Who Needs Employees?

Where’s the Ching?

Wireless Technology To Watch Your Stuff

Save Time and Money with Mediation

Literacy Courses for Small Businesses

Corrections or additions?

These articles were prepared for the February 22, 2006 issue of U.S. 1

Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Survival Guide

Top Of Page
Who Needs Employees?

Employees? Who needs them? Terri Adams has managed to avoid hiring a

single one as principal of Adams Consulting Group, based in her

Princeton home (consultadams@earthlink.net)

It’s not that Adams advises owners of small businesses to do it on

their own. What she has done herself – and preaches for others – is

the development of strategic partnerships to provide help when it’s

needed. For Adams, networking at chambers of commerce and similar

organizations doesn’t mean just looking for potential customers. She

also keeps her eyes open for people whose business strengths and

knowledge areas complement her own.

Adams talks about "Strategic Partnerships: Grow Your Business without

a Staff" at a meeting of the Middlesex-Somerset NJAWBO chapter on

Monday, February 27, at 5 p.m. at the Somerset Ramada. Cost: $35. RSVP

to events@somersetnjawbo.org or to Mary D. Podolak, programming vice

president, at 732-432-7754.

With experience ranging from restaurant management to organizational

development, Adams started a small business consulting practice in

2001. "I found that one thing I didn’t want to create initially was

employees," she says, because she didn’t want to deal with the

consequent management and tax issues. Instead, when faced with a large

contract or project, "I would reach out to partners who would go away

when the project was done."

One of her partnerships is with someone Adams met through the

Princeton Chamber who develops promotional products. A big part of her

business comes from corporations who ask her to do training for a big

product launch or a new initiative. If these companies are also

looking for a package that includes promotional products to symbolize

the new product line or vision, then Adams turns to this partner.

This way she can deliver what she calls a "more holistic proposal."

And it turns out to be cheaper for the client than an "a la carte"

approach. Because she uses this partner exclusively when she needs

promotional expertise, he also gives her a special discount that she

can pass along to the customer. In return, says Adams, "each time I

have an opportunity to refer or integrate promotional products, he

will get the business." The cycle continues when a client contacts him

with a new initiative, and he might ask, "Who is helping you to launch

this new product line?"

Based her own experience, Adams offers this advice about partnering to

other small business owners:

Go for the big contracts. Even though you are small, you don’t have to

limit yourself to small contracts. "With partnering," she says, "you

can deliver a more well-rounded product rather than try to get a

sliver of the pie." Suppose you write marketing copy and someone needs

a website. You’re good on the words, but you may need a designer who

knows how to position copy in a user-friendly way, and you may also

need an website optimizer, who will put in key words so that search

engines call up the site. Tapping these partners means that you may be

able to get a big contract that you never could have gotten on your

own.

Find partners before you lose business. Small operators can lose

contracts either because they are perceived as too small to handle a

large contract or because they don’t have available skills

complementary to their own. Adams asks, "Moving forward, are there

likely partners you could be scouting out now?"

Don’t expand your company. Expand your network of partners instead.

Remember that business is cyclical. If you hire when you are in the

middle of a crunch, those employees may have little to do when

business slows down.

Befriend big business. Many large companies cannot be bothered with

small projects, and, in part because of their high overhead, need to

charge top-of-the range fees. Still, they want to hang onto customers.

The solution can be to refer customers with small projects to trusted

owners of small businesses, who are happy to take on the small

projects, and who are able to charge less for doing so.

As an example, Adams says that a big accounting firm with high fees

may have a continuing alliance with a smaller firm that is more

affordable for certain customers.

Share the cost of doing a trade show. With charges of $1,500 to $3,000

for a booth, trade shows may be beyond the means of small businesses.

One option for two businesses that sell different things to the same

audience is to share the cost and the leads generated.

Seek out complementary partners. Ask yourself, "What other services

would round out what I do?" One potential partner for Adams was a

staffing agency, because its clientele was similar to hers. "Their

target is human resource departments who either manage temporary or

part-time employees or place full-time employees," she says.

