Mars and Venus Close the Deal

Selling an Event

Focus: Environment

MCRCC’s New Man

New Aviation Course

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Bart Jackson were prepared for the January 7,

2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Sports Pages: The Ivy Way

We want a school our football team can be proud of," money-desperate

university presidents sometimes seem to imply. Today’s college

athletes are headlined in the media as corrupt and coddled louts whose

muscular monofocus has them emerging from the halls of higher learning

even dumber than when they went in. And although many Americans have

become more leery of the "truth" touted on page one, many have yet to

transfer this discerning eye to the sports section.

To put college athletics into sharper focus, the Princeton Chamber of

Commerce presents "How to Really Read the Sports Page" on Thursday,

January 8, at 11:30 a.m. at the Doral Forrestal. Cost: $40. Call

609-520-1776 or visit This luncheon meeting

features Jeff Orleans, executive director of the Council of Ivy Group

Presidents at 228 Alexander Street ( His talk

outlines both the goals and mechanics of various collegiate sports


In October, l933, New York Herald Tribune reporter Stanley Woodward

first used the term "Ivy Colleges." In it he included the current

Ivies: Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Penn, Cornell,

Columbia – and also Army. It wasn’t until 1945 that the schools, minus

Army, actually considered themselves a true league and formulated a

sports policy – originally concerning only football.

In l972 Title IX, a federal initiative, came crashing into the

collegiate sports arena, changing forever how schools funded,

selected, and regulated their sports. In essence, it said that no

federally funded institution could show gender discrimination in any

of its programs. For the sports world this did not mean that women

must participate on the wrestling team, but rather that men and women

must each receive equal athletic opportunities with appropriate

funding for each gender. Orleans was one of the primary authors of the

bill’s regulations. A Yale graduate, he holds a law degree from the

University of North Carolina.

In 1984 he was appointed the executive director of the Council of Ivy

Group Presidents and was given the power to hire staff to create an

"Ivy Office" to coordinate sports policies within the schools. He is,

as he puts it, "the League’s sports commissioner."

It is his job to maintain the standards of the Ivy schools, which

include awarding only need-based financial aid, combining broad-based

participation with the opportunity for regional and national athletic

excellence for each Ivy institution, and assuring that athletic

accomplishments attest to the ability of Ivy League coaches and

administrators to meet these rigorous expectations.

Orleans considers himself a careful guardian of the student-athletes

and the programs in which they participate. He is a firm believer in

balancing the college experience.

Recruitment. "Here is where the media can frequently

mislead," says Orleans. "The media continually highlights just the

abuses of the recruiting system. But these do not represent most

athletes and most schools."

This can handicap them in recruiting the best athletes, especially,

Orleans points out, as the cost of Ivy tuition rises. He is quoted in

Harvard magazine as saying, "Thirty years ago, imagine a kid choosing

between going to Harvard on need-based aid or attending Boston College

with a full athletic scholarship.

"He might look at earning money at a summer job, plus term-time

employment and say, ‘This is Harvard, I’m doing it.’ Today, even if

the student got a $15,000 grant, and could add $5,000 per year through

work and loans, there is still a significant out-of-pocket expense

compared to a ‘ free ride.’ It’s harder for middle class families,

especially if there are siblings. Some people who recruit women

athletes say that families who are willing to sacrifice for their sons

are often less willing to sacrifice for daughters."

In basketball, 305 colleges now compete at the Division I level; in

swimming, there are about 259 programs. Competition among them

sometimes results in bidding wars for recruits, just the way

professional sports teams scramble for free agents. In a recent

season, for example, Harvard’s swimming team lost a recruit when Notre

Dame upped its scholarship offer by $10,000.

Sports control. Orleans says that the Ivies’ unique position

on athletic scholarship funding has far-ranging ramifications. Not

only does it apply to obvious things like recruiting, but the Ivy

League is able to place tangible controls on the sports themselves.

