Monthly Archives: January 2010

PJCF Speed Dating: 17 Shots on Goal

Seventeen new companies, fourteen potential funders, one reporter, and a Congressman. It was a great start for Princeton Job Creation Forum’s first speed dating session, aiming to create companies to create jobs in New Jersey, on Tuesday, January 26. Princeton University hosted the three-hour marathon at the Friend Center, led by an all-volunteer team, led by David Sandahl of Decision Consulting, along with Drew Marshall of Primed Associates, Star Wilmuth, Len Newton, and Karen Jezierny.

“There’s so much energy in this room!” exclaimed Jezierny, director of public affairs at the university. And there was. Every five minutes the funders had to move to the next table. I hovered, and when there was a free presenter, plopped myself down and started interviewing. At risk of truncating info to inaccuracy, here’s some of what I found:

Caliper’s Herb Greenberg, with Rick Roman, pitched a re-do of Greenberg’s free service “Vet Career Connect” matching jobs with competencies needed, based of course on the applicants taking Caliper’s famous test. Greenberg is looking for a database partner. Companies will pay less to list their jobs than on major job boards, but they would get the added value of applicant test results. The unemployed would pay nothing.

Ray Ingram, a serial entrepreneur in the learning space, has a new firm, Dathil, that offers Adult Literacy Using Enhanced Recognition, a Software as a Service to make adult literacy training more economical. He’s looking for $250k seed money, and developers to finish the remaining 20 percent.

John Hartmann, an alumnus of Merck, looked to Hungary for polymer technology and his ElizaNor Polymer LLC, which uses Hyaluronic acid to make a skin care product that sounded to me as if it could be the next Neostrata. Also a product for cancer patients, and a revolutionary one for wound management that uses blue light to convert a liquid to a solid that disappears.

The GamerCast guys, Louis Eagan and Jeff Paytas, with their Fox Rothschild attorney Daniel Madrid, are looking for $100,000 to promote their live streaming user broadcasts of video games that involve celebrity athletes. I recognized only the name of Mia Hamm the women’s soccer champion on their roster but I’m an illiterate sports observer. This company is located mostly in Las Vegas.

Whereas Green Earth Power Systems is very very local, the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Roger Bessler. He sold one company to start this one. One of his ideas, to use his Sarnoff-honed expertise to make Household “E-Pods” powered by solar and natural gas, supplying electric for electric vehicle charging, house heating, and cooling from a thermal cell. It’s quite a story.

So is the Larry Richards story, explained in a previous article in U.S. 1 Newspaper. With him, Richards brought George Hannah, former finance director of the City of Trenton, and Herbert Bright, retired from Nabisco. Their Trenton Information Management Company (TIMCO, pictured above) has a good chance of bringing $2 million in revenue next year and at least 200 Trenton jobs.

Dimitry Paramanov retired from his job as director of global access at Bristol-Myers Squibb to start MED-IN-TOUCH, using Internet and wireless technologies to improve patient medication compliance in the clinical trials space. He outsources the R&D; to MPR Engineering.

A real change of pace: a movie producer, Joe Seldner, is looking for funds to produce Operation Pedro Pan, a Cuban immigration saga. Seldner is already working with Paramount on a Ripley documentary and one with the McCloskey ministries.

John Nash’s RadioSurgery Partners was a bit of a ringer because it’s based in Timonium, Maryland, but it partners with hospitals like St. Peter’s and Cooper Medical Center. It packages the latest technology (like Cyberknife) in an economical way.

Diena Seeger, vice president of operations at Viocare, tell of the companies personalized wellness technology ecosystem, too long to explain here but you may know it as Princeton Living Well. Viocare, founded by Rick Weiss, is looking for money for sales, marketing, and branding efforts.

Chris Tyrrell and Gerald O’Donnell, former Wall Streeters, want to do their part in changing the world by selling energy-efficient lighting technologies to warehouse owners at Exit 8A. Their firm, Carnegie Center-based Right Energies LLC, will partner with a mid-west manufacturer and offer no-up-front-cost financing.

Others represented: Joseph Calabro of Pathlink LLC in Red Bank; Mario Gonzalez of Princeton Pathology Services at 20 Nassau Street (he has a gynecological medical device); Raj Malhotra’s Precise Solutions Inc. (software for electronic medical records) in East Brunswick; Medford’s TCMG offering eco-friendly, LEED-certified American made cabinets and countertops.