"Sometimes in my business, the human resource area is my main partner

in establishing a new initiative like management development."

Determine whether a potential partner is the right partner. If you

meet someone at the Princeton Chamber, for example, ask yourself not

only whether you like them, but also whether you trust them. Ask who

else they know in the chamber, and then talk to those people. If you

get a good feeling, and have done due diligence, then go ahead.

Start very small and see how it goes. If the person seems substantial,

honest, and ethical, then propose something low-risk – like sharing a

single lead. If it works out on a small scale, go larger. The next

step may be to share five other contacts or to move to more

substantive sharing. Adams tried out her promotional products partner

with a growing bank, which was instituting a new management

development program. "It was a small project and went well," says

Adams, "and he gave me a good price." Slowly they have been expanding

that partnership with riskier ventures that require a larger up-front

investment.

Learn about how your partner works. Adams is now working on a project

with a new partner, whose expertise in leadership and strategic

planning complements her own in developing effective management teams

and increasing productivity. They are now creating and testing a

three-part "webinar," or online seminar, and preparing chunks of

information for "attendees" to download ahead of time. Their projected

audience is CEOs and owners of small to midsize businesses.

Adams observed how her partner worked, looking at how driven he was,

checking out his efficiency, and seeing if he was able to keep costs

under control.

Make sure each person’s tasks are defined. Set expectations about what

the goals are and what each partner expects to gain. Adams and her

webinar partner have agreed to a 50-50 partnership. Partners must also

decide how to measure what each one is doing and how to determine

whether their collaboration has been a success. Make the goals

specific. In this project, the partners’ goal is to cover costs and

get "great testimonials" to use in marketing their next webinar.

Draw up a contract. Make either a formal or an informal agreement,

depending on the level of partnering. If there are a lot of dollars at

stake, Adams advises involving legal counsel. For the bank’s

promotional products, she and her partner had a one-page agreement

specifying the discount Adams would get, and the discount he will get

if he refers her or if they land a joint project with one of his

clients.

She and her webinar partner are drilling out an agreement because they

have to invest money up front. They are also using the agreement to

identify the roles and responsibilities of each person, quantify what

each expects to gain, and lay-out what will happen to the business and

its profits if one person becomes disabled or dies. The agreement will

also include what will happen if the partnership dissolves.

"If money is at stake, people are greedy," says Adams, so agreements

must be made in advance. An agreement should also include liability

and insurance.

Adams, the youngest of five children. didn’t know what she wanted to

do with her life until she turned 30. After she received a degree in

accounting from LaSalle University, in her hometown of Philadelphia,

she went to work in the field, but every time she went out to clients,

they would ask, "Are you sure you are in the right field?" Most

accountants, she explains, were not as verbose and

relationship-oriented as she was.

Since she had always wanted to own a restaurant, she decided to

investigate that industry. In Philadelphia there were two restaurants

she especially liked. When one told her they would have an opening in

three months, she suggested that they hire her immediately and rotate

her through the business – kitchen, pastries, waitressing, back office

– and that in the end she could be a manager.

But there was a big downside to the restaurant business. "I had no

life," she says. Adams got a master’s degree in education, with a

focus on organizational development, at Temple University, and then

went after a position in the hospitality business. "I knew what it was

like to run a business and now I had the theoretical information about

how to make organizations work better," she says. Her first job, at

Scanticon, brought her to Princeton in 1988.

Then she moved to Merrill Lynch, where her first position was in

management and leadership-development training. When she had to move

to South Carolina for her husband’s job, Merrill Lynch allowed her to

telecommute. A promotion brought her back to Princeton, where she

worked in succession planning in the technical division, then moved

into sales, helping financial advisors work together in teams and

position themselves effectively with affluent clients.

In 2001 Adams took a voluntary severance package, and went out on her

own. For the first couple of years, she used her connections at

Merrill Lynch to get most of her business. Having worked with

financial advisors, though, she knew better than to have all her eggs

in one basket and made a conscious effort to broaden her base.