"We are able beneficially to limit the hours of practice, the number

of games, and the length of season, all to regulate the role of

athletics in a student’s overall college experience," says Orleans.

On this point not everyone is so enthusiastic. Recently, the Ivy

Council proposed a controversial "Seven-Week Rule." This rule

basically provides a cooling-off period, preventing any single sport

from going on year round. During this seven weeks, interaction between

players and coaches is forbidden "to free student athletes for

participation in academic and other extracurricular activities."

Sasha Suda, 2003 captain of the Princeton women’s open crew says, "I

am a student first, but also a student-athlete. I feel I have done

well in both aspects of my life, and I feel that athletes are being

targeted and discriminated against."

Goals of the school. It’s no secret that many of the larger

universities construct their athletics departments as primary

money-makers for the school. Others, like Stanford, seek to make the

programs self-supporting, with the big sports paying for the minor

ones. "Here, we are nowhere near self-supporting," says Orleans. "We

don’t run a show for the benefit of the alumni. The win-loss record is

second to personal development."

For Orleans, athletics exist on campus purely because they enhance the

overall college experience. Funding reflects this philosophy. "We fund

our athletic programs for the same reason we buy new chemistry

supplies," he says, "because they are useful."

Pre-college problems. Without a doubt, college athletes have

changed over the two decades of Orleans’ tenure. He notes that they

are definitely more proficient, bigger, and stronger. "We have Ivy

League football linebackers who average 290 pounds," he says. "But

along with this has come an amazingly increased intensity – a belief

that they have to specialize on one activity." He questions whether

this busier, more strictly-focused experience is entirely beneficial.

Additionally, Orleans says that there are major problems at either end

of the socio-economic scale. He sees a tragic decrease in athletic

opportunities in poor communities. Contrastingly, in the wealthier

areas, he is alarmed to observe what he calls "the

over-professionalism of the sports system." Is a New Jersey

eight-year-old truly enriched by driving out six hours to Ohio to play

an hour of soccer? "In short, I see our kids as both over-served and

under-served by the pre-collegiate sports systems," says Orleans.

Top Of Page
Mars and Venus Close the Deal

Men are Hunters. "This is what we have. It’s great. You’ve gotta have

it; how many do you want?" As salesmen, men see the quarry, move in

swiftly, and take aim to close the deal. Women are Gatherers. "Now,

there’s this one, then we have the larger version, and of course the

blue. Don’t let me rush you. You can just make up your mind, come back

tomorrow, and choose the one you like." The problem is that neither of

these gender-instinctive selling techniques is going to entice any

buyer into purchasing anything.

Veteran sales trainer Isabel Kersen knows how to nudge both genders

toward a more effective middle ground. Her talk, "Knowing Your

Business Is Not Enough: You Also Have to Know How to Sell" is

scheduled for the Middlesex chapter of the New Jersey Association of

Women Business Owners on Monday, January 12, at 6 p.m., at the Raritan

Center Sheraton in Edison. Cost: $43. Call 732-287-4111


Kersen is the founder of the Secaucus-based training and development

firm, the Power Edge (, 201-864-8515). Her talk is

designed to help not only sales professionals, but small business

owners as well.

Kersen’s admittedly "checkered career" has placed her in both sales

and managerial camps, affording her a rounded business expertise. A

true New York girl, Kersen was born and raised in the Bronx. Daughter

of a police officer father and bank treasurer mother, Kersen became

the first member of her family to obtain a higher education. She

attended Manhattan’s City College where she earned a BA in English and

education, a master’s degree in English education, and a PhD in

managerial development.

After working as a training and development executive for six years

for the very masculine Hertz truck rentals and 14 years for the

exquisitely feminine L’Oreal cosmetics, Kersen decided she was ready

for any client. She formed the Power Edge, which has since enhanced

the performance of sales and managerial personnel for Swiss Bank,

Xerox, the Miss America Organization, and others.

"The concept of selling is actually simplicity itself," says Kersen.

"You merely find out what the customer wants, and you give it to him."

