‘I don’t network," says Heshie Segal. Then how did she gain the unofficial title of "Queen of Connectivity?" Segal has invented a whole new style of connecting people, a plan that she modestly proclaims "a paradigm for this century." She calls it JetNetting.
Segal explains her method of connecting people when she discusses "How to Become a JetNetting Center of Influence" at the next meeting of the Mercer County chapter of NJAWBO on Thursday, September 8, at 6 p.m. at the Harrison Conference Center at Merrill Lynch. Cost: $40. Call 609-924-7975 or send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based in Yardley, Segal is a professional speaker, trainer, consultant, and executive coach. She teaches executives and managers how to "build their business through relationships." Her seminar, titled "21 Secrets to Increase Net Worth in 21 Days or Less," produces "ridiculously successful results in a very short time," she says. Her website, www.jetnettingconnection.com, provides some hints.
What is the difference between old-fashioned networking and JetNetting? Segal uses an example from a recent workshop to explain.
"First, I asked everyone there to walk around the room and collect as many business cards as they could. I told them to, at the most, shake hands, and then move on," she says. "At the end of the exercise I asked how they felt about what they’d just done. They felt they had been rude. One person said it was a waste of good business cards."
For the second exercise, both the purpose and method were a little different. The participants were told to walk around the room and talk to each other, to shake hands, make eye contact, notice body language, and only ask for a business card if they made a connection and wanted to talk to that person again. "At the end of the exercise they felt good about what they’d done," said Segal. "They felt warm and comfortable."
Networking, she says, "is collecting data. It is building an E-mail list without permission. JetNetting is building relationships, contacts, friendships." A JetNetter is "a catalyst to help others, a way to be a center of influence" by making connections solely for the purpose of helping other people, instead of just for yourself.
That doesn’t mean there is no value in a business card, says Segal. A business card is the way you are remembered when you first make a connection, the impression you leave with people after you have left.
"Carry your business cards everywhere you go," she says, because you never know when you might meet someone new. "There are three excuses I always hear for why someone doesn’t have a business card. ‘I ran out, I forgot,’ and ‘I’m in transition.’" Even if you are "in transition," says Segal, have a business card. "Your name and a phone number on a scrap of paper just doesn’t cut it."
JetNetting is really about what to do after you’ve made that first connection. There are three main parts to the JetNetting philosophy, says Segal.
Be your word. It is important, says Segal, that people trust that you will do what you say you will, whether it is a written agreement or a verbal one. "Always get back to people. Sometimes you can’t accomplish something you’ve planned to do, but get back to the person and explain why you can’t." Knowing that you can be trusted makes all the difference in the world to people and affects they way they react to you," she adds.
Build relationships before you need them. "Building relationships in order to use someone down the road is what networking has become for many people," says Segal. It is "not authentic," and "doesn’t feel good" to either party, she says. Instead, Segal suggests that people build their relationships because they like the other person or can do something to help the other person. "Nearly all business is a result of friendships."
"I often hear the rule, ‘Wait six months before you do business with someone you’ve met,’" she says. "Why should you wait? Be upfront about it. Say, ‘I think we can do business together. Let’s set up a time to talk about it.’"
Making a contact shouldn’t just be about doing business, however, she says. Collect cards from people who you’d like to build a friendship with or from people you can help.
In fact, says Segal, the basis of JetNetting is to "do something for someone else without expecting anything in return." Often, down the road, a return will come, but doing for others is the backbone of JetNetting. Segal calls it the "Just Because Factor."
"The Just Because Factor is an intentional application of kindness, helpfulness, and goodwill," says Segal. "There is no ulterior motive, just pure goodness and integrity. As a natural byproduct, life is more fulfilling and joyous and business grows by leaps and bounds." Segal has a list of "Just Because" suggestions: Give a compliment; praise someone for a job well done; resist the temptation to gossip; volunteer at your local hospital; and look for the good in someone and tell them about it.
Build a Diverse Network. "There should be people in your network of every race and culture. If everyone you know looks like you and talks like you, there is nothing you can learn," says Segal. "People need to go out of their way to meet people who are different. If I have friends from different backgrounds, I always have someone I can turn to if I need information."
