Rainmakers Rule

Middlesex Business Week: Training for Better Sales

More than Numbers

Writing for Results

Flowers for the Workplace

At the Libraries: Free Notary Services

Corporate Angels

Participate, Please

Corrections or additions?

These article were prepared for the March 9, 2005 issue of U.S. 1

Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Survival Guide

Top Of Page
Rainmakers Rule

If you look around at your colleagues and acquaintances in business,

most of them "seem to be just making it," says Megan Oltman. But there

are always a few "who are making a lot of money and having a lot of

fun doing it." Those people, she says, are the "rainmakers." Of

course, everyone’s goal is to become a rainmaker – to not only make

money, but to enjoy doing it. Oltman will lead a seminar, "How to Be a

Rainmaker for Your Business."

The full-day seminar, sponsored by Business Network International

(BNI), takes place on Thursday, March 10, at 9:30 a.m. at the Hopewell

Valley Bistro. Cost: $99. Call 609-446-6592.

Oltman, principal in Hopewell-based Your Life’s Work Coaching, has

worked as a business coach for three years, specializing in working

with small business owners and independent professionals "who want

help getting to the next plateau," she says. Through her work as a

coach and through BNI, she learned about the Team Rainmaker program.

Team Rainmaker is a training company designed by Art Radtke, an

executive director of BNI in eastern Virginia and North Carolina.

After working with a variety of business people and professionals for

about a decade, says Oltman, he began to notice that certain people in

every profession "seemed to just be able to make money easily." After

researching what these people did and how they did it, he began to

hold seminars teaching others to follow in their successes.

Radtke has worked with another BNI professional, Bill Davis, to turn

his theories into a series of programs, the "Rainmaker" one-day

seminar, as well as a three-month, intensive course called "Nimbus

Fast Track." A nimbus "is the cloud that makes the rain," says Oltman,

explaining the name of the seminar. She claims at that "a least 80

percent of graduates of the Nimbus program have seen their income

double in 90 days." The programs are run in Richmond and Virginia

Beach, Virginia, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, Ireland, and in

Mercer County.

Work on your business, not in your business. While this is a rule that

is heard over and over again, most of us do not follow it. Says

Oltman: "People who make a lot of money spend less time working in

their business. How many days a year do we spend strategizing,

building relationships or putting new procedures in place? One or two

– maybe; then we spend 363 working and worrying about our business."

How much time is appropriate for working "on a business?" That can

vary greatly, depending on just what the business is, says Oltman. She

uses Lance Armstrong as an example. "Armstrong performs in his

business – actually racing – maybe 30 days a year. The rest of the

year he is practicing. Obviously, that system is not going to work for

the local dry cleaner." If the average business person worked on his

business two to three days a month, it would be a huge increase that

would show results, in Oltman’s opinion.

"When we hear about someone having good luck in business we think it

is serendipitous," she says. The truth, though, is that the most

successful people tend to be those who plan and strategize.

Don’t just be a salesman. "There is a difference between what a

salesman does and what a rainmaker does," says Oltman. "What is

typically presented in sales training is not what you need to do to

dramatically increase your income." A big barrier to sales success is

that salespeople often talk about what they are selling as opposed to

what the client wants to buy.

She uses herself as an example. "If I say I sell business training the

person is fairly unlikely to think ‘Oh yeah, that is just what I

need.’ Instead, I should say, ‘I sell the ability to double your

business income and give you financial security and peace of mind.’

Everyone wants that. You should match the need to the client, not push

something down his throat."

Be the best at what you do. "Ask yourself ‘What can you be the best in

the world at?’" says Oltman. While that may not sound practical to

most of us, Oltman makes it seem simple. "There are a lot of people in

very competitive business environments who think, ‘That is crazy, how

can I be the best in the world? How can anyone tell who is the best in

the world?’ But you need to define your world so that you can be the

best."

Oltman says her concept goes beyond "finding a niche market. You need

to define your world so that you have no competition." A real estate

agent, for example, may not be able to be the best in their county,

but he can make it a goal to become the best at selling homes in his

own town, or at selling building lots, or condos, or investment

properties.

There are really two questions to ask, she says: "What can you be best

in the world at?" and "What is that world?" In that way, she

proclaims, "you are a monopoly!"

