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These articles by Melinda Sherwood, Teena Chandy, and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on June 9,
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Virtual New Jersey: Also `Open’ for Business
When Prosperity New Jersey launched the Exits to Opportunity
television ad campaign, the handiwork of Princeton Partners ad agency
and some other Princeton area production talent, it mixed humor and
sentiment to patch the potholes in New Jersey’s reputation and provide
more visibility to businesses.
But with the launching of the online Business Resource Center (http://www.njbrc.com),
the business advocacy organization chose not to go down the same route.
Instead of using clever self-promotion, it opted to appeal to the
intellect of business people. The website is jam-packed with meaty
information on New Jersey demographics, economy and infrastructure
— data that will be invaluable to someone putting together a business
plan or considering relocating a business to the area. Best of all,
there’s little hype: you don’t have to trudge through ads, back out
of commercial sites or subscribe for a password.
Chuck Jones, director of business advocate and information at
the New Jersey Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, thinks that
going with the "straight facts" will pay off. "What businesses
need today is information, not a marketing tool," he says. "Other
states only accentuate the positive. We know that there are negatives
as well as positives." To avoid controversy, he adds, the data
was collected but not created by the state. Several of the links go
directly to U.S. government sites and other outside data sources.
The two agencies overseeing the creation of the site — Prosperity
New Jersey and the New Jersey Commerce and Economic Growth Commission
— hired the services of an outside consultant, Brad McDearman
of McDearman Associates in Baltimore, Maryland. The New Jersey Technology
Council handles the technical development of the site.
McDearman advised the agencies to forgo flashy images in order to
attract the no-nonsense business types. He also suggested the state
site remain open — visitors are not asked to register, subscribe
or use a password to get beyond the home page. Jones says this is
a big selling point; many state sites are monitored and require people
to jump through hoops to get the critical data. Business speculation
may be highly confidential, so the open site preserves privacy as
The no-fuss site also means less work for an already stretched staff
at the Commerce and Economic Growth Commission. That was the reason
for creating the site in the first place, Jones says: "The problem
we had is that we could not respond to relocation consultants as fast
as other states could."
Whether you are putting together a business plan, considering a relocation,
conducting market research, or trying to E-mail a government official,
information in the following areas is only a mouse-click away:
Did you know that New Jersey was the home of organized
baseball, the first target in a Martian invasion of the planet, and
the first state to produce a glass bottle larger than an NBA player?
"New Jersey Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the Garden
State" (Camino Books Inc., 1999) by Tom Wilk
Armstrong delves into the curious history behind everything from
New Jersey’s infamous traffic engineering — the cloverleaf —
to the out-of-the-ordinary athletes that arrive every year for the
National Marbles Tournament in Atlantic City. Not only are the anecdotes
fascinating, the book also makes a good recruiting tool. Among the
milestones captured here are the births of at least five different
hi-tech industries — a definite confidence-builder. Wilk will
be at Encore Books on Thursday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. to answer questions
and sign copies.
Wilk is a copy editor at the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, a graduate
of Rider University, Class of 1980, with a BA in journalism, and a
lifelong Jersey resident. "I’ve been in journalism since ’74 so
some of these things — like the 10th anniversary of Cold War Summit
at Glassboro — I covered at the time," he says.
Writing the book, Wilk says, forced him to consider the significance
in being "the first" to do something. "I’m thinking about
it as a parent now — the first steps your children take, the first
teeth, your first full-time job. It’s just a way of remembering things
and marking milestones."
Each of New Jersey’s firsts are tightly written into micro-chapters:
Most Complete Dinosaur Skeleton, First Transcontinental Highway, First
Rock `n’ Roll Star, Vice President to Kill in a Duel, and so on.
New Jerseyans may take their history for granted, but recent transfers
and business travelers may be surprised and impressed by the illustration
of the state’s genius and innovation. "New Jersey has such a large
population coming into the state — people transferred from jobs
in Philadelphia or New York — that it’s a good way to learn about
the heritage," Wilk says. Among the confidence-building milestones:
The Birth of Teflon, Bell Labs: Touch Tone Dialing and More, the New
Jersey Knee, the Bar Code, and, of course, the Band-Aid.
— Melinda Sherwood
Microsoft released the latest version of its office
productivity suite — Office 2000 — this week, so you may have
heard about some of software’s newest features. If not, you can speak
to Microsoft spokesperson Bret Davis at the Princeton PC Users
Group meeting on Monday, June 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lawrenceville
library. He will be answering questions about the release. Call 908-281-3107.
