Corrections or additions?
Prepared for August 16, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All
New in Tech Networking: GetContactX.com
Until now New Jersey has had two organizations —
New Jersey Technology Council and Technology New Jersey —
organized to serve high tech businesses on a nonprofit basis. New
Jersey Technology Council is a big state-wide group with numerous
committees, whereas Technology New Jersey was run by virtually one
person, Grace Polhemus.
Now Technology New Jersey (TNJ) has been subsumed by a brand-new and
very ambitious for-profit organization, founded by Steven E.C.
Sroczynski. The Global Electronic Technology ContactX Association,
known as GetContactX, has an office at 3100 Princeton Pike, Building
3 (609-844-9880; fax, 609-844-9890, www.GetContactX.com).
Like Technology New Jersey, GetContactX will provide a forum for
professionals with regular events and seminars with regular E-mail
updates and newsletters. But it will also have additional bells and
whistles, such as a website with customized news delivery and the
opportunity to post member news releases. Sroczynski also has plans
to go nationwide.
Polhemus, who formerly had an office in shared space at the Carnegie
Center, is now consulting to GetContactX. Her website now morphs into
the GetcontactX home page, and TNJ memberships have been transferred
to the new organization. Two events that were on her schedule have
been transferred to the new group. For instance, Polhemus’ second
website contest got bogged down this year. She canceled the contest
and gala planned for June, and Sroczynski has rescheduled it for
November 16, at the Parsippany Sheraton.
Sroczynski opened his offices in May and launched a web site early
in July. His team includes Heidi S. Hooper, operations vice president,
who moved here from Washington. A 1993 graduate of Radford University,
Hooper ran the Y2K and then the E-commerce components of ITAA, the
world’s largest technology trade group. "On the day she briefed
the White House on E-commerce, she turned in her resignation,"
says Sroczynski, "and she moved here in April; she is one of the
Sroczynski says he intends to grow to be the
global community for professionals and organizations in the technology
and other industries, a dynamic middle ground between traditional
professional venues — filling the market void between community
event and large-scale industry events."
Among GetContactX first events will be a seminar entitled "PR
That Works: The Media Talks Back" on Thursday, August 24, from
1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at KatManDu in Trenton. Media professionals from
the tri-state area, will discuss do’s and don’ts, press objectives,
and share anecdotal, "real-world" advice for companies that
are looking for media exposure and wish to accomplish their goals
in a more effective, realistic way. Learn how leading industry users
are dealing with this challenge — the status of their efforts,
problems faced and significant issues addressed. The charity to
from this event is Pet Rescue Mercer. Cost: $50 for non-members, $30
After the seminar, GetContactX will hold its first monthly technology
social on the deck at KatManDu. Cost: $20 for nonmembers, $15 for
members at the door.
Other events on the schedule are "Application Service Providers
(ASP): The New Business Model," on Tuesday, September 12, at 1:30
p.m. at the Parsippany Hilton. Also "Wireless Application
on Thursday, September 21, at the Princeton Marriott. "E-data
Warehousing: Understanding Your Customer" will be a conference
and expo at the Newark Airport Marriott on Thursday, September 28.
On Thursday, October 19, "Knowledge Management: Lessons
will be a conference and expo at the Newark Airport Marriott.
Sroczynski had held three regional manager’s positions for Entre
nationwide, and most recently was working with Visionnet Systems to
sell Y2K business. He left in April, 1999, and — as he gleefully
puts it — has not worked outside the home since that time. "It
was a good stock market period; there was money to be made. For the
better part of eight months I did nothing but research the technology
industry, taking a look at other associations around the country."
GetContactX has 30 stockholders and its corporate attorney, the
office of Pepper Hamilton, has filed to open the business in 13
He compares himself to the other state organizations: The New Jersey
Technology Council (NJTC) "will always provide something the
don’t provide. Where NJTC and TNJ let down, they didn’t bring in
to attend the events," he says. "We need to communicate to
the nonmember community and add to the member community, and our model
includes a large event component. Also we will have purely social
events for networking, a monthly social in every given geographic
Sroczynski might partner with other groups, such as chambers of
that need to expose their members to technology companies. "Very
niche-y, very vertical organizations could also be a good fit,"
he says. He also hopes to partner with the manufacturer of an office
product, so that company’s salespeople can also sell memberships in
his organization. "If they send people our way they will do
He takes pride in the for-profit status of GetContactX. "Our
is a clientele, so we are driven to providing contacts for sales,
marketing, finance, and services. If someone were to join and didn’t
find what they were looking for — prospective new clients, end
users, venture capitalists, or bankers — we would have let them
down. That would be an area in which we didn’t meet the
The grandson of sweatshop workers, Sroczynski is proud of his alma
mater, Hamilton College, and has given 1 percent of the stock in the
firm to the college and 1/2 percent to Chi Psi, his fraternity. The
company is owned, in fact, by friends, family, and fraternity members.
Sroczynski, who majored in economics, accounting and marketing at
the upstate New York college (Class of 1973), claims he could have
obtained venture capital but preferred to issue limited shares,
of $5,000 to $30,000, so that "regular people were able to
All these people, in some way, I have met." One third of the
are from the fraternity.
Says he: "If I’m right it takes off."
He hopes his first events will help rapidly grow the organization
to 2,000 members in the first year. His fees, he says, are about 15
percent less than the regional groups such as New Jersey Technology
Council, and the price will reflect whether he has an office in the
member’s state. If he doesn’t, the company pays a lower price. (These
fees are available on the website only by filling out an application.
For one typical corporate application, the fees are $499 for a
company, $699 for 25 people, $999 for 99 people, and $1,899 for 200
One investor lives in Michigan and is lining up corporate members
in Detroit. Sroczynski plans to send a SWAT team to each new office
to work with the staff and ensure consistency.
Though the employees in this organization have bought stock they are
working for a salary, not stock. Pay is pay, stock is stock, says
Sroczynski, who believes that "our investors are comfortable with
our getting paid for what we do."
Polhemus has just been hired by CertifiedMail.com, a Springfield-based
firm that provides security for sending E-mail and attachments. She
will edit a weekly E-newsletter to focus on such issues as E-mail
security, privacy, government updates on new bills including the
Bill and other technology changes. She has mixed feelings about her
organization that lasted nearly three years but says her lack of staff
was a handicap. "I was so involved in organizing that my sales
department did not keep up with the membership," says Polhemus.
"A lot of what he plans to do is what I always wanted to do with
TNJ," says Polhemus. "Of course he studied every association
on the planet, who was doing what, and why they were successful and
why they weren’t, and what he has done is take the best of each. I’m
real excited for them — and they have the resources to make it
— Barbara Fox
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