Develop 212 degree relationships. Developing strong referral

relationships is often the most important task of a rainmaker, says

Oltman. "What happens at 212 degrees?" she asks. "Water boils." Many

of our networking relationships are only 211 degrees, she says. "We

can do a lot of things at 211 degrees. We can poach an egg and make

American tea. But at 212 degrees, the water boils and everything

changes. Now we can run a steam turbine. We can make electricity. We

can build a civilization."

What are 212 degree relationships like? "They produce a geometrical

difference in our business, and we don’t need too many of them. There

is nothing wrong with a lot of lukewarm relationships. We spend a lot

of time running around and warming this relationship up over here, and

then that relationship over there. But all you need are one or two

really good relationships. These are the people who will send you a

significant chunk of your business."

At first glance, Oltman’s current work as a business trainer and coach

may seem like a big leap from her original career. A lawyer, she

received her bachelor’s degree from Antioch and a J.D. degree from the

New York University School of Law. "I started out as an attorney to

help people accomplish important, concrete things," she says. "I

practiced for 13 years in civil and matrimonial law. I was helping

people, but they weren’t happy. I wasn’t making their lives better or

helping them to find what they were here for on the planet."

She quit law and became a freelance writer for three years. When she

learned about the profession of coaching, "it seemed to be exactly

what I’d set out to do in the first place, to make a lasting change in

people’s lives."

She received her certification from Results Coaching Systems in

Australia, and when she heard about the Rainmaker program, decided it

was a wonderful way to follow her dream.

"I found in working with people that money – or rather the lack

thereof – stops us in life from doing what we want to do. I wanted to

work with people on how to build revenue, and how to build peace of

mind."

– Karen Hodges Miller

Top Of Page
Middlesex Business Week: Training for Better Sales

According to Jim Barnoski, senior vice president of Jim Madonna

Marketing, "Anybody can be a salesperson if they have four things:

desire, commitment, humility, and accountability. But, really, that’s

life, isn’t it?" During Middlesex Business Week, Barnoski helps sales

professionals learn new skills when he presents a free seminar, "Jump

Starting Your Sales in 2005," on Thursday, March 17at 8:30 am. Small

business week begins on Monday, March 14, and includes an expo on

Wednesday, March 16, and a leadership luncheon on Thursday, March 17.

A highlight is a talk on "Women and Politics" at the Eagleton

Institute of Politics in New Brunswick on Tuesday, March 15. For

complete information, including prices for individual events, call

732-821-1700 or visit www.mcrcc.org.

"People sell every day," says Barnoski. "Our training methodology is

not just about sales and business. It’s really about life."

Located in Somerset, and affiliated with the Sandler Sales Institute,

Jim Madonna Marketing (www.jimmadonna.sandler.com) provides management

training to sales and sales management professionals in small to

mid-sized companies. He focuses on the "success triangle" of attitude,

behavior, and technique.

Barnoski lived in West Virginia, Florida, Connecticut, Houston, and

New York before returning to his native New Jersey 10 years ago. He

now lives in North Plainfield with his wife, Glorinete, who is

originally from Brazil. He has a B.S. in industrial engineering from

the University of Pittsburgh (Class of 1982). "There’s a big

difference between learning and training. Learning is you get it once,

you know it; if you don’t use it once, you forget it. Training

involves ongoing reinforcement to sharpen your skills and is a

never-ending effort," says Barnoski. "Without it, you don’t grow. A

lot of sales people believe that once you know sales, and have been

selling for one or two years, you’ve got it. That’s crazy. You have to

be able to grow and face your fears, and move out of your comfort zone

to get to a higher level."

Barnoski says that every piece of training has to include some element

of coaching because every person is dealing with his own demons. Every

salesperson has to overcome his own discomfort. "For instance," he

says, "they may have a problem talking about money, or have a high

need for approval. They might have difficulty making decisions by

themselves, or they may get emotionally involved instead of staying

objective on a sales call. So they don’t think clearly and don’t say

what they need to say, because they heed the voice in their head

saying, ‘be careful, you almost got it.’"

Sales professionals deal every single day with how to get people to

make decisions and how to get people to reveal their real problems.

They need to discover their true level of commitment to fix those

problems. "We speak to ‘how do you get the truth?’ because, it really

doesn’t matter what the product is, we’re dealing with process and

behavior and overcoming our own fears."

