Corrections or additions?
These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the
August 20, 2003 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
PSE&G is accepting applications for its 2003
Excellence in Volunteerism grant programs. Competitive grants are
available for qualified nonprofit organizations where PSE&G employees
Up to 17 grants will be awarded this year, ranging from $1,000 to
$10,000. An independent panel from the business and non-profit
will review all applications. Awards will be based on overall service,
duration, and quality of volunteer work.
Last year’s grants were awarded to organizations such as the March
of Dimes, Little Leagues, Boy Scouts of America, and rescue squads.
Non-profits with PSE&G employees on their rosters of volunteers are
invited to submit a nomination. For more information call
Integra is putting a whole new face on the charity
game. When Integra takes the field for its "Fourth Almost Annual
Charity Softball Game" its opponents will be wearing full suits
Robyn Dormer, director of graphics for the life science company
based at 311 Enterprise Drive, is in charge of the "almost
event. In the past, she recruited radio station WPST to play in the
softball game, but this year the radio station found itself without
a team. And so Dormer was left without an opponent for the charity
game, which has raised as much as $4,200 for the Brain Injury
of New Jersey.
Dormer says her first thought was to fill visitors’ jerseys with
She signed up actor Brian O’Halloran, who appeared in the film Clerks.
Then she went to see a friend’s performance in New Jersey Renaissance
Kingdom. Based in Somerset, and performing in West Orange, the acting
troupe recreates a day in the life of a Renaissance village. As soon
as she saw the troupe, she knew she had a better idea for the softball
event. She asked if the Renaissance players — armor and all —
would play Integra’s team in its charity classic. They readily agreed.
Joining the Renaissance Kingdom and O’Halloran are John Mozes of WPST,
Boomer, that rascally Trenton Thunder mascot, and Sparkee, the mascot
of the Somerset Patriots’ baseball team. Dormer has not yet seen
but says he is a dog-like character.
A music group, the Zone, two of whose members live in Ewing, will
be on hand to provide live music throughout the game, which begins
at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 20, at Community Park Field No. 2 in
Plainsboro at Scotts Corner Road, off Dey Road.
Integra employees will sell their home-baked goods at the game, and
there will be games for children and for adults.
Dormer says she has lost track of how much time she is spending
the event, but she does say that she has been at it since June.
administration is generous is giving employees time to work on the
event, and it comes at a relatively slow time for the business.
and fall are our busy times," says Dormer. "Summer is a little
Dormer expects that this year’s event, featuring an armor-clad
team, will raise more money than any of the company’s previous
But one burning question remains. Will baseball players decked out
in steel and iron mesh be able to swing a bat?
"We’ll see," says Dormer.
What’s My Line? Not only is this the name of one of
the most popular game shows in television history, but it is also
a real-life question aimed with unnerving frequency at legions of
well-educated women. Trained to be attorneys or analysts or animal
trainers, many answer "mom" to the ubiquitous question, at
least for a time. For others the honest answer is "caregiver to
my mom." Other popular answers include "career changer"
and "novice business owner."
Few women walk a straight line. Yet nearly all women need to keep
an eye on long-term career prospects, even while pushing a stroller
or helping an elderly relative learn to pilot a walker.
Melissa Wahl, executive director of the National Association
of Female Executives (NAFE), was surprised to find herself deviating
from the straight-and-narrow career path, and wandering off into an
alley that was anathema to bright, fast-trackers of her generation.
A producer for television game shows, including To Tell the Truth
and What’s My Line, Wahl shocked even herself by opting to stay at
home after the birth of her first child.
"I was a real women’s libber," says Wahl. "Deciding to
stay at home with my child was a 360 degree turn. I had always said
`I’m going to have my child and get right back to work.’" Held
hostage by the unparalleled strength of a baby’s smile and outreached
arms, Wahl parked her career. But she kept herself revved up for the
day when she was ready to merge into the fast lane once again.