Yet even for most sales managers, the selling instinct does not come

naturally. It demands difficult behavior changes: shedding the tricks

and baggage, and placing the customer at the center of each


Prove your value. Launch the client encounter by assembling a

list of his needs. Then make a quick assessment: Do I really have what

he wants or not? "Nobody sells everybody," insists Kersen. "You don’t

create a sale – you just fulfill needs."

If you do have the right product, walk your client through its

capabilities. For example, if you are selling a machine, establish

that it has enough power for the customer’s use; that it seems to fall

within his price range; that its size allows it to fit within his

plant. You are not pushing your product’s magnificent attributes here.

You are simply discussing how it meets his requirements, which you

both have been talking about.

"Finally, you reach the point where you have nothing more to say,"

explains Kersen. "All the customer’s needs have been met. Enough said.

The only logical conclusion is that he make the purchase." To those

veterans of the hard sell who claim this approach is unrealistic,

Kersen responds that it is merely shifting the focus to the customer.

Building trust. Perhaps the oldest cliche in business is that

the sales person’s primary product is his trust. While Kersen agrees

that building trust is vital, it is not something you can sell a

customer, or build speedily. Of course, the first impression can imbue

you with horns or a halo. An automatic barrier will almost definitely

separate the conservatively-suited seller from a potential client in

torn jeans.

Yet what invariably overcomes such obstacles and gradually forges the

trusting link, in Kersen’s experience, is the interest in the client

demonstrated by the sales person. This involves more than just asking

and listening. A good sales person will help hone and sharply define

the customer’s desire, without obviously steering. Gradually, the

relation develops, the trust builds.

References. The ability to present trustworthy references of

past satisfied customers and service recipients goes a long way toward

dismantling sales resistance. Having your references pre-printed in a

separate notebook gives your presentation the feel of solidity.

Of course, the people providing references should be asked beforehand

if they are willing to be mentioned. Finally, resist the temptation to

build a referral relationship at closing. Allow your new customer some

time to be impressed with your product and your company’s service.

Follow-up. Closings should be painless for both parties.

Gut-wrenching hysteria comes only when the sales person has

aggressively battered down the wall of customer skepticism. Odds are

excellent that winning a sale this way will crush the slightest hope

of repeat business.

Yet, if both buyer and seller walk away from the trade feeling better

than when they met, a potential relationship has sparked. A timely

note thanking this new customer for his business is essential.

"Definitely, make it a pen-on-paper note," says Kersen. "There are

millions of E-mail thank you letters that are about as effective as an

online refinancing ad." Beyond the first note, not overly frequent

letters can be sent asking how he likes the current product and

informing him of updates.

"I am well aware that sales men are task oriented – they can’t wait to

show you their bag of tricks," says Kersen. "Conversely, sales women

tend to be more people oriented – never wanting to offend anyone." If

you can make sales the customer’s show, you may be amazed at the


Top Of Page
Selling an Event

Beginning Sunday, March 7, the Philadelphia Flower Show will again

invade the Philadelphia Convention Center from Sunday to Sunday,

foreshadowing the glorious dawn of spring. The air will fill with the

colors and scents of blossoms. Three-hundred thousand people, gently

awed, will wander through its 10 acres. Then on Sunday, March 14th,

the orchids and landscaped gardens will miraculously disappear, and

not a petal will be left on the hard stone floors. Wonderful. Grand.

Now how do you get the folks to come back next year?

Steve Mauer, whose job it is to see that this happens, speaks on

"Selling the Show, Marketing the Event: A Non-Stop Approach to

Year-Long Special Events Promotion" on Tuesday, January 13, at 11:30

a.m. at the Doral Forestal Hotel. Cost: $40. Call 609-799-4900 or

visit The event is sponsored by the New Jersey

Communications Advertising and Marketing Association (NJ CAMA).