According to Barnoski, whose father was a meat inspector with the

USDA, while his mother worked in production with the former

pharmaceutical company American Hoechst, that’s what sales is really

about: overcoming fear and being able to ask certain personal

questions to try to break through. "Selling means you have to be a

little bit of an actor, and a little bit of a psychologist to

understand what drives and motivates people."

And it’s not just those who are selling who deal with fear, but also

the people who manage them. Barnoski says that many times sales

managers, particularly in small businesses, were superstar sales

people at one time, or technically brilliant. But they don’t

necessarily know how to hire people. They don’t know how to develop

them or make them accountable. "Superstars expect that everybody will

perform at the same level they did," he says, "and most people don’t

have that level of desire and commitment."

Barnoski says he tailors every session according to the audience. For

those on the front lines of selling, it all gets back to those three

concepts: attitude, behavior, and technique. Who are your ideal

prospects? He talks about how to size up prospects within minutes of a

first meeting, and how to qualify them. "One of the biggest mistakes

salespeople make is chasing prospects who are never going to be their

customer," he says.

Another mistake that salespeople make is using a one-size-fits-all

approach. But people buy for different reasons, and for their own

reasons, not for the salesperson’s reasons. Unfortunately, says

Barnoski, many inexperienced salespeople sell features and benefits

that are of no interest to the prospect they’re calling on. "We talk

about identifying and tracking the personal behaviors they need to be

successful on a daily basis. What behaviors need to take place for

them to get in front of enough qualified leads to make their numbers."

For instance, many salespeople may not want to make cold calls, or go

to network meetings, or ask for referrals. "Very rarely do salespeople

put together a ‘cookbook," he says. "They don’t understand how their

behavior today produces an outcome two to three months from now. They

think they’re making 20 cold calls because their boss told them to.

They resist it and find reasons not to do it. They haven’t determined

that 20 cold calls a day can result in an extra $5,000 to $10,000 in

their pocket a year."

That’s one reason why training often fails. "Most trainers give

technique, when the problem may be improper team culture, or it might

be the inability of salespeople to find new accounts because they’ve

spent their entire career working an account where they knew

everybody. They need to be taught prospecting."

Says Barnoski: "You don’t get better until you change. If you keep

doing the same thing, you can’t expect different results. That’s the

definition of crazy." While salespeople sometimes have difficulty in

coming up with a winning recipe, so do their superiors. Barnoski says

that sales managers don’t always have a clear vision of where they

want the company to go over the next three to five years. Going on up

the chain, he finds that very rarely do business owners communicate

such a vision to their people.

Another management problem Barnoski identifies is a tendency to hire

someone they’re comfortable with, as opposed to hiring someone who is

successful doing what they expect them to do.

Does the company and its managers have a team culture? Is it primarily

a bunch of people who don’t get along, or have they put together a

team that works to help each other and grow the business in line with

the vision of the company? Is there a clear blueprint for what

salespeople should be doing in the first three months.

"It’s the manager’s responsibility," says Barnoski, "to lay out

exactly what should happen over the next three to six months in order

to be successful. Too often owners hire salespeople and say, ‘Okay,

here’s the literature, now go out and sell something.’ And, they’re

lost. That’s why 50 percent of all salespeople fail."

The first three months of a salesperson’s life with a new company, he

should not be left to his own devices. "Maybe they’re coming from a

world that’s different from the one they’re entering, and they are

confused and going in the wrong direction," says Barnoski. "Typically

the manager just gets frustrated with the salesperson, when actually

they’re at fault. We talk to managers about account planning and how

you manage behavior, because behavior drives everything in sales."

Barnoski says the two most important things required in successful

selling are guts and humor. "You have to have guts to be effective

because people are constantly trying to pull you down. Even more

important, is a sense of humor. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing

it wrong."

– Fran Ianacone

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More than Numbers

He was the one who kept Alexander the Great from becoming Alexander

who? His name was Parmenion and probably you have never heard it. Yet

he was the brilliant general in charge of the conqueror’s supply

lines. After an exhausting day of slaughter and pillage, Alexander and

his men return to camp and count on tents, beds, and ample food all

being laid out for them. And, as a later military adventurer once

aptly noted, an army marches on its stomach.

Be it military or a peacetime business, probably no part of commerce

is as important as facilitating supply lines. To help anyone in charge

of keeping the good flowing, the Institute for Professional

Development offers "Effective Logistics: Third Party Management, The

Art of Negotiating Contracts and Design," on Tuesday, March 15, at 6

p.m. at Burlington County Community College’s Enterprise Center in

Mount Laurel. Cost $93. Call 609-877-4520, ext. 3020.