The most unusual technology, and the most well-organized presentation, was Regeneco LLC, which aims to gather up all of New Jersey’s old tires and, with a gasifying process, convert them into electricity and saleable scrap steel. Jerome Block, Ulf Hansson, and Nicholas Hegedus seem to have all the answers: the process doesn’t pollute and makes money for everyone all around. They would build nine plants in the U.S., each employing 25 people. Only catch: the first plant will be expensive. But the stats they cite are compelling: for every person in the United States there is one discarded tire lying around somewhere.

That’s what might have sparked your interest if you were the one with $100k under your mattress and looking for a place to put it that would help both you and the nation’s economy.

Rep. Rush Holt declared that innovation – private sector job growth based on a well-trained workshop and new ideas — is the key to an economic rebound. He likened the day to taking shots on goal. Not every one gets in, but some will.

Here is the link to some snapshots. If you find yourself there, add your name. And if you don’t like your likeness, let me know and I’ll take it down.

A correction was made to this post on 6-18-2010.

Home Grown Jazz Talent

It’s always exciting when hometown kids make good in the music business. Many a Princeton kid has gone on to jazz or rock fame, often from the legendary Princeton High School Studio Band.

Wendy Zoffer, a musician whom I met through the Princeton chamber, wrote to tell that her son (Dylan Cohen, lead guitarist of Mad Cats and Beehives) just finished a gig at the Stone Pony and their next will be at Finnegans on February 20. He’s a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro South. Also in the rock band are Keith Lalley, (trombone/vocals), Meggen Greenberg (bass), and Mike Cintron (drums).

Then I heard that Jesse Fischer is bringing his Brooklyn-based band, Soul Cycle, to Small World on Friday, January 29 to play what is billed as “an infectious blend of jazz, funk, and world music.” I know Jesse through his brother, Ezra, who worked at U.S. 1 for awhile. Both their parents (Ilene Levine and Richard Fischer) are teachers, he at Princeton Friends School, she at Roosevelt Public School.

Jesse Fischer has been performing at Small World, in various bands, for 15 years. While at Princeton High School, Fischer played with the Studio Band for all four years, 1994 to 1998, under the leadership of the late Tony Biancosino. “Dr. B was a huge influence on me,” says Fischer, “in terms of leadership style and musicality.” Fischer also studied jazz piano with Princeton-area teacher Laurie Altman and with Stanley Cowell at Mason Gross School of the Arts, but considers himself mostly self taught.

His current band includes sax player Brian Hogans, bassist Josh David, percussionist Shawn Banks, and drummer Corey Rawls. Rawls also teaches privately in the Princeton area. They just finished their third CD, Mosaic, described as capturing “the intimate energy of a live performance, resulting in honest music that ranges broadly from contemplative to joyous, from searching to playful. Overflowing with memorable compositions, dynamic group interplay, and raw soul, Mosaic is a bold statement in support of real music.”

I was interested in his account of a typical work weekend: a singer- songwriter showcase Friday evening, a late set with an R&B; cover band Friday night, a bar mitzvah Saturday morning, a jazz gig Saturday night, sit in with an African band after-hours, and then play in church Sunday morning.” He created his latest CD to reflect this mix.

Volunteering for Profit

Two programs, five days apart, attempt to make the case that volunteering for no money can help you make money – in your business or by helping you get a better job.

Jerry Fennelly, Karen Jezierny, and Adrienne Rubin are panelists for the Princeton Chamber’s program, “Volunteerism: Its Importance in Building a Strong Business Community” on Wednesday, January 20, 7:30 to 9:15 a.m. at the Nassau Club. Rubin is executive director of Volunteer Connect, Jezierny is Princeton University‘s director of public affairs and board chairman of the chamber’s foundation, and Fennelly is the well-known commercial real estate broker who puts his money, and his time, where his mouth is. Cost: $25 for members including breakfast. Call 609-924-1776 or click here.

Rubin will also be a presenter at Princeton Community Works, a grassroots organization, which stages its 13th annual conference on Monday, January 25, 5 to 9:15 p.m. at the university’s Frist Center on Washington Road. From 20 workshops, you can choose two, and they start at 6. Cost: $29 including box supper. Click here.

