Corrections or additions?
These articles by Peter J. Mladineo were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 4, 1998. All rights reserved.
Glass ceiling? Who cares! Laura Pedersen wants
to talk about entrepreneurism and — yes, still — about how
fun investing should be. The last time Pedersen, the financial wunderkind,
gave a women investor’s breakfast seminar was in January, 1995. Speaking
at United Jersey Bank, Pedersen, then 29, discussed the importance
of purchasing power and she also warned women about using all-purpose
stockbrokers (U.S. 1, January 4, 1995).
But now, on the cusp of the new millennium, much of the terrain has
changed. "The number of women entrepreneurs has almost doubled,"
says Pedersen, who returns for another breakfast investment seminar
for women on Tuesday, March 10, at 5:30 p.m. at the Forrestal. Call
888-933-1330. "Women are managing businesses, running businesses,
making more investments — largely because the glass ceiling hasn’t
moved that much and a lot of people got tired of it. As we become
a service economy they’ve come up with some incredible ideas."
Pedersen became a celebrity for being the youngest woman on a stock
exchange floor, at age 20, in 1986. Since then she has been made a
partner of a Wall Street firm, written two books, "Play Money:
My Brief Brilliant Career on Wall Street" and "Street Smart"
(about entrepreneurism), been on numerous talk shows, gotten a job
as a financial columnist for the New York Times Magazine, and earned
a finance degree from NYU’s business school. She is currently working
on a novel.
Pedersen, 32, is married to a Columbia University Business School
professor, William Peterson (different spelling). Would it be
presumptuous to assume that their pillow talk didn’t occasionally
land on economics? Not in the least, Pedersen assures. "We did
spend an hour talking about the Asian flu last night."
One of Pedersen’s observations is that women are more likely to start
need-based niche businesses than blue chip empires. "Women are
not out there starting steel plants and telephone companies but are
oftentimes taking something out of their own lives, maybe a problem,
and seeing a solution and making it available to others," she
This mindframe is conducive to the investing tactics Pedersen advocates:
invest in companies that make products you think are nifty. "Sometimes
you see a great idea and say, `Boy I wish I’d started a business like
that.’ Maybe it’s something that you can invest in," says Pedersen.
"Peter Lynch says invest in what you know. I really believe in
that. Look at your daily life. If you’re in Pier 1 all the time ask
yourself if you can buy stock in this company."
Pedersen also pays attention to demographics and social issues. Citing
an increasing number of families with young children and increasing
fear of crime, she foresees a boom in the safety and security industries.
"People have a lot of fears about children, about the safety of
their homes, and people are throwing a lot of money at that because
it’s a probability game," she says. "If the choice comes down
to extra money and the contractor says, `We can install a full-security
alarm,’ people are going to jump on those options. There are a lot
of companies that specialize in those areas. Most of them are doing
Pedersen also thinks that the privatisation of education will win
out during the next five years. "This privatisation of schooling
is inevitable," she says. "The government is not supportive
of it right now, which is crazy, but it’s going to come around. There
are 50 or 60 private companies out there ready to pounce as this thing
gets bigger. You can invest in them."
And of course, Pedersen says technology stocks are a must-buy, but
with a caveat: many of the public companies that seem so promising
today won’t be here tomorrow. "When you look back 10 years, there
were the Microsofts and the Hewlett Packards, but there were also
a hundred companies that have vanished and gone bankrupt," she
says. "I really think the way to do it is through a technology
fund. I would not presume to go through 100 financials of tech stocks.
I just don’t have the necessary background."
Pedersen seems to be most impressed about the diverse cross-section
of the attendees. Recalling her 1995 appearance, she says, "In
that room we had 21-year-old women who had just gotten their first
paychecks, 30-year-old women who had just gotten divorced, had two
kids, and weren’t getting their child support, and we had 65-year-old
women who were widowed and had $2 million in the bank — people
in all different stages of their financial life."
Yes, the room will be brimming with women of all shapes and sizes,
and Pedersen makes no bones about the bachelor opportunities. "It’s
a dating Mecca," she cracks. "This is going to be dating of
the ’90s — going to women’s investment seminars."
Peter J. Mladineo
If your website is not earning its keep, pay heed to
Ronnie Fielding, president of United Multimedia, the Trenton-based
new media company that has just been acquired by Princeton Partners,
the advertising firm based at 2 Research Way.
"The longer I’m in this business the more interesting I think
it is that people think it’s a technology solution," she says.
"It’s a marketing thing. Never mind your Technology 101 classes,
think about your Marketing 101 classes." Fielding gives a class,
"Making Your Website Earn Its Keep" at Mercer County College
on Saturday, March 7, at 9 a.m. Call 609-586-9446.