This seminar is led by Dan McAuliffe, inbound transport manager for

Philadelphia’s Unique Industries Inc. McAuliffe hastens to note that

while this course is aimed primarily at logistics professionals, it

can also benefit any executive seeking to hone his negotiating skills.

Michigan-bred McAuliffe is not the first person to take aim at one

career, hit another, and end up with some necessary skills on the

side. Attending Hope College in Holland, Michigan, McAuliffe took all

the pre-law regimen, thinking he would be come an attorney. But

somewhere between his B.A. in political science in l973 and the MBA

that followed soon afterward, he changed his mind, and went on to earn

a master’s degree in transportation and logistics.

Over the following decades, McAuliffe worked in logistics for a series

of corporations, first in Chicago and then in Philadelphia. Because

logistics involves a great many contracts and other agreements, his

legal training was not wasted. Today McAuliffe manages the materials

flow for Unique Industries, the nation’s largest retailer of party

favors and specialty goods. He also is an instructor at Burlington

County Community College.

McAuliffe says that "the biggest trick to this trade is that

relationships still matter – making business successful is making it

personal." Then he follows this up with the seemingly countermanding

advice: "The only way to keep two honest men honest is to write it

down." With a firm belief that both statements are true, he then lays

out the necessary points of lubrication to keep the supply chain

moving smoothly.

Who’s across the table? Shippers, carriers, warehousers, port agents:

the logistics person will be making some sort of evolving deal with

each. The tough part is that each of them is an independent third

party on whom the company is strongly dependent. Further, they have to

act in concert, and, while each wants your business, none sees much

value in coordinating with the next link in the chain.

Count on it, each of these supply links has done his homework on you.

You had best do yours on them. "The real tactic here," says McAuliffe,

"is to view your cargo through these individuals’ eyes." What can you

put on the table that will make a warehouse owner or carrier feel they

are walking away with a win-win situation? Don’t just figure out what

it is, install it into your transport process. If you learn that a

trucker, by carrying your wares to a certain location at a certain

time, would return empty, arrange a possible return-trip client so he

won’t have to deadhead.

Go beyond haggling. Most logistic negotiators come to the table armed

with the precise costs for each operation. They know the cost to the

other party. Figuring on his profit, they know the rock bottom they

dare ask and the top they can live with. But deals die when two people

entangle their egos in a bartering match between numbers alone.

"Begin first by walking through the process or service you want," says

McAuliffe, "then find out what the other party finds of value."

Hopefully your initial homework has given you some sort of preparation

for fulfilling it. The trucker’s greatest fear is returning with a

load of sailboat fuel (empty air, in trucker’s lingo). You may be able

to spare him this expensive deadheading by shifting shipping times or

routes, offering extended future contracts, or, as mentioned above,

finding a potential return-trip client, from whom you take a

commission.

Warehousers want to fill a container load and they are obsessively

concerned with the dimensions of your materials. If you can shift your

cargo design so no front loading is required, you are saving them time

and yourself money. All members of the supply chain, but most notedly

the shipping agent, are obsessive about another kind of framework:

legal. "Just a little comparison of transport laws with your routes,

type of cargo, and storage locales gives everyone a lower cost

platform on which to work," says McAuliffe.

A broad reach. "Bet on your own growth and expansion," advises

McAuliffe. "Then when you approach, say, UPS, negotiate all possible

and future services beforehand." This has two major advantages.

Negotiating long term for increasing volumes is a marvelous

cost-reduction carrot to dangle before any carrier. By offering this

value-added contract with greater volume, and locking in the promise

of a steady business relationship, you set the stage for discounts. In

addition, while you are dazzling the carrier with the promises of

future earnings, you may be catching him a bit off guard. "Now is the

time to slip through some extra agreement for yourself that would

never be made on a present-day-only deal," says McAuliffe.

It was the petite general Napoleon who noted how his army "marched on

its stomach." No one recalls the name of the officer who handled his

supply lines. Unfortunately, that is the way in both the military and

in commerce: those who labor constantly to make goods flow smoothly

only come into the limelight when things go wrong. Yet while the

logistics specialist may not get all the credit he deserves, his

knowledge and his negotiations skills have an out-size effect on the

bottom line.

