Firewalking for Fortune
Bridging Science and Sales
An EDF from PSE&G
Workfare Wants You
Extra Expo Space
The Book on MBAs
Corrections or additions?
These articles by Peter J. Mladineo were published
in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 25, 1998. All rights reserved.
What do antigravity, nuclear fusion, perpetual life,
and teleportation have in common? As far-fetched as they seem, they
each have a fairly good chance of being achieved in the coming
thinks Richard Woodbridge.
A patent attorney who in the last 25 years has seen hundreds of ideas
pass through his office, Woodbridge doesn’t give these predictions
as favorable odds as he does his shorter-term predictions like
cars and cloned body parts. But Woodbridge is certain that the future
will have unimaginable advances in store. "Somebody once said
that there exists unthinkable thoughts," he says. "And you
have to think unthinkable thoughts in order to be honest with
A senior partner of Woodbridge & Associates at 15 Chambers Street,
Woodbridge, 54, is a former mayor of Princeton Township and Princeton
University alumnus (Class of 1965) and has practiced patent law in
the Princeton area since 1973. He speaks at the Princeton Chamber
on "Future of the Future: The Year 2000 and Beyond," on
March 5, 11:30 a.m. at the Forrestal. Call 609-520-1776.
"This is the first time I’ve had a chance to do some really wild
spitballing," he says. "It’s really been kind of fun. The
best part of this is I’m going to be so dead by the time any of this
stuff happens that nobody is going to care."
The complications with calling the future arise, he says, because
most people perceive the future as a single, unmalleable entity.
you think about the future I think everybody tends to close their
eyes and think of a set time," he says. "The problem with
the future is there are many futures just as there are many past
We are limited in our ability to observe by the instruments we have
to observe with."
Woodbridge maintains that advances like wireless society, digital
photography, electric cars, and flat screen PCs and TVs are nearly
certain to become widespread. In fact, most of these near-term
have already arrived, he reports. "Pretty soon the majority of
people will have some sort of a wireless communicator that they carry
with them all the time. Flat screen PCs and TVs are virtually here.
I can remember as a patent attorney 30 years ago when they were just
getting to work on these things."
He also delves into longer range, more controversial predictions like
cloning, smart pills, a single human race, or — sure to rock the
world of Creationism — perpetual life.
This, he reports, could be achieved by keeping a separate cloned body
in store, but it might have some unintended consequences. "If
people have the ability of being able to hang around longer than their
lifetime, then we have a real problem — overcrowding," says
Woodbridge. "If people don’t get off the train to make room for
other people, you’re going to have a very crowded train."
Since futurism implies that there is a future, Woodbridge might be
mistakenly labeled as an optimist. But his vision also cites some
possibly devastating futurescapes. And some hit close to home. He
is especially vocal about problems that could arise from New Jersey’s
extremely dense population and warns about impending health disasters
caused by fast-moving plagues transported into the country via
or malevolent dictators. "I lost two great uncles during the
flu epidemics of 1918 — the result of people floating around
the two continents during World War I."
Also on the negative side, Woodbridge predicts a further erosion of
personal liberties at the hands of the information revolution.
happening is it’s getting harder and harder to disappear into the
woodwork, especially when you start moving into the area of electronic
commerce," he says.
He coins a phrase, "people farming," to describe what happens
when you mix an Orwellian nightmare with Huxleyan overpopulation
"It’s a little bit like an extension of `Animal Farm,’" he
explains. "As the population continues to increase it’s going
to be harder from a practical point of view to manage those people
— so you’ll have to continue to exert more pressure to keep people
in a conformed state. It’s getting to be to the point where there
are so many ways you can affect people’s attitudes that it’s going
to be increasingly harder to do original thinking."
On the medical side, Woodbridge anticipates the development of
MRI/CAT diagnostics" — the ability to use medical technology
to anticipate future health problems. For example, a future
MRI scanner would be able to look at someone’s arteries and determine
that the person will someday suffer a heart attack.
Within 100 years, expect inventions like super batteries (to be used
to power electric cars) and super magnets (to help keep levitated
trains "afloat"), as well as conductive polymers and cheap
and efficient solar power. Some longer-term innovations — like
cloning or smart pills — are now already becoming media hits,
but Woodbridge is concerned with where these innovations will lead.
"Cloned parts are virtually here," he says. "It’s not
too far a stretch to think about the possibility of keeping an
of a headless self. Say you get lung cancer, you go to this self
and get a lung. That’s the sort of thing that is probably doable,
but you’d have to have a very enlightened type of political
to help bring it about.
