Spiritual Business

School Days

Timely Meetings

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Smart Card Kaplan

These articles by Vickie Schlegel and Jeff Lippicott were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper

on January 13, 1999. All rights reserved. For a complete list of business meetings, go to the events database at

http://www.princetoninfo.com/us1evts.html.

No one knows more about smart cards and their use in

electronic commerce than Jack Kaplan — and he’s eager to

tell you about it. Kaplan is president of Datamark Technologies Inc.,

a 30-employee electronic commerce marketing firm at the Technology

Center of New Jersey in North Brunswick (732-873-5322; E-mail: jkaplan@datamarktech.com).

He will speak about "Creating Customer Databases for Loyalty and

Data Warehousing Activities" on Tuesday, January 19, at 8 a.m.

for a Technology New Jersey meeting at the Hyatt. (A representative

from Toys ‘R Us will also be speaking about the back-room data analysis

process.) Cost: $30. Call 609-419-4444.

Kaplan will explain why it is important to know who your customers

are in order to keep them loyal. He will detail how this can be done,

and will also talk about the importance of a marketing action plan,

how to get started with an electronic loyalty program, and how to

build a customer database.

With a BS in industrial engineering from the University of Colorado,

Class of 1970, and an MBA from the City University of New York, Kaplan

started and managed three successful companies focused on information

technology products and software development.

More recently Kaplan wrote "Smart Cards: The Global Information

Passport," which explains how to manage smart card businesses.

His interest in smart cards began in 1990, when he worked with them

at Smart Card International. For two years after that, Kaplan studied

smart cards, until 1992 when he founded Datamark Technologies. "The

company is my brainchild," he says proudly.

Datamark utilizes smart card, magnetic stripe, and barcode technology

to implement customer loyalty programs — a points and reward system

to encourage frequent customers in such industries as travel, retail,

and telecommunications. Its clients include Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse,

Modell’s Sporting Goods, and the latest addition, J. Crew. In early

1998, GE Capital bought almost a 25 percent share of Datamark Technology,

Kaplan is pleased to report.

For each of its clients, Datamark provides all the hardware and software

for the "frequent flyer-type" card program. Once it is in

place, a customer simply enters a store, buys a steak or a basketball

or a sweater — and can sign up with this first purchase. They

need only provide name and address, and depending on the client, preference

information as well.

Once the card is activated, the customer’s name is stored in a database

maintained by Datamark. The amount of the first purchase is stored

as "points" toward an award. All customer information collected

with each purchase is sent daily to Datamark, where it is analyzed.

The award structure, set up for each business by the individual client

companies, determines when the customer receives a reward: a special

promotion, money off a purchase, or free gift.

Next, the information is combed through to discover best customers,

what they are buying, and which locations they frequent most often.

Datamark issues reports and evaluates solutions for each client. This

type of information is extremely useful for marketing purposes, of

course, and also more personal than a system like WalMart’s, in which

no customer information is recorded. The program also offers targeted

coupons and promotions at the point of sale, and integration with

credit, debit and prepaid card options.

The smartest thing about Datamark’s card is the way it produces results,

Kaplan says. "We have driven increased visits up 22 to 35 percent

annually," he says, citing an independent firm’s analysis, "and

increased purchases per visit around 20 percent."

Kaplan says that using this system in your business is not difficult.

Datamark sells proprietary software that tracks and monitors customer

profiles and purchasing habits and can be used in home offices. The

software is PC-based, and Windows compatible.

One of Datamark’s specialties is the "E-Gift" program, which

replaces paper gift certificates with the same smart card technology.

Kaplan estimates that E-Gift cuts at least 30 percent of the administrative

and accounting costs of traditional paper gift certificates. For the

retail industry, E-Gift can be combined with a merchandise return

feature.

This year was Datamark’s first year with E-Gift, so the company was

a little overwhelmed by the holiday rush. Merchandise returns, gift

certificates, and the challenge of their new relationship with J.

Crew, combined to form "an enormous workload," sighs Kaplan.