Microsoft announced several of the software’s new tools and enhancements
before the release:
markup language) file format for immediate Internet posting.
E-mail and information management program.
upgrade in Office. Saving files in the HTML format was previously
possible, but attributes of text produced in programs like Word or
Excel — bold, colors, underline, or tables, for example —
were lost in the conversion. That’s no longer the case.
Office documents are now "ready-to-wear" for a browser, so
you don’t have to go through the lengthy process of working in an
HTML editing program. Changes to the document can even be made from
within the browser.
The implications: the democratization (even more) of the Internet.
People in business can also post important documents or spreadsheets
to the corporate Intranet or Extranet instantaneously.
Children from low income families who received quality
pre-school education go on to be better achievers in school and are
less likely to be on welfare. This has been proven by studies on the
impact of pre-school education on children, says Ellen Frede,
associate professor at the College of New Jersey.
Frede will be talking to a group of scientists about the influence
of quality research in her presentation, "Research in Forming
Public Policy in Early Childhood Education" at the meeting of
the Association for Women in Science on Thursday, June 10 at 5:45
p.m. at Forcina Hall 100, College of New Jersey. Call 732-274-4607.
Frede majored in early childhood education from the University of
Michigan in 1976, and has a Ph.D in developmental psychology from
Utah State University. "Studies conducted by neurologists and
neuro-scientists on how the brain develops has shown that there is
a great deal of important structural change happening in the brain
early on," says Frede. "Children not getting the stimulation
that pre-school education provides are deprived of its benefits."
Scientific research is important because many public policies come
out of such studies, says Frede. "The Supreme Court, based on
these research findings, ruled that all three to four-year-old children
in 30 special needs districts in New Jersey need and should be provided
with high quality, intensive, pre-school education," says Frede.
The court made this decision because the present public policies on
early childhood education in New Jersey are lacking, says Frede. "The
Department of Education has been saying that the present childcare
projects are good enough, that any of the licensed child care centers
meet the court’s requirements. If the existing childcare centers in
New Jersey were good enough, the Supreme Court would not have said
Frede hopes that the Department of Education will comply with the
Supreme Court ruling. "Research has also proven that there is
a lower incidence of childhood pregnancy among children from lower
income families who received pre-school education," says Frede.
"They are more likely to have jobs and be taxpayers themselves."
— Teena Chandy
Unless enough trucking companies strongly object, Route
518 will be closed as a through-route for wide trucks. The New Jersey
Department of Transportation will take comments on a restrictive proposal
until Wednesday, June 16, and the proposal — an amendment to the
administrative code — is scheduled to be adopted on August 16.
Submit comments to Renee Rapciewicz, deputy administrative practice
officer, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Legislative Analysis,
Box 600, Trenton 08625. Or fax to 609-530-3841.
Also, a statewide workshop on all the proposed rules for trucks will
be Monday, June 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the municipal building at
1001 Parsippany Boulevard in Parsippany. Call 609-530-2124.
The restriction would begin at the point where Route 518 leaves Lambertville,
where the road is steep and winding. Much of the shoulder along the
route is "substandard or nonexistent," municipal officials
are claiming. It would end 20 miles later where 518 joins Route 27.
Because Province Line Road is closed, the only crossroads to 518 are
at Route 601, 206, 31, and Laurel Avenue (the new road built by Trap
Rock Industries between 518 and Route 27).
The ordinance would not affect the dump truck-sized vehicles used
by Trap Rock Industries, nor would it affect trucks used by area businesses.
The prohibited trucks are 102 inches wide or wider and are most likely
going to be 18-wheelers. The prohibition would also extend to trucks
with 53-foot long trailers. These trucks would be able to use Route
518 only to travel a two-mile stretch for a pick-up, delivery, or
access facilities for food, fuel, repairs, or rest.
About 250 trucks use Route 518 daily, says John Dourgarian,
spokesperson for the DOT, and 10 percent of those, or about 25 trucks
would be affected. But Hopewell Township’s director of public safety,
Jon Edwards, thinks it will have an even greater impact. "DOT
uses a bizarre definition for local truck traffic," says Edwards,
who is also Princeton University’s assistant vice president for computing
and information technology. "A truck that starts in Hoboken and
ends in Philadelphia is defined as a local delivery."