The bottom line, Woodbridge concludes, is not technological but
and commercial in nature. He mentions Chester Carlson, the
of the modern Xerographic process. He got his patents in the early
’30s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that the first major Xerox machine
"I often tell a client I like to think of a successful idea as
a car with four tires," Woodbridge says. "One tire is a good
idea, the second is having good business sense, the third tire is
being able to market the idea, and the fourth tire is being able to
get the financing. Those tires don’t have to be inflated to the
They can be a little soft. But if one of those tires is flat you’re
just going to go around in circles. The big mistake that people make
is thinking that having a good idea is going to be all you need."
Woodbridge takes umbrage at Emerson’s oft-quoted slogan, "If you
can build a better mousetrap the world will a beat path to your
That’s nonsense, he says. "Edison was correct when he said
was one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. How hard
really pushes for something makes a tremendous difference in whether
it will come to pass. Without that real hard push it won’t
— Peter J. Mladineo
Top Of PageFirewalking for Fortune
More than 2,000 people will converge on the Garden State
Convention Center in Somerset for the Anthony Robbins’
the Power Within" weekend starting Friday, February 27, at 6 p.m.
Some will participate in the Firewalk — storming barefoot across
a hot bed of glowing coals.
You’ve heard of Tony Robbins and seen him on TV. His promotional
says that he has advised President Clinton, members of two royal
members of Parliament, Olympic and professional athletes, and CEOs.
The weekend program is given four times annually and costs from $695
to $895 depending on where you sit in the hall. Call 800-898-8669,
You can expect, the promotional material states, to "know how
to instantly place yourself in peak emotional, mental and physical
states with unstoppable courage — to achieve results beyond your
dreams" and to "condition yourself mentally, emotionally and
physically for consistent and overwhelming success."
The Firewalk is supposed to serve as "the ultimate metaphor for
your newly emerging mastery." If you think you might be tempted
to make the Firewalk, eat only light meals after noon on Friday
maximize the energy available to you" suggests the brochure. And
wear pants that roll up. You want to inflame your ambition, not your
Top Of PageHazmat Chutzpah
Late last year, a hazardous waste truck traveling on
Interstate 80 ignited when one type of liquid waste it was hauling
leaked into another kind of dry waste on board. The truck was only
partially loaded but the small amount of ignited waste still managed
to incinerate the trailer. Luckily, the truck driver had noticed the
smoke early and was able to disconnect from the trailer and watch
the blaze safely from a distance.
Now, imagine that very same truck igniting with a full load in the
Holland Tunnel. "I think you could put together the outcome,"
says Gary Bezilla, a state trooper who speaks at the
Service Engineers Society on Thursday, February 26, at 6 p.m. at the
Holiday Inn on Route 22 West in Springfield. Call 201-794-0055 for
After most of the motorists finish their swim with the fishes, they
would be outraged to learn that, for the most part, shipping hazardous
materials through tunnels or bridges is strictly forbidden. But that
doesn’t stop thrifty shippers from doing it anyway, Bezilla reports.
At the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel, for instance, the side of the road just
before the entrance is marred with tire tracks and extra-yellowed
grass. That’s evidence of truckers pulling over to remove their
before entering the 13-mile tunnel, Bezilla says.
"A lot of companies will actually take off their placards and
run through these bridges and tunnels illegally," he says.
the scary part. If they were to have an accident in a tunnel or on
a bridge it could cause mass destruction. There’s no doubt about
"With hazardous materials there is oftentimes a hazardous
shipping charge. Some shippers are cutting corners so bad they won’t
even pay the shipping charge, and they’ll lie to the regulators. We
lobby very heavy fines on these people," says Bezilla, who can
be found inspecting tractor trailers on I-78 as part of the State
Police hazardous materials transportation enforcement group.
A hazardous material is "an item or product that can cause harm
to you physically," Bezilla reports. Of the nine kinds, the most
common are flammables (gasoline or fuel oil), corrosives (things like
sodium hydroxide that would cause burning if they are spilled),
(legally shipped in minuscule portions and heavily regulated), and
poisons (usually transported in cylinders).
"Basically this nation runs by chemicals," says Bezilla.
lot of these corrosives like sulfuric acid or hydrogen sulfides are
used to make things. You’d probably shudder if you were informed about
all of the hazardous materials in your home."
And trucks laden with hazardous materials are about as common on New
Jersey roadways as are radar guns. Says Bezilla: "Approximately
five out of every ten trucks would have some sort of hazardous
on board." With a thousands of tons of freight coming into and
out of New Jersey every day, that adds up to an awful lot of hazmats.
Besides damning tunnels and bridges, the act of not labeling hazardous
materials can have other devastating consequences, Bezilla warns.