No time for visions of sugarplums this year: Datamark was humming

along 24 hours every day.

— Vickie Schlegel

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Spiritual Business

Networking groups don’t always limit themselves to the

mission suggested by their titles. At one extreme there are groups

like the National Press Club, which welcomes members who have virtually

nothing to do with the press but who would like to rub shoulders with

the press. Then there are groups like Rotary, which find a happy medium

between altruistic do-gooder projects and hard-nosed business networking.

The Christian Business Men’s Committee of Princeton (CBMC), which

meets at the Hyatt Regency, is at the other end of the spectrum. Those

who join the CMBC seek spiritual perspective for their personal lives

and business endeavors, and any opportunity to gain clients or business

contacts is entirely incidental. "The purpose of CBMC is to share

Christ with business and professional people and then teach them to

do the same thing," says Charlie Glass, a computer training

specialist and area director for CBMC Mid-Atlantic Region.

The bi-monthly meetings, held during the "odd months" on third

Fridays at the Hyatt, cost $17, but first-time guests are just that,

guests. A scientist has spoken on "Physics and Faith," the

CEO of a southern New Jersey bank gave a talk entitled "Banking

on the Bible," and an attorney told "How I Came to My Faith."

At the meeting on Friday, January 15, Frank Hummel, an engineer

turned entrepreneur, will discuss "The Ups and Downs of Life and

Business." Call Len Hayduchok at 609-683-9300 for information.

This half-century old organization had men-only membership long before

the Promise Keepers was founded; women do not attend the luncheon

meetings, though the group does sponsor family conferences and couples’

retreats. "Much of our work is done one-on-one, outside regularly

scheduled meetings, where strong bonds can develop between participants,"

says Hayduchok, who works for an insurance firm, the MacLean Agency,

on Nassau Street. He points out that many Christian women’s groups

are also single sex: "We seek to preserve the integrity of the

individuals and organization by having men meet with other men in

these settings."

CBMC’s work includes investigative Bible studies intended to help

people grow spiritually. Selected men from CBMC meet one on one with

members weekly as part of a mentoring program to guide them in their

spiritual walk and to keep a Christian perspective while conducting

business. The guiding framework for the study program, called "Operation

Timothy," is from the New Testament (Timothy 2:2), "and what

you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men

who will be able teach others also."

A series of four books comprise the mentoring program: "Finding

The Way," "Knowing The Truth," "Living With Power"

and "Making a Difference." The content of each book is organized

into six chapters with the premise that each individual chapter represents

one meeting between mentor and member.

"Sometimes when you’re going through these with someone, there

are issues that come up that apply to what you are talking about,

that really need to be addressed before continuing on," says Glass.

He feels that the mentoring aspect of CBMC is in keeping with the

"Great Commission" for which Jesus challenges his disciples

to go forth and increase the number of believers. "Effective discipleship

is a spiritual growth process," says Glass.

In addition to meetings and mentoring, CBMC also offers a forum, which

involves a closely knit group of up to eight business owners meeting

monthly for several hours to discuss how to integrate biblical principles

into the daily operation of their business. CBMC also sponsors faith-based

financial seminars called "Business By The Book," retreats,

and leadership development workshops.

Glass, 58, spoke at a recent meeting on "Planes, Mainframes and

Safe Landings." He grew up in northern Minnesota, where his father

started a hunting and fishing resort. Glass’ 80-year-old mother still

operates the facility today.

Glass enlisted in the Navy and eventually became a helicopter

search and rescue trainer; and he has some hair-raising tales from

those years. "One thing you have to be sure about in a helicopter

is where you are going to land," says Glass, "because they

have a glide slope like a rock." He has witnessed a fire on another

helicopter and its subsequent plummet into the sea. In that instance

he was successful in fishing the crew members out of the ocean.

"Helicopter flight," says Glass, "and the concern about

landing and the potential consequences is analogous to man’s journey

through life and concern about the hereafter. The question is where

are we going to end up? Where God intended?"

After his stint in the Navy, Glass spent 13 years with Unisys Corporation

as a principal education technologist, designing office automation

computer training programs at the worldwide education center in Dayton.

