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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 (

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

Princeton Softech (CHRZ), 111 Campus Drive, University

Square, Princeton 08540. Lisa Cash, president. 609-688-5000; fax,

609-497-0302. Home page:

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