The ruling would prohibit trucks from using 518 as a way to the Pennsylvania
Turnpike. Now, if they are trying to avoid traffic on Route 1, they
can take Route 518 from Franklin Township to Lambertville and go south
on Route 29 to I-95. Or they can turn off 518 via 654 and 31 to get
to Route 202 and the turnpike.
Three counties and all the affected municipalities support the DOT’s
move. Fines could be as much as several hundred dollars, says Dourgarian.
Where will all these interstate trucks go? "That’s for them to
decide," says Dourgarian. "They can’t use 518."
Don’t try to sell a house with a leaking oil tank, and
don’t try to sell a business with any kind of environmental liability
— unless you have very good advice. In this era of rapid mergers
(the United States tally of merged companies went from $906.5 billion
for 1997 to $1.62 trillion in 1998), such advice is particularly important.
"Too many companies have found that just closing a merger deal
does not guarantee success," says James Vetter, a principal
at Environmental Resources Management Inc. at 300 Phillips Boulevard
(609-895-0050). "A recent study showed that nearly 60 percent
of the mergers failed to meet expectations and resulted in lower-than-average
returns for shareholders."
Vetter is leading ERM’s new Global Merger & Acquisition Advisory Services
practice, announced in April.
ERM’s 30-person Princeton office was previously located at 100 Canal
Pointe Boulevard and should not be confused with Environmental Liability
Management at Research Park. ERM is a global environmental, health
and safety consulting, and management services firm. It has 2,400
employees at more than 120 locations in 34 countries, and it works
in such areas as air quality management, pollution control, community
planning, and sustainable development (http://www.erm.com.)
Vetter majored in geology at Moravian College (Class of 1984) and
has a master’s degree in that subject from Lehigh and an MGA from
St. Joseph’s. With more than 12 years of environmental consulting
experience, he joined ERM last year as senior project manager in the
site remediation practice and is now the program director for mergers,
acquisitions, and divestitures.
Vetter says the solution for a successful merger is to plan for the
right information to be collected and assessed from the very beginning.
"Successful transactions," he says, "use a combination
of `best practices’ that go far beyond traditional environmental due
In the first area, pre-planning, consider these areas:
and business goals;
is assessing the M&A transaction. Will there be a business interruption?
What are details on health and safety risks? What is the downside,
the possible catastrophic risk? Will there be social problems, and
how long might they last? Steps three and four in the chain are post-acquisition
integration (including such topics as change management and asset
divestiture) and on-going operations (operating efficiently and managing
"Environmental matters can have a material effect on future earnings
performance and business operations if not properly assessed and accounted
for during the deal," says Vetter.
If you are an attorney, accountant, or travel agent,
and you are looking for leads and networking opportunities, a 15-year-old
networking group may have an opening for you. The Princeton Council
meets at the Hyatt to exchange leads, contacts, and referrals. In
addition to the three categories mentioned, it has membership opportunities
for an advertising agency, a computer services firm, and a heating/air
conditioning company. The meeting on Thursday, June 17, at 8 a.m.
is free by reservation. Call Terri Rabinowicz, the facilitator,
at 732-615-9096; fax, 732-615-9620.
<B>Lucy’s Ravioli Kitchen on Route 206 will sponsor
the "carbo-load" dinner on Friday, June 11, from 6 to 9 to
benefit the Princeton Hospital Fete and feed the runners who will
race the next morning in the Fete’s annual 10K race. The dinner will
be held at Engine Company No. 1, the fire house on Chestnut Street
in Princeton Borough. Cost is $10 for adults; $5 for children under
10. Call 609-924-3623.
The race is also sponsored by Momentum Fitness, located at Research
Community College a $2,000 grant to enable the college to purchase
software for its International Business Practice Firm (IBPF) for electronic
banking transactions. Students conduct all operations — financing,
purchasing, marketing, and human resources — by using internally
networked computers, video conferencing, and the Internet. "We
believe that IBPFs are a great way for students to learn about business,"
says Axel Velden, chair of the council’s education committee.
of It" community grant award to Princeton Friends School to help
defray the costs of administering the many community service projects
the school is involved in. Once a month, for two hours, students in
grades kindergarten through eighth perform community outreach tasks,
such as reading to children at the Carnegie Family Center, assisting
with the Princeton area Meals on Wheels program, and helping out at
the Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
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