Forests of the Future

A Soaring Invitation

Womyn Unite

Dress-Up Day for Start-Ups

Global Invitations

The Startup Stampede

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Bart Jackson, Michele Alperin, and Kathleen

McGinn Spring were prepared for the March 2, 2005 issue of U.S. 1

Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Survival Guide: The Strategies Behind Princeton Hospital’s


If you add up the numbers – a projected 20 percent population growth

between 2000 and 2020, limited availability of beds and parking spaces

at the University Medical Center at Princeton, the number of acres

necessary for expansion – the decision to move the hospital was

perhaps inevitable. Nonetheless, Barry Rabner, president and CEO of

Princeton HealthCare System (PHS), is especially proud of the two-year

"participatory, public planning process" behind the board’s decision.

Citing "over 60 public meetings to discuss community needs in health

care and how we can serve them," as well as feedback from area

municipal leaders and PHS medical staff, he says "we are confident

we’re doing the right thing in building a replacement,

state-of-the-art hospital."

Rabner speaks on "Princeton Healthcare System’s Approach to Strategic

Planning and Its Vision for the Future" at a meeting of the Princeton

Regional Chamber on Thursday, March 3, at 11:30 a.m. at the Doral

Forrestal. Cost: $40. Call 609-924-1776 for more information.

"Our mission has remained the same for 85 years, but the way we do

what we do has changed radically," says Rabner. PHS is serving many

more people. Although the geographic area covered by PHS has not

changed, the population has both grown dramatically and aged, and

today PHS provides care or service to more than 300,000 people in

central New Jersey each year. The hospital has 850 physicians, an

increase of 200 in the last two years.

PHS has also added a long list of new programs and services as well as

improvements to existing programs. There is the new fitness and

wellness center, located in Montgomery, new specialty programs like

dialysis, lithotripsy, which uses shock waves to pulverize kidney

stones, bariatric surgery for obesity (also called gastric bypass),

and emergency neurosurgery.

Two recently launched ambulatory programs through Princeton House

Behavioral Medicine are an adult addiction and recovery outpatient

facility and an adult dual diagnosis partial hospital program to treat

people with emotional/psychiatric problems and alcohol or drug

addiction. Also new is a recent accreditation of the Merwick Rehab

Hospital & Nursing Care facility on Bayard Lane by the Commission on

Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, making it the only

rehabilitation facility in Mercer County with that designation.

The hospital is now affiliated with UMDNJ’s Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ)

Medical School. "We have expanded our residency programs and are

looking at adding new ones," says Rabner, "and we have a host of

clinical programs here that the medical school participates in, like

neurosurgery and the sleep lab." There are also eight different

pediatric subspecialties, including rheumatology, gastrointerology,

and neurology.

The hospital is heavily involved in community education and screening

programs. "Last year alone we provided almost 700 free and low-cost

programs, with 27,000 participants, funded in large part by our

foundation," says Rabner. "Over the last three years we have invested

upwards of $3 million." Screening has been done in churches, temples,

and mosques, and has included everything from breast cancer and

prostate cancer to diabetes, bone density, and heart disease.

Rabner himself is also a relatively new addition, having joined PHS in

March, 2002. His own academic degrees display a breadth of

intellectual expertise: a bachelor’s degree in zoology and chemistry

from the University of Maryland; a master’s degree in philosophy from

the Sorbonne; and a master’s degree in public health administration

from Rutgers University. Before coming to Princeton he worked for

Jefferson Health System in Philadelphia, where he was responsible for

strategic planning and acute care hospitals.

Despite the array of services offered by PHS, says Rabner, research

and focus groups that were part of developing a strategic plan

revealed that "even though we’ve been here for 85 years, many people

in the community were unaware of the scope of services offered at the

hospital and unaware that we were a system." They knew about separate

entities like Princeton House Behavioral Health, Merwick, and

Princeton Home Care, he continues, "but they didn’t know it was all

us." Hence, the new name, "Princeton HealthCare System."

