Finance Guru-ette

Making the Web Pay

Real Estate from Hell

Legal Mall Rats

Venture Report

Resume Revolution

New HR Strategies

Bell’s Approach

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Peter J. Mladineo were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 4, 1998. All rights reserved.

Survival Guide

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Finance Guru-ette

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

says.

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

pretty well."

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

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Making the Web Pay

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

it."

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

in value.)

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,"

says Fielding.

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

come alive."

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

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Real Estate from Hell

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

do?

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,"

she says.

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

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Legal Mall Rats

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."

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Venture Report

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.

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Resume Revolution

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

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New HR Strategies

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,"

he adds.

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

organizations."

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

to win."

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

Top Of Page
Bell’s Approach

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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