U.S.-Cuba Trade Deals

New Economy Real Estate

Living with Toxic Waste

It Takes Making a Village

Employment Issues

Bebe & Big Brothers

Electronic Bill Paying

Corrections or additions?

Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 12, 2000. All rights

reserved.

Stretching Your Troops: William Eventoff

E-mail: MelindaSherwood@princetoninfo.com

Incremental goal-setting might be safe, but ultimately

it’s not going to help your company grow. It’s necessary to set

stretch

goals, says William Eventoff, principal and consultant for ESTM

Associates in Toms River. "If operators in a call center are

answering

80 percent of the calls, and you said knock it up to 82 percent,

someone

would figure out that they just take a shorter coffee break,"

he says. "But if you said 95 percent, that would be more of a

challenge. That’s what gets people thinking outside of the box."

A senior examiner for Quality New Jersey, the Governor’s Awards for

quality excellence, Eventoff wants to help businesses, from high-tech

to manufacturing, create an entrepreneurial culture and sort out

knotty

problems. "I think one of the things that’s key to surviving and

thriving is for businesses to internalize the capacity to observe,

understand, and have a culture of innovative change," he says.

He speaks on "Surviving and Thriving in the New Economy,"

on Thursday, April 13, at the Technology New Jersey meeting at DeVry

Institute. Call 609-419-4444. Cost: $30.

A chemist by training, Eventoff has a bachelors from Hunter College,

Class of 1968, and a graduate degree in chemistry from University

of Michigan. While doing graduate research work, he was led into

crystallography

and eventually the study of viruses. At the time, however, computers

were still relatively unsophisticated, making the study of viruses

quite difficult. So Eventoff went into computer science, which led

him to building computer systems for businesses.

All along, the scientific method has proved his most valued

instrument.

"I think a lot of things are connected by a logical process, and

I’ve internalized the scientific method," he says. "That’s

how we approach a lot of business problems. We’re really looking at

observations, understanding what they mean, putting together a plan,

looking at the results, and building a feedback loop."

Faced with a problem, executives tend to huddle in a conference room

and set goals for the company without the input of employees. That’s

been unproductive, says Eventoff. "Businesses have gone through

many attempts to change during the 1980s and 1990s, and between 50

to 70 percent of companies didn’t achieve the results that they

intended,

and the underlying reason is that it’s people who change, not the

organizations," says Eventoff. "You can have a brilliant

leader

who sees an opportunity and has all the brilliant processes, but if

you don’t bring the people along, you don’t get a drastic change.

The techniques we use are mainly trying to involve staff. Otherwise,

they’re not committed to it."

A business that can survive rapid change and grow is one in which

people feel empowered by continuing opportunities to learn and by

the ability to bring ideas forward and act across organizational

lines.

Eventoff gives the following managerial advice for businesses facing

any range of problems:

Identify the key people in an organization who can be

agents of change.

Set-up a structure for people who are influential to act.

Set stretch goals. "Things that can’t be achieved

by small evolutionary changes," says Eventoff. Make goals

concrete,

and build constraints around the solution so that the organization

can live with it.

"We’re giving people a recipe for building that type of

innovative culture, that’s always looking at what’s going on,"

says Eventoff. "People can fail, but they don’t like to. So they

start to think of innovative ways to reach the goal."

Friday, April 14

Top Of Page
U.S.-Cuba Trade Deals

After nearly 40 years of economic sanctions, the United

States is slowly resuming trade relations with Cuba, a Caribbean

nation

that will provide a multitude of opportunities for New Jersey

companies,

says John Kavulich, president of the U.S. Cuba Trade and

Economic

Council, a non-profit, non-partisan organization located in New York

that provides information on Cuba to American companies (call

212-246-1444).

"There’s little doubt that, with 11 million people, Cuba is an

attractive market for businesses that export," he says. "The

Cuban government has placed a substantial quantity of resources into

developing a national healthcare system and regardless of what type

of government is in place post-Castro, the Cuban people are going

to want to preserve as much of that national healthcare system as

possible. That will provide opportunities for New Jersey-based

healthcare

companies."

On Friday, April 14, at 8 a.m. Kavulich will educate businesses on

current U.S-Cuba relations, and the market outlook for the future,

at the International Trade Roundtable Meeting at Raritan Valley

Community

College. Call 908-526-1200, ext. 8235.

