June / July 2012
with an exclusive story on
Empire of Down Home Cooking
and the foundation he help to build
Making Making down down home home goodness goodness into into an an empire empire
Team Position or Stock Position
An An NBA NBA All-Star All-Star puts puts people people and and planning planning first first
ISSUE 49 | JUN / JUL 2012
Publisher Erwin E. Kantor Managing Editor Helen Moss Editorial Micheal Gordon Robert Jordan Helen Moss Staff Writers L. A. Rivera Wendy Connick Monica Link Helen E. Moss Diane Alter David Novak Rodolfo Burgos Marketing / Advertising Monica Link For subscription details, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org For advertising inquiries, contact: email@example.com
ix years ago, I set out as an entrepreneur to revolutionize the world of journalism and build a digital business that ultimately became this magazine. During my journey I kept a few quotes locked in my mind for inspiration when things got tough. One of them is from Vince Lombardi, who said: “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” What I always find so refreshing about “The Suit” is our clear and consistent mission: We’re about entrepreneurial capitalism. “The Suit” has developed editorial coverage that is more relevant to the lives of those smalland mid-sized businesses and entrepreneurs who form the backbone of our economy, and it’s a backbone rapidly being lost. Everyone knows that America is in dire need of economic growth and employment, a lot of which comes directly from the people we cover. Everything is changing; even print is not what it used to be. Digital is now the new driving force for breaking news consumption and production. The disruptive forces of the digital publishing world have forever changed how content is created, distributed and consumed. We constantly hear the battle cry of a struggling newspaper industry as it tries to re-make itself for the future.
What’s in store for the summer of 2012? The news isn’t all bad. Try “A Legacy of Giving through the Magic Johnson Foundation,” and don’t miss “Detlef Schrempf, Forever an All-Star.” We also bring you articles on “Genetic Immunity,” and “Treating a Forgotten Disease: HIV.” Tipping our hat to the Olympics with “Athletes to watch this year,” be sure to watch the USA Women’s Swim Team with Rachel Bootsma, one of the best swimmers in the world, who ranks ninth among her peers in the sport; Monica Abbott, a pitcher with the Team USA Softball; and Mike Nackoul of the USA Weightlifting division. It’s challenging work. We listen carefully. We fully engage our audience. We thoughtfully digest it all and learn to move forward. All the best,
Erwin Kantor Erwin Kantor Publisher
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
JUN / JUL 2012
Like MAGIC! NBA star power plus a big heart equals the Magic Johnson Foundation, created to increase HIV/AIDS awareness – a subject that hits close to home for Magic himself. Increasing its mission, the foundation developed Comunity Empowerment Centers and mentors young scholars through the Taylor Michaels Scholarship Program. Works like Magic!
Leaving Clients Better Off
Giving the best possible advice
Care on Main Street
Helping Maximize Limited Income and Assets
An Investment All-Star
From basketball to financial planning is no slam dunk, even for a star like Detlef Schrempf. Putting people first makes him a great financial advisor.
Son of the Heartland
Knowing everyone in his hometown
An empire of deliciousness carefully crafted from barbecue and down home cuisine, created by Food Network stars Pat and Gina Neely, just keeps on “cooking.”
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
When you want your very own airplane
Giving away something of value, and getting more in return
Through the Clients’ Lens
Being a good partner to your clients
The Personal Touch
What is effective for today’s IT?
Sometimes processing needs an extra ‘touch’
Afraid to Invest?
Let a Business Coach help you through it
Neely’s Down Home
Trusting Your Advisor
Looking for a Trusted Advisor, Tried and True
Rolling In The Pizza Dough
Great family style from a great family name.
A Serial Entrepreneur
Settling down to an even bigger business
business (cont) business
What is Left?
Investing after being downsized.
Treating The Forgotten Disease
Keeping awareness alive by Doing Well
How One Company Does Well By Making Sure You’re Doing Well
Diversification is the Key
Shooting for the Moon
Staying flexible helps everyone’s bottom line
There’s No Place Like Home
... for a Brooklyn Architect
The Heart of an Inventor
If you love what you do, it’s never a day of work.