Mauer grew up in the heart of the city of brotherly love, just a few

blocks from where he lives and works today. He traveled to Syracuse

University to get a B.A. in American literature, but returned home to

Drexel University to obtain a masters in publications management. "I

learned a lot about publishing, but I also had to wade through a lot

of sophisticated printing graphics which I’m not too good at," he

laughs. Armed with this education, Mauer returned to his neighborhood

and opened up the How To Do It Bookshop.

"I couldn’t afford advertising," he recalls, "so I had to try every

conceivable method of promotion." Several times, the president of the

United States would announce a visit to Philadelphia. Just prior to

each visit, Mauer would mail a letter to the White House saying

something like: "Dear President Clinton, I have in my shop three books

which, if read, would allow you to rebuild civilization. I invite you

to stop by and accept them as complimentary copies." No president ever

came. But the press and wire services got wind of this scheme and

Mauer’s reputation as a creative promoter was made.

At the same time, Mauer had become increasingly involved in community

gardening and the Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s pet project,

"Urban Greening." Starting as a volunteer, he helped publicize events.

Today he handles the publicity for the society’s biggest annual event.

"A year gives you time," says Mauer. "You have time to build

relationships of trust with the media and work back and forth with

them." Mauer has several methods of keeping a continual stream of

flower show articles planted throughout the media. And each of them is

based on the maxim that all business is personal:

Marketing vs. PR. One of Mauer’s cardinal rules is to never

mix marketing efforts with public relations. "Sure we send out

numerous press releases," he says, "but we never push an individual

product in them. I want to be sincere – not beholden." Instead, flower

show releases tell of trends, popular buying habits, or industry

improvements. To an editor, that’s solid news.

Reporter respect. "I try to respect what the reporter does,"

says Mauer. If the sponsoring association of your annual convention is

planning to host some other event, look at the schedules. When are the

print media deadlines? Is there enough lead for the local television

crew to set up, tape it, and get it back and edited by air time?

Often, an individual product is indeed news. But it is the public

relation person’s job to act as primary filter. You must know your

reporters and their publications well enough to know if this piece

holds any desirability for them. If not, don’t let anyone push you.

Presenting an unwanted piece only shatters a slowly-built trust.

Further, the promoter must act as a quality control for the sake of

his own event. "One year we had a wildly popular company at the show,

which totally failed on the fulfillment end of product delivery,"

Mauer recalls. "I not only refused to mention their product, we

wouldn’t let them back again. Our reputation depended on it."

New vs. Old. The Philadelphia Flower Show and its society

boast 176 years of tradition. Such enviable heritage might seem a

promoter’s dream. Yet, Mauer responds, "Face it. Gardening is

basically poking a hole in the ground, dropping in a seed, and letting

God take over. This is not the easiest concept to keep fresh and new."

Every year Mauer must convince last year’s visitors that they have not

seen it all before.

Actually new editions of an annual show do have an advantage, because

the event itself is newsworthy. The trick here is to play up to

exactly what trend your convention is responding – what new chord in

the human psyche is being struck. Newsworthy articles focusing on this

new trend, which incidentally mentions your event as an example, can

bring in press coverage.

New media. Gulp! It is always scary for the promoter to break

into a new medium or even talk to a strange newspaper or a strange

reporter. Nothing quells the jitters like preparation. A little study

allows you to open the phone call with "I read your article on urban

open spaces in the issue of the 15th. I liked it. You have really made

this a crusade over the last year."

Instantly, the reporter sees a long-term fan, not another pushy PR

person. Many reporters get little or no feedback, as few people even

notice the bylines on the articles that they enjoy and even quote to

friends. There is no greater praise than to let a reporter know that

you actually read his or her stuff.

Top Of Page
Focus: Environment

Don Richardson, director of remediation services for BEM Systems Inc.,

moderates an Environmental Update Seminar on Wednesday, January 14 at

8 a.m. at the Law Center in New Brunswick, sponsored by the state

chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office

Properties. Cost: $70. Call 201-998-1421 or log on to

Now that New Jersey voters have approved Public Question No. 2,

providing for a permanent and stable source of funding for the cleanup

of contaminated sites, environmental firms can expect to get some good

contracts, which this seminar will address. It will focus on the

redevelopment of brownfields and contaminated sites and the impact of

other environmental policies, such as Natural Resources Damages, on a

corporation’s liability and operations.

