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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 29, 2000. All rights reserved.
Princeton Softech: Cash Is In
Five years ago, Joe Allegra’s Princeton Softech was
ranked No. 77 on the Inc. magazine fastest growing list. Two years
ago in March, Allegra had just returned from taking his 75-person
company for three nights and four days in the Bahamas. Instead of
cashing out by taking the company public, he had just sold the company
for $43 million to Mountain Lake-based Computer Horizons.
Now that the parent company aims to restructure its wholly owned subsidiary
and take it public, Allegra has decided to get out of the fast lane.
Instead, that ride will be taken by 35-year-old Lisa Cash, formerly
the company’s vice president of North American sales.
"After ten and a half years as president, I feel the time has
come for a new leader to step in and inject fresh experiences and
ideas," says Allegra. With 300 employees worldwide, the company
has just moved 150 employees from Route 206 to Campus Drive, University
Square (just off Alexander Road), its base for preparing for an initial
public offering. Allegra has said the firm targets $50 million in
revenue this year.
"Princeton Softech has the potential for extraordinary growth,"
says the new president. "We are transforming from Y2K to E-commerce,
and there is some reorganization that needs to be addressed to prepare
for the IPO. We feel we have products that provide a solution in the
marketplace. We think it is a good story."
Lisa Elsperger Cash was raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania,
where her mother was a fashion buyer and her father an executive for
the Swedish firm SKF. She majored in accounting at Penn State (magna
cum laude, Class of 1987), worked for a year in Germany (where her
grandparents live), and moved to Pittsburgh to work for Club Corporation
for America. Early in her five years there, she switched from finance
to sales, and then she did a five-year stint at Bell Atlantic, where
she received rapid promotions to director of sales and general manager,
managing two separate $100 million divisions with more than 100 sales
representatives in each. She became known for what she terms "reclamation
projects," often working 16-hour days.
"It was a lot of work," she says, "and that was the year
I had my son. I wanted to get into technology, to work for a progressive
company, and to be surrounded by people who are incredibly bright."
Princeton Softech fit that bill, and after joining the company in
1998 she commuted for nine months. Now her husband, who had been general
manager of a country club in Pittsburgh, is now based in New Jersey
as vice president of operations for Town Sports Inc., and their son
is four years old.
Allegra grew up in Bergen, majored in economics at Rutgers (Class
of 1975) and earned an MBA at New York University. He and his wife,
Bobbie, have a teen-aged daughter and son. He worked at Applied Data
Research from 1977 until the firm was bought by Computer Associates
in 1988. Allegra’s own stint of 18-hour days began the following year
when he and eight others left Computer Associates to build high quality
programming tools for large application systems. He has suggested
he might, in the future, do consulting for some start-ups; he is currently
board chairman of the New Jersey Technology Council.
Computer Horizons is traded on Nasdaq as CHRZ (www.computerhorizons.com).
It began in 1969 as a staffing augmentation firm for IT services and
in the early 1990s created a solutions division. It used Princeton
Softech’s tools for Year 2000 services, but it bought Softech for
its strength in relational databases, data synchronization, and intelligent
data management and migration that would be valuable after 2000.
If handling data efficiently was important to big companies in the
last century, it is vital to even the smallest company in the 21st
century because all business needs to be web-enabled. Cash points
to how any E-business initiative has a data aspect at its core, and
notes that her company has technology — proven over 10 years —
that can help to build these initiatives. "A lot of what our future
is going to be built on is archiving technology we released last year,
archiving from everybody, on every platform," says Cash.
— Barbara Fox
Square, Princeton 08540. Lisa Cash, president. 609-688-5000; fax,
609-497-0302. Home page: www.princetonsoftech.com.
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