Master Communicator Translating techno-speak into plain English
Instant IT Department
No IT dept.? No Problem!
Ahead of the Curve
A Cost Effective Approach To ERP
law & government
Able Sheet Metal CEO credits success to no debt
When Medical Technology Breaks Down
Web Hosting Blues
Support 24/7/365 – or talk to the CEO
Rebuilding Big Pharma
Keep a Good Record
Anyone can check you out online – and they do
How to Fix the Broken Model THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.5
arvin “Magic” Johnson is a capitalist with a big heart, performing miracles with his NBA star power. The Magic Johnson Foundation is proving to be every bit as incandescent and magical as its leader. Instead of resting on its laurels, the foundation spent its 20th anniversary enlarging its mission to encompass “empowerment through education.” Who doesn’t know Magic Johnson? As one of the 50 best basketball players of all time and an NBA Hall of Fame inductee, his brilliant career in sports, especially as a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, is well documented. The man himself is almost universally loved as an example of what a person should be. Magic’s life after basketball began with his dedication to a vital cause, bringing awareness to HIV and AIDS prevention through the Magic Johnson Foundation (MJF). HIV/AIDS prevention is close to Johnson’s heart because of his own personal struggle with the disease. The legendary basketball athlete was diagnosed with HIV during a physical exam he had to undergo to join the US Olympic team. In November of 1991, he revealed his situation, and then transformed it, by creating a foundation charged with the mission of raising awareness about the disease. In 1992, he wrote a book, “What You can Do to Avoid AIDS,” to help people understand how to prevent becoming infected with it.
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
A LEGACY OF
through the Magic Johnson Foundation
Although, the foundation was initially established to increase an awareness of AIDS and HIV issues, it soon enlarged its mission, branching out to include other advocacies. Among its services are 16 Community Empowerment Centers (CECs), strategically placed in ethnically diverse urban centers where they are needed most, that provide access to and education about technology. The Taylor Michaels Scholarship Program is another, providing both tangible support in the form of scholarships, laptops and software, and the intangible support of mentoring and leadership development to ensure the success of serious young minority scholars. Today, the foundation serves more than 250,000 people every year through its many programs – and that number is growing. Education is
an increasingly important part of MJF, and along with existing projects, more programs are being developed to increase computer literacy and employability in this digital age. Johnson is not just the celebrity face of the foundation, either. He works closely with the staff and is a hands-on Chairman, being heavily involved in the planning and development aspects of new projects, in addition to his many appearances. “There is no better feeling than to touch someone’s life, than to impact it,” Johnson said. “There isn’t a better feeling in the world.” Celebrities and notable public figures have given their unwavering support to the Magic Johnson Foundation. Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Arsenio Hall and Justin Bieber are among its many active supporters. Arsenio Hall raised more than $400,000 for the organization in 2012 on the reality show, “Celebrity Apprentice.” Millions of fans give both financial support and in-kind support, like donating goods and services or spreading the word about events and then participating actively in them. By his presence, Johnson is able
to garner the s u p port of corporate sponsors like American Airlines, Aetna, Best Buy, FedEx, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Toyota, to name a few. Corporations know him well from his days on the basketball court, and he immediately has their trust. In working with MJF, each corporate partner has a uniquely pointed
program working in concert with its own charitable mission.
“There is strength in numbers and the Magic Johnson Foundation is in a great position to expand with our partners,” said Amelia Williamson, MJF President. “While our core focuses are HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, college access and digital literacy – there are several paths to get there and we want to ensure our approach is both strategic and holistic.” Among the new THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.7
initiatives in place this year are Best Buy Tech summer camps and National HIV testing day efforts. The foundation has donated millions of dollars to community empowerment and educational efforts. The amount given to mobilize communities toward self-sufficiency is said to be even larger than that given by some governmental organizations. Thousands of young students were able to fulfill dreams of earning a college degree because of the generosity of MJF supporters and the unwavering passion of the man himself toward helping people struggling to achieve their dreams. “Through our continued work in educational empowerment, it is our hope to cultivate, inspire and help achieve self-sufficiency in underserved communities,” Williamson said. “Money spent in this way is never wasted, either. The Magic Johnson Foundation earned four stars for “sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.” To kick off their 20th anniversary celebration, the Magic Johnson Foundation launched “Point Forward Day.” At a time when the mainstream media is calling HIV/AIDS “the forgotten disease,” the fact still exists that 1 out of 5 people infected with HIV is totally unaware of it. Free testing was offered in different cities across the country, and to encourage more people to find out their status, government officials, celebrities and athletes joined in this momentous and successful effort. With a tag line “take the test and take control,” all throughout the year, free HIV screenings were offered in different urban areas throughout the country. As its 20th anniversary year passes into history, the Magic Johnson Foundation continues to look forward into the future, working to touch more lives in America as it passes around the torch of hope through greater HIV/AIDS awareness, people empowerment and education.