An expert in international business who has worked in 59 countries,

Kavulich holds a bachelors in business administration from George

Washington

University, Class of 1983, and has been a marketing consultant since

1984. He was a consultant to the Select Revenues Subcommittee of the

Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives

(1993-1994),

and was recognized as being the first United States-based marketing

consultant to be retained by the government of the former Soviet

Union.

"More than one news organization including CBS called me the

`image-meister’

to the Kremlin, which was a little much," says Kavulich. "My

working

in the USSR led me to take a look at Cuba, and what I found was that

my interest in obtaining information about Cuba far surpassed the

Cuban government’s ability to provide the information in a timely

and consistent way."

The U.S. placed an embargo on Cuba on January 1, 1959, after Fidel

Castro declared the island a Communist state. Prior to that time,

nearly 85 percent of tourists visiting the country were U.S. citizens.

U.S. relations with Cuba deteriorated during the period leading up

to the Cold War, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962,

and trade restrictions remained intact until the 1980s. Between 1980

and 1992, however, foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies were once

again permitted to export food products and healthcare supplies to

Cuba. Direct exports from the United States were still banned.

In 1992 Congress enacted the Cuban Democracy Act, which eliminated

the unrestricted sale of food and health care products from third

countries but reestablished direct export of healthcare products from

the U.S. to Cuba. "It was looked at as carrots and sticks,"

says Kavulich. "The Cuban Democracy Act was designed so that if

the Cuban government took steps that the U.S. government found

pleasing,

it would expand the relationship. Otherwise, it would reverse

course."

Over the past seven years, the Clinton Administration has expanded

its interpretation of the Cuban Democracy Act, and last year,

reestablished

the export of food directly to Cuba. Given the changing course of

U.S.-Cuba relations, the Cuban government decided in 1993 that a

nonpartisan

council was in fact beneficial to both countries. The Council is the

largest, most credible resource for people interested in information

on Cuba. "Any government official, business executive, journalist,

or academic contacts us," says Kavulich. "Having done that

without ever issuing a media release says something about the

credibility

we’ve earned."

As trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba improved, the Cuban

economy

has rebounded — particularly in tourism. In 1993 Cuba received

only 500,000 tourists annually, the majority from Canada, Mexico,

and Europe. In 1999 Cuba received 1.65 million tourists, and this

year 2 million are expected.

In the next decade, says Kavulich, U.S. companies could be influencing

80 percent of Cuba’s GDP. "The sectors that are going to provide

the greatest short-term opportunities," says Kavulich, "are

those companies exporting healthcare products, tourism products, food

products, and infrastructure in terms of energy and transportation.

"

Top Of Page
New Economy Real Estate

Commercial and residential developers are feeling what’s

called the "Wealth Effect," says Paul Nadler, an

economics

professor at Rutgers University. "They feel wealthy and they’re

going to spend — the person across the street has a beautiful

house, but they’re selling so they can build something the size of

the Taj Mahal," he says. "That’s all stock market money."

Eventually, Nadler predicts, when stocks begin to reflect earnings,

commercial development in New Jersey will slow down, but until then,

the challenge for developers will be spending their money wisely.

"They’ve got to start thinking in terms of where people are going

to live," he says, "where people are going to be willing to

work. You listen to the radio and hear 40 minutes to get through the

Lincoln Tunnel, and more and more we’re going to be seeing people

not wanting to commute."

Nadler discusses "Real Estate Projects in the New Economy,"

on Friday, April 14, at noon at the Industrial/Commercial Real Estate

Women meeting at the Raritan Center Sheraton. Call 973-325-2700.

A graduate of Brown, with a BA in economics, Nadler earned his PhD

at New York University and taught banking to IBM employees for two

decades.

With the shortage of land and increasing traffic congestion in New

Jersey, the commercial developments projects that pay off are going

to be creative, says Nadler. "More and more businesses are moving

into the suburbs, like RCN," he says. "But that’s going to

be tough for mass transit." Developers need to start looking at

areas that already have a transportation infrastructure, like Newark

and Trenton, says Nadler, and change the prevailing attitude of the

20th century: "In America, it’s cheaper to make a dish than wash

one — it’s the same thing with cities," he says. "It’s

cheaper to make a city than to wash one."