Segal’s views on business are interspersed with her philosophy for living. Her goal of a diverse network circles back around to the Just Because Factor. "The ultimate goal of the Just Because Factor," she says, "is to cultivate an environment where people of different races, religions, cultures, ages, and socio-economic backgrounds live and work in mutual harmony and acceptance."
She practices what she preaches. She is currently working on a business plan for a foster home for children of different backgrounds. "If children grow up with people of other races and cultures they will learn to have respect" for those differences, she explains.
Segal calls JetNetting "a paradigm for this century. The world is changing and people are no longer looking just for what they can get out of it," she says. Instead, they are working to "put back in." The people who don’t get this are going to be known as ‘The Other People,’" she says.
While she suggests that JetNetting will bring more business to its practitioners that is really only a part of what it is all about. JetNetting "is about being an authentically good person."
Location and Location
Location was important when Eli Mordechai and his brother Jerry Moradi built a 50,000 square foot facility for their company on five acres on Yardville-Hamilton Square Road, behind Yardville National Bank and next to Selective Insurance.
Mordechai founded the company, Medical Diagnostic Laboratories (www.mdlab.com) in Mount Laurel in 1998 with four people. In 2002 it had 100 employees; now it has 240 workers, is hiring from 10 to 15 people per month, and has expanded to Houston, Texas. He will speak on "The Pivotal Role of Biotechnology Companies in the Development of the Route 130 Corridor" at the Hamilton chapter of the Mercer Chamber on Thursday, September 8, at 11:30 a.m. Cost: $50. Call 609-393-4143.
Both brothers were born in Israel, where their father was a plumber and their mother a kindergarten teacher. Elder brother Moradi, who has Americanized his name, is a builder and developer who moved to the United States in 1981. Among his projects have been the Newman Building on Quakerbridge Road, University Office Plaza, and the residential development behind it. He is married to the daughter of the late Stanley Newman. Moradi Enterprises constructed the MDL
Mordechai, the scientist brother, emigrated at 16. He says he has been fascinated by infectious diseases since he was a child. A Rider graduate, Class of 1990, he has a PhD from Temple. Using Mordechai’s method of DNA testing, MDL can test for more than 90 illnesses, including sexually transmitted diseases and the West Nile virus.
Mordechai moved the company from Mount Laurel because the Route 130 area was closer to the turnpike, which helped the delivery of DNA testing services, and also to be nearer to his potential pharmaceutical clients (U.S. 1, November 12, 2003). Though virtually all of his employees made the move, including those who lived in Philadelphia, he now has trouble hiring from the Philadelphia area.
Another impediment is the cost of housing. "The average age of employees is 29, and they have to live in Burlington or further south," he says. "But I am patient, and 70 percent of our recruits are migrating from job to job. Many pharmaceutical employees who live along Route 130 would like to commute south rather than be on the Route 1 corridor."
Wooing the Muse: April Allridge
‘The hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators," is how Olin Miller described the profession of writing. Traditionally, established authors have helped newcomers leap the hurdles with a variety of instructive pearls. Sportswriter Red Smith suggested just sitting at a typewriter and opening a vein. Ring Lardner’s advice to young writers was to never include a return envelope large enough to hold your manuscript. "It’s just too much of a temptation for a publisher," he explained.
But for those aficionados of the pen seeking somewhat more practical advice, Middlesex County College offers its four-session "How to Survive and Thrive as a Writer" beginning on Saturday, September 10, at 9 a.m. Cost: $130. Call 732-906-2556. Veteran playwright April Allridge has designed this course with an emphasis more on methodology than on technique. Her instruction is aimed at providing new writers with a solid outline for the creative process.
Allridge’s own latent writing talent ambushed her during college, entirely redirecting her career plans. Growing up in New Brunswick, Allridge attended Rutgers University, majoring in computer science. Her keyboard skills led her to try video editing. During extra curricular hours, she got involved with theater as a stage manager. "Then somehow, before I knew it I was writing," Allridge says, "and I’ve never stopped."
"Learning to Label," her first play, was written in l995, when she was just out of college. Her screenplay "Playground" won the Houston International Theater and other awards. In 2000 the New York Film Academy ran a "Stop the Violence" screenplay contest, which Allridge won with a film of the same name. She then produced it herself and the film has been shown all over the country. While making this fictional film, Allridge kept talking to the cast members of all ages about their experiences, and this led to an accompanying documentary "The V Word."