– Bart Jackson

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Writing for Results

‘Your words should reflect who you are," says Roger Shapiro. In the

age of E-mail this fact is worth thinking about. "Before beginning a

writing project, you need to understand its objective," adds Shapiro,

the founder of Mitchell Rose, a communication consulting firm at 2500

Brunswick Pike.

Shapiro discusses his approach to marketing and advertising at the

next Marketing Roundtable sponsored by the Mercer County Chapter of

NJAWBO. on Tuesday, March 15, at 8:15 a.m. at the Mercadian Group,

3625 Quakerbridge Road. The meeting is free for members and $10 for

non-members. Call Stephanie Sharp at 609-392-8724 for reservations.

"Often a client will come in and ask for a brochure. When I ask them

why they need it, they don’t know," says Shapiro. A brochure, or other

piece of marketing literature, should not just share information. "It

should have a purpose," he says. "It should be designed to generate

leads or to increase sales, but sharing information just for the sake

of sharing information is a waste of money."

Shapiro writes everything from marketing and advertising copy to

three-panel brochures to press releases, executive speeches, and

websites. He majored in both journalism and public relations at Utica

College. After an internship as a journalist, he began working as a

copy writer, which led to work advertising and marketing. A position

in corporate communications at Dun & Bradstreet gave him experience

with a variety of projects, and he eventually "picked up the bug" to

open his own communications firm.

"Being self-employed is a lifestyle choice," Shapiro says. "Everything

I’ve read and experienced says it is the way to financial success. You

have the opportunity to control your own destiny and the flexibility

to be creative." Mitchell Rose, which he opened eight years ago, takes

its name from the middle names of his two daughters.

Opening Mitchell Rose has also given Shapiro additional opportunities.

He worked with Mercer County Community College to develop its

marketing communications certificate and also teaches courses in

marketing and communications writing there. He has been president and

a member of the board of directors of New Jersey CAMA (Communications

Advertising and Marketing Association), and is currently writing a

book, "Write Right: 26 Tips You Can Apply Right Now to Improve Your

Writing Dramatically." The book will be available in April through a

website, Rightwrite.com.

The book is designed to give practical help to anyone who is writing

for a business objective, says Shapiro, including advertising copy,

press releases, or marketing tools such as brochures. He plans to

market it to colleges with marketing, public relations, and

communications programs, but says it will also be helpful for small

business owners who write their own advertising and marketing copy or

"anyone else who needs to communicate with others."

His book doesn’t suggest that there is only one way to write well.

"Everyone has a different style of writing and no one can replace that

creative genius," says Shapiro. While not everyone has a talent to

easily and quickly write creative copy, there are technical aspects to

writing that can be taught.

"You can do concrete things right now to make your work stronger," he

says. These are simple things anyone can do to make sure that writing

achieves the desired results. His book is divided into one to

three-page tips that can be applied easily to a particular project.

Some of his tips:

Issue a call to action. How often have you received a brochure or

other piece of advertising in the mail and wondered why you received

it? What does the advertiser want you to do? "You must direct the

reader to take action, motivate them to do something," says Shapiro.

Make sure your copy includes statements like, "Place Your Order Now,"

"Click Here," or "Call Today."

"Know what objective you want from your reader. What words will

motivate your reader to that action?"

Make your phone number easy to find. While at first glance this may

seem obvious, Shapiro says he is amazed at the number of times it is a

challenge to find a company’s phone number on a brochure or

advertisement. Remember, if they can’t contact you, the most well

written advertisement is still a failure.

Eliminate prepositions. Words such as "at," "by," "with," "from,"

"on," and "in" make your sentences longer and keep the reader from

getting to the primary message right away, says Shapiro. "While you

can’t eliminate every preposition, evaluate them and decide if they

are really necessary."

Watch your language. Make sure your grammar is correct and that you

have used words correctly and consistently, says Shapiro. "A reader

may not consciously notice it," he says, but sloppy writing will

reflect badly on your company.

E-mails are one area of business writing where sloppiness abounds,

says Shapiro. "An E-mail can be a very powerful and persuasive

sentence or two. Your approach to writing still should not change. You

are writing because you want a response back, ‘Yes, I will meet with

you.’"

People are often too casual in writing letters or E-mails, he says.

"They don’t proofread and there are misspelled words and other

mistakes." Even if the E-mail is less formal "it should still be

grammatically correct." Shapiro recommends the AP Stylebook as a great

resource for correct grammar and usage.