Area residents also learned that although the hospital had been

teaching residents for 35 years, "few people knew we were a teaching

hospital." To educate the community about the affiliation agreement

with RWJ Medical School and the accreditation by the American Council

of Teaching Hospitals, says Rabner, "we added the word ‘university’ to

University Medical Center."

"But the biggest issue that arose from the strategic plan was the

realization that we needed to replace buildings in the acute care

hospital," he says, emphasizing the hospital is nearing capacity, with

"days when we are virtually full." He adds that it is "difficult to

add new programs and services on this campus, because there is no

space available." Although the hospital has been able to keep up with

technological needs so far, he adds, "if we don’t move aggressively to

replace the facility, we will run into the problem of not being able

to add new services and technology."

Whereas the existing Witherspoon Campus has 510,000 square feet, says

Rabner, long-term needs will require an additional 700,000 square

feet. At a new site, the hospital will also add 1,500 parking spaces

beyond the current 1,200 – 350 employees are already being bused in

from an employee lot off site. "In order to accommodate the new

spaces, with buildings that would be at a height compatible with the

neighborhood," says Rabner, "we would have to increase our footprint

from 11.75 acres to 26 acres."

The obstacles to rebuilding on the current site, he says, would

probably delay completion for 15 years. "Given the maturity of the

community around us and its interest in being preserved," he says,

approval of necessary changes would be difficult to come by, because

they would adversely affect the community. And even if the hospital

were granted permission to expand, he continues, "it would be

difficult to acquire land." Furthermore, even if the first two

conditions were satisfied, "we would need to phase the work, because

we are living here and serving people now." He estimates it would take

10 years to build on the current site, following five years devoted to

getting approvals and purchasing additional property.

"By looking to select a new site nearby of 50 acres or more, we think

we can get the work done at a lower cost, and more quickly," says

Rabner, "giving us an optimal solution rather than one that reflects

the kinds of compromises necessary if we were to do it where we are."

Considering all these factors, the board concluded that the best way

to proceed was on a new campus two to six miles from the current site.

Moving forward, Rabner sees the qualifications of PHS’s medical staff

as its greatest strength. "They are 99 percent board certified, with

many having gone to the best medical schools and participated in the

best residency programs around the country," he says. Besides being

"extraordinarily well qualified," he says that the hospital’s

physicians have a "remarkable depth of specialization, including a

range of specialty and subspecialty services, from oncologists and

orthopedists to experts in diagnostic imaging."

During Rabner’s tenure PHS has overcome a significant financial

challenge: "Three years ago we were losing money and had been for

several years before," he says. But over the past two years, "we have

been successful in addressing it, and we are now among the top 10

percent of hospitals in the state in profitability, while our costs

are in the bottom quartile."

A weakness that PHS is still addressing is the fact that some of the

large physician groups "do not accept all of the insurance that many

people in our service area have," says Rabner. Although the hospital

does not employ the physicians, "we need to encourage them to accept

more insurance so that people in our service area can come here."

In response to a question about how PHS’s plans would be affected by

Capital Health System’s decision to build a 300-bed facility in

Lawrence Township, Rabner says he was unable to comment, because all

he knew about their plan was what he’s read in the newspaper: "We’ve

been in contact the last couple of years," he says, "and they never

mentioned they were planning to build a new hospital in our service

area." Nonetheless, whatever their plans, "our board believes that

we’re best able to serve the needs of the community we’ve

traditionally served by remaining independent, as long as we can do so

with a high level of quality and remain financially strong."

— Michele Alperin

Top Of Page
Forests of the Future

The New Jersey Forestry Association ("NJFA") holds its 30th annual

meeting, "The 21st Century Forest," at the Mercer County Community

College in West Windsor on Saturday, March 5, at 9 a.m. Speakers

include Mira Nakashima, daughter of famed craftsman George Nakashima,

who gives a presentation on the creation of architectural works of art

from natural materials.