In early December, a truck driver was injured when he touched some
leaky cargo that was misleadingly labeled as fish bait. This "fish
bait" turned out to be a boiler cleaning compound that should
have been labeled as a corrosive. "He wasn’t seriously injured,
but it could have been more severe," says Bezilla. "Acid could
have burnt a hole right through his hands. This happens out here."
Bezilla has always had a penchant for excitement. At 38, he has spent
the last three years tracking down hazardous materials offenders.
Bezilla first served with the U.S. Coast Guard on the iceberg cutter,
Northwind, which worked the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean and off
Antarctica. He joined the State Police 10 years ago, and spent some
time providing escorts for politicians and visiting dignitaries such
as George Bush, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Dan
and numerous foreign leaders. "You name them and we were
he says. Perhaps that stint was the true origin of his hazmat
— Peter J. Mladineo
Top Of PageExecuting Wills
After his uncle died last year, Richard Bergman
became the executor of his will. For Bergman, this was his third will
(he had done those of his mother and father) and it caused him to
begin thinking about making a business out of it. "After you’ve
done it three times you start to wonder if what you learned has some
potential," says Bergman. "I’ve actually begun to wonder if
there might be some consulting market for people who didn’t want to
have an attorney as their primary executor."
Bergman and his wife, Victoria, already co-own three other businesses:
Project Masters Inc., a medical record systems business, Savant
a healthcare and environmental safety consulting business, and a small
medical and scientific stock photo business. They are all based out
of their home at 134 Leabrook Lane.
Bergman and David Mulchinock, a Princeton attorney, are giving
a class, "Being an Executor: Duties and Surprises," at the
Princeton Adult School, beginning Thursday, February 26, at 8 p.m.
at Princeton High School. Call 609-683-1101 to register.
"This is a time where there is going to be an enormous transfer
of assets from one generation to the next," Bergman says. "The
average folks are stacking away much more money than they thought
Mulchinock, 53, has been practicing probate law since 1974 and has
a JD from Cornell University (Class of 1970). He also was executor
of his father’s will. "You have to deal with everything,"
he says. "It isn’t just the business aspects of it. You’re
helping people get through a difficult time and for a lot of people
it’s very foreign what they’re going to experience. You have to
and help them get through the emotional part of it and make sure
protected and try to minimize the annoyances and the trauma of
He explains that there are three phases of executing wills. The first
is to collect the decedent’s assets. Then any debts, including estate
taxes, must be paid using those assets. Finally, the executor
The problems usually begin with the first step. "Even if you’ve
gotten involved early it’s difficult to find and locate the
says Bergman. "Number two, the taxes sometimes have a few
The issue of distributing property gets complicated when the emotional
aspect comes in. "Sometimes people have emotional attachments
to a property and find it hard to let go," says Bergman.
once gave me a quotation, `Being an executor is 80 percent emotion,
20 percent substance.’"
Bergman hired Mulchinock for two out of his three wills, and has found
his help indispensable. "Every case is a little bit different.
I find that almost on a weekly basis there is a question I have to
run by David, in part because being an executor has some liability
attached to it." That’s right — the executor is personally
held liable for the taxes. "The better course is not to distribute
until you know all the reasonable taxes have been paid," says
The tax aspect on large estates can also be oppressively time
"If there are no taxes, the estate can be wound up in a matter
of months," says Mulchinock. "If there’s a federal tax you
would file the federal estate tax from nine months after the person
dies, then you have to wait another four to six months for the IRS
to contact you and send a closing letter or do an audit. In that case
it takes a couple of years before the estate is finally wound up."
Hardly offsetting the risk and responsibilities is the fact that an
executor is paid a commission, the amount of which varies from state
to state. In New Jersey, executors get five percent of testamentary
assets (property in the decedent’s name alone) on the first $200,000.
That amount decreases as the size of the estate increases, Mulchinock
explains. Pennsylvania executors get a flat five percent of all
But, says Bergman, don’t expect to earn a profit from this avocation.
"My experience has been, at least with the estates I’m talking
about, what you get paid really doesn’t compensate for the amount
of time you put in it," he says. "I’m basically doing it
my uncle asked me to."
— Peter J. Mladineo
Top Of PageBridging Science and Sales
The ability to interpret what’s going on in a scientific
experiment is the same as the ability to interpret what’s going on
in a sales situation. That’s the thesis of Elizabeth Antry,
who speaks at the Association for Women in Science on Wednesday on
February 25, at 5:45 p.m. at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Call 609-716-2266
for more information.