Because I am engaged in my own volunteer opportunity (ask me later) I’ll miss the chamber breakfast. But I hope to get to Community Works. Every year I am enticed by the array of workshop titles because they have value both in volunteer efforts and in the workplace. Last year I sat at the feet of Ralph Serpe and Nancy Kieling of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. This year the witty Serpe will teach “Building and Cultivating Donor Relationships” and Kieling joins J&J;’s Michael Bzdak and consultant Jamie Sapoch to discuss the grant-maker’s perspective.

Dorothy Eckes, an evolutionary coach, teaches the theme workshop “Are You Listening? How relationships can grow and benefit from skilled listening.” From this list of other presenters, I recognize a half-dozen names who are chamber members, but for fear of leaving someone out I won’t designate them: “Forty Practical Fundraising Ideals for Survival and Success,” Les Loysen, President, Consulting Services for Non-Profit Organizations; “Welcome Aboard: Roles and Responsibilities of Board Members,” Jane Silverman, President, Jane Silverman Associates, LLC; “You-Turn: Positive Organizational Change,” James Davy, Principal, James Davy Associates; “Legal Aspects of the Non-Profit” Nancy Eberhardt, Executive Director, ProBono Partnerships; “How to Run a Workshop,” Elizabeth Casparian, Ph.D., Executive Director, HiTops; “Everyday Ways to Recognize and Motivate Your Staff, Volunteers and Board Members,” Sandy Lopacky, MPH, Consultant to Philanthropy and Non-Profits; Amelia Willson, Principal, AMW Consulting; “The Art of Delegation,” Marge Smith, Chair, Community Works; “Give and Take: Giving and Receiving Feedback Across the Organization Chart,” Robin Fogel, President, Robin Fogel & Associates, LLC; “Budgeting for the Rest of Us,” Jack Fein, Managing Director, The Mercadien Group; and Sherise Ritter, Managing Director, The Mercadien Group; “Dashboards: A Tool for Measurement and Management,” Nancy Daneshgar, First Vice President, Merrill Lynch; and Ryan Larkin, Vice President, Merrill Lynch; “Stretching Your Marketing Dollars,” Gloria Nelson, President, Afton Marketing Group; “Public Relations: Crafting Your Message,” Ted Deutsch, Principal, Deutsch Communications; “Put on a Happy Facebook: Using Social Networking Sites to Boost Your Organization,” Alicia Jones, President, Strategy Solutions; and “Ten Ways to Improve Your Web site,” Loan Nguyen Liu, Consultant, WSI Internet Consultant.

As is obvious from this lineup, one of the benefits of going to this conference is the networking opportunity.

Formerly in Pharma? Looking for Job?

Information on this program got buried in my email and I am late sending it out, but here goes

If you know a biotech or pharmaceutical professional who lost a job in New Jersey, that jobseeker may qualify for up to $4,000 in tuition payments under a special program from the US Department of Labor grant known as “Bio-1.

To qualify, he or she must live in Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Somerset, or Hunterdon counties.

One place to take these classes, perhaps even online, is the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which was the source of this information. From the release: “NJIT provides single graduate classes, certificates and MS degrees for professionals in this industry sector in areas such as biomedical engineering, pharmaceutical technology, pharmaceutical management, biostatistics, physiology and human computer interaction, computing and information systems, project and technology management, engineering, technical communication and the sciences.”

There may still be enough time to qualify for these classes through the county One-
Stop Career Center,
but the classes begin next week (the week of January 19). Many classes are fully online.

For more information about NJIT programs, contact Matthew Kitchen, by telephone toll-free at 800-624-9850 or by email

Can these funds be used at another institution, perhaps one with classes that start later in the month? I don’t know and frankly have not had the time to find out. If somebody does find out, please let me know.

Sherpa for Job Creation

You may know David Sandahl as the former deputy mayor in Hopewell, or as the board chairman of the Princeton YMCA. Maybe you heard that he just came back from the white House, where he attended the Forum on Job Creation and Economic Growth, or that he’s helping keep watch over New Jersey’s share of recovery dollars, serving on the New Jersey Recovery Accountability Task Force.