Other speakers include Maryjude Haddock-Weiler, chief planner of the

Highlands Council; Anthony Sblendorio, principal of Back to Nature

Landscape Associations, who leads a discussion on how developm;

Barbara McConnell, NJFA legislative agent; and Richard M. Conley, a

retired tax court judge, who gives a report on activity in the

Pinelands. To register, contact NJFA at 908-832-2400.

Nakashima fully embraces her father’s philosophy that "the

woodworker’s responsibility is to the tree itself, which has been

sacrificed to live again in the woodworker’s hands." She attended

Harvard University and received a master’s degree in architecture from

Waseda University in Tokyo.

She worked for many years with her father as a colleague and designer

in his workshop. Since her father’s death in 1990, she has been the

creative director of the Nakashima studio, in New Hope, where she

continues to produce her father’s classic furniture designs and to

design and produce her own work as well.

Top Of Page
A Soaring Invitation

The public is invited to soar above Mercer County at Mercer County

Community College’s Flight Fair on Saturday, March 5, from 9 a.m. to 4

p.m. Members of the college’s aviation faculty offer small plane

rides, taking off from the college’s hangar at Trenton-Mercer Airport

in Ewing. (Take I-95 to the Scotch Road exit, then follow the signs to

Ronson Aviation. The college’s hangar is down the road to the right of

Ronson.) The rain date is Sunday, March 6. Cost is 15 cents per pound

(weights are kept secret), with a maximum of $15 per person.

Jerry Kuhl, associate professor and assistant chief pilot, says that

the event benefits the college’s flight team. Proud of the

seven-member team, he says that it regularly beats teams from

four-year colleges. There is a national championship coming up in the

spring in the Midwest, and proceeds from the fair will help send the

team to compete.

There are about 50 students in the school’s aviation school. Their

goal? "They all want to fly big iron for big money," says Kuhl. In the

meantime, many transfer to aviation programs in four-year colleges

after graduating from MCCC, says Kuhl. For more information call

609-586-4800, ext. 3439.

Top Of Page
Womyn Unite

Tiye Lasley is the founder of the New Jersey Chapter of African Asian

Latina Lesbian United (AALLU). "When I first came out," she says, "I

went to meetings in New York." There she met other Jerseyites who

wondered: "Why is there nothing in New Jersey?" Her response was to

contact the Pride Center in North Brunswick, where she received a warm

reception and a home for a Garden State chapter.

"There was another volunteer, Lenore Johnson, who was interested," she

says. "We created an organization for education and networking

opportunities for women of color, primarily for lesbians."

On Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6, the chapter hosts the annual

Eastern Regional Womyn of Colour for Equality Conference. Cost: $95,

including meals. For more information, call 732-679-7687.

Speakers include Margarita Lopez, a New York City councilwoman; author

Penny Mickelberry; and activist Imani Henry; as well as

representatives from Citicorp Financial Services and Lambda Legal.

Workshop topics include investment planning for lesbians, political

policies that affect people of color and their families, buying a

first home, and gender identity.

Lasley, an Old Bridge resident who holds a bachelor’s degree in

marketing from F.I.T. (Class of 1986), earned a master’s degree in

education from St. Peter’s College, and, after running her own event

planning company, is now on the staff of the Newark Public Schools’s

Office of Science.

Why a separate organization for lesbians of color? "There are

different issues," she says, "just like for heterosexuals."

She says that she has encountered far more prejudice as an African

American woman than she has as a lesbian. "That’s what people see,"

she says. "I don’t know any person of color who hasn’t run into it. It

happens quite frequently, even in Old Bridge."

She reels off examples of slights.

"I’m renting," she says. Her complex has a number of minority

residents. "When we came in, it was like ‘fill out an application.

Take a seat.’ A white couple came in right after us. They got a much

warmer reception."

Lasley’s organization seeks to provide the education, and the support,

to make everyday activities, including buying or leasing a home or a

car, easier for people who have the same experiences that she has –

day after day. "We seek comfort from one another," she says.

Top Of Page
Dress-Up Day for Start-Ups

Somewhere between your prototype’s final polish and its taking the

marketplace by storm, comes the time to shop for money. It is your new

company’s first real sales job. So you had better dress up and shine,

because if you cannot sell a handful of investors, how can you ever

expect to sell to customers?

On Tuesday, March 8, at 9:30 a.m. some young companies make their most

persuasive cases for funding through exhibits of their products at the

New Jersey Technology Council’s annual Venture Fair. This day-long

event at Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset features talks by

venture capital fund partners, and exhibits by 60 new companies

pitching to individual venture capitalists, institutional lenders, and

financial brokers. Cost: $225. Call 856-787-9700 or visit

In addition to the exhibits a small number of pre-selected high

potential firms are making formal presentations throughout the day.

Among them is Automated Threat Detection, launched by John Romanowich.

While an old and successful hand at enterprise startups, this marks

Romanowich’s largest pre-production funding bid. A native of Paramus,

he earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in electrical

engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology by l988.

Within two years he founded his first company, which provided an

integrated home heating and cooling control system. His next venture

was Sarnoff spinoff Pyramid Vision.

Then two years ago Romanowich invented Home Animation – a futuristic

method of linking multiple phones, cable TV, Internet, and music all

together and making each accessible from any room in the house.

His latest venture, Automated Threat Detection, provides an enhanced

coverage system for the whole burgeoning security field. Romanowich’s

core invention consists of a very sophisticated, intelligent camera

that can be programmed to look for any break in acceptable patterns.

If, for example, a property has an off-limits, fenced-in area, the

camera will calmly watch people stroll behind and in front of the

fence. But when someone steps within the parameter, the camera becomes

alarmed and transmits its alarm to a pre-chosen, manned security

center. More sensitive and selective than a motion sensor, the Threat

Detector makes an ideal guard for large outdoor areas or even small

warehouses and airports.

Since the product is expensive and the market huge, Romanowich has hit

the capital trail in search of investors. He knows the route and he is

well aware that investors have a way of bringing up questions today

that you will surely face tomorrow. Romanowich has those answers,

along with a very solid procedure for encouraging and exciting venture


Prove the product. Romanowich pats his 57-page business plan. "The

real key to attracting capital," he says, "is to convince people that

you are taking them into a fast growing market opportunity, and

providing a much needed solution." Investors are much less thrilled

with the innovative features of the product than with its salability.

A product buyers want now translates into immediate growth, swift

return, and a continued expansion over time.

Coming in at the top of a market boom always carries the haunting fear

of a sudden fizzle. Entering an emerging market usually entails a

long, risky wait for returns. The sweet spot lenders look for is the

very outset of demand. By entering the intelligent security business,

Automated Threat Detection joins an industry that has grown from $100

million to $1.5 billion within the last five years. That, Romanowich

hopes, puts it right at the beginning of a surge in demand.

Prove value. "One absolutely vital part of a business presentation is

a step-by-step proof of the value chain," says Romanowich. The

entrepreneur must convince investors that his is a game where

everybody wins. Everyone who comes in touch with this product, from

vendors to customers and end users, must benefit in some noticeable

way. If the Automated Threat Detection camera is adored by the

security companies, but appears too invasive and annoying to the

client whose land is guarded, sales will not be impressive.

Keep a clean line. Whether you are explaining your product’s value to

a panel of venture capitalists or a host of clients, a certain amount

of sales language creeps in. You frame your presentation to create the

best psychological atmosphere."This is fine," says Romanowich, "but

you must keep a clean, separate line between your promises and your

product’s fundamental value." Everyone in your company must be

realistically grounded in the actual capabilities and limits of what

you offer. Otherwise the promises expand, and you end up chasing

promises you cannot fulfill.

As a final hint, neither individuals nor institutions want to feel

enticed or seduced. They want to feel fortunate, secure, and hopeful.

Nothing creates this happy state more than a presentation of honest

expertise and innovation.

— Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
Global Invitations

Sometimes there is a lot more to it than knowing whether to bow or

shake hands. As an unprecedented number of cultures join our nation’s

business scene, learning all the national and ethnic protocols can

overwhelm even the most eager to please. Of America’s 140 million

workers, more than one out of eight are foreign born. Meanwhile, a

Northeastern University Labor Market study records that the last four

years have seen a 60 percent increase in this immigrant labor, while

the number of native-born workers has actually decreased.

For those seeking to move beyond mere accommodation, on towards a

practical, working understanding, Mercer County Community College

offers a five session course "Intercultural Communications." The first

session takes place on Tuesday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m. Cost: $127. Call


The instructor, Bena Long, founder of Pennington-based Mind Movements,

draws from a host of life experience and varied disciplines. Growing

up in Bridgewater, Long trained as an Olympic-level gymnast before

attending Douglass College, where she earned a B.A. in political

science with a Middle Eastern specialty in l991. She also holds a

master’s degree in intercultural communications.

After graduating Long went to live abroad in Israel, Morocco, and then

Egypt, before starting her human resource business. Her husband, Rob,

an executive with Berlitz, continues to add an international flavor to

their home.

"All of us are nervous when we encounter someone from an outside

tribe," says Long. She gives this perspective by placing such novel

situations on a "jitter continuum." Moving to a Third World country in

which you undertake a new job, a new life, and a new language would

probably rate a 10. Having an individual from an entirely strange

culture, e.g. Mongolia or Los Angeles, move into the cubicle next

door, perhaps rates a two. But in all cases, Long insists on her

golden rule: all stress is merely a personal reaction. No situation or

person can give you stress; only you can give yourself stress, and you

alone can take it away. Long’s process for transforming initial

nervousness to comfort, and from there to a solid interpersonal

understanding, begins within.

Learning your boxes. An old proverb notes wisely that if you push your

prejudices out the door, new ones fly right back in the window.

Desperate denial of any stereotypes is obviously futile. Long suggests

a practical review of your own set patterns. What is your personal

modus operandi when beginning a team project? What are your company’s

rules and unwritten boundaries?

Analysis of how you and your firm work not only provides some

understanding of what the newcomer is facing, but it may just reveal

how you are boxing in your thoughts. You doubtless find great

strengths in your habitual work patterns, but if you critique

honestly, you may come across a few unnecessary walls. This should not

be an esoteric exercise, warns Long. Rather study your mind and action

processes like you would in any business plan – then improve them.

Banishing chatter. When two individuals first encounter one another

there is a smorgasbord of information surrounding both. This ranges

from the place chosen, the words spoken, body movement, dress,

accents, tones, weather, and on and on.

The good executive, whom everyone credits with uncanny intuition, is

actually feasting off this smorgasbord of evidence and creating a


The key to partaking in this cultural feast, says Long, is to

eliminate what she calls "mind chatter." That is, if your mind keeps

concentrating on the fact that this person has come from Germany, that

he represents the new company with whom you are merging, and just how

like all Germans he really seems, you lock yourself out from knowing

the individual. She offers a set of physical and mental conditioning

exercises to help students quell mind chatter, and tingle with

listening awareness from a calm, focused space.

One hint: evidence is not codified. No one piece of body language

invariably translates into anything. That subtle squint may be

disapproval, or just a sensitivity to fluorescent lights.

Focusing on individuals. Ideally somewhere in this first encounter

with your new foreign partner, you will stop thinking of him as that

German vice president of sales. He will take on an evolving image of

Fritz Haller, that very aggressive guy with a really good taste in

wines and bad taste in puns.

Once you develop knowledge of this new person as an individual, the

cultural differences slip into second place and you can have fun with


No rule says you have to like this individual. An honestly loathable

soul gains little by being imported. But if you focus on the total

individual, without allowing his cultural differences to absorb all of

your attention, you may just find some strengths you can call on in an

upcoming project.