On Wednesday, August 20, at 5:30 p.m., Wahl speaks to the Central
Jersey Women’s Network on "Maximizing Your Connections to Stand
Out in a Crowd." The dinner meeting takes place at the Wyndham
Mount Laurel. The cost is $32. Call 908-281-9234 for more information.
A graduate of New York University, where she studied communications,
Wahl is a California native who has lived in New York City since she
was five. Providing evidence that no trace of the west coast remains
in her life, Wahl proclaims, "I don’t drive." In an example
of keeping an eye out for every eventually, however, she says she
has a driver’s license, and is careful to keep it current. "It’s
great I.D.," she says, "and I would never pass the test
Landing game show jobs right out of college, Wahl enjoyed the
despite the pressure cooker working conditions. "We had
including Jimmy Carter, on What’s My Line?" she says. "We
had astronauts, fashion designers, actors. We would do five shows
in one day, starting at dawn and working right through." She was
a judge on Sale of the Century. "I did all the research,"
she recalls. "When a contestant gave an answer, they turned to
me, and asked `Is this answer acceptable?’ It was a lot of
And a lot of fun.
Walking away was not something she planned, but after the birth of
her first son, who is now 24, walk away she did. Six years later,
she had another son. By the time her second child was born, computers
were in broad use. "We had used IBM Selectrics," she says
of the state of the world during her game show period.
Seeking to re-enter the working world, Wahl contacted a former
and asked for a crash computer course. She learned enough so that
she could add "computer literate" to her resume.
"Trying to re-enter the workforce is tricky," she says.
game shows had decamped for the West Coast, so going back to her old
career niche was not a possibility. Rather than think in terms of
industries, she thought in terms of her skills. Writing popped up
right away as an area of strength. When she spotted a job working
for NAFE’s magazine, Executive Female, in the New York Times, she
applied, attracted in part by the flexible hours if offered. It turned
out that the hours were pretty much full time, but that was okay.
Just as she had been hooked by her first baby, she was soon hooked
by her new job.
After publishing NAFE’s magazine, something she still does, she became
fascinated by NAFE’s far-flung chapters, and started NAFE Networks,
of which the Central Jersey Women’s Network is a part. Then, after
a stint at another women’s organization, she was asked to become
director of NAFE, which is now a part of WorkingMother Media,
of Working Mother magazine.
Wahl admits that re-entering the workforce — as so many women
do for so many reasons — does tend to set a career back for a
time. But reentry can lead to even greater career heights, if it is
done wisely. Lessons from Wahl’s experience show how to merge back
Wahl’s ticket to insight into just what computer skills were
and to instruction in the basics.
No matter how enthralling it is to watch a baby grow — and it
can be plenty enthralling, not to mention exhausting — make time
for lunches, phone chats, E-mails, and even weekends away with former
colleagues. They will know all about trends, the rise and fall of
important players, and the hottest new must-have technology tools.
to work for another women’s organization, and then was invited back
to head up the association, speaks volumes on the importance of
a job — for whatever reason — with the utmost grace.
Wahl no longer thought of herself as a game show producer, or even
as a television producer. She let her old titles — and her old
industry — go. Way ahead of her time, she thought of herself as
a collection of skills. Transferable skills.
as one of her most important core skills, yet when an opportunity
to move into association management came along, she welcomed it.
she went one step further, and created an opening for herself in a
field in which she had no formal training or experience.
also be a career booster, as Wahl’s experience demonstrates. For her,
the answer to What’s My Line? has changed a few times, but the answer
to Are You Loving Your Work? has remained constant.
DSR Motorsports Inc. has formed an
race team destined to compete in National Association of Stock Car
Racing (NASCAR). It begins a national tour in Trenton at the new
Village Plaza on Friday and Saturday, August 22 and 23, from 3-8 p.m.
Pennington Village Plaza is located at 359 Pennington Avenue, Trenton.