Use statistics. Numbers are "a hook that a person can easily latch

onto and quickly grasp a concept,"

Write for one reader. Writing good advertising copy is "like playing

one-on-one basketball with your reader," says Shapiro. "You need to

personalize it and create an emotional link with your reader. Each

person cares most about his own needs and requirements." He suggests

using words such as "you" and "I" rather than "us" and "them" to help

make that connection.

"Even if you are writing copy for a billboard, think about making it

personal," he says. "Maybe 100,000 people will drive by and look at it

but you are writing for that one right person who will make a

connection."

"If you adopt even one tip, your writing will improve," says Shapiro.

"When you use them all each time you write, you will propel yourself

into the unique class of writers who develop communications that

generate measurable results and achieve objectives."

– Karen Hodges Miller

Top Of Page
Flowers for the Workplace

As recently as 30 years ago, it didn’t matter. Capitalistic etiquette

still allowed you to purchase a plot of land, bulldoze it flat, plunk

down your plant, and drive away without leaving a tree standing.

Factories since the dawn of the machine age could stand unadorned, and

ugly amid a sea of mud, and sales never suffered. Office buildings

needed little more adornment. But today, looks count.

This week, through Sunday, March 13, more than a quarter of a million

people are flocking to the Pennsylvania Convention Center to be

overwhelmed by the greenery and flowers at the Philadelphia Flower

Show. Cost $26. Visit www.theflowershow.com. Sponsored by the

178-year-old Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, this year’s show

takes the theme "America the Beautiful," and has set the former White

House gates as the entryway to its 33 bucolic, indoor acres.

Equally as popular as the endless aisles of resplendent orchids and

intriguingly-wrought bonsai, are the large garden and wood plots

exemplifying this year’s most original landscaping.

Strolling through these 25,000-square-foot editings of nature, one

spots the usual gaggles of eager-eyed women with reluctant husbands in

tow. But if you attend, notice also the large numbers of individuals

studying each display and scribbling madly into notebooks. These are

competing landscapers, corporate grounds keepers, and even company

owners, each looking for ideas to give his workplace a more natural

aesthetic.

Although burgeoning before, the concept of creating the business

beautiful really took root in the image-conscious l980s. Not just

offices, but also manufacturing plants, became show places. Now, in

the new millennium, when business strives to blend in as community

partners, the idea continues to flower.

One telltale of business landscaping’s prevalence and permanence is

the booming industry of hardscaping – long durable walkways,

structures, and other fixed vantage points set among the mix of trees,

garden, and sod.

"There is really no doubt that all land and hardscaping plans are

initially, and foremost, aesthetically driven," says Mark Fuss, vice

president of sales for E.P. Henry Hardscaping of Woodbury. "Even the

most bottom-line businessperson wants a beautiful workplace he can be

proud of." Since the l970s Fuss has watched the business boom and the

effect it has had on everything from sales to morale.

Fuss grew up in Warminister, in Bucks County, and attended Penn State

University, earning a marketing B.A. in l978. Since then he has made a

career of marketing an amazing array of products. He began selling

Armstrong carpets. Of that business, he says, "to be kind, let’s just

say it was very cutthroat." From there he went on to sell everything

from business catalogs to computer friendly work stations. Finally, in

l994, Fuss opted to take himself outside into the light and took over

as head of sales for E.P. Henry.

For Fuss the commercial end of hardscaping is where the current boom

lies. While 80 percent of the firm’s clientele is still residential,

that is yielding to an expanding list of commercial customers. Fuss

now has two full-time salespeople roaming the Northeast filling

commercial orders. Beyond the desire for an aesthetic workplace are

several other reasons for the growth of the commercial side of

landscaping:

Space gains. "Very seldom do you have a perfectly flat piece of land

that fits the configurations of your plant," says Fuss. "Frequently

these hills and mounds chew up real estate and prevent expansion." The

solution involves ancient technology, but the materials are very new.

A good landscape architect can now design a set of retaining walls up

to 60 feet high, thus totally reconfiguring a property.

Such terraces formerly were built with pressure treated railroad ties,

which remain lovely and delightfully natural for about 10 years, until

their inevitable (and costly) decay.

In an attempt to keep the earth tone of natural terracing, many

hardscapers, have shifted to poured decorative concrete walls. The

stone is held in place a series of perpendicular nylon or polyester

beams that finger back into the compressed earth they retain. The

great advantages are that such terracing with stone is that it buys

the business owner extra space, and that it is relatively

indestructible. It can even be transplanted. The terraces can be

planted over to beautify grounds.