Other topics: recent changes to New Jersey’s brownfields program,

legislative initiatives, financial incentives including monetary

limits of grant and loan programs, ways to access funding,

complications to these transactions, deed notices, engineering

controls, status of the Cleanup Star programs and updates on the other

related legal and regulatory changes.

Panelists include Caren Franzini, executive director of the New Jersey

Economic Development Authority; Thomas Cozzi, acting assistant

commissioner for site remediation and waste management at NJDEP,

Norman Spindel of Lowenstein Sandler, and Anthony DiLodovico, vice

president with Schoor DePalma.

Top Of Page
MCRCC’s New Man

In l992, had you decided to do your Christmas shopping in Flemington,

you could have hopped aboard a shiny new piece of nostalgia, which

would have whisked you among the many outlet stores. The Flemington

Trolley was the brainchild of Chris Phelan, who seemed to have a

natural knack for publicity. Quickly seizing its potential for

weddings and as a limo substitute, he made the trolley a profitable

part of the local color and in l993 was voted Hunterdon County’s

Entrepreneur of the Year.

Today Phelan has taken the reins of a wilder and more sprawling

vehicle: the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce (MCRCC).

Donning the president’s mantle as of November 3, 2003, Phelan and his

seven-person staff oversee 318 square miles of incredible diversity.

The 2,500 county businesses include substantial groupings of global

manufacturers, huge service corporations, retail chains and private

shops of all sizes.

The 757,000 population of the county has a higher than average

household income of $61,446, a figure that hides both large pockets of

residents struggling well below the poverty line and several of the

wealthiest neighborhoods in the nation. Even the land use is in

constant flux.

But the primary number keeping president Phelan awake this past month

is 700. "That membership enrollment is far too small for this county,"

he insists. Shifting to a trolley metaphor he notes, "I’ve always said

that the chamber of commerce is a great vehicle if you bother to sit

in the driver’s seat. Getting a better representation is our top

priority." Of the MCRCC’s membership, most are small and mid-size

business-to-business companies, with a high percentage of

not-for-profits. Few are straight retail firms. And herein may lie

Phelan’s membership dilemma.

The Middlesex Chamber boasts a proud history of activity dating back

to its founding in 1910. At that time, not too surprisingly, it was

called the New Brunswick Chamber, and encompassed roughly the

town-area businesses. But times change. Currently the county is packed

tight with highly-populated towns and all size businesses working

within their local economies. Many argue that the county chamber is

irrelevant in an area with such strong commercial communities as

Woodbridge, Edison, and Piscataway. Some say that the local chambers

make the county’s chamber at best redundant, at worst a conflicting


Phelan has heard all these arguments before. For the last four years,

he has served as president of the Warren County Regional Chamber of

Commerce – one of last in the state to develop a county chamber. Prior

to that he worked locally in Hackettstown, helping the chamber obtain

the business-boosting Main Street New Jersey Community Designation. He

has experienced both sides of the fence.

He also brings to the issues a full lifetime in the Garden State.

Growing up in Flemington, Phelan graduated from Seton Hall earning,

degrees in both sociology and philosophy. During his off-study hours,

he drove a local bus, a job which he laughingly credits for launching

him on his five-year trolley career. He and his wife, Antonietta, live

in South Orange.

"Definitely the local chambers have their place – a non-conflicting

place – in our business community," Phelan says. During his brief

tenure in office, he has let no snow melt under his feet getting to

know the needs of his community counterparts. He has met and

interviewed all Middlesex’s local chamber executives and visited

Princeton’s chamber.