Moving even further into the art of documentary film making, she edited "Soul Food," then wrote and produced "WAVES of World War II." Her current project, "Eye Witness Testimony," has led her to believe that this type of evidence is the main cause of wrongful incarceration.
Authors need a strategy, insists Allridge. Books, articles, and brochures do not get published by scribbling alone. Like an entrepreneur facing a new enterprise, the new author must realize all the requirements, and map a plan of action.
Writer’s block. The terror of finding adequate words to express one’s brilliant ideas begins with the first blank page and continues through to the last sentence. In a fit of anger, Mark Twain once exploded that the difference between finding the exact right word and merely settling for a good one was the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
Allridge predicts writer’s block will come at three phases of the creative process. Block number one is the opening sentence. The author has so many ideas and places to start, and everything important must be crammed into that first sentence. At this point, it may help to take a deep breath and remember your reader. Think of providing him with an enticing opening that will lure him into reading all your ideas, which you can lay out later on.
After getting that main idea written out, there is the unavoidable question: what next? That would be the second stage of writer’s block. To pull out of this slump, Allridge offers an idea cluster approach. Whether it’s a novel or short essay, take that prime theme and free associate other ideas from it. This list should then be transformed into an outline.
Time management. One budding romance novelist/English teacher used to keep her manuscript at her desk in school, and after each bell, she’d jot out a few phrases while students changed classes. Unfortunately, her manuscript read like she had done exactly that. The actual act of writing is a major emotional commitment, Allridge says. It requires quiet, solitary blocks of time of at least two hours. These long periods ensure continuity, allow for review of previous sections, and afford polishing time.
On the other hand, a writer does more than put pen to page. "Break the art of writing down into tasks, and list them and then note when you can work on them each day and week," says Allridge. To the classroom novelist, she suggests that the minutes between classes might be better used reviewing research materials, making a list of publisher contacts, or even reading a troublesome paragraph to some willing bystander.
At some point, a writer will have to research, connect with a publisher, organize, and outline the content, and have drafts reviewed by intelligent third parties. "Try to write every day," says Allridge, "But remember there are many productive five-minute tasks also."
Play to strength. If you really are not good at dialogue, why are you writing a play? An author may be "very good with words," but invariably his skills will play best within a certain context. Allridge performs a writer’s exercise in which she presents a situation, then asks for a response and analyzes how the individual perceives the scene. For the undecided writer, such descriptions may indicate a bent for humor or non-fiction, plays or novels. For those already within a field, the analysis may uncover a best sentence style and other technique abilities.
Reaching out. Publishers are elusive. Anyone who is besieged daily by scores of manuscripts coming over the transom of his already filled office is likely to be shy. Allridge realizes that any frontal assault on the gates of a publishing house is almost certainty futile. Instead she suggests joining local and national writers’ groups. Use the local group to get your work critiqued. Then search among the national associations to find links to editors and publishers.
"Every writer is an individual," says Allridge. "The times each one writes and the methods he uses to keep the ink flowing are as individual as writing style." It is interesting to hear the solutions of others, but in this toughest of trades, each author must find his own path. And often his only lantern is tenacity.
Promote Yourself, With Care: Ilise Benum
Click on www.marketing-mentor.com and owner Ilise Benun will teach you a marketing trick that you probably never considered. As the site opens, Benun’s face appears, and her warm, assured voice greets you and explains how to navigate the site. Her vocal tone is ideal for the job.
Intrigued at this novel website greeting, you listen to her carefully crafted words, "If promoting yourself is too overwhelming, don’t miss the free consultation we offer. You’ll find it on the contact page." In l9 words, Benun, whose business is located in Hoboken (201-653-0783), has identified your possible problem, offered a solution, and told you exactly where to find it. This talking page is a masterstroke of original, condensed marketing, all wrapped in a personal greeting and a "Hope to hear from you soon."
Benun discusses this, and scores of other original marketing tips, when she speaks on "Self-promotion Online and Off," on Tuesday, September 13, at 11:30 a.m. at the Doral Forrestal. Cost: $45. Call 609-799-4900 or visit www.NJCAMA.org. The talk is sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of the Communications, Advertising and Marketing Association.
Nature and nurture combined to give Benun her facility for self-promotion. Her father was a salesman and she grew up in self-proself-promotion’s capital city, Los Angeles. It did not take her long to realize that she was not cut out to be anyone’s direct report. She attended Tufts, majoring in Spanish, during which time she studied abroad and toured Europe on her own. After graduating with a B.A. in l984, Benun tried two jobs. The first in the fashion industry, which she loathed; the second in the travel field, from which she was fired.
In l988 Benun started a one-woman business as a corporate events planner. "Slowly, it became evident to me that what people really needed was a promoter, not an organizer," she says. With that realization, Marketing Mentor was launched to help professionals profit from the spotlight.
People often feel bashful about self promotion because they misconstrue it as a form of self praise. "That’s not really what it is," says Benun. "I define self promotion as making your every little act into something that helps people understand your business." With this, she warns, you must remember that each potential client is an individual, and needs to hear a message customized just for him.
Blurb’s the word. Imagine you are sitting in an airplane and the 11 year-old beside you asks, "What do you do?" Precisely, in 15 words, sculpt an answer that describes the problems you solve, for whom, and the best possible results. Make it one this youngster will appreciate. Then carve out a bagful of such 15-word blurbs, each one whittled to attract a certain type of client.
These blurbs may or may not be suitable for your printed material, but they should be customized. "Make them conversation openers, not conversation stoppers," says Benun. If you say, "I fix trucks," the inquiry is over. But replying "I explore my way into some mighty strange engines," invites further questioning.
E-mail address. In this age of overwhelming spam, the seldom considered E-mail address becomes a marketer’s arrowhead. It makes the difference as to whether the message penetrates and gets read, or is dumped along with all the mortgage and sexual enhancement ads.
The ideal E-mail address tells instantly and very clearly what the company does. "Marketing-Mentor.com" states simply, up front, that the firm deals with marketing and provides mentoring. On the other hand, one teacher who taught both singing and feng shui came up with a E-mail address of "Singfeng.com" which, while delightfully clever to close friends, made potential clients click on "delete."
Company names may help, for those corporations well established. But for the firm trying to reach new and unfamiliar clients, "Thompson’s Computer Repair" might do better to pick its specialty and take the online address of "SpywareSolutions.com"
Business cards. Probably the biggest flaw with business cards, Benun says, is not carrying an ample number with you at all times. They are not just for conventions any more. An eye catching decorator card case also adds a nice flourish to the presentation.
On the business card, you can be more clever, and a bit less clear, because you have a couple of seconds to explain yourself.
As with every piece of marketing, Benun reminds business card designers to remember their clients. Corporate entities have a reluctance to dealing with single individuals. Even if you are a one-person shop, it is better to list a company name. When listing your service or position, make sure it conforms to one readily understood by potential corporate clients. Geek Squad works for home PC owners, but large business responds better to Repair Technician.
The level of clever and cutesie depends on your client. "Crashing Boar Productions" is fine if you sell to the entertainment industry; but it would not play well with the insurance industry.
Work examples. "Whether it’s your brochure, portfolio, or website, don’t put in what you think is cool – think about what your reader needs," says Benun. The goal of a website, in the owner’s eyes, is to make money, but the site visitor is seeking a resource. Make it one by getting as many connecting links as possible. At the same time, envision how each link reflects back on your company. A massive number of haphazard resources will not enhance your creditability as much as links to the sites of a few solid print journals that discuss your product.
In the loop. "You have to spin a network that will keep your visibility high," says Benun. Create a foundation of trust within your own immediate clients and help it grow. The goal is to make yourself known and easy to find. This may take the form of a biweekly newsletter that gives 12 tips for improving your clients’ situation. By whatever means, make it an instrument that people can count on.
The Middlesex Regional Chamber of Commerce is preparing for its 13th annual Largest Networking Party. The festivities begin on Tuesday, September 13, at 5 p.m. on the rooftop of the Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick.
Luke Evola, co-chair of the committee and vice president, Wachovia Bank, said in a prepared statement: "Expect to see many first-class restaurants competing for the 3rd Annual Golden Spoon Award." There also will be many diverse beverage establishments offering a sample of various spirits as well as wine tasting.
Last year some 20 restaurants competed for the coveted "Golden Spoon Award." Restaurants offer various samples of their cuisine to a panel of judges in four different areas of competition: Best Appetizer, Best Entree, Best Dessert, and Best Overall. Last year’s winners were Casa Marinara (Best Appetizer), Bertucci’s’s Brick Oven Italian Ristorante (Best Entree), and Wegmans Food Markets – Woodbridge (Best Dessert and Best Overall), and Mad City Cafe & Grill receiving an honorable mention for taste.
Early bird tickets are still available at $25, a $10 discount from the door price. Call 732-821-1700 or visit www.mcrcc.org.
Send Business Greetings Via E-Mail
CorpNote is the latest way to send on-line greeting cards that are appropriate for all sorts of business occasions. While on-line cards have been popular for years, they’ve been aimed at the individual user, says Sarah Miller, one of the originators of CorpNote. "We got the idea of CorpNote because we were looking for online cards for our own business and we couldn’t find anything out there that we liked," she says.
Miller and her husband, Mike Miller, are the owners of Set Now Solutions, a website design and development company based in Ewing. Since their business is web-based, they wanted to send cards via E-mail rather than traditional mail. "We wanted a product like CorpNote for our own marketing efforts, but there was nothing available that was business focused and without invasive advertising that would dilute our company message," says Miller. "We wanted a marketing tool that was as cost-efficient as E-mail, but offered us a more attractive delivery than E-mail. The bonus is that our research showed that other people would want to use it too."
What is their most popular card? Miller says the majority of CorpNote clients have developed custom cards with their own logos and unique messages. The most popular categories are thank you notes, birthday cards, and on-line invitations. Up to 200 cards can be sent at one time, and there is an RSVP feature to help keep track of responses.
CorpNote is popular with not-for-profit organizations who find it a cost-effective way to send thank you notes to volunteers and to send invitations to fund raisers, Miller says. "Other industries that have shown particular interest in the product are real estate, insurance and product sales."
CorpNote has been marketed to a national audience with "an aggressive search engine optimization plan, web banner advertising, and an E-mail newsletter, which has proven successful to a national audience," says Miller.
It helps to be unique in your field. "We really don’t have any competition," says Miller. "Everything else is aimed at the individual market." They have also marketed the website locally, launching the website at a Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast and demonstrating the product at local business expos. They will be at the Mercer Chamber business expo in October to demonstrate some of the new features that will be rolled out this fall.
Miller promises a number of "surprises" for the website, but she will say new signature features, including personal photographs, are planned. "Right now the cost is $8.99 per month for an unlimited number of cards. The new structure will be $5.99 per person for groups of 10 to 49, with progressive price breaks for larger groups," says Miller.
A resource page, with tips to more effectively use E-mails in business will also be rolled out this fall. A few of the tips are:
Use the correct salutation. Address the recipient with Mr. or Ms. if you don’t have a personal relationship with the person, says Miller. Otherwise, it is fine to use a standard greeting such as "Dear" or "Hello" to emphasize your personal relationship.
Check spelling and grammar. Proof your E-mail like you would a printed letter.
Always be professional and courteous. Keep the jokes to a minimum, she says. "Remember this is a business correspondence and without your personal smile someone may not get a written joke."
Get right to the point. Give as many details as needed to personalize the card, but be brief and to the point. For example: Thank you for buying our new XYZ product. In appreciation, we are offering 10 percent off your next purchase with us.
Provide closure. End an E-mail with an informal closing, such as "best," "regards," or "sincerely."
Include full contact information. Always include ways for the recipient to reach you, such as your company name, phone number, website address, and E-mail address.
Be cool. Avoid the sales pitch, says Miller. Provide the benefits of your service or product, not just the features.
E-mails have become one of the most cost effective ways for a business to market its products or services, says Miller, but they must be done well to be effective. "If you receive a birthday card from someone you don’t know it can seem meaningless, even invasive," says Miller. However, if the card says, ‘It’s your birthday and here’s a coupon to use,’ then you think, ‘Wow, someone’s giving me something.’ It’s all about the way it is presented."
CorpNote is just part of the growing trend to "more closely relate business strategy and technology than ever before," says Miller. "As people shift from brochure-ware web sites to more data driven websites with more programming, we’ve seen an increase in website development business in the past year," she says. "CorpNote is an extension of our belief that use of the Internet should complement all of your business efforts."
