Corrections or additions?
These articles by David McDonough and Barbara Fox were prepared
for the October 4, 2000 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
What is the first thing that the public thinks of when
it hears your company name? What image comes to mind? Something
you hope. Rick Brenner, general manager of the Trenton Thunder,
wants the words "affordable family entertainment" on
lips when they think about going to Waterfront Park.
A part of the Thunder staff since its inception in 1994, Brenner will
speak to the New Jersey Communications, Advertising & Marketing
(CAMA) on Tuesday, October 10, at 11:30 a.m. at the Doral Forrestal.
His subject: "The Value of Branding: How Trenton Markets
Cost: $35. Call 609-799-4900.
"We’ve tried hard to make Waterfront Park a fun, exciting place
that’s affordable and appropriate for all members of the family,"
says Brenner. "That’s important with any company: you try to shape
it into what you want it to be, and make that your image. In our case,
we haven’t raised ticket prices in four or five years, and our parking
is still $1, as it has been from the beginning."
Brenner acknowledges that in some ways, it is easier to create brand
expectations from scratch than to change the public’s already existing
"We were a brand new team seven years ago," he points out,
"and that’s not as hard as coming in and taking something over
and changing a brand or image. When somebody’s perception is already
set, and people are already used to not going, or have been turned
off by a franchise that hasn’t done the customer service thing, that’s
hard to overcome. It’s hard to combat a bad taste as opposed to no
opinion at all."
Brenner offers these tips to businesses looking to establish and
positive brand recognition:
to pinpoint the match between what your brand is going to be and what
you can deliver.
you try to incorporate new things and keep things fresh.
that every situation begs for a different reaction.
looking for trouble.
that every song is somebody’s favorite. Brenner, a 31-year-old
native, takes a lot of his experience from the music business. After
his graduation from the Hun School, he spent some time in school in
New Hampshire, and started his own music production company. "A
local band up there asked me to manage them. I had them booked all
over New England, and the business mushroomed. I ended up managing
several bands, and doing audio and visual sound work. I did that for
six years, but went back to school (Plymouth College) and got a degree
in physical education."
"I wanted to do something with managing entertainment: on stage,
court or rink. I just knew I wanted to be in that kind of role. I
graduated in December, 1993, and my parents told me about Thunder.
I was hired as an intern. I worked for a few months with no pay, and
then with first game, I got all of $500 a month. That fall, another
intern, Geoff Brown (now the general manager of the new Lakewood
Blue Claws baseball franchise) and I got fulltime positions."
Brenner rose rapidly through the ranks, as director of community
director of public relations, director of production and event
director of operations, and assistant general manager. Last March,
when Thunder GM Wayne Hodes left to take a job with the National
Football League’s New Orleans Saints, Brenner was the logical
for the GM job. Now that the season’s over, he’s looking forward to
attending his first Eastern League general managers meeting in early
November. He’s been there before, but never as head honcho.
"This is how you stay on top of things," says Brenner. "In
this industry, everybody shares and talks. In the off season, you
try to catch things — sporting events, concerts. You are always
looking at every facility for tips, even if it’s just the way they
put the paper towels in the bathroom. At the Eastern League meeting,
each team presents a topic: what worked well for them, what didn’t.
Everybody shares. Plus it’s also fun and you can swap horror
Brenner says he and his staff are already hard at work on making the
Thunder live up to its positive brand image. "I’ve been working
with the owners and Eric Lipsman (director of marketing and
merchandising) and Brad Taylor (assistant general manager) since
June on what we are going to do next year. There should always be
Brenner sums up his philosophy thus: "The most important people
in our building are our fans. If you keep it fun and entertaining
and affordable, they’re gonna come. If they continue to come, we all
have jobs. If they don’t, get the resume out."
— David McDonough
Raritan Valley Community College is still accepting
registration forms for Fall II semester credit courses, which run
from October 5 through December 22. In-person registration is during
business hours on weekdays on the first level of the College Center.
Over 35 courses are being offered this semester, including Computer
Literacy, Introduction to Psychology, English I, and two web-based
courses, Internet and C-Language.
Both day and evening classes are offered and are held at RVCC campus,
the Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School, and Bound Brook High School.
For information, call 908-218-8864.