He says that much of the process of training, publicity, and

educational programs are best done as a local/county collaborative

effort. But he sees the county chamber as offering definite


Regional financial forecasts. Exactly because so many of the

Middlesex townships are cheek by jowl, most retail shops claim a

customer base far beyond their own municipality. They, along with the

wholesalers and most mid-size businesses, dwell in at least a

county-wide economy. Keeping abreast of this area may prove more

important than knowing all the national fluctuations.

Networking. "MCRCC provides a unique crossroads where the

truly major corporate players rub elbows with startup entrepreneurs.

"You are much less likely at local chambers to see Johnson & Johnson

representatives, chatting with mom and pop shop owners," says Phelan.

This is particularly important for business suppliers and the

not-for-profit organizations.

Legislative voice. The broader reach of county chambers gives

them a stronger legislative presence. The full weight of a county’s

business community bears heavier on state decision makers. Phelan has

worked this weight most recently on New Jersey’s Family Leave Act.

"There are several good parts and several parts of this bill which are

ruinous to the small business person," he says, "and as a group we

have been able to negotiate changes."

Commerce runs never without competition. In Middlesex, the municipal

versus county chamber allegiance is heightened by the downtown versus

strip mall competition for the consumer’s dollar. When asked how he

sees the squeezing of the local shops by the out-of-town highway

chains, Phelan replies, "I call it free enterprise. There is room for

growth at all levels and it is our job to help each of our businesses


Top Of Page
New Aviation Course

Helicopter pilots seeking to add "fixed wing airplane pilot" to their

resume can now do so in a new one-semester course starting this month

at Mercer County Community College. According to Joseph Blasenstein,

coordinator of Mercer’s Aviation Program, "Flight V" offers a

cost-effective, well-supervised training course for pilots who already

have expertise in helicopter piloting, but seek the additional

certification required to fly single engine planes. It is the only

course of its kind in the northeast United States.

Mercer’s spring semester begins Tuesday, January 20. For information,

call 609-586-4800, ext. 3487, or E-mail:

Blasenstein notes that "Flight V" gives certified helicopter pilots a

commercial airplane instrument rating in 70 flight hours and 30

ground/classroom hours. Two years in development, the course was

conceived in response to a request by a group of helicopter pilots

from the New Jersey National Guard.

"They approached me wanting to add a fixed wing (airplane), single

engine commercial flight rating to their rotary wing (helicopter)

certification," said Blasenstein in a prepared statement. Courses that

are currently available offer the training in 155 hours. Mercer’s

course offers the demanding curriculum, but draws on pilots’ previous

expertise to shorten the credentialing process. The syllabus includes

advanced topics in aircraft performance, preflight procedures,

operating procedures, maneuvers, aircraft systems, federal aviation

regulations, radio navigation, physiology of flight, environmental

systems, and air traffic systems and procedures.

"Flight V" enables pilots to fly planes for commercial and private

purposes and to easily add a multi-engine rating and move into

civilian commercial operations, observes Blasenstein. "It is an

excellent career move for these pilots, making them more versatile in

their current positions and more attractive to future employers," he

says, comparing the certification process to driving. "If you are a

licensed driver of a car and wish to start driving a tractor-trailer,

you must pursue additional licensing."

"We expect to see the cream of the crop seeking this certification,"

says Blasenstein.

According to Blasenstein, "Flight V" takes the MCCC Aviation Program

to a higher level. Part of the ground training will be conducted on a

state-of-the-art Advanced Simulation Training device (AST), which was

purchased last fall through a grant from the New Jersey Division of

Aeronautics, Department of Transportation. A highly sophisticated

flight simulator, AST has both single and multi-engine training

capabilities, and will also be utilized by Mercer’s other aviation


Blasenstein is gratified to finally be offering "Flight V" at Mercer.

"The last time we added a course was in 1989," he said. "It was a

great deal of work getting this highly detailed curriculum approved by

the Federal Aviation Administration." In addition to the NJ National

Guard, this class will be open to helicopter pilots from police

departments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and personnel from

commercial operations.

Next Story

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments