25 Year Survivors: NJCST and U.S. 1

At the NJEN poster session last night in the Friend Center, Princeton University’s Joe Montemarano congratulated Peter Reczek, current head of the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology for the commission’s longevity, nearly 25 years. He believes it’s the longest continually operating tech commission in the nation.

I had just come from the staff party at U.S. 1, where we toasted the boss on his cover story, featuring his survival tips, entitled “Still Standing after 25 Years.”

Determination seems to be the common denominator between the two organizations, and after 25 years, determination is still called for. Montemarano warned that, with every change of governors, the NJCST has been in jeopardy. Having survived two such changes (he worked in state government during the Kean-Florio change, and the Florio-Whitman change), he revealed that new administrations try to do their homework before doling out funds to state agencies. Because homework on the tech agency is daunting “they tend to save them for last, but that’s when all the money is gone.”

What kind of homework? It’s when they call up entrepreneurs and innovators and administrators in the business community to ask them their opinion.

Says Montemarano: “Take any opportunity you have to give input on the NJCST’s enormously important role, and how valuable it is for the future.” For example, Reczek announced $5.6 million in grants-in-aid given out this week to 26 companies, plus $40 million in clean energy grants, co-sponsored by the EDA and BPU. Many a young, struggling company has managed to stay standing because of the NJCST’s leadership.

Other Montemarano advice: Show up at tech gatherings whenever you can. Your future angel or VC may be there. If they keep seeing you – even though you are not ready to ask for money – they will be “getting comfortable” with you.

Nearly 100 people knew that and showed up yesterday to network and peruse the 27 posters (shown above, Lou Wagman at the podium). And today, four entrepreneurs will discuss I-Phone apps as part of the Jumpstart Lecture Series, and important people are sure to be there. Sponsored by Princeton’s Keller Center, it’s in the same building, Friend Center, at 5:30, it’s free, and a reception will follow. This will be fun to hear about, even though you’re not in the tech business yourself.

For other meetings, check the Business Meetings section of U.S. 1 Newspaper or its online database at http://www.princetoninfo.com. Keeping a great database of events, online, that the community can depend on — that’s one of Rein’s secrets for “Still Standing.”

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