Until now, Princeton University has not tapped the
learning market. If you look in "Peterson’s Guide to Distance
Learning Programs," just published by the firm at Princeton Pike
Corporate Center, you will find that the university is nowhere to
Now it has taken a big step forward to "go the distance"
It will team with Oxford, Stanford, and Yale to launch a non-profit
organization, University Alliance for Life-Long Learning, to offer
noncredit courses to alumni — at first — and the wider public,
in the future.
Herbert M. Allison Jr., former president of Merrill Lynch, will
be president and CEO. Jeremiah Ostriker, Princeton’s provost,
is on the board of directors, as is Heidi G. Miller, CFO of
Priceline.com, Srinija Srinivasan, vice president and editor
in chief of Yahoo! Inc., and other academic dignitaries.
"Our two primary objectives are to provide the best learning
that we can to our students and alumni and to enable faculty members
to explore new methods which may enhance the teaching and research
they are able to carry out," says Harold T. Shapiro, Princeton
University’s president. Possible methods are multi-media programs,
topical websites with links to research information, live and taped
coverage of campus speakers and events, and lectures on tape.
Oxford and Yale are as new to the distance learning game as Princeton
is, but Stanford is one of the world’s leading providers of televised
for-credit courses, at least in the technical area. Last year the
Stanford Center for Professional Development had 255 distance learning
courses with 1,500 students enrolled, according to the advertisement
and listing in the Peterson’s book. Under certain restrictions, it
offers six engineering or engineer/business master’s degrees and a
plethora of subjects outside degree programs, and it also has a number
of noncredit courses(www.scpd.stanford.edu). The cost ranges from
$524 per unit for an audit to $995 per unit for graduate courses.
About the book: "Peterson’s Guide to Distance Learning 2001,"
at 924 pages and $26.95, could set any would-be student’s imagination
on fire, with its mindboggling array of courses in every possible
field — and no geographical limitations. It has almost 3,000
and certificate programs at more than 1,000 institutions.
Every school known to offer a distance learning program gets basic
information printed in this directory, and more than 350 institutions
pay to have an additional two-page spread with more details. Among
the advertisers are New Jersey Institute of Technology ($206 per
for state residents, www.njit.edu/DL), Rutgers Online ($800 per course
for state residents, www.rutgers.edu), Thomas Edison State College
(a distance education pioneer, www.tesc.edu) and the New Jersey
Community College Consortium, (U.S. 1, August 9), a partnership of
19 community colleges including Mercer and Middlesex ($80 per credit
for everyone, www.njvccc.ccnj.us).
Always had a yen to be a professional coach? The United States Sports
Academy in Daphne, Alabama (www.sport.ussa.edu) offers certification
in sport coaching for figure skating, body building, exercise
and personal training. A master of sport science degree is available
in your choice: coaching, management, or sports medicine. Tuition
is $350 per semester hour plus shipping and other fees. Yes, you can
get the same degree from a nearby college, but then you actually have
to show up at specific times. This way, you can do your work at night.
More than 90 percent of this school’s students are in a distance
At the other end of the scale is Harvard University, which put a solo
toe in the distance learning water four years ago. Last year it had
25 students enrolled in seven "distance" courses, mostly in
computer programming and information sciences, some that lead to an
MLA in information technology. Noncredit tuition is listed in the
Peterson’s guide as $950, $1,200 for a credit course
Noncredit liberal arts courses will star in the newly formed
consortium. Each school will chip in $3 million for the launch. But
the potential participation of alumni (together, the schools have
500,000 former students) presumably will help pick up the rather
tab for developing courses. Courses may be available as soon as the
end of next year. The price of the courses were not announced.
Also not addressed in the announcement: Questions of compensation
for intellectual property — what, if anything, the professors
will be paid for the taping of their lectures.
— Barbara Fox
Patricia Shine of Thomas Edison State College
will teach a Sharpening Test Taking Skills workshop on Saturday,
14, at 9:30 a.m. for adult students who need help in preparing for
tests. The three-hour workshop, held at the college at 101 West State
Street in Trenton, will emphasize the preparation needed for
completing credit-by-examination tests, though the material covered
will be general.
The class is limited to 10 or 15 people, so everyone will be able
to get their questions answered. Cost: $30 including materials and
refreshments. Call 609-984-1140 to register.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.