E-mail will never completely replace other forms of communication, such as the phone, mail, or in-person meetings, say Miller, but by using "a combination of proper etiquette and personalization, E-mail can surpass those traditional means of communication because of its immediacy. Sometimes using E-mail is the most polite way of handling a situation. If someone needs information fast, E-mail is often the quickest way to make that happen." – Karen Hodges Miller
Katrina’s Aftermath: Offers of Help, Requests for Aid
Business owners, can you spare a few really good men or women for two weeks? The Princeton Chapter of the American Red Cross is accepting healthy, dedicated volunteers able to spend two weeks helping victims of Hurricane Katrina.
This is not a commitment to be undertaken lightly, though, says Diane Concannon, spokesperson for that organization. "Volunteers will work in a chaotic, constantly changing environment," she says. "They may have to sleep on shelter floors." In other disasters it often has been possible for volunteers to retreat to motels for a good night’s sleep, a nice long shower, and a sit-down dinner. These everyday luxuries will probably not be available in any of the areas Katrina has invaded.
Anyone who is available, robust, and willing to take on the challenge of helping out under these conditions is invited to register for training by calling 609-951-8550. Everyone will be given a day-long training course. The first class of 40 volunteers met on Saturday, September 3. "We’ll be holding classes every week," says Concannon, "and very possibly more than once a week." Classes are being held at the Princeton chapter’s offices at 707 Alexander Road, but may also be held in other locations, including Hunterdon County, if there is enough demand.
A number of long-term disaster volunteers are retired people, but Concannon says that many working people are also raising their hands to help out on this unprecedented disaster.
She offers an important caveat for anyone planning to leave work to help out: "Don’t schedule a two week vacation now." Volunteers may be asked to leave immediately, or they may not be sent for weeks, or maybe even months. The need is expected to stretch on until well into the fall – or longer.
In addition to volunteers able to spend two weeks in the field, the Princeton chapter badly needs stay-at-home volunteers to help with the phones. Offers of donations and ideas for fundraisers are lighting up the organization’s switchboard. The telephone traffic is a good thing, and Concannon encourages anyone who is able to help out with a monetary donation to call the 609-951-8550 number. Anyone able to spend time answering those phones can volunteer at that number, too.
Other news stories undoubtedly will knock Katrina off the front pages long before the hurricane’s victims are restored to anything like normal life. But the Red Cross will be there throughout. "This is a very long-term relief effort," says Concannon. "It’s only going to get more intense, I’m sure."
In a final word of advice, she suggests that checks to the Red Cross be made out to its Disaster Relief Fund, rather than earmarked specifically for aid to Katrina’s victims. Donors are free to do the latter, she stresses, but explains that money put in the general fund is ready to go.
No one wants to think too much about it, but the fact is, Concannon points out, "We are only halfway through hurricane season."
Governor Codey is also looking for good men and women to help out in the recovery effort, and specifically, is asking those with medical training to consider long-term relocation to hard-hit areas of the Southeast.
Under his direction, the Department of Health and Senior Services is surveying the availability of qualified individuals, especially physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists working in state agencies, including Rutgers University and the University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey. Also in demand for the recovery effort are environmental health specialists, industrial hygienists, laboratory technicians, vital records administrators, and communications specialists.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will offer "visiting student" status this fall semester to students attending colleges and universities in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Such status means that students will have the option of attending classes at NJIT and then transfer credits to their home institutions.
"We understand that it may be some time before the universities are back in full swing," said Robert A. Altenkirch, president of NJIT and former vice president for research at Mississippi State University, in a prepared statement. "A significant percentage of the affected student population is from the New York/New Jersey region. We’d like to help. I lived and worked in Mississippi for many years and my heart goes out to the people who are suffering as a result of the devastation this storm has delivered. The admissions office at NJIT is opening enrollment to students affected by the storm on a space-available basis."
Students wishing to enroll should contact NJIT Director of Admissions Kathryn Kelly, 973-596-3301, email@example.com. Earlier is better since the NJIT semester started on Thursday, September 1, but NJIT will continue to accept student registrations through Thursday, September 15.