You might not know that his father, working at Bell Labs, was a fiber optic pioneer or that he double majored in econ and government at Bowdoin. That’s when his internship with then Senator Walter Mondale’s office led him to take a master’s degree in organizational management from Yale. His adventures in government include coordinating the security part of the federal budget for President Carter and saving $1 billion in health care costs while retaining benefits for federal employees.

For 17 years he was at Kepner Tregoe, the world-renowned management training and consulting company located just off Route 1. He honchoed the pharma practice, building 7 figure account relationships with the likes of J&J; and Merck, and leading several of the projects for the successful turnaround of a medical device company. For the past five years, at his private practice, Decision Consulting, in Pennington, he has been a strategy advisor. Now he is leading a grass roots effort, the Princeton Job Creation Forum, which promises to hold a “speed dating session” on January 26 for funders and entrepreneurs.

Sandahl will present “Getting It Right This Time: Accelerating Economic Sustainable Growth” on Thursday, January 7, at 11:30 a.m. before the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Princeton Marriott (

Perhaps the best description of what Sandahl does, to quote the U.S. 1 article, is to be a sherpa, helping people who want to climb the mountain by telling them which paths to take and which to avoid. I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say about the job creation mountain.

Gather Tinder for Creating Jobs

Jobs, jobs, jobs. The shrieking call is getting louder, to the point where new groups are gathering tinder to cook up their own versions of job expansion programs.

#1. At the bidding of the USDA, farmers and other ag types will meet on Tuesday, January 5, 1 to 4 p.m., at the Rutgers Eco Complex in Bordentown. Call Howard Henderson 856-787-8700. Bankers will be there.

The feds are trying to stir the agricultural pot in each state. Maybe they’ll find a new byproduct for cranberries here in New Jersey.

#2. On Thursday, January 7, David Sandahl, of the new Princeton Job Creation Forum, will address the Princeton Regional Chamber at a luncheon at the Princeton Marriott. His topic: “Getting It Right This Time: Accelerating Economic Sustainable Growth.” Cost: $50. Call 609-924-1776 or sign up here.

#3. NetWork, a part-time and work from home expo with nearly 100 exhibitors will be held Sunday, January 10, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Doubletree, 200 Atrium Drive, Somerset. The $5 admission will be waived if you mention this blog or any media source or preregister at

The Sunday expo is the brainchild of two entrepreneurial women who have “vetted” the exhibitors (“it’s more than just Avon and Amway” they say), have assembled take-home bags, and are even providing professional babysitters.

#4. Or go to the pre-session for a 10-week business plan course on Tuesday, January 12, 6 to 7:30 p.m., at the Suzanne Patterson Center in Princeton. Isles Inc. sponsors this and the Tuesday session is free. Call Norma Diaz or check the website. The class is right here in downtown Princeton. Free parking.

Of these opportunities, I can go only to the January 7 lunch with Sandahl speaking. I’m among those gathering tinder (and beating the drum) for the Princeton Job Creation Forum. Sandahl is looking for entrepreneurs with viable business plans to meet lenders, angels, and venture capitalists in a novel speed dating opportunity on Tuesday, January 26, at Princeton University. (Look for details at on the registration page.

The other opportunities are intriguing too. And they’re so different. Start your new and more profitable year by deciding to be entrepreneurial — or to be public spirited and support an innovator/entrepreneur.

Stitch in Time: A Heart Patient Survives

As 2009 closes, my husband and I are grateful to the doctors who have taken care of us so well. Our health is good but the list is dauntingly long; it includes Chandani Fernando of Princeton Primary & Urgent Care, Barbara Berko, Peter Yi, Charles Wightman, Michael Ruddy, and more. Kudos to all!

What triggered this post is an honor that went to Bruce Cole, of Princeton Primary & Urgent Care. He recognized cardiac symptoms in a patient who arrived in his Alexander Road office late in the day; he pulled strings and got her in touch with doctors who could perform an emergency angioplasty and save her life. The grateful patient, Llura Gund, donated $5 million, in tribute to Dr. Cole and two other doctors, to enhance the ICU of the new hospital in Plainsboro.

We hope we won’t have to make many trips to that ICU but we’re glad it’s there. Happy New Year!