Never has America relied so fully on foreign labor to fuel its

productive fires. And never have so many Americans gone abroad in

various international business ventures. Without a doubt, we will

continue to find ourselves blending into more diverse workplaces. And

just as likely most of us will find ways to turn what was once culture

shock into our own enrichment. It shouldn’t prove too tough. After

all, we are the nation of immigrants.

— Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
The Startup Stampede

With so many talented people released from their corporate jobs over

the past two decades, business launches have become ever more frequent

events. For those thinking of jumping in, the Service Core of Retired

Executives (SCORE) presents "How to Start Your Own Business" on

Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. at Merrill Lynch in Princeton. Cost: $40.

Call 609-520-0634.

Speaker Ben Koenig is one of the 28 retired volunteers comprising

SCORE’s roster of business veterans. As an arm of the Small Business

Administration, SCORE provides a one-on-one mentoring service in which

potential entrepreneurs, as well as new business owners, receive

expert advice from a guide who has walked this path.

Koenig is a sales professional. He graduated from California State

University, Hayward, with a bachelor’s degree in l973. From there he

went straight to UPS, where he remained for 30 years. He retired in

2003 as vice president of global sales. To his students, Koenig

delivers not only a cogent startup blueprint, but also wisdom gained

from three decades of building business for a giant corporation.

The evolution of sales. Anyone launching a company today had better

realize that selling is not at all what it used to be, warns Koenig.

"The whole sales process is more relationship driven," he says. Long

gone are terms such as "pushing the product out the door" or "making a

quick sale."

When lining up initial customers, the new company must present itself

more as providing solutions than selling a commodity. Ideally, you and

your niche hold the answer that potential clients are seeking. Once

your target becomes a client, you must work to maintain a


The evaluation of an idea. How good is your business idea? One solid,

if often cruel, evaluation yardstick is to consider the source. That

is, did this idea spring from some prior knowledge, maybe from a piece

of medical billing software you developed while working as an

hospital’s accountant? Does it have a firm grounding in business

reality? Secondly, what sort of problem does your product solve?

Obviously, you want to bounce this idea off people, while at the same

time being careful to protect it. Sometimes by talking to direct

competitors, already established in the line, you can subtly learn

various cost factors, problems, and tricks of the trade, without

revealing much. Then, you can talk with their current clients and

determine ways in which the competition is not servicing them.

The real composition of the market. Back in the late-l980s a major

builder measured the new wealth gushing into the Princeton area and

decided to join the Route 1 construction boom, building a totally

upscale, top price outside shopping mall. Market research showed great

demographics – folks came to this area with a good deal of

discretionary cash.

But had the planners talked with a group already dealing with area

consumers, perhaps local landscapers, they would have found out that

this region, for all its individual wealth, was actually quite

thrifty. Whereas the homeowners in Westfield or Short Hills thought

nothing of a $100,000 landscaping bill, equally landed households in

the Princeton area blanched at $20,000. The people had the cash, but

their image did not fit top-price spending. Numbers do not tell the

whole story.

The bottom line. One of the biggest things that trips up startup

businesses is inaccurate cost requirements. Not only will your initial

funders seek meticulous plans for each penny they loan, but such

realism means literally life or death to your dream.

Koenig suggests first studying the balance sheets of similar

businesses. This invaluable research tool can indicate both hidden

expenses and the percentage of cushion you need. It will also give you

a ball park idea of revenue schedules.

Spend time and if necessary money on business research. Make a buy

list, a lease list, a staff cost list, and production cost list. Then

figure how long you will need credit before cash begins to flow back

into the company. A little fudge factor is necessary, but if you round

up to the nearest million, the angels will surely turn you away from

their doors.

To those who want to go it on their own, but who feel shaky at the

thought of walking that high wire unaccompanied, Koenig suggests a

magic solution: franchising. It requires more personal money to get

involved, but it is an easier process, and you have a business model

handed to you.

— Bart Jackson

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