At Princeton Partners Fielding is now a vice president — instead
of president — but she is nevertheless excited about her work.
One of her latest projects is Trenton Now (http://www.trentonnj.com),
a webzine for the Trenton Business Association. "It’s a real
magazine and they’re just getting their first charter advertisers."
But a website doesn’t have to be raking in profits to be earning its
keep, she explains. "You have to be able to judge your effort
based on what you were trying to accomplish. A lot of websites out
there look like brochureware. That’s not such a bad thing."
But as the ’90s rush on, the models that websites can use to achieve
success seem to be multiplying. So far, though, the top revenue-getters
are subscription-based sites, advertising-based sites, and now, sites
that use electronic commerce applications.
Fielding and many others predict that 1998 will be a big year for
electronic commerce. "More and more of my clients are looking
to do that electronic commerce application," says Fielding. "I
call that the `1998 kind of site.’ Plus people are getting more comfortable
with entering their credit card number online. And there are a lot
of different efforts going on to get people more comfortable with
She cites Verisign, the company that makes digital certificates to
assist secure E-commerce transactions and which just completed a $38
million IPO on January 30. (Critics have warned that its present valuation
is inflated and that Verisign could very well join the ranks of Netscape
and Pixar — "hot" stocks that have since fallen precipitously
Fielding adds that the more traditional Web revenue sources, like
advertising and subscription-supported sites, are gaining in popularity
because cyberspace is generally cheaper than other advertising media.
"L.L. Bean is not only generating direct revenue from the website
it’s also saving a tremendous amount of money on printing costs,"
A new way of making money that Fielding calls "partnership revenue"
has also entered the scene. This is when a website gets commissions
for advertising products sold at other websites. One example of this
is Amazon Books, which pays websites to make book recommendations
and link them to Amazon.com, where readers can go to buy the book
after they read the recommendation. The online CD sellers CD Now and
N2K are offering similar opportunities to get commissions hawking
music CDs. CD Now’s Cosmic Credit (see http://www.cdnow.com)
remunerates successful Web links with CD-buying credits; N2K’s Remote
Access Music (http://www.musicboulevard.com) offers credits
and cash for remote CD recommendations.
A lot has been said about subscription-based models, most of it about
the Interactive Wall Street Journal and its parent, Dow Jones Interactive
(U.S. 1, December 17). Fielding, a Dow Jones alumnus, touts another
subscription-based sub-paradigm, Book Match Online (http://www.bookmatchonline.com).
This $60 program encourages children to read books and take reading
assessment tests on each book that they read and get prizes preselected
by their parents. "That seems to be going really well, but they’ve
made the Web the product."
Fielding, 39, has an English degree from Rider (Class of 1981) and
started working for Dow Jones’ interactive publishing division nine
years before starting United Multimedia. It was at Dow Jones where
she learned the "bring in what you need" paradigm for her
new media development company. She applied this principle to United
Multimedia: the three-year-old company never had a programmer on staff.
"We did all of the up-front planning, the strategic marketing,
and then worked with development partners to make the applications
While the strategic alliances model has earned a lot of press in this
decade, Fielding says she still ran headlong into a lot of derisive
fear when the company started three years ago. "Everybody thought
we were crazy," says Fielding. "How could you be a multimedia
company and not have programmers on staff?"
But business models such as United Multimedia’s get the best of all
worlds. "Clients love it because they know they’re getting the
best and the brightest on their project. The developers love us because
we’re bringing in a really interesting project. I love it because
I get to work with really smart people all the time."
— Peter J. Mladineo
You’re trying to sell your commercial property when
your neighbor gets busted for opening an illegal, possibly contaminated,
dump next door. Then nobody wants to buy your property. What do you
First, Mary Henifin tried to get the New Jersey department of
environmental protection to investigate if there were any health hazards.
After the state dragged its heels, she sued. "They wanted to backburner
the situation," says Henifin, an attorney with Goldshore & Wolf,
the environmental law firm based at 501 Plainsboro Road.
"I sued the DEP because they have a rule where you have to sell
your property before you can get money under the Spill Fund, before
you can claim there’s been a loss of your property value. And we couldn’t
sell our property. We tried, but no one wanted to buy it. No one knew
the extent of environmental contamination next door."