The mobile exhibit will feature a show car, racing simulator, free
food, music, giveaways, and DSR employment opportunities. For
DSR plans to enter community-based teams into both Busch and Nextel
level races in 2004 with the team will racing out of the Northern
"DSR was formed with the interest of improving diversity in auto
racing and attracting a wide variety of new people, both fans and
participants, to the sport," says DSR president Jus James
"The catalyst for the team has all along been our desire to
the presence of people of color in this ever-evolving, popular sport.
DSR’s strategy includes a multi-city and racing capital tour to expose
the many minority market segments that have not been properly exposed
to the sport of auto racing."
Nothing is static. Not even a business community. A
theme at this year’s Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Business
Trade Fair and U.S. 1 Technology Showcase is change.
"People are reinventing themselves," says Joanne Meehan,
who is organizing the fair for the Chamber. "The Princeton economy
is good," she says, "with a lot of new businesses." A
number of the new businesses exhibiting at the fair are fledglings
launched by men and women who worked for some of the area’s largest
employers not all that long ago.
Taking its theme from the spirit of these intrepid entrepreneurs,
the annual fair’s logo reads "New Ideas, New Products, New
The event takes place on Thursday, August 28, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
at the Westin hotel in Forrestal Village. Throughout the day, there
are workshops, question and answer sessions, and talks, including
the U.S. 1 Technology Showcase keynote speech by Edward Felten,
director of Princeton University’s Secure Internet Programming Lab.
Felten speaks at 3 p.m.
At 11 a.m. representatives from the College of New Jersey Small
Development Center take questions from people eager to learn about
how to start a small business and from business owners looking for
ways to move their enterprises to the next level. At noon, Herb
Greenberg and Patrick Sweeney
business owners during a live Nassau Broadcasting program. After lunch
(the only event for which there is a fee — $35), the Princeton
Work Life Alliance, led by Barbara Kaplan of AmericanRe, talks
about low-cost, and even no-cost, ways in which employers can
Throughout the day, area eateries keep fair attendees refreshed.
starting at 10 a.m., features food from Chambers Walk, Panera, Main
Street, and the Westin. Then at 2 p.m., the Rusty Scupper, under the
supervision of new manager, Kelly Campbell, serves sorbet and
fresh fruit. As the day begins to wind down, after 3 p.m., River Horse
Brewery and Triumph Brewery host a beer tasting. The beer is
by appetizers from Amalfi’s and from the Conference Center at the
New Jersey Hospital Association.
Interwoven among the talks and the tastings are exhibits by more than
100 businesses. Some, like A-1 Limousine, Eden W.E.R.C.s, McCarter
Theater, and the Nassau Inn, have been household names in the
area for years. Others are brand new, and a quick glance at the
reveals a trend.
Service is in. There are some tasks that simply can not be exported
to India or Ireland. Among the new businesses are bed and breakfasts,
errand services, and a handyman operation. The Chamber’s Joanne Meehan
is especially knowledgeable about the last. Called Call Pat 4 Help,
it is owned by her husband, Pat Meehan.
Until late last March, Pat was doing SEC regulatory
compliance work for Equitable. Then the company was purchased by AXA,
and he was out of a job. Given outplacement at Lee Hecht Harrison,
Pat immediately buckled down and looked for a new job. But, says his
wife, "the people at Lee Hecht Harrison kept saying `you may get
a new job, but only expect to keep it for two years.’"
Faced with this discouraging prospect, the 56-year-old decided to
go with plan B. "He had wanted to start a handyman business when
he retired, at 60," says Joanne. Moving the timetable up, he
to start right away.
The biggest hurdle was procuring business insurance. "No one wants
to insure someone who’s climbing around on ladders," she says.
Persevering, Pat did obtain the insurance, from Commerce Bank.
His next step was incorporating. "He did it all over the Internet
in less than a day," says his wife. "He got all the tax ID
numbers on the Internet. I came home, and he held up a piece of paper.
`Look, I’m incorporated!’ he said."
In the first days of his new business, Pat has been busy installing
ceiling fans. He also fixes sump pumps, installs garage door openers,
power washes houses and decks, repairs screens and sprinklers, does
yard work, and more.