Her talk is entitled "You’ve Got What It Takes" and it’s about
making the jump from science to sales. As the marketing communications
director for Dalloz Safety in Reading, Pennsylvania, Antry made that
After getting an associate’s degree in chemical technology from Cedar
Crest College in Pennsylvania, her career started at Victaulic
as a quality control manufacturer, using an electron spectrophotometer
to analyze the quality of steel. It was at Victaulic that she says
she got an "on-the-job education in manufacturing," which
she capitalized on to help further her sales career. "To get my
foot in the marketing door I first took on an extra project while
I was still in sales," she says. "One of the departments at
Air Products was working on a carbonizing annealing process for steel
using methanol and nitrogen, and they couldn’t get market research
information from their own customer base. I talked to my boss about
it and she volunteered me to write a usage and competitive analysis
report. When a market analyst position opened, I was able to say that
I had done some of that type of work."
Here are some other suggestions Antry has for aspiring scientific
Brush up on those interpersonal skills. "You have
to be perceptive and stay one step ahead," she says. "I was
continually polishing my verbal and written skills learning to be
flexible enough to handle a wide variety of situations. One of the
biggest challenges I faced was going into situations with potentially
poor outcomes and trying to end the encounter on a positive note."
Go to trade shows. "You never know who you’ll meet.
My current position came out of a contact that I made at a
trade show — and it’s not even in the same field. But marketing
Get additional experience and education. Besides her
degree, Antry also has a BS from Cedar Crest College and an MBA in
marketing management from Wilkes University. She has also done
work at the University of Michigan. She has nurtured a healthy
for learning. "From time to time I try to brush up on my skills
and build on them, whether it’s by taking a writing class or joining
Become a savvy computer user. "You could use Power
Point software to develop a presentation showing a director new
for a product," she says. "Or you could put together a mini
research report with ideas from the customer base. Run it through
the proper channels in your company and CC key people to let them
know what you’re doing."
Last but not least, she says, there is much to be gained from
networking. "Make yourself a visible part of the process."
Top Of PageAn EDF from PSE&G
PSE&G is bolstering state incentive programs with $30
million of its own money. Its New Millennium Economic Development
Fund is a series of loan and loan guarantee programs for companies
to use in conjunction with state or private funding.
The fund can be used to help companies getting New Jersey Economic
Development Authority Business Employment Incentive Program rebates
see the money quicker. The rebate is a stream of payments that usually
starts two to three years after a relocation. The PSE&G fund will
loan the projected payments to the company up front. The company
the loan by assigning its future rebates to PSE&G.
The fund also augments loans from the NJEDA, local or county
or private institutions for expansion and relocation. It covers
for moving, equipment, training new employees, electric and gas
and tenant fit-out. This program is intended to reduce the loan cost
or to provide credit support of the project.
While companies of any size are eligible for the fund, PSE&G is
"projects that would not happen if we were not giving that added
assistance," says Tim Comerford, PSE&G’s manager of area
development. "We are looking to assist companies that come close
to meeting EDA standards but fall a little short." For more
about this fund, call 973-430-6861.
Top Of PageWorkfare Wants You
Hire a welfare recipient and you will be helping New
Jersey’s economy. That seems to be the message from New Jersey’s
of Human Services, which is touting its Work First New Jersey
Work First not only encourages business to hire and retain former
welfare recipients, but it also provides those companies with
technical assistance, and the support necessary to ensure success.
Membership is open to all businesses that have hired or will commit
to hiring at least one welfare recipient, or will commit to furthering
the goals of welfare-to-work efforts through other supportive
Signed into law last year, Work First New Jersey incorporates several
features of the federal welfare reform law, including elimination
of federal entitlement to cash assistance, a 60-month lifetime limit
on use of federal funds for cash assistance, and the institution of
block grants to states.
New Jersey’s law includes setting a five-year time limit for receiving
welfare benefits, providing subsidized child care and extended
benefits for up to two years, ensuring that both parents contribute
to the financial well-being of their children, and requiring that
those receiving welfare to get a job or participate in work readiness
activities. More information is available at
Or call 609-588-2401.
Top Of PageRethinking Careers
Anyone thinking about changing jobs or careers is
to weekly meetings of Jobseekers at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street
in Princeton, says Neils Nielsen, founder and facilitator. The
next meeting is Tuesday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. Call 609-924-2277 for
The format alternates between open discussion and support group one
week and topical workshops by professional speakers the next. Subjects
include marketing strategies, resumes and cover letters, career
finding job opportunities, networking and information interviews,
phone and personal interviewing skills, managing finances and emotions
while unemployed. Spouses and partners are welcome, and there is no
Top Of PageFor Entrepreneurs,
Find out if you have the Right Stuff to start a business
by taking a workshop at the Entrepreneurial Training Institute
March 3, at 6 p.m. at Galilee Baptist Church, 440 Martin Luther
King Boulevard in Trenton. For $15 registration call 609-292-1890
or come 30 minutes early. Or E-mail to >email@example.com.