Henifin won the case, and her client was able to sell the property
after an ensuing DEP investigation proved that there was no contamination
to the property. "We sold it because of the findings, but without
the findings we would never have been able to sell the property,"
This is a prime example of what Henifin would call a "deal from
hell," a topic that Henifin and Roberta Hyman of Galesi
Realty, and Meryl Gonchar of Greenbaum, Rowe will discuss at
a Industrial/Commercial Real Estate Women meeting on Thursday, March
12, at 5:30 p.m. at the Old Mill Inn in Basking Ridge. For more information
call 732-238-8100, extension 19.
"It’s about how to get through a brownfields deal without pulling
your hair out," says Henifin. "A deal from hell usually is
a deal that, although it looks good, meaning money is to be made for
your client, there is something that goes wrong with the transaction."
Henifin won’t disclose the name of her client — but this is customary
for brownfields work. "In deals from hell no one gives you the
names of their clients," she says. "In my deal from hell the
client wasn’t the problem but in many deals from hell it is the client.
If it’s not the client it’s the other party to the transaction."
The state recently passed the Brownfields and Contaminated Sites Reclamation
Act, making it much easier to redevelop contaminated sites. This is
causing Henefin to reach even deeper into her bag of infernal metaphors.
"The new brownfields legislation is really lighting a fire under
redevelopment," she says. "And whether you call them brownfields
or grayfields or beigefields, because most of them aren’t as contaminated
as developers think they are, the new legislation is creating a lot
of incentives through tax abatements and new liability plans so that
redevelopment can go full speed ahead."
You might wonder about the effect that a deal from hell has on an
attorney. Does it make the hair grayer? The skin ashen? The circles
around the eyes more pronounced? If it did these things to her, Henefin
would be the last to admit it. "It makes me more stubborn,"
she says. "I’m by nature a fighter so I suppose some of that fighting
spirit comes out. I don’t think it ages me, I think it’s invigorating.
Particularly when you win."
Henifin, who describes herself as a 40-something, was formerly the
environmental crimes prosecutor for State of New Jersey. She got her
law degree from Rutgers University Law School (Class in 1985) and
her undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard University (Class
of 1977). Currently, Henifin, her husband (general surgeon Howard
Hardy), and their child live in Trenton. "So I have a strong incentive
to see brownfields redevelopment work," she says.
— Peter J. Mladineo
If architects can sell bed sheets and tea kettles, then
surely lawyers can take a kiosk at the mall. It’s not quite analogous,
but Stark & Stark, the big Lenox Drive-based firm, is taking center
court space at MarketFair on Route 1 for a new free legal services
program called "Legal Stops."
These are free opportunities for laypeople to discuss legal issues
with live lawyers from Stark & Stark. These stops will happen on Thursday
and Friday, March 12 and 13, from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, March
14, from noon to 5 p.m.
The law firm is doing this in part to offset the public’s fear of
law offices, says Albert Stark, president of the 65-year-old
firm. "These `Legal Stops’ are another way that we contribute
to the community, and hopefully remove any barriers that may exist
in some minds of people who have legal concerns but may be either
intimidated by an office setting, or may simply not have had the time
to contact a lawyer."
Three of the five New Jersey venture capital firms noted
in a Price Waterhouse venture capital survey hail from the Princeton
area. Accel Partners, Domain Associates, and Edison Venture Fund were
among the "more active" firms during 1997.
Accel, based at 1 Palmer Square, reported $82 million in 35 deals.
Domain, based also at 1 Palmer Square, reported $17.3 million in 12
deals. And Edison Venture Fund, based at 997 Lenox Drive, reported
$12 million in 17 deals.
The biggest investment of the fourth quarter of 1997 was in Managed
Healthcare Associates, a Florham Park-based purchasing organization
for long-term care pharmacies. It got $30 million. And although there
were no Princeton area firms receiving any venture capital for this
period, two Princeton area firms made investments in New Jersey companies.
Nassau Capital, at 22 Chambers Street, contributed to the second largest
investment in the quarter, a $17.5 million second round infusion in
KMC Holdings, a Bedminster-based telecommunications firm. Cardinal
Health Partners, based at 221 Nassau Street, gave a $3.5 million seed
investment to Plastic Surgeons of America, a Voorhees-based physician
practice management firm. Also, Accel Partners contributed to a $5
million follow-on investment in Presidium Holdings, a Park Ridge-based
managed care organization.
For the most part, the venture capital numbers for New Jersey in 1997
are healthy: a total of 67 deals were done for a total of $454 million.
That represents a 59 percent increase from 1996’s total of $286.3
million in 61 deals. On a national chart, this increase catapulted
New Jersey up the scale from tenth place to fifth. That puts New Jersey
in flattering company, ranking behind California, Massachusetts, Texas,
and New York.
Technology companies got the biggest piece of New Jersey’s venture
capital pie, with $186.5 million in 35 deals (41 percent of the total
monies invested). Coming in second was the retail and distribution
sector, which saw $112.5 million in seven deals (25 percent). Healthcare
received $96.5 million in 12 deals (21 percent).
Expansion stage (or mid-stage) firms got the largest share of the
pie in 1997, 43 percent ($196.4 million in 26 deals) compared to 28
percent for late stage companies ($128.1 million in 11 deals), 13
percent for early stage companies ($57.4 million in eight deals),
and 11 percent ($48.5 million) for start-up firms.
An undertone in the survey is that it’s going to be hard to beat 1997.
While economists all over are predicting a possible sag in the U.S.
economy, the survey recorded that the number of deals during the fourth
quarter of last year declined, compared to the same period in 1996.
In all, 16 New Jersey-based firms received $93.3 million in funding
in fourth quarter 1997, while 18 companies received $102.3 million
in fourth quarter 1996.
Forget larding your resume with key words. In just a
few weeks, if you are a software programmer, you will be able to enter
your resume on a database engineered by Infinix Corporation (609-936-0101;
fax 609-936-0202 http://www.infinixcorp.com. This 10-year-old
firm at the Princeton Meadows Office Center has a product named MatchBoard
that connects to a database on the Internet and helps to automate
back office recruiting activities of Fortune 1000 companies.
"Large users of consulting services can use MatchBoard to manage
their pool of approved vendors, effortlessly select and compare experience
profiles of consultants available with their vendors, and select the
ones they deem suitable," says Uday Nadkarni, president.
Rather than work with electronically imaged resumes so they can screen
for key words of particular programming languages, recruiting vendors
enter a programmer’s resume into MatchBoard database, a five to ten-minute
process. The program selects candidates based on cumulative experience
in programming skills the employer specifies. Employers can schedule
interviews online and requisition periodic reports.
"This radically transforms the hiring process," says Nadkarni.
"It allows employers to zoom in very accurately on only those
candidates who are qualified and available for their projects. We
are not aware of any other product that can do this."
Infinix makes its money by collecting a small sales commission from
the vendor for each hiring deal made. The MatchBoard program is available
to all software consulting companies, headhunters, individual consultants,
and jobseekers. Infinix provides the software free, at least for now,
and it also charges the job seeker nothing. Within the next several
weeks, jobseekers will be able to enter their resumes into MatchBoard
on the Internet (http://www.matchboard.com).
The program also provides a telephone interface to provide real-time
information to job seekers and consultants to get information on the
amount of employer interest in their resumes and to update information
on their availability. It also provides options for protecting the
privacy of candidates so they can look for and qualify for jobs with
anonymity. Vendor companies, also, can be assured of the protection
of their pool of consultants.
Nadkarni founded the firm as Inference in 1987 and last year, due
to a trademark dispute, changed its name. He is working with four
or five vendors in the tristate area now and hopes to gain national
market share before releasing modules on other job areas.
— Barbara Fox
Fifteen years after being a Princeton basketball star
Kevin Mullin finds himself on the road to becoming a human resources
guru. Mullin played at Princeton University in the early 1980s under
coach Pete Carril and graduated in 1984. He was drafted by the
Boston Celtics, and for a short time shared the court with players
like Larry Bird, Robert Parrish, and Kevin McHale.
But this is not a basketball story. Mullin, who played professionally
in Europe for two years after being cut by Celtics, moved into the
business world and resurfaced in Princeton — conducting some extremely
brazen recruitment campaigns. Covance, the contract research organization
in Carnegie Center, hired him expressly to undertake an aggressive
recruitment campaign to help the newly public company please its expansion-oriented
shareholders and satisfy an agreement with the state to hire 200 new
employees within a few years.
"In our business recruiting is strategically important to the
growth of the company," says Mullin. "Since we’re a professional
services firm our people are really our products, and we need to be
aggressive about attracting new employees. My philosophy on recruiting
is very much like marketing. In this kind of labor market where there
are pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, and contract research
organizations competing for a limited pool of talent, you need to
be aggressive and innovative in how you project your company’s image
and culture in the marketplace."
The campaign has three main components. It was launched during last
Fourth of July weekend (around the time Covance was in discussions
with the state about tax incentives), when holiday bathers and sun-worshipers
up and down the Jersey shore could see a banner advertising Covance
career opportunities splitting the ocean sky. "The campaign was
very successful," says Mullin. "Not many employers placed
ads that weekend."