She loves working for herself, and says that only once in four years

did she think about going back to work for someone else. The biggest

challenge for her has been the unpredictability, but now she puts

money aside for the low times, and, team builder that she is, she has

a group at the ready who can step up to the plate when she is busy.

– Michele Alperin

Top Of Page
Where’s the Ching?

Whom do you choose to light your business’ fuse? You could go with

that exquisitely accessorized MBA ensconced in his plush office, or,

just maybe, you might go with a girl who at 14 lied about her age so

she could join the Avon team – and went on to become of its top sales

reps. That would be Lorraine Allen, who, four years after fudging her

birthday to join Avon, was running both a pharmacy and her own graphic

arts studio. Going with spunk and a proven track record, rather than

with formal credentials, the Mercer/Middlesex SBDC chose Allen as its

director four years ago.

Allen speaks on "Uncovering Hidden Markets" on Tuesday, February 28,

at 9 a.m. at the Trenton Business and Technology Center in Trenton.

Cost: $25. Call 609-989-5232. Allen’s talk is designed for both

starting up entrepreneurs and for owners of established firms.

Allen tries to tick off all the businesses she started or helped

expand over the years, but she runs out of fingers. She grew up in

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Her father was an invalid, a situation that

propelled her into business at an early age. Some time after selling

Avon, and during her years running her graphic arts studio, she

studied at Moore College of Art and Design and earned a bachelor’s in

art from the University of Millerville. She began a house cleaning

business and did freelance artwork to fund her own art studio at

Ridley Park. "We did so much beyond selling graphics," Allen recalls.

"We started an art school for kids. I had first graders learning to

retouch photos. This drew in the parents and brought in new business."

This studio led Allen into doing advertising work for Philadelphia

gift companies and teaching art at the college level. She then became

director of an art gallery in Ardmore. Yet unlike most artists, Allen

was happy to funnel her creativity into business. Terming herself

"creative manager," she teamed up with a regional chain of wall

covering stores. Through them, she met a Philadelphia plumbing

contractor who invited her to take over his inside and outside

marketing. Providing this firm vision and new clients beyond

Philadelphia, the contractor expanded to a national network of

offices, with substantial international dealings. And then Allen, as

always, moved on.

Crossing the river into Trenton, she joined Southern Tours, for whom

she would squire foreign CEO’s on elegant executive sorties. "They may

have been terrors in the board room," she says, "but on these tours,

they were just like playful, wide-eyed little kids." Allen’s husband,

a tour bus driver, in an effort to keep his wife closer to home,

suggested she employ her business acumen to help enhance Wellsy’s Deli

on Montgomery Street in Trenton. The business did so well that the

Small Business Development Center took notice and, after comparing her

with 52 candidates, offered her the opportunity to consult at their

shop, which she has done for the past 11 years.

"I don’t even want to see the business plan when entrepreneurs first

come in seeking advice," says Allen. "I want them to solidly show me

their markets. Who is going to put that ching in your cash register?

You will need that actual revenue before anything else." The trick is

to get beyond the traditional niches and ferret out those creative,

less obvious market sources – like Allen’s children’s art school

operated within her design studio.

Tapping in. For the entrepreneur, the gap between identifying a market

and actually tapping into a specific customer base is the difference

between cratering and thriving. If you are starting up a lawn care

service, the standard selective mailings, E-mailings, and local ads,

while necessary, only bring your product to a very generalized area.

Allen proposes that you place yourself in the buyer’s shoes and walk

to the places he visits. Get referrals from seed suppliers, arborists,

local nurseries. Such linking broadens the services both of your firm

and of the firms with whom you link.

The concept of targeting neighbors for a selective niche works not

only in small retail, but in also in large business-to-business

enterprises. How well do you really know the businesses and client

lists of those in your office park? While you may not sell to the

office next door, who knows what their vendors, suppliers, or in-laws

may require.