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
by rodolfo burgos
Forever an All-Star A team player who always finishes first
fter a life devoted to training and honing specialized skills on the basketball court, almost every professional basketball player is faced with a challenge of a different kind: What do they do now? For a very limited few, the answer is a career transition to broadcaster or analyst. For Detlef Schrempf, however, life as a professional athlete laid the groundwork for some of his most exciting and rewarding work. Finding it just took a while. Schrempf says that for most of his NBA career, he was fairly ignorant of his finances. Only toward the end of his career did he begin to think of what he might do after a life devoted to basketball. Already equipped with a college degree and a love of the Pacific Northwest, he re-educated himself in the 1990s, doing quite a bit of real estate
investing, and eventually joining more than one real estate board. But it was in his last two years with the Portland Trailblazers that he formed key relationships with retired Microsoft Executives. Those relationships paved the way for him to utilize his unique branding status to help build a business. Joining Coldstream Capital in 2007 as general partner and Business Development Officer, the former NBA All-Star is thriving in an office geared toward helping individuals and families with all their financial planning needs. Asked about the evolution of his relationship with Coldstream Capital Management, it’s quite clear that his talent for planning and putting people first sets Schrempf apart. In Coldstream’s nascent years, they were largely a
“single strategy firm,” but quickly realized that most young tech retirees were coming to Coldstream with complex planning issues. Since this client base featured concentrated stock positions combined with younger than normal families, Coldstream quickly broadened their approach to include wealth planning capabilities, such as estate, risk and tax planning. In providing an unusual depth of investment advice, the firm evolved into a family-type office. This came about by closely catering to their clients’ needs, and allowed Coldstream to add teams providing a variety of services. Always a hard worker, Schrempf strives to cater to his clients’ needs with such diverse offerings as attorney consultations and accounting services. Says Schrempf, “When we sign a new client who doesn’t have certain advisers we usually recommend them. If they’re deficient then we’re definitely helpful in that regard.” Schrempf feels clients benefit the most when they’re receiving the best possible services, and planning to provide those services is something he always enjoys. “From the firm’s standpoint, we’re here to protect our clients and work with them to find solutions for their individual and family interests.” It should come as no surprise that Schrempf is a great team player, and the words “relationship” and ”team” often come up in conversation with him. Schrempf sees each of his clients as a new opportunity to build a relationship based on trust and preparation. “For me, what’s always exciting is that by coming up with certain solutions, you simplify life. Building trust over many years, not just within our community, but also with Coldstream Capital, is what we as a firm try to do.”Schrempf and his wife Mari also created a charitable organization, the
Detlef Schrempf Foundation, 19 years ago, which has helped raise over 12 million dollars for over 100 charities. And who exactly does their foundation help? Speaking p a s s i o n a t e l y, Schrempf states that their mission is to help children of Northwest families in need, focusing on them from infancy to the end of high school. C u r r e n t l y, their foundation is on track to raise 1 million dollars annually to continue support for those charities. Among the numerous fundraisers the foundation works on throughout the year – including a Nordstrom fashion show and a golf and gala – the Saint Patty’s Day Dash is the biggest, with nearly 15,000 people running to raise money. Planning events, which plays to one of Schrempf’s strengths, requires trying to come up with a good vehicle sufficient to provide the charities with a strong return on the dollar, too. “It’s not how much you raise, its how much you gift,” says Schrempf. Looking out toward the future, what does the busy Business Development Officer have planned for the rest of 2012? It doesn’t look like he’ll have much time to enjoy riding horseback with his friends in North Dakota. Schrempf will be continuing to grow business for his clients by giving them an experience beyond their expectations and by building a culture of teamwork within the firm. He also expressed
the hope that Coldstream Capital can continue to grow, becoming a national, rather than remaining solely a west coast firm. Dribble. Pass. Shoot! These are three words every basketball player knows intimately. If it were up to Schrempf, he would add three more to this list: Trust. Plan. Invest!
THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.9
by the suit staff
Pat and Gina Neely
The Restaurant Business Pat and Gina Neely Build an Empire on Food and Family
amily is the secret ingredient to the success of restaurateurs Pat and Gina Neely. Like many hopeful entrepreneurs, the Neelys began with a small family-owned business, but they eventually turned it into a seven-figure dream come true. The Memphis-based couple has built their love for food and cooking into a growing chain of barbecue restaurants, a popular line of cookbooks and a top-rated TV show on the Food Network, “Down Home With the Neelys.” The Neelys opened their first restaurant in 1988. It started out with Pat and his brother. Pat learned about the business by working for his uncle as a teenager, and by working for McDonald’s after he graduated from college. He met Gina for the second time at his 10-year high school reunion. The two had gone to the same high school, but had never known each other very well. Shortly after the reunion, they began dating and got married. Once they began having children (two daughters), Gina began working at the restaurant. “It was hard for us to get time off at the same time and take vacations,” Pat said. “We thought, hey, maybe if we work together, we can attend events with our children and be more involved in their lives,” When Gina, who previously had worked in the banking industry, came
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
into the restaurant, and she bought a fresh perspective to customer service, catering and administration. As an outsider in the restaurant business, Gina had first underestimated how much hard work was involved. “If you’re thinking about going into the restaurant industry, be very sure that’s the industry you want to be in,” she said. “The first two weeks, my back and my feet were killing me. I was used to sitting at a desk. Being on my feet and walking around all day was a huge adjustment for me.” Though the economy remains unsteady, the food in-
Neely’s Barbeque Parlor Main bar Neelys Barbecue Porch
dustry is a major provider of jobs. According to the National Restaurant Association, the industry is projected to reach $632 billion in sales in 2012. It is expected to employ 12.9 million people in 2012, about 10 percent of the United States population. Job growth within the restaurant industry is expected to increase by 2.3 percent, while United States employment growth across all industries is only expected to grow about 1.3 percent. Currently, Pat and Gina employ nearly 100 people who work in their daily operations, and many more who work as contractors, and in catering and special events. Jumping into a business with family or a business partner has its risks, but Pat Neely said the risks and hard work are worth it in the end. He advises existing businesses and startups to have a solid strategy in place. “You have to put out budgets and sales projections and find out what it’s going to take for you to succeed. In the restaurant business you need to know your food cost percentages, “ Pat said. “What percentage of your sales is going to be allocated for food? How much is your rent? Typically, I like the rent to fall around 7 to 10 percent. “If you don’t know your numbers, it doesn’t matter if you’re making $400,000 per month. If you’re spending $380,000 per month, you’re more than likely going to be in trouble,” he said. Gina advises aspiring restaurant owners and all business owners to learn as much as they can before getting started. “Work in a place as an apprentice and try to learn
the trade,” she said. “See how it works, and read about the technology and better ways to do things. You have to have the passion for it.” With half of all marriages ending in divorce, Pat and Gina are commonly asked how they work long hours, travel and take care of their family together. Pat advises men who work with their wives to be quiet and listen. “If you’re going to work with your spouse, check your ego at the door,” he said. “I’ve always respected Gina’s opinion. If you have a ego or a huge chip on your shoulder, then you’re not going to be successful working with your spouse. As much as we love each other, if it ever started to affect our marriage, we would quit working together.” Gina said if you’re going to work with family, you have to be a businessperson at work first and put all of your personal feelings aside. “You want to find out each family member’s strengths and weaknesses. Place people in jobs they are good at, never mind whether they are older or younger. Don’t allow yourself to be emotionally entangled.” In 2011, Pat and Gina Neely began growing their Southern-style barbecue restaurant business by adding a location in New York City, Neely’s Barbecue Parlor, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The booming business and standing-room-only crowds have the Neelys considering more expansion for their restaurants and their brand. The New York location averages about 4500 square feet, with seating for about 200 customers. The Neelys’ other locations include restaurants on the east and west sides of Memphis, a larger restaurant in Nashville, and a mini store in the Nashville Airport that sells the couple’s signature sauces. The Neelys plan to continue to expand. They serve on the boards of Memphis area business associations, participate in trade shows and provide food for sports events in Memphis. The couple sells its homemade barbecue sauce online, and even ships some food items on dry ice to homes across the United States. Pat and Gina are currently developing a line of cookware for retail sales. The couple travels the country as entertainers and cooks, while scouting for more locations for future restaurants.