Environmental service. There are no contenders; asphalt is the

cheapest paving method around – in the short run. This oil and tar

based substance goes down swiftly and lasts up to two decades if

properly maintained. It also transfers all that oil and tar into

puddles, which wash into your streams with every rain. It is an

environmental disaster and one of the prime causes for building

permits being rejected.

Patios and walkways may be more initially expensive to install, but

they meet EPA stormwater standards by letting water drain through the

cracks. For those seeking a bit more elegance, along with a suggestion

of the serenity of Asia, beds of crushed gravel, topped with flat

stepping stones provide a solution.

E.P. Henry gives permanence to this look with its concrete-cast

DevonStone squares, which simulate slate and flagstone, an option

selected by Princeton University.

Out in the parking lot, the asphalt pollution problem is being met

with various brands of eco-stones. These cast-cobble pavers, often

octagonal, are set on a thick bed of gravel and spaced by a precisely

measured layer of lugs to fill the voids. By letting stormwater drain

naturally through this paved surface, pollutants are kept out of

streams and the creation of costly detention basins are avoided.

"Basins not only chew up more real estate, but no matter how much you

aerate, also encourage water borne disease," says Fuss.

Atmosphere. Driving up the road to a well landscaped plant does more

than please the eye. It acts as an enticement to attract new employees

and retain old ones. Having a set of patios and gazebos amid gardens

spells out in subtle, but in quantifiably measurable ways the message:

"They give a little extra to make my work place nice; maybe I’ll give

a little extra for them."

Additionally, there is the community image to consider. To whom is the

local variance for expansion most likely to be granted: the factory

that lurks behind an unkempt ocean of weeds and cat briar or one whose

appearance engenders a touch of community pride? Further, with today’s

no inside smoking rules, those wishing to enjoy their coffin nails

must do so out on the grounds. This means that the first corporate

representatives to greet a visitor may well be a bunch of hacking,

seemingly time-wasting addicts, who have been mercilessly pushed

outside the corporate portals – regardless of sleet, biting wind, or

searing sun. A sylvan setting, perhaps containing a gazebo surrounded

by tulips, is more likely to draw your smokers away from the front

door, creating a better atmosphere for smoker and visitor alike.

Over the past few decades business has ceased to be a dirty word.

Companies have become part of the American fabric, providing day care

and family-friendly hours, and supporting charities and the arts. Many

companies bask in positive feedback, and want to go further. So when

you see the company owner scribbling notes at the flower show, smile

at the thought of the gravel paths and fields of daffodils that may

well be coming soon to an office or factory near you.

– Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
At the Libraries: Free Notary Services

Eight of the nine branches of the Mercer County Library system now

offer a free notary public service.

Eleven library system staff members have been certified to notarize

documents for all county residents, and service will not be limited to

the seven municipalities that belong to the library system.

At the Hightstown branch, service also will be available in Spanish.

The times notary public service will be available will vary. Residents

are encouraged to call the particular branch they would like to visit

to either make an appointment or be certain that a notary is on duty.

Branch addresses and phone numbers, all in the 609 area code, are:

Lawrence Main Branch, 2751 Brunswick Pike, 609-882-9246.

Ewing, 61 Scotch Road, 609-882-3130.

Hickory Corner, 138 Hickory Corner Road, East Windsor, 609-448-1330.

Hightstown Memorial, 114 Franklin Street, 609-448-1474.

Hopewell, 245 Pennington-Titusville Road, 609-737-2610.

Twin Rivers, 276 Abington Drive, East Windsor, 609-443-1880.

Washington, 42 Allentown-Robbinsville Road, Robbinsville,

609-259-3490.

West Windsor, 333 North Post Road, Princeton Junction, 609-799-0462.

Top Of Page
Corporate Angels

What do science and technology have in common with the performing

arts? Creativity, innovation, problem solving, teamwork and, process.

Approximately 30 Rutgers University science and engineering students

witnessed the blending of those qualities at a recent masterworks

performance at the State Theatre by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra,

led by music director, Lan Shui, and featuring world-renowned cellist,

Yo-Yo Ma.