Top Of Page
Living with Toxic Waste

A piece of New Jersey’s past that citizens and companies

are eager to put behind them is toxic waste, but as the number of

New Jersey’s brownfields indicates, it’s a legacy that’s not so easily

buried. How companies and communities view the risks of toxic waste

and the responsibilities of waste management is a topic of peculiar

interest to John Weingart, assistant director of the Eagleton

Institute, and one of the speakers at "New Jersey’s Landscape

in 2050," a conference at the Woodrow Wilson School’s Dodds

Auditorium

on Friday, April 14, at 9 a.m. Call 609-258-3000.

During his 19 years at the New Jersey Department of Environment

Protection,

Weingart headed a state agency whose primary purpose was to find a

town to volunteer to become home to a disposal facility for New

Jersey’s

radioactive waste. The need for a state facility was prompted in part

by the fact that the governor of South Carolina, the state that had

accepted radioactive waste from New Jersey power plants and research

centers for many years, threatened to close down its facility.

As head of the New Jersey Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal

Facility

Siting Board, founded in 1987, Weingart spoke to numerous Rotary

Clubs,

politicians, and citizens on the reasons the state needed a waste

facility and how it would affect the community in which it was built.

"We tried to design something with enough incentives," says

Weingart, "because at first glance it would probably be quite

terrifying."

After three years of campaigning, twelve New Jersey towns stepped

forward as candidates for the new facility. Among them: Roosevelt

in Monmouth County, Elsinboro, Alloway and Carney’s Point in Salem

County, Fairfield in Cumberland County, Bethlehem and Delaware in

Hunterdon County, Hamburg and Hardyston in Sussex County, Springfield

in Burlington County, South Harrison in Gloucester County, and Lower

Township in Cape May County. "Many of the people in those towns

worked for the power plants in the area and were comfortable with

the idea because they knew how radioactive material was handled,"

says Weingart.

Outside of those communities, however, Weingart discovered a large

gap between the public’s perception of radioactive waste and what

experts agree on as its major risks. "Much of the public tends

to worry about the wrong things and I think that’s a major issue,"

he says. "When you end up with well-credentialed, knowledgeable

people disagreeing, how do the rest of us who don’t know the subject

decide? Some people would say better safe than sorry, but that’s an

inoperable decision when you have to make a choice — there is

radioactive waste and society has to decide where to put it."

Adding to the public’s resistance to a radioactive dump site in their

hometown was the feeling that government and corporations don’t tell

the whole story. "One thing I ran into was that they felt that

the government has lied to them in the past," Weingart says,

"that

things that were said to be safe turned out not to be, therefore

leading

to contaminated sites."

The New Jersey Siting Board abandoned its project when the waste

facility

in South Carolina reopened in the mid-1990s, but Weingart captures

many of the lessons that he learned from the ordeal in his book,

"Waste

is a Terrible Thing to Mind: Radiation, Risk, and Distrust of

Government,"

being published by the Center for Analysis of Public Issues in late

May.

Weingart went to Brandeis University, Class of 1970, for a degree

in sociology, and attended the Woodrow Wilson School. Between 1990

and 1994 he was assistant commissioner of the DEP, but he is probably

most well-known as a radio personality, host of WPRB’s "Music

You Can’t Hear on The Radio" on Sunday evenings.

"I listen to a lot of music that is at least 50 years old,"

says Weingart. "It’s a powerful impression — the way we’re

bringing the past with us as we move into the future. It’s challenging

to find productive ways to talk about public affairs in New Jersey

beyond sort of grumbling and being nostalgic for good old days that

never existed."

Saturday, April 15

Top Of Page
It Takes Making a Village

People cling to the past even as they move into the

future — a lesson to be learned by developers and suburban

planners

around the country, but especially in New Jersey. For many

communities,

the price of modernization is the loss of traditional community

values,

and when that happens, everyone loses.

"There are market studies that show there’s an immediate higher

value in sales in developing a sense of community and a sense of place

that is largely desired among people who miss it," says

Elizabeth

Plater-Zyberk, an architect and founder of the Congress of New

Urbanism, an interdisciplinary organization devoted to stopping

suburban

sprawl and urban disinvestment. "In most parts of the country,

the underlying regulatory system promotes suburban pod development

rather than integrated neighborhoods and towns. New Urbanism really

promotes the traditional community — compact, pedestrian-friendly,

mixed-use neighborhoods and towns."