Sponsored by the New Jersey Development Authority for Small
Minorities’, and Women’s Enterprises (NJDA), the program offers
for new and would-be entrepreneurs. After the introduction, those
who qualify can enroll in a seven-session $150 class covering
from business planning and goal setting to making decisions on
Those who graduate can apply for financing from a revolving loan fund
established by the NJDA and supplemented by staff and facilities
by members of the Entrepreneurial Training Institute Consortiums.
The class will also be held in eight other locations, including
College in Long Branch on Monday, March 2.
Top Of PageAbstinence Pays
Christie Whitman’s call for sexual abstinence
in young people is now backed with $765,000 in federal funds.
Nonprofits can apply to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior
Services for one-year grants. The money will be awarded to programs
that teach children from 10 to 14 that abstinence is the only certain
way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The money
will also go to programs that teach skills for refusing sexual
and that teach the importance of delaying sexual activity until the
child is self-sufficient.
For every $4 in grant money received, programs must supply $3 in
funds. The application is Wednesday, March 25. Decisions will be made
in early May and the grants will be awarded by July 1. The state
to fund from 10 to 20 programs. For more information, call
Top Of PageFor Developers
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency is
offering federal tax credits to developers to build new rental
or rehabilitate existing units for low-income families.
In this program, low-income housing tax credits are allocated to
by the federal government on an annual per capita basis. The HMFA
is the designated housing credit agency for New Jersey, and is
for the annual allocation of $10 million in federal tax credits.
The federal housing tax credit program has spurred construction of
more than 13,000 new rental units statewide since 1987. The HMFA will
be offering free tax credit training workshops for developers
in learning more about the application process. The dates are Friday,
February 27, at 8:15 a.m. at the Center Point Holiday Inn in Jamesburg
and Tuesday, March 3, at 8:15 a.m. at the Eatontown Sheraton. For
more information call 609-278-7578.
Top Of PageExtra Expo Space
There is still prime exhibit space available for the
Middlesex Chamber’s 44th Annual Business and Industry Expo. The event
will be held on Wednesday, March 18, at the New Jersey Convention
and Exposition Center at Raritan Center in Edison. Booths are $400
and islands are $900. The luncheon costs $25.
Sponsorship opportunities are available for $1,000, $3,000, or $5,000
contributions. For more information call 732-821-1700.
Top Of PageThe Book on MBAs
The degree used to be scorned as shallow and mercenary;
now it’s nearly a must for anyone kowtowing to illusions of guaranteed
income. Carter A. Daniel, director of business communication
programs at Rutgers Faculty of Management, recently published a book,
"MBA: The First Century," which chronicles the "turbulent
growth of the master’s program." The book begins the founding
of America’s first such program at Dartmouth University in 1900 and
traces its evolution to a "complex hybrid in education" shared
by more than one million Americans.
"The first challenge for business education was simply to have
it become an acceptable idea," says Carter. "To universities,
business seemed a lowly and unworthy topic. Businesses, just as
scoffed at colleges as idle and irrelevant playgrounds for the
Call 973-353-5366 for more information.
Top Of PageEngineering’s Best
One fixes bridges, one fixes highways, and the other
provided counter-intelligence during the Vietnam War. But despite
their differences, all three will be given awards at the Mercer County
Professional Engineers Society awards dinner Saturday, February 28,
at 6:30 p.m. at the Hopewell Valley Golf Club. Call 609-890-3636.
The recipients: James J. Silimeo, vice president of New
Jersey operations with Shah Associates at 340 Scotch Road, wins the
1998 Engineer of the Year. Silimeo’s notable projects include the
resurfacing of Route 29 in Trenton, the East Duke’s Parkway bridge
replacement in Somerset County, and the Calhoun Street Bridge in
The 1998 Young Engineer of the Year award goes to Michael
D. Helmlinger of Parsons Brinckerhoff at 506 Carnegie Center. His
projects include the final design of road improvement projects for
the new Hudson/Bergen light rail transit system. He also led the
design efforts for the interim interchange improvements between Route
1 and the Garden State Parkway in Middlesex County.
Earle S. Rommel, director of public relations at Rider
University, wins the 1998 Citizen of the Year award. Known for his
publicity and staging work on the Mercer County Science and
Fair for the last six years, Rommel has a BA in journalism from Rider
and served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War as a
agent with Vietnamese language training. He was decorated with several
Corrections or additions?
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