn Industries as well as for
Johnson & Johnson, and then he consulted in biomaterials and urology
before opening the business with Cole. He and his wife have two
daughters at Stuart Country Day School.
Huxel officially started the business last September, and he hopes to
grow his company to 5 or 10 people. Dick Woodbridge of Synnestvedt
Lechner & Woodbridge on Nassau Street is his intellectual property
attorney and Feld Creative in Hopewell designs his materials. Contract
manufacturing is done in New Jersey.
The company’s first product in the orthopedic trauma market (worth
more than $2 billion worldwide) is a hard tissue fixation device to
repair fractured bones. Under the Osse-Lign label, it received FDA
approval in March, 2003. Since then, sales have been through an
independent Florida-based distributor. "We are currently entertaining
other distribution interests around the United States and being
evaluated by a multibillion dollar global organization for exclusive
market and distribution rights," says Huxel.
"The growth of Osseus will come from rounding out the Osse-Lign
Portfolio, targeting the niche areas of orthopedic trauma, spine, and
sports medicine," he says. A second FDA application has been
submitted. "We are developing a fair amount of intellectual property
and intend to partner with more surgeons and organizations to realize
more applications for our products and expertise."
One money-saving strategy that Huxel offers to other entrepreneurs is
to use an Internet phone service, voice over IP, for $40 a month
inclusive "which saves a ton of money." But he warns that the quality
depends on the Internet Service Provider and sometimes that has been
spotty. So he ends up using his cell phone for most of his outgoing
Suite 200, Lawrenceville 08648. Shawn T. Huxel, 908-997-0127; fax,
908-842-0347. E-mail: email@example.com. Home page:
Princeton 08540. Bill Horne PhD, research scientist. 609-514-0682;
It might seem unlikely that Hewlett Packard would have an office that
is not merely a branch sales office in Princeton. But five people at
Vaughn Drive do research in cryptography and computer security. This
office opened in Princeton partly because the principals live here,
and partly because Princeton University is a center for cryptography.
Until 2002 Robert Tarjan and Bill Horne were operating the STAR Lab
for Intertrust Technologies on Alexander Road (U.S. 1, June 20, 2001).
At that time they focused on protecting digital rights for artists and
producers. Intertrust closed that lab in 2002, and Tarjan and Horne
went elsewhere. But soon they had found positions at Hewlett Packard,
and last year they opened on Vaughn Drive.
Horne has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the
University of Delaware (Class of 1986) and a Ph.D. in electrical
engineering from the University of New Mexico. Tarjan has a bachelor’s
degree in math from the California Institute of Technology (Class of
1969) and a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford.
Road, Suite 1100, Plainsboro 08536. Venkat S. Mantha, account manager.
609-750-0700; fax, 609-750-1212. Www.iic.com
An IT solutions firm with major facilities in Hyderabad, India, and
Poughkeepsie, New York, moved to Princeton Meadows Office Center last
fall. IIC was founded as a software development company in 1986 and is
now a full-fledged IT service firm.
New Brunswick 08901. 732-247-9401; fax, 732-249-0401. Home page:
The computer monitor firm recently signed a 23,040-square-foot lease
at 18 Van Dyke Avenue in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Newmark’s William
J. Cariste and Douglas Bansbach represented the tenant in this
transaction. The company declines to provide more information.
Ray Kern moved his industrial design practice to Hamilton when he
moved from Berkeley Heights last fall. A graduate of the Philadelphia
College of Art, Class of 1960, he worked in Short Hills at
Schnur-Appel Design Consultants before opening his own industrial
design practice – graphics, architecture, and packaging.
A retail expert, he designs stores for malls and chains that sell
men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, and luggage. "My work is
throughout the country," he says, "as well as in Caracas, Montreal,
Corporate Plaza, Suite 205, Monmouth Junction 08852. Surendra
Chaturvedi, owner. 877-774-6303; fax, 732-274-0907. Home page:
Primesyn Lab has taken more space at Princeton Corporate Plaza, moving
from 550 to 1,200 square feet. It has two full-time and two part-time
employees. This specialized lab makes difficult and unusual DNA for
diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies (U.S. 1, September 17, 2003).
08542. Michael Shatken AIA, partner. 609-921-1131; fax, 609-921-9414.
Home page: www.kssarch.com
Princeton 08540. Clive Samuels, president. 609-520-1600; fax,
KSS Architects has been named architect of record for Gale Company’s
new positioning of Princeton Forrestal Village. Also, College
Road-based Clive Samuels Associates will be engineer of record. They
are charged with creating a "more pedestrian friendly environment and
to attract new world-class tenants."
Founded in 1983, KSS Architects has such clients as NJ Economic
Development Authority, Princeton University, Kean University,
Princeton Township, Mercedes Benz USA, and L’Oreal USA.
The 24-year-old engineering company has such clients as Chase
Manhattan, Lockheed Martin, the University Medical Center at
Princeton, Kings Supermarkets, American Home Products, Hilton Garden
Inn, Rutgers University, and Seton Hall University.
08525. Andy Reid. 609-466-1785. Home page: www.wellmanager.com
Andy Reid has received a patent for his PumpChamberT, which converts a
standard submersible well pump to an end-suction pump, so that it can
collect from bodies of water as shallow as two inches. One of the
models can be used in atmospheric water tanks, cisterns, dug wells, or
"Submersible well pumps are used around the world in all sorts of
applications, in ways the designer never imagined. Many of these
creative applications fall just outside the design limits of the
pump’s motor. That’s why PumpChamberT is so important," says Reid. He
says that when contractors lay submersible pumps on their side in
cisterns and storage tanks, this drastically reduces life expectancy,
and vessels can be emptied to only about seven inches.