To illustrate the kind of community that is commercially successful

as well as socially functional, Plater-Zyberk points to Princeton.

"Downtown Princeton with the shopfronts on the street, a small

hotel, churches, small houses and then bigger houses not too far away

is a perfect traditional town plan," she says. Plater-Zyberk will

keynote the second annual Sandra Starr Foundation Communiversity

conference,

entitled "Building Urban-Suburban Alliances," on Saturday,

April 15, at 1:30 p.m. at McCormick Auditorium on the Princeton

campus.

The conference begins at 9:30 with a panel on "Bridging City and

Suburb in Mercer County," with Marty Johnson, president

of Isles, Connie Mercer, director of HomeFront, Mel Lehr,

vice president and director of transportation planning at Frederic

Harris Inc., and Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman. That is followed

at 11:15 a.m. by a community discussion with Dan Napolean of

the Family Resource Center of Trenton, Maria Hernandez of the

Mercer County Hispanic Association, and Richard K. Rein of U.S.

1, among others. Call 609-924-6992. Www.sandrastarr.org. Free.

The Congress of New Urbanism (415-495-225), based in San Francisco,

works with both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department

of Housing and Urban Development to develop design standards that

preserve communities and the environment. For HUD, the Congress

developed

standards for HOME and HOPE VI programs that fund affordable housing

nationally. "It’s about building communities rather than

projects,"

Plater-Zyberk says. "HOPE VI takes old housing projects and

designs

them to be mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhoods." Locally,

Plater-Zyberk

and her Miami architecture firm, Duany Plater-Zyberk, worked with

Trenton officials to develop a plan for the Capitol building and

offices

on State Street.

A Princeton University alumna (Class of 1972), Plater-Zyberk did her

graduate work in architecture at Yale and now teaches at the

University

of Miami. She is also on the board of trustees at Princeton. Her new

book is titled "Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the

Decline

of the American Dream."

Suburban sprawl is a problem that faces the country at large, but

New Jersey is a terrific case study of what happens when the forces

of modernity push too hard. "There’s always something falling

apart or growing badly," she says, "and people are regretting

building today instead of welcoming it. I know this is important to

New Jersey."

Developers should focus on building complete villages rather than

commercial or residential communities, and look creatively at the

unique assets that many areas already have. "Princeton Junction

is an ideal location for a town center," says Plater-Zyberk.

"There’s

also opportunities surrounding Forrestal Village. The big picture

involves making some decisions about conservation, places that you

never want to build in, setting up a transportation system that

organizes

new building and rebuilding, and then looking at places where there

is already investment, like Trenton and Newark."

Tuesday, April 18

Top Of Page
Employment Issues

The federal and state versions of the Family & Medical

Leave Acts are just different enough to cause confusion for many

employers,

and the challenge for most businesses without human resource

departments

is to decide how to provide employees their rights under both laws.

How the family leave acts should be interpreted depends on the hours

an employee works, the number of employees in a company, and the

location

of the company.

That will be the subject of "Time Off: State and Federal Laws

on Employee Leave, Vacations, and Holidays in New Jersey," on

Tuesday, April 18, at 9 a.m. at the Princeton Marriott. Buchanan

Ingersoll

attorneys Steven Berlin and Louis Sapirman will lead the

discussion. Call 715-833-3959. Cost: $189.

Top Of Page
Bebe & Big Brothers

The annual "free" ice cream cone day at Ben

& Jerry’s is Tuesday, April 18, noon to 8 p.m., at the Forrestal

Village

food court, and Bebe Neuwirth, a Princeton High School alumna

and star of stage and screen, is scheduled to scoop beginning at 12:30

p.m. The event will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County.

That Neuwirth is a celebrity scooper is just part of the story.

It seems that the actress’s father contributed to founding a new

program

that has multiplied across the nation. In 1991 Lee Neuwirth

of Institute for Defense Analyses and Gary Turndorf of the

Landis Group had assembled a small group of mentors and needed help

with screening, training, and case management. The mentors had been

recruited by Project ’55, established by the Princeton University

Class of 1955.