On the road. Charity has become big in business because it makes

businesses bigger. Host a bicycle rally for heart disease and

instantly thousands know what you do and what you sell. Your event

need not be complex or involve large amounts of staff time. "Ben and

Jerry’s every year goes through the streets of New York giving away

free ice cream," says Allen. "Not every company can feed all of

Manhattan, but the small retailer can do school events – free ice

cream after a high school dance. It automatically sets your name on

top."

Look at the event before the price. If you can’t swing the expense of

the 10K run that would really be ideal, partner up with other

companies.

Personal interest. "Always lean toward your loves," says Allen. The

financial planner who specializes in small businesses may have a

niche, but he lacks customer renown. Yet suppose this planner is also

an outdoorsman. He loves to hike, kayak, fish, and of course he knows

all the latest outdoor gear. His potential client list rolls out

naturally – sports stores, outfitters, boat shops, outdoor gear sales

reps.

Because of his special expertise in their field, folks trust this

financial planner’s expertise in his own. They are likely to pass his

name onto outing club members or other like companies. Also, beyond

investment advice, the planner might be invited, on a limited scale,

to provide campaign and strategy suggestions.

Too many markets? With all the pundits screaming for focused niche

marketing, the entrepreneur seeking to branch out into new territories

can feel a bit shaky. Is he bucking conventional wisdom, or just

traditional fear? When does reaching for more stretch one too thin?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this age old problem. Allen

notes that "every company alive changes. Keep a careful list of what

you offer and keep checking it against what the current needs are."

Allen emphasizes that it is important to keep your nose to the wind.

Monitor the economy and general business environment and see if a

fiscal pinch is looming over the horizon. Finally, build, don’t leap.

Create one market, lay a foundation, and continue in it as long as

profit lasts. Then, once the first is established, move into another.

"America is the most demanding business climate," says Allen, "because

it has so many resources and so much speed. Entrepreneurs work harder

for less pay than any group I know. But each one is a diamond waiting

to be polished. Anyone could be the next Bill Gates."

– Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
Wireless Technology To Watch Your Stuff

Have a problem with losing things? A pair of gloves is one thing, not

too expensive and relatively easy to replace. But what about that

"free" cell phone, which costs a couple hundred dollars to replace? Or

your teenager’s new $250 MP3 player? And then there’s the most

valuable of valuables-curious toddlers off exploring a new

environment, who suddenly drop out of sight.

Remote Play, headquartered in Lawrenceville, can help habitual cell

phone and MP3 misplacers as well as the desperate parents of wandering

toddlers with products it has developed using custom wireless tracking

technologies. Its two principal products are a toddler tracking

device, In-Reach, and a newer tracking device for lost valuables, Tag

Alert.

Ari Naim, president and CEO of Remote Play, makes a product

presentation at the New Jersey Technology Council’s half-day "Wireless

Evolution: Applications, Services and Content Expo," on Tuesday,

February 28, at 1 p.m. at Stevens Institute of Technology’s Babbio

Center in Hoboken. Sponsors are Drinker Biddle,

PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Wachovia Bank. Topics include mobile

multimedia and marketing, place shifting, social networks,

location-based services (for example, cell phones with global

positioning systems, and streaming ads from local restaurants), mobile

video streaming, and other technology and network developments. Cost:

$50, but $5 for students. Register online at www.njtc.org. For more

information, call 856-787-9700.

The technology that Naim’s three-year-old company uses is called

active RFID (radio frequency identification). This technology is

expected to gain wide acceptance, says Naim, the price for an RFID tag

comes down from the current 60 to 70 cents. For example, Wal-Mart

eventually will require all of its vendors to use RFID tags on all

items, both for security tracking and inventory control. Active RFID

uses a tiny battery in the tag to increase the range between the tag

and the monitor that tracks it. Passive RFID devices, on the other

hand, have no batteries, require an expensive reader, and have a range

of about a foot.

With Remote Play’s In-Reach Child Tracking System, marketed by Safety

1st, the parent has a monitor and the child a tag. There is a

dependable range of 300 feet between parent and child. The parents’

device has an LCD and can be set for six different distance levels. If

the toddler wanders past one of the set distances, the parent is

instantly alerted. The parent can also press a button that makes the

child’s device emit a high-pitched alarm, which will draw attention to

child. Older toddlers can push a panic key if they get lost. The cost

is $119.