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A Revolutionary Way
to Securely and Easily Share Health Records between Consumers and Physicians. Anytime, Anywhere!
User-Controlled Easy & Secure 2-Way Push of Blue Button & Other Online Health Records
Secure iBlueButton® Phone App
iBlueButton iPhone App for Consumers
iBlueButton Veterans iPhone App for exclusive use by Veterans
Secure iBlueButtonPro® Tablet App
iBlueButton Pro iPad App for Physicians
Humetrix is proud to be a Federal Government Investing in Innovation Challenge award winner ©2012 Humetrix. The Humetrix iBlueButton Apps are based on U.S. system patent #5,995,965 and other pending patents. “Blue Button” the Blue Button logo, and the slogan “Download My Data” are registered Service Marks of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an agency of the United States Government and are used by permission of VA.
“Corporate Finance and Middle-Market Companies, Post-Credit Crisis”
adison Street Capital, headquartered in Chicago, is an international investment banking firm providing corporate financial advisory services, merger and acquisition (M&A) expertise, restructuring, financial opinions, and valuation services to publicly and privately held businesses. The firm’s senior professional focus on middle-market companies that have revenues ranging from $10 to $250 million dollars, bringing to bear all the industry expertise, exclusive capital relationships, and local perspectives of Madison’s bankers across their offices in North America, Asia, and Africa. Charles Botchway, CEO of Madison Street, explains that they have specialized expertise in advising middlemarket firms in hundreds of industry verticals and niche markets to achieve strategic outcomes by matching and managing unique needs of buyers and sellers. Madison also facilitates appropriate financing and creates capitalization structures in areas of financial advisory services. Quite simply, Madison Street helps sell or raise capital for companies who don’t necessarily have the fundamental operational resources to do execute on their own. “Our company evolved from a valuation boutique into a diversified financial services company,” says Botchway. “Our objective is to create a client interaction where the client is better off, whether this is from a business development level where we’re trying to get a client to engage us, or whether we’re already engaged. Always, our main objective is to give the best advice possible. We have that philosophy with every client or prospect we deal with.” The general malaise of the current lending and banking
environment has affected the middle-market in particular. But for Madison Street, that has created opportunities. “A big part of our business is raising capital for our clients. When the credit crisis hit, traditional lenders (ie banks) were strapped for capital and they became very restrictive with their underwriting standards. This impacted the economy negatively while creating an underserved segment in the market,” says Botchway. “As traditional capital sources dried up, Madison Street was able to leverage their relationships with alternative sources of capital to get deals done. Also, given the diversification in our business model, the credit crisis and certain industry scandals like Madoff triggered an increase in our valuation business, as auditors and investors demanded more accurate and transparent reporting of complex and hardto-value securities.” For 2012, Madison Street Capital looks to continue their success and help their clients to meet their objectives. They want to post even better results than last year and allow their clients to do the same. “We are proud that our business model is unique, and we want to continue to provide solutions to our clients while maintaining our projected growth,” says Botchway.