Business prospects look good. The Meehans live in Cranbury, surrounded
by new developments, some for seniors. "People moving in don’t
know how to do anything," says Joanne. And even if they do, it’s
a good bet that few want to spend weekends fiddling with sump pumps
or dragging wet leaves out from under bushes.
"Pat got signs made for his truck," says Joanne. Soon
he pulled into Home Depot for supplies and was promptly propositioned
by a harried homeowner. "He wanted him to do three things,"
Who knew that reinvention would be the most important skill 21st
man could possess? The ability to switch from complex research, number
crunching, and office politics to sump pump repair is not part of
any curriculum taught from kindergarten through grad school. Yet
the courage to make such a leap can do more than keep household cash
"Pat has never been happier," says his wife as she spends
the last hectic days before the trade fair filling booths with
refugees excited about starting life anew as entrepreneurs.
Scouts of Delaware-Raritan to educate girls about the various types
of mental illness. The grant provides a mechanism for Girl Scouts
at various age levels to complete specific activities that will
their awareness and understanding of serious mental illness.
This program was developed by Princeton Service Unit Director Kim
Steinnagel with the support of her Cadette Girl Scout troop. It
nine level-appropriate program boxes for troop leaders, complete with
supplies to support the delivery of the program.
Each of the program boxes will consist of posters, brain models,
videos on mental illness, hands-on activities, games, resource lists,
informational pamphlets and books, copies of the patch program, and
a leader’s guide.
With studies showing that girls are seven times more likely than boys
to be depressed and twice as likely to attempt suicide, the Girl
of Delaware-Raritan say that this program could not have been
at a more critical time.
Once the pilot workshops and program boxes have been tested, the
Health Awareness Patch program may be distributed to many of the over
300 other Girl Scout councils around the country.
Association is conducting a Backpack Fundraiser. The committee
is collecting cash for the purchase of backpacks and school supplies.
The filled backpacks will be distributed to children in the community
who do not have proper school supplies for the start of the upcoming
Anyone who would like to help out with the effort is asked to call
from the Princeton Community House. Company representatives spoke
to the youngsters about how technology fits into the everyday
of the corporation. There was a demonstration of how reporters send
their stories from around the world to Dow Jones’ South Brunswick
office and of how computers are used throughout the organization.
The Princeton Community House, founded in 1969 by a group of
exists to address the needs and inequities that exist in the John
Witherspoon community. It exists as a mechanism for community service
and as a place for the sharing of ideas and the airing of challenges
in a place where needs are understood and valued.
connection between good health and the ability to read well, is
to improve literacy through a variety of school, community, and
literacy programs. To date, Horizon has established health literacy
programs with two Boys and Girls Clubs, partnered with Cumberland
County College to establish a leadership program to literacy
and co-sponsored the Governor’s Book Club, a program established by
Governor McGreevey in conjunction with Scholastic Books.
useful items for U.S. soldiers stationed abroad. Organized by
Employee Activities Committee, collections were accepted under the
guidelines of the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey’s
of Life" program.
Rider University students and staff have raised $11,814.41 for
Womanspace, a Trenton-based non-profit agency that provides
services to individuals and families affected by domestic and sexual
"Build and Believe," a youth mentoring program with
Inc. and also gave financial support. The Nassau Street-based
firm used to be known as E. Harvey Meyers, Architects, but has changed
its name to EHM NJ K-12 Architects.
In this program, which utilized Mercer County College’s Auto CAD
a dozen students, one from Lawrence High and the rest from Trenton
High, participated in an architectural project and received a $400
stipend. They had to design and build a model of a warehouse and also
create an original design for Trenton Central High School. The
also learned public speaking, critical evaluation, and long-term
MentorPower (formerly NJEnvironmentors) works with underserved high
school students, helping them to be active stewards of their lives,
communities, and environment, says Maureen J. Quinn, director.
Corrections or additions?
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