The company’s personal assets security device, called Tag Alert,

protects valuables through the use of very tiny tags. Naim estimates

their 2-1/2 millimeter thickness as two-thirds the height of two

quarters stacked. The battery runs continuously for 6 months, so "you

don’t have to think to turn it off and on. It’s a little bodyguard."

How many people have put down their phone, laptop, or even their

Ray-Ban sunglasses, at a restaurant, and simply walked away? Or

they’re jogging and the phone flips out of their pockets. Three hours

and 20 errands later, they realize they’ve lost something and have to

retrace their steps. With Tag Alert, once the item exceeds the range

you’ve set, the monitor – used as a key fob or clipped to clothing –

sends an alert. "If you are 10 to 15 feet away, and it starts

buzzing," says Naim, "your ability to retrieve it is high." Of course,

Tag Alert will not prevent a 6′ 4" burglar from grabbing a laptop and

running.

Naim envisions many types of users for tag alert: jet setters who run

from one plane to the next and leave their luggage in the overhead

bin; elderly people who are becoming more forgetful; and nine-year-old

kids who may have $500 worth of stuff in their GameBoy pouches.

Naim believes that Tag Alert’s value goes beyond avoiding loss. A

special car version of the product, he says, removes the "hassle

factor" of driving to work, say, and forgetting something essential

like your cell phone. The Tag Alert is available in Sharper Image

stores with two tags and a monitor for $49 and with one tag and

monitor, $39, and Naim foresees a lower price by the end of the year.

Future versions of the Tag Alert should be able to track 5 to 10

different items – keys, purse, laptop, MP3 player, cell phone. Remote

Play is also evaluating using RFID networks to track patients in a

hospital.

Although Remote Play’s products are custom, the field has been

developing two formalized standards. Standards are developed by

committees and create compatibility between products made by different

companies. For example, if you have a phone from Motorola and a

headset from Phillips, you need a standard so that the two can

communicate. The first wireless standard, Blue Tooth, is used by

people who are walking around with headsets that communicate with

their cell phones. Another standard – not as mature as Blue Tooth – is

Zigbee. Pioneered by people interested in home automation, Zigbee is

still expensive and developing.

Remote Play uses nonstandard, custom wireless. "The advantage of

custom," says Naim, "is that we don’t have to satisfy a list of

requirements. If we used Zigbee, it would be more expensive, the

battery life worse, and it would not be commercially viable."

Nonstandard products, however, are a possibility only when you control

both sides of the communication.

Remote Play is Naim’s third company. The first, which he started in

1987, did R & D and government contracts. The next one, Digital 5, was

founded in 1993 to commercialize portable digital audio. Naim says

that Digital 5 was the first to create, design, and manufacture this

technology, and the company sold it both under its own brand and for

other companies like RCA, Phillips, and Dictaphone. It was also the

first to create digital audio downloads from the Internet, which

evolved into the MP3 player. Naim says he was shocked when the iPod

appeared in stores -he considered the technology too fragile for the

consumer market. "You drop it once and it’s finished," he says.

Naim’s father was an Israeli foreign service officer, and he grew up

all over the world. He was born in Nairobi, Kenya; his sister in

Tokyo, Japan; and only his brother in Israel (his family returned to

Israel so that at least one child would be a native). His mother was

originally a Bostonian. After finishing his army service in 1985, Amir

came to Drexel University in Philadelphia, where he got a bachelor’s

degree in chemical and electrical engineering, a master’s in

electrical engineering, and, in 1992, a Ph.D. in electrical and

computer engineering.

Remote Play has three other cofounders: Israel Amir, chief technology

officer; Ari Naim’s brother, Gideon Naim, chief financial officer; and

Karups Annamalai, vice president of engineering. The company has 10

employees in Lawrenceville, 10 in India, and a few in Hong Kong. It

uses outside contractors for manufacturing.