Charles Botchway CEO www.madisonstreetcapital.com
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Tailoring financial strategies to meet individual goals MainStreet Financial Services helps people pursue their financial dreams.
by the suit staff
One of the drawbacks of working with big Wall Street firms is that they often lose sight of what is really happening on Main Street USA. That is where MainStreet Financial Services stands out. With a mission “to create and enrich a comfortable and confident relationship with every person,” the Luvern, MN-based financial services firm is committed to helping people pursue their financial goals by providing sound financial information and advice. Once goals have been established, MainStreet will customize strategies individually tailored to each client’s vision and objectives. Investment offerings include: mutual funds, IRAs, government securities, fixed annuities, and common stocks and bonds. MainStreet also provides assistance with life, disability, long-term care and funeral insurance. In addition, the firm is adept at estate planning and professional money management. CEO Mike Cox has been managing money for some
Marketing with Heart in the Heartland
by wendy connick
arketing a business is one of the greatest hurdles for any smallto-midsize company. Even an exceptional product will not sell if consumers don’t know where to find it. For Larry FosLarry Foster, President ter, owner of Foster Financial Foster Financial Services Services, being a successful businessman goes hand-inhand with the satisfaction of helping his hometown community. Decatur, IL is Foster ’s hometown, and he is proud of being a son of America’s Heartland. Elected to the Decatur city council four times, he is an active member and has served on the boards of several charitable organizations, including the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the Rotary Club. “I enjoy helping in the community, and because of that, almost anybody that I come in contact with, already knows me before THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
25 years. His team of seven is a close knit group who genuinely care about each other and care about the firm’s clients. That is what makes MainStreet unique and a success. “You can’t tell someone you care — you have to show them. We don’t let a customer make a major decision the first time we see them. I tell every client to ask themselves ‘Do I trust the person I was taking to? Should I do business with them?’ ” Cox said. MainStreet Financial Services is always abreast of market events, in good times and bad, and acknowledges that when times are tough, clients need a bit more handholding and personal contact. “People are universal; they want to know they are not going to run out of money, that they will be able to maintain their lifestyle – and they want to be happy,” Cox said. MainStreet’s mission is to make that happen.
I get there,” Foster said. As Chairman for the Salvation Army capital fund drive, for example, he raised $5 mil1ion dollars in a fraction of the allotted time, enabling Decatur to build a beautiful new homeless shelter. Founded in 1977, Foster Financial Services provides a myriad of insurance products and financial products, including services to individuals, as well as to businesses and their employees. With a commitment to integrity, their mission is to listen intensely, and then ask the right questions. Financial advice and planning, insurance work to provide liquidity, disability income coverage, insuring human life values, and retirement plans are at the heart of Foster Financial. Mass Mutual is the flagship company out of several used by Foster Financial. Currently, gifting has risen in importance because of potential changes at the end of 2012 in the laws regarding estate taxes. Foster ’s clients are business owners, professionals, and affluent retirees. “I attend every political fundraiser and all the charitable, black tie events,” said Foster. His marketing efforts are low-key, and focus on knowing almost everyone in town.
