Lots of people join boards of directors; most people quit them as soon as they can. Maurice Perilli joined the board of Roma Bank in 1970. was appointed chairman in 1991, and still holds that position, at the age of 91.
Born in Trenton, Perilli was indoctrinated into the printing business at the age of seven. He set type in his father’s small newspaper and commercial printing business where the family published II Secolo XX, an Italian weekly.
Now 91, Perilli serves is an active member of the board of directors of the Hamilton YMCA; a Silver Life Member of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and an active member of The Roman Society. He also serves as a member of the Executive Board of CIAO, the Committee of Italian-American Organizations in Mercer County.
After World War II he started Abco Printing in Hamilton and later bought Commercial Printing and the Mercer Messenger. Today Perilli is a member of the Trenton Economic Development Committee, Trenton Business Assistance Corporation, the Hamilton Township Redevelopment Authority, and the Hamilton Partnership.
A past chairman of the board of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton, which he also joined in 1970, he remains a trustee. He has ceded interest in one area: His sons now run the printing businesses.
One of the largest individual landowners in Princeton, real estate mogul Bryce Thompson started Thompson Realty in 1958 and still operates it from his family’s six-generation home at 195 Nassau Street. Thompson, 77, has owned as many as 9,000 acres at a time, but he is now down to about 5,000. “There’s only so much I can do,” he says. “I still like to use my mind but don’t have the energy to run here and run there.”
Thompson, above, prefers to sell his land to either governmental bodies or conservation groups who will preserve open space rather than build houses on it, even though he doesn’t make as much on the deal. Thompson says he is happy to see some of his former land used for parks, schools, and right of way. He sold three of the 100 parcels that comprise Mercer County Park; he sold Washington Township 70 acres for a new high school; and he was responsible for several farms that provided rights of way along the New Jersey Turnpike for a gas pipeline and high tension wires.
Calling himself a natural risk-taker, Thompson says he doesn’t worry so much about trends. “I didn’t have anything when I started. If in five years I had to start over, I would do it, and it wouldn’t break my heart or break my spirit.”
From Army cryptographer to RCA Astro programmer to over 30 years at ETS as a systems designer, Bill Kraft has had a career of solving problems.
When now-retired Bishop Melick Belshaw of the NJ Episcopal Diocese asked Kraft to solve the problem of needing quick, accurate election results at diocese conventions with hundreds of voting delegates, Bill came up with a solution called VoteScan, a software/optical scanner/paper trail system. In the last 18 years, the business has grown to help dioceses nationwide with their convention and bishop’s elections. Kraft, 75, has added a new client, the Diocese of Washington, DC, which had tried other electronic systems without satisfaction. They will use VoteScan in January of 2011.