Naim appears to have found a deep niche in the evolving world of

wireless. The chances of losing things is pretty good. According to an

ABC News report, 18,000 items are turned into the lost-and-found

department at Grand Central Station each year. MSNBC, in January,

2005, reported that, "an estimated 11,300 laptops computers, 31,400

handheld computers, and 200,000 mobile phones were left in taxis

during the last six months."

What would their owners give to have the data-filled $3,000 laptops or

the cell phones, with their programmed numbers, back? Naim’s company

is banking on the answer coming in at just about $39, the price of one

of his wireless tags.

– Michele Alperin

Top Of Page
Save Time and Money with Mediation

The myths shrouding mediation are manifold. Two parties square off in

a room bristling with anger, loathing each other, sick of the argument

that sparked their feud. Then the mediator steps in. Armed with

nothing but a few precious pearls of wisdom, he transforms the room.

Joyously the contending parties shake hands and, without the egregious

costs of court and attorneys, they quickly reach a settlement. Let’s

get real.

No mystical gift or soothing personage hammers out agreements.

Mediating successfully between two contending parties takes skill,

psychology, a cool head, and a whole bundle of techniques garnered

over the years. To help those considering a mediation career, and

those already in it, the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal

Education offers a "Mediation Workshop" on Tuesday, February 28, at 5

p.m. at the Clarion Hotel in Edison. Cost: $189. Visit www.NJICLE.com

to register.

Covering many of the more advanced mediation techniques, this course

features the Honorable William Dreier, former presiding judge of the

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division; Robert Margulies,

past chairman of the New Jersey Small Business Administration Dispute

Resolution System; and attorney Russell M. Woods of Cranford-based law

firm Woods & Trembulak.

While the art of mediation involves no magic, some seem to have the

magic touch. Since l998, when Judge Dreier stepped down from a quarter

century on the bench, he has maintained an astounding 97 percent

successful settlement rate as a mediator. Part of this success may be

due to a long family immersion in New Jersey business, part can be

credited to a lifetime of legal experience. But probably the greatest

factor is Dreier’s personal dedication to public service.

In l861 Dreier’s Sporting Goods opened its doors in Plainfield, and

stood as a town fixture all through Dreier’s youth, while his father,

and then his uncle, managed it. After earning a B.S. from M.I.T. in

business and engineering administration in l958, Dreier took his law

degree at Columbia and returned to his hometown to practice. Joining

the small firm of McKensey, Welsh and Dreier, he became a local

banking lawyer and city attorney. He served on the Plainfield town

council while he was still in his 20s. "That was the early sixties –

the time of the Plainfield riots," Dreier recalls. "It took every

ounce of skill and tact to put out the fires that kept cropping up."

By age 35, Dreier became the youngest judge in the New Jersey. "Even

then the job meant a 50 percent cut in income," he says. After a full

career of 25 years on the bench, Dreier "retired" to a full-time

position with Norris, McLaughlin and Marcus in Bridgewater. In

addition to helping private clients, he acts as both an arbitrator and

mediator.

Time and money have sent Americans scurrying to arbitrators and

mediators in exploding numbers. In l995 the American Arbitration

Association recorded 62,000 cases that had been either mediated or

arbitrated. In 2005 the number was up to 140,000 cases. (Only 15,000

of these were labor-management quarrels.) Reasons for the increase

could include ballooning legal fees and the extensive delays that

occur as a case winds its way through the courts.

"The courts are welcoming the relief mediation means for their

calendars," says Dreier. On January l9 the New Jersey passed the

Uniform Mediation Act. In addition to clarifying several mediation

standards, this law protects against disclosures of any aspect of an

alternative dispute resolution. Mediators are prohibited from

testifying about their cases. Margulies says that "I think this

demonstrates how much the courts understand that mediation is a

different process."

Yet despite the new protections, Dreier finds the mediator’s lot is a

very challenging one.

Feeling powerless. "The most difficult thing for a mediator to learn,"

says Dreier, "is that he is not judging anything – in fact, he does

not make any decisions for anyone." Instead, the mediator simply

facilitates. When two parties are arguing over a fair price, he does

not set the figure. He takes the much more difficult road of nudging

each and letting them choose an agreeable price.