The wall-mounted version of PumpChamberT, for pressurized piping
systems, can be used as a booster to correct low-pressure problems or
to draw water from a tank or open body of water up to 15 feet below
Clarksville Road, Princeton Junction 08550. Sotirios Vahaviolos CEO.
609-716-4000; fax, 609-716-0706. Home page: www.pacndt.com
TubeScan testing devices from a Mistras Holdings company passed
performance tests at a facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. Using an
automated rotating-mirror device, the TubeScan ultrasonic inspection
system can identify inner or outer wall corrosion in bridges and other
Mistras Holdings Group includes Physical Acoustics and four other
companies that secure the environmental safety of gas and oil
pipelines, petrochemical storage tanks, components of nuclear and
fossil fuel plants, metal and concrete bridges, aerospace vehicles,
and other structures.
Princeton 08543. Satyam Cherukuri, president & CEO. 609-734-2000; fax,
Employing technology that came from Sarnoff, Locus Pharmaceuticals has
obtained a patent for computerized drug design, licensed to Locus to
use in developing new therapies for such diseases as AIDS, cancer, and
rheumatoid arthritis. Frank Guarnieri, principal founding scientist of
Locus, developed the technology when he was at Sarnoff. It uses a
supercomputer cluster to find the ideal binding site for a small
molecule on a protein that is typical of a particular disease, thus
making it easier to design a drug to attack the disease.
"We are gratified that the patent office has recognized the uniqueness
of our approach in helping make drug discovery faster and more
accurate," says Carmen Catanese, executive vice president at Sarnoff.
"This and future Sarnoff innovations promise to play a major role in
drug design and development, and in shortening pharmaceutical research
and development cycle times."
Joseph Reiser, who until two years ago was CEO of Cytogen on College
Road, is now president and CEO of Locus Pharmaceuticals, located in
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.
and Cynthia Joyce. 609-737-1200; fax, 609-737-3805.
Robert and Cynthia Joyce have bought the Bridge Auto Body business
from Lucy Robson, wife of the late Russell Robson. Under the name
Carstar the Joyces also own auto shops in Hamilton and Bridgeport,
Pennsylvania. Carstar is a franchise but the shops are individually
president. 609-683-8118; fax, 609-683-8812.
Josh Raymond has changed the name of his practice to Phase IV LLC to
indicate a broader scope. A management consultant who went to Williams
College, Class of 1975, he does executive coaching, change management,
communications, training, and conflict mediation.
He had worked for International Paper, and he numbers Liberty Mutual,
New England Life, and AT&T among his clients.
Whitehorse-Mercerville Road, Suite A-402, Box 3314, Hamilton 08619.
Joseph Ridolfi, president and CEO. 609-581-4848; fax, 609-581-5511.
Home page: www.ridolfi-associates.com
Realtor Joseph Ridolfi moved from Nottingham Way to
Whitehorse-Mercerville Road and has a new phone and fax. His
12-year-old firm offers corporate real estate services, office,
industrial, commercial and investment properties.
Robbinsville 08691. Kenneth M. Fisher Jr., president. 609-208-9099;
Nassau Communications moved from 55 Route 31 South in Pennington
Business Park. Founded in 1984, the 12-person company does commercial
printing and desktop publishing.
S. Beans, owner. 609-490-1122; fax, 609-490-0993. Home page:
A 40-person limousine firm moved to a new address in East Windsor.
Clarke Caton Hintz is considering moving its architecture practice
from Ewing, where it has offices in the West Trenton Train Station, to
the third floor of the Masonic Temple on Barrack Street, just a couple
of blocks from the Statehouse. If these plans go through, Clarke Caton
Hintz would follow Hill Wallack, a 138-worker private law firm now at
the Carnegie Center, into the center of downtown Trenton.
Built in 1928, the Masonic Temple is a majestic beaux arts building
with an unfinished third floor. The architectural firm would need to
chip in $1 million of the $1.4 million needed to finish the third
floor of the temple, and the city would obtain an Urban Enterprise
Zone grant for the remainder.
Clarke Caton Hintz focuses on urban planning and affordable housing,
architecture, landscape architecture, historical preservation, and
environmental studies. Current contracts include designing schools for
the state’s Abbott program, designs for a minor-league baseball
stadium in Camden, and renovations to Morven, formerly the governor’s
mansion. In the regime of the late mayor Arthur Holland, one of the
firm’s founders, John Clarke, was the lead planning official for
Trenton 08628. Philip B. Caton, president. 609-883-8383; fax,
609-883-4044. Home page: www.ccharchitects.com
Janice Foster, general manager. 800-374-9806; fax, 609-890-1596.
The auto association just went through a merger and a move, but some
jobs are likely to move again next year to a new headquarters that
will be built in Wilmington, Delaware. The headquarters had been in
Philadelphia. Delaware offered a $7 million incentive package.
South Gold Drive has the call-center, retail and insurance services
operations, and those workers are likely to stay put.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority has approved
$7.85 million in incentives based on AAA’s plans to spend $10.5
million on an information technology facility in Mount Laurel and move
as many as 90 jobs there.
Corrections or additions?
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