by david novak
Contract labor most effective in today’s it environment Headquartered in Iselin, N.J., Patriot Consulting provides enterprise staffing solutions, serving hundreds of companies Jerry Zariello across the country. Building an impeccable reputation as a full service Oracle, SAP, SharePoint and Business Intelligence boutique staffing provider, Patriot’s technical and staffing expertise qualify them as the “go-to” resource for enterprise application projects. Jerry Zariello, CEO and Managing Director of Patriot, explains that the industry has experienced a real paradigm shift with respect to contingent labor and the way enterprise jobs are staffed for their clients. “Much like a motion picture, a movie studio won’t just hire W2 employees to make the picture. When you look at the ending credits, you see many contributors to the project, and many are independent contractors,” says Zariello. “We’ve seen a shift in contract labor that can be the primary staffing method of IT environments at our clients. What we
do at Patriot is to build IT solutions around a contract labor team that can more effectively support our clients’ needs. With the current economic and political environment, the cost of labor is very expensive. Supplementing critical projects with contract labor is a very efficient way to achieve business objectives and save significant cost. Because our clients want on-demand resources at a good price, our solutions are truly … on-demand technical resources using contractors for the entire IT environments we serve.” A study by Littler Mendelson and MIT “The Littler Report” was published in 2009. It was aimed at counseling firms to achieve compliance when governmental regulation was picking up dramatic speed. In the report, they predicted that contingent workers would constitute, on average, a full 50% of the new source of workers to whom employers would turn as the recession ended. The result of this trend would be that contingent workers would make up approximately 25% of the total workforce, and this percentage would continue to increase. What few
of us realize is that the proportion of contingent workers in our workforce today is probably already over and above this 25% prediction “We took this study very seriously, and it reaffirmed our corporate strategy. To bring this to the IT business sector, we concentrated on positioning our domestic and global footprint not only to those clients in need of specific, high-level IT services, but also to those needing on-demand resources to create profits and improve their bottom line,” says Zariello. The trend toward using contract labor has helped the company grow by 40% annually. Wall Street wants to see companies invest in technology, but with the stalled economy, companies have been reluctant to do this. As the economy rebounds, however, Zariello says that businesses are once again seeking to upgrade existing enterprise systems, and Patriot is taking advantage of this need by being a world-class solutions provider. .We’re in the business of aggregating data. During the downturn of the economy, we were not impacted significantly. We experienced growth because work still had to go on. The enterprise environment still needed to be maintained, and fortunately, this was an area where companies were not willing to sacrifice. We look to continue our revenue growth, expand globally and invest in new technologies,” says Zariello.
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by larry fisher
Helping Small Business Overcome
Fear of InvestmentS Business Coaches Are Objective Advisors
he current economic uncertainty has many small business owners paralyzed, afraid to invest, says Bernhard Heine, CEO and chief coach of Professional Business Coaches, Inc. However, according to Heine, a certified business coach and sales trainer, “A downturn is when the biggest shifts in market share tend to take place. Those who do still want to take some risk, who want to step out, tend to do really well when the economy turns around, and those that were overly cautious tend to go away.” Everyone in business needs an advisor to whom he or she can turn for advice, ideally someone who is trained in all aspects of running a business and who does not operate on some personal agenda. “I’m completely objective,” says Heine, who explains that his sole goal as a business coach “is that you are completely successful in running your business.” According to the Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA, www.pbca.biz), a business coach can help a business owner reach more potential customers, and convert a higher percentage of them into actual customers. A coach also will teach the small business owner to service customers better, to encourage repeat business; to hire, train and motivate staff better; to become a better manager, better manage finances,
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
Bernhard Heine Founder, P.B.C.
and more. Heine, a member of the 100-member PBCA , holds an MBA from Harvard, and has been a management consultant, and an internal consultant with Coca-Cola and Textron. He is so confident of the benefits of business coaching that he has his own business coach, a benefit of PBCA membership. Some of his clients are doing “incredibly well” despite the current economic climate, Heine says, “because some of their competitors are sitting on their thumbs, afraid to move, and they’re just taking over. And they’re expanding and they’re advertising and they’re doing all the right things, and their businesses are growing, and meanwhile their competitors
are shrinking.” He also observes that many talented individuals downsized out of jobs in recent years have launched small businesses, even though they may lack experience in some aspects of running a company. That’s where Heine comes in, to assist them in filling in the blanks; “I’m helping them figure that out.”
by wendy connick
The Profitability of Openness
Looking for a Trusted Advisor, Tried and True by the suit staff
oo many in finance today look out for their own wellbeing at the expense of clients – diametrically opposed to how advising should work. They give the industry a black eye and incur regulation aimed at stopping the worst abuses. Steven Albrecht, CEO of Charter Trust Company, is a an investment manager with a deep sense of fiduciary responsibility. After working in most of the world’s major financial centers, Albrecht settled in Concord, NH to mold the kind of company where he would like to work. Charter Trust’s very structure is geared toward looking after the client. By adding professionals rather than management, somewhat akin to a law firm, it fosters an entrepreneurial spirit among the partners. Once a year financials are shared firm-wide, and everyone – down to the receptionist – shares in financial success, creating a personal stake in clients’ well-being. “Anybody who does anything with clients, has to meet them directly. By sitting across the table and talking about their investments, their family, it’s pretty hard to NOT realize this is real money, this is someone’s livelihood,” explained Albrecht. Specializing in individual, family and privately held companies, Charter handles $1.5 billion in client accounts, mainly through great word-of-mouth. Transparency and communication are key. When clients ask how their money is handled, Albrecht explained, “Real money managers want to tell you everything.” Albrecht is an all-around communicator, but his best communication project may be co-hosting a radio show. Today’s financial industry is awash in unusable information. To make it more understandable, Albrecht and his colleagues approached a local radio station, developing a show called “Money Basics” whose popularity grew. After the station requested daily broadcasts, Charter built a studio right in its headquarters. Charter Trust’s charitable foundation, too, is totally designed from the client’s perspective. Families can create a private foundation administered by the firm, allowing people to actively position their money to advance a cause close to their hearts.