"For judges and attorneys, this facilitator role is often a real

shock," says Dreier. "When you’ve spent years of taking charge and

handing down solutions, it is difficult to take this more hands-off

stance."

Proffering catharsis. Right from the outset, Dreier’s technique is to

have each party vent its whole story, back from the beginning. "These

people have been stewing about this issue, and living with it day and

night," he says. "What they most need when they walk in that door is

to get it all off their chest." He encourages the parties to tell

their tale in the style of a full explanation of events, not an

opening argument.

For the contenders, this telling usually affords some emotional

relief. For the mediator it provides the first clues to his next step.

Figuring out the heart of the problem. Once the air is cleared, and

the initial bones of contention are laid bare, Dreier tries to distill

the prime interest of each party. He seeks to infer exactly what it is

that they most want out of this settlement. It is surprising how

frequently employees want only an apology and a good letter of

reference. Too often employers, seeing only a threat to their bottom

line, ignore this basic, human solution.

In contract disputes, Dreier often discovers that amidst all the

quibbling over numbers, all one party wants is to get out of the

situation with his credit intact ASAP. "When you can finally infer and

establish that prime principle of each party, it puts you well on the

road towards settlement," says Dreier.

Walking an ethical tightrope. While now an official statute under the

Uniform Mediations Act, the concept of never disclosing any aspect of

a case has long been common law and a binding code among all

mediators. Even in matters concerning settlements reached years ago,

mediators will never reveal names, the contents of documents, or

spoken testimony.

More difficult than this code of silence is the rule of no present or

future fraternization with clients. More than one misguided attorney

has tried to use the mediation process as a job interview with one

party – or even both. This is regarded in the trade as a particularly

bad way to fish.

As the numbers of people seeking some alternative dispute resolution

climbs, so does the need for qualified mediators. In addition to those

in the legal system, many mediators are drawn from the ranks of

accountants, psychologists, and business people who are highly

qualified in a specific field. Dreier suggests it as a nice

semi-retirement career. Descriptions and qualifications can be

obtained by contacting the Professional Mediation Association at

www.promediaton.com.

– Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
Literacy Courses for Small Businesses

Beginning on Wednesday, March 1, both Mercer County Community College

and Middlesex County College will offer literacy courses for workers

employed in small businesses thanks to a partnership with the New

Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The courses are designed to help train employees of small and

medium-sized transportation and distribution, health care,

hospitality, and food service companies in Middlesex County. They

include mathematics, English as a second language, computer skills,

work readiness, literacy, and communication skills.

The courses may prepare workers for enrollment in technical skill

programs available.

In the Middlesex program, participants must be workers employed 30

hours or more per week by a business in Middlesex County. For more

information call 732-548-6000.

The MCCC program operates in partnership with the New Jersey

Department of Labor and Workforce Development. It targets employees of

small- and medium-sized Mercer County companies in fields such as

transportation and distribution, health care, hospitality,

landscaping, custodial and building services, food service, and

maintenance and repair.

MCCC will offer classes at both its campuses. At the James Kerney

campus in downtown Trenton, the offerings will be basic skills math,

English as a second language (ESL) I and II, and work readiness.

Classes offered at the West Windsor campus will include ESL I, basic

communications, and a PC Skills series (Windows, Word Processing,

Internet and E-mail). Classes at both campuses will be offered in the

early morning or evening, and additional times may be arranged

depending on need.

"These courses will provide critical skills necessary to improve

workers’ on-the-job performance and open up opportunities for them to

advance on the job," said MCCC’s acting president Thomas N. Wilfrid in

a prepared statement. "In addition, the courses will help participants

gain the literacy skills they need to enroll in any of the technical

skills programs available at New Jersey’s 19 community colleges."

Participants must be employed 30 hours or more per week by a business

in Mercer County. Contact Lynn Coopersmith at 609-586-4800 ext. 3241,

or E-mail coopersl@mccc.edu.

Corrections or additions?


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