Big Brothers Big Sisters agreed to provide the orientation for this

group, and the group "adopted" Cadwalader elementary school

that year. At first, the staff of the social service organization

worried that this program would be a watered down version of the

traditional

one, where an adult is paired with a young person for home-based

weekly

activity. "That opinion soon changed when Big Brothers Big Sisters

of Mercer County received an exemplary award at a national conference

in 1992," says Kim Cody a spokesperson. This idea grew so

that 168 agencies around the world have a school-based mentor program

with this one used as the model. For information call 609-656-1000

(www.bbbsnj.org).

Wednesday, April 19

Top Of Page
Electronic Bill Paying

Electronic bill payment is a Catch-22: until enough

companies issue bills electronically, consumers aren’t interested,

but until enough consumers are interested, billers will stick to

paper.

So while online stock trading and shopping are hitting critical mass,

it could be some time before the idea of paying your bills on the

web catches on, says Donald Licciardello, president of Princeton

eCom, the online bill publishing company at 650 College Road. "It

will be slower growth until the value proposition works for the

consumer,"

says Licciardello. "It’s not very convenient to pay two bills

online and the other two by check. But if your bank had 15 bills it

would be another thing. It really has to do with enough bills being

published."

Licciardello speaks on "How E-Business Can Bring Your Organization

in the 21st Century" at the Princeton Chamber meeting on

Wednesday,

April 19, at 7:45 a.m. at the Nassau Club. Joining him is David

Hisbrook of Xlibris, Freda Howard of Howard Lane Gift

Baskets,

and Toni Tracy of Franklin Electronic Publishers. Call

609-520-1776.

Cost: $21

Two years ago, as Princeton TeleCom, Princeton eCom was helping big

banks deal with electronic payments — now the firm uses the same

technology as a leading provider of Internet bill publishing and

payment

services for large businesses and financial institutions like Bell

Atlantic Mobile and Ameritech. Electronic bill publishing is a much

cheaper alternative for billers, says Licciardello. "Typically

it costs $1.50 to get one bill prepared, printed, and mailed,"

he says. "This online process could cost the biller as little

as 30 or 40 cents."

Licciardello, a former Princeton University physics professor and

an alumnus of the University of Scranton, Class of ’68, and the

University

of Virginia, founded Princeton eCom., A year ago the company filed

a preliminary statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission

for a $46 million initial public offering. It was pulled for various

reasons, says Licciardello, but he hopes to restart the process some

time soon.

In the world of online bill payment, there are three players —

billers, bill publishers (like Princeton eCom), and aggregators.

Licciardello

uses the book publishing business as an analogy: "If you were

Stephen King you wouldn’t go to Kinkos to copy your book, you’d go

to a publisher like Doubleday," he says. "In the same way,

a biller outsources to a publisher like Princeton eCom, and we handle

distribution to the consumer’s favorite financial website or

portal."

That would be the "aggregator." "Your billers can choose

one publisher and another choose another publisher, but the aggregator

can have both publishers," he says. "It’s like you go to

Barnes

and Noble you don’t see one book from one publisher."

Princeton eCom’s biggest competitor — Atlanta-based Check Free

— serves nearly twice as many billers as Princeton eCom, but the

market is big enough for both companies, Licciardello says. "Check

Free, the largest bill publishing company, announced that they have

60 some billers online," he says. "We’ve announced 30. So

when you think about the number of billers out there, this is a

nascent

industry."

Put in a different way, Americans receive 1.5 billion bills per month,

Licciardello estimates, or a total of about 18 billion bills per year.

Right now, 180 million of those bills are paid online. By 2003, that

number is supposed to increase dramatically — up to nearly 2

billion.

But, as Licciardello points out, "that’s still 2 billion out of

18 billion."

With all indicators pointing to a dramatic growth in online bill pay,

Princeton eCom has grown rapidly over the past two years. It had 56

workers in 1997, 80 employees last year, and now has some 230

employees.

The company just raised $35 million from Billing Concepts, the San

Antonio-based company that provides billing solutions to companies,

particularly in the telecommunications industry. The company purchased

$27 million of Princeton eCom’s convertible preferred stock.

For small business owners seeking to bring their companies into the

21st century, the time might not be right to offer online bill payment

services, however. "I think businesses should probably wait until

the aggregators have enough customers coming to pay the big bills,

like telephone and electric, and then it would behoove them to get

their bills there too," says Licciardello.


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