The second phase started just last month. This campaign calls for
an all-out media blitz to announce an unusual resumes-for-donations
partnership with a nonprofit. The nonprofit is Eagles Fly for Leukemia,
and Covance is giving it $1 for every resume it receives through this
campaign. Additionally, Covance will also donate $1,000 to the nonprofit
for each new hire.
So far, says Mullin, the effort has attracted about 200 applications,
but nobody has been hired — yet. "We’re still in that process
but just getting to the point where we’re identifying candidates who
we’re going to extend offers to," he says. "We’ll probably
hire 10 people from the ad." He predicts that the donation to
Eagles Fly will be a little over $10,000. "$10,200 to be precise,"
Mullin dubs this strategy "cause-related recruitment advertising"
and is sure that it is a first in the history of human resources.
"One thing that we’re able to do is project something to the labor
market about our culture, that we are concerned about social issues,
that we are concerned about being a good corporate citizen. The other
thing we were hoping to do was maybe trigger a trend where other employers
would take our lead."
While he is not suggesting that corporate America is reluctant to
give to charities, he’s conceding that for corporate America to become
more philanthropic, business interests will have be better served
by better "synergies" between businesses and nonprofits. "Not-for-profit
organizations are finding it more and more difficult to get companies
to write checks just out of the goodness of their own heart,"
he says. "A lot of times if a company is going to make a charitable
donation to an organization there has to be some type of quid
pro quo or some type of business advantage. Pure philanthropy is
less prevalent in today’s capital development campaigns for not-for-profit
Mullin, who majored in business and economics at Princeton, also has
a graduate degree from Villanova University in human resources management.
His business career began at Coopers & Lybrand, where he worked in
management consulting. Then he took a job as vice president for a
hospital system in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Covance,
he was head of human resources for Merck’s vaccine business.
Merck was the last employer of G. Hein Besselaar, the founder
of G.H. Besselaar Associates, the predecessor of Covance. (Besselaar
has quietly opened a small CRO in Carnegie Center and is said to be
looking for more space.) Mullin worked at Merck for six years and
left feeling bitten by an entrepreneurial bug.
He joined Covance because he "was looking for a company that would
be receptive to innovative ideas — some bordering on the fringe
of lunacy," he says. "If I were at Merck and I suggested flying
an airplane on the beach to recruit people they would have sent me
down to the nurse. It’s more of a young, Generation X-type of thing."
Covance even made a new title for him: executive director of strategic
human resources planning.
One of the few Tigers ever to be drafted into the NBA, Mullin keeps
in touch with the Princeton program and has gone to eight games this
year. "It is the best Princeton team I’ve seen," he says.
"There really are no stars on the team. They seem very unselfish."
He gives a lot of the credit to Princeton’s coach, Bill Carmody,
who was an assistant under Pete Carril during Mullin’s tenure. "Bill
Carmody is a great coach, totally different than Carril in that he’s
a players coach. People love to play for Bill Carmody." That’s
more than Mullin will say for his old coach. "It was something
of a military experience," he says, about his experience playing
for Carril. And he’s being diplomatic.
Philosophies from his professional basketball days seem to translate
very neatly into the environment at Covance, which is very oriented
towards team-building. "The key is, get the right teams together,
working together, getting the right expertise, capitalizing on people’s
strengths, and minimizing their weaknesses. The same kind of dynamics
in organizational development and team building exists in business
and sports. And also the competitive fire, in order to be successful
in a corporation you have to have the desire to compete and the desire
Mullin’s own competitive fire was teased a few weeks ago after Covance
launched its third creative recruitment campaign, a billboard alongside
Route 1 boasting career opportunities. "We predict that 90,000
cars pass our billboard every day," says Mullin.
However, because of the delay in waiting for a suitable billboard
to come free, SmithKline Beecham was able to get three up in the Philadelphia
area first. "Our goal was also to be the first company in the
Delaware Valley to be the first company to use billboards for recruitment
advertising and SmithKline Beecham beat us to the punch, which is
fine," says Mullin. "You don’t want just any billboard."
For information on the Eagles call 800-283-CURE. For details on the
Covance offer go to www.covance.com.
— Peter J. Mladineo
Here’s another charitable act from an even bigger corporation
in search of qualified workers. With a need to recruit 800 to 1,000
new telecommunications workers per year for the next five years, Bell
Atlantic announced that it will spend $2 million in training programs
at vocational/technical schools around the state, including the Mercer
County Vocational Technical School’s TEC-2000 center. Graduates from
this program will then be offered jobs at Bell Atlantic, and meetings
with Bell Atlantic recruiters is part of the curriculum.
The two-year program will be offered to 11th graders, beginning in
the fall of this year. For Vo-Tec information call 609-586-5146.
Corrections or additions?
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