Here again, he compares his work to his spiritual life. "Accessing

the true power of a computer," says Glass, "is only accomplished

through using the appropriate password. This is not unlike God’s operating

system. To really appreciate who God is and all that he has to offer

we need to have a password." For Glass, the password is Jesus.

Glass’s relocation to the Princeton area was supposed to coincide

with a divorce from his wife of 38 years, Rae Ann. A defining incident

occurred one night when Glass, frustrated with his wife, drove his

van so fast that the wheels left the ground. "All of a sudden

I said to myself, `so what if I kill myself, big deal, it would just

hurt a little bit for a while and then all of my problems would be

over.’" At that moment Glass made a decision let God take charge

of his life.

For more information call the national headquarters at 800-575-2262

or local members Len Hayduchok at 609-683-9300, extension 228,

or Don Doldy at 609-587-0139.

— Jeff Lippincott

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School Days

Rider University’s College of Liberal Arts, Education,

and Sciences has added a new major in the environmental science discipline

that will be implemented next fall. This interdisciplinary program

will be administered by the department of geological and marine sciences

and overseen by the biology and chemistry departments.

Unlike the more general environmental studies programs offered by

other schools, this new program at Rider focuses more on science than

on the socio-economic and public relations aspects of the environment.

"The new major is steeped in three separate science and technology

departments," says Richard Alexander, assistant dean. Call

609-896-5000.

This diverse program is relatively cost-effective among science programs.

"The beauty of it is that much of what we need already existed

here," says Alexander. "We already had much of the equipment,

facilities, faculty, and courses needed." Centennial Lake, as

a useful on-campus laboratory for field work, and the many scientific

corporations on the Route 1 Corridor for internship opportunities,

makes Rider a convenient geographic location for such a major, says

Alexander.

Stevens Institute of Technology has expanded its graduate school program

by offering an accelerated master’s degree program in telecommunications

management on Saturdays. The courses will be offered through Stevens’

Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, and will be conducted

on the university’s Hoboken campus as well as at locations in Bergen,

Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Middlesex, and Ocean counties.

An advising and registration forum for graduate school courses this

spring will be held on Thursday, January 14, 5 to 7:30 p.m., in the

Bissinger Room, Wesley J. Howe Center, on the Hoboken campus.

The program will provide students with a Master of Science degree

in telecommunications management in less than two years. The program

consists of basic communications technologies and management courses

identical to those offered by the Howe School faculty at leading corporate

sites including AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and Bell Atlantic. Majors

offered include Environmental Engineering, Project Management, and

Telecommunications Management.

For more information, call 201-216-8031, visit the school’s website

at http://www.stevens-tech.edu/gradschool, or E-mail: thegradschool@stevens-tech.edu.

Top Of Page
Timely Meetings

Building Trade Relations with Eastern Europe and the

Newly Independent States" is the topic for John Berry of

Berry Management Group and Thomas Gaspar of Product Line Management

Company. They speak on Wednesday, January 20, at 8 a.m. for the Regional

Business Partnership at the Newark Club, on the 22nd floor.

On the agenda: the nuts and bolts of trading, what to sell and buy

to and from Eastern Europe, tariff and duty reductions, intellectual

property rights laws, increased foreign ownership opportunities, and

case studies. Call 973-242-6237 for reservations.

The New Jersey Technology Council hosts a timely deregulation conference

on Thursday, January 21, at 8 a.m. at the Princeton Plasma Physics

Lab. In an effort to make sense out of the legislation wending its

way through the state capital, attendees can choose from six forums

for $200. "Where Utilities, Communications, and Deregulation Converge"

will include these topics: Communications Technology and Utility Industry

Restructuring, Impact of Electric Utility Restructuring on Telecommunications

Industry, Role of the Advanced Customer Communications Systems in

the Deregulated Energy Market, Competition in Utility Metering and

Billing Systems (Lessons Learned from California and the UK), Regulatory

Issues, Technology and Software Issues Related to the Utility Industry.


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