The students were attending the first of four events in the

"Scientists Exploring the Arts" series – a unique partnership between

the State Theater and the Bridgewater-based National Starch and

Chemical Company. The series offers young scientists an opportunity to

discover four distinctive art forms and to meet personnel from the

National Starch and Chemical Company.

Each evening of "Scientists Exploring the Arts" includes a ticket to

the performance at the State Theater, a pre-performance "exploration"

with an arts educator, and a pre-performance dinner, with

opportunities to network with National Starch employees. For more

information call 732-247-7200.

The series, which began with 12 students in the fall of 2003, was

created by National Starch Chairman and CEO William H. Powell. It

occurred to Powell, a business leader who has a passion for the arts,

that a purely scientific and technical approach might not be the

successful equation for business success in today’s world. According

to Powell, there is so much technical information for students

pursuing science and engineering degrees that most curricula lack room

for arts education.

"Scientists are taught linear thinking," said Powell, an art collector

and student of music history, in a prepared statement. "We also need

to think laterally, to connect the dots in the other directions.

Adding a creative dimension to scientific thinking makes a better

scientist. It’s something we’re striving for with our employees and

something we’d like to share with students who are coming up."

Powell envisions "Scientists Exploring the Arts" expanding to other

colleges and universities in New Jersey and, perhaps, to other

companies. In addition to creating more depth in science and engineers

and in helping the arts by providing money for local performances by

world-class musicians, the program helps his company target potential

recruits.

National Starch and Chemical $25,000 to the 2005 series. Additional

State Theater performances in the series are Mexican folk song and

dance troupe Sones de Mexico, on Wednesday, March 9; Jawole Willa Jo

Zollar’s Brooklyn-based dance troupe Urban Bush Women, on Thursday,

March 31; and the New York/London-based Aquila Theater Company’s stage

adaptation of H.G. Wells’ ‘The Invisible Man,’ on Thursday, April 7.

The Old Bay restaurant in New Brunswick celebrated the 2004 holiday

season by pledging 10 percent of food and beverage tabs from parties

of eight or more to the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey. On

December 26, the devastating tsunami hit South Asia. Friends and

patrons asked owner Tony Tola if the monies raised should go to Red

Cross tsunami relief.

Tola considered it, but decided instead to make a personal donation

toward tsunami relief efforts and keep the restaurant’s fundraiser

designated for local disaster relief as was originally intended. "The

Red Cross is here for our community when we need them," said Tola in a

prepared statement. "As a business in this community, I believe it’s

important to give back whenever possible."

The American Red Cross of Central New Jersey is grateful: "We’ve

responded to an explosion and 35 fires in the past three months alone,

with costs totaling over $59,000," said Valerie Mangrum of the Red

Cross, who accepted the $2,164 donation.

Anyone wishing to help out the Red Cross can call 609-951-8550 or

visit www.njredcross.org.

Top Of Page
Participate, Please

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Mercer County is hosting a

fundraising dinner, art auction, and silent auction on Saturday, April

30, at 6:30 p.m. at ETS’s Chauncey Conference Center. Tickets are $150

and can be ordered by calling 609-434-0050.

Titled "CASA Gateway to Calypso," the evening begins with a cocktail

hour featuring a steel band and a challenge contest for all attendees.

A buffet dinner and dancing to island music follow. The dress code is

"Island Casual" and sandals and flip-flops are suggested.

ETS is the primary sponsor of this year’s event. Other corporate

sponsors include Janssen Pharmaceutical, Mathematica Public Policy

Research, Novo Nordisk, and Princeton Survey Research Association.

Barry S. Rabner, president and CEO of Princeton HealthCare System.

Throughout the evening attendees will have the opportunity to bid in a

silent auction featuring donations from local businesses and

individuals such as airline tickets, a day at the spa, and dinner for

two. The event also features an auction of art pieces created and

donated by local students from Mercer County schools. CASA has

scheduled the fundraiser and the silent and art auctions to coincide

with the National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month of April.

"CASA volunteers help the most vulnerable members of our community –

children who cannot speak up for themselves," Rabner said in a

prepared statement.

The mission of CASA of Mercer County, which was established in 2001,

is to speak in court for the best interests of children in Mercer

County who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and/or

neglect. These children are living in foster homes, group homes, or

treatment facilities. CASA works through trained community volunteers

to insure that needed services and assistance are made available while

helping to move the child into a safe and permanent home. All proceeds

from this event will go towards the support of the CASA program in

Mercer County.

Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

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

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