Lifestyle Management Delivering Luxury in a Bear Market by wendy connick
n an economic downturn, luxuries are most likely the first things that consumers and businesses give up when they begin feeling pinched. So for a high-end life style management service like The Millennial Group, making it through the past few years has meant going far above and beyond the client’s expectation in service. “Unique attention to detail, quality design, and crafting with an impeccable sense of taste and style with the focus on service, that’s the most luxurious thing to me,” said Nicholas Larrow, the company founder “That’s why I started Millennial Group – because you just don’t get the service you want, nine times out of ten. When we do, it makes a huge difference, and people remember that.” Whether clients want to acquire a private aircraft, indulge in luxury travel or embark on a unique project, Larrow deploys an extensive network of connections to put his clients in touch with those who are willing and able to help them. “A lot of what we do is find experts for our clientele,” he said. “As much as I’ve done, I’m definitely not an expert in every field, but I can find you ... someone who is.” This approach allows him to offer a more extensive range of services than one person could provide alone. Larrow prefers to take on clients who will need the services of The Millennial Group more than once. This gives him a chance to get to know them, enabling him to tailor future products and services more closely to their needs. The Millennial Group’s combination of exclusivity, exceptional service, and expertise has kept the company thriving despite the economic challenges of the past few years.
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by wendy connick
Instant Trust A New Approach to Selling
elling hard and fast using manipulative selling tactics has always been the dictum for sales professionals, and for good reason. These traditional selling techniques have generated a substantial amount of commissions. At the same time, however, these tactics have also created deep levels of mistrust, driving public opinion of financial professionals to an all-time low. The old school style of selling is more prevalent than one might think. Even highly respected companies like Standard Life, in June 2012, had to disavow a memo sent by financial advisors suggesting that they push products that generate higher commissions and fees. Almost every consumer has a story of how they were pressured or misled into buying something that wasn’t necessarily in their best interests. To Steve Lewit, CEO of Wealth Financial Group, this selling approach is not only unethical, but ultimately self-defeating. In fact, his experiences led him to an interesting conclusion: Today’s more sophisticated, educated and wiser consumer is demanding a different way of doing business. “I discovered, especially with the leading edge of boomer consumers, that they don’t want any part of old school selling. They don’t want somebody ‘closing’ them, probing them, warming them up, or digging to find their hot buttons,”
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
Steve Lewit, CEO of Wealth Financial Group
he said. “I had to figure out a different way to sell, a way that had no ‘selling’ in it, yet could make more sales. A method that built instant trust. A non-selling, selling system. So that’s what I did!” Lewit’s recent book, “The Selling Chronicles,” describes a selling method that truly puts the customer ’s needs first, rather than focusing on the salesperson’s need for closing another deal. “It’s my way of dealing with people respectfully, not trying to manipulate them, getting them to see the true reality of their situation. In the end they just buy, no closing techniques needed.” In client meetings, Lewit places more emphasis on how a change in finances can improve the client’s quality of life than
he places on growth and performance numbers or product features and benefits. “Most financial professionals think they’re in the business of helping people with money, but that’s really not what the client is there for,” he said. Lewit’s sales approach involves checking his clients’ reactions to different investment options. When he suggests a new strategy, he asks the client, “Will using this product or employing that strategy improve your life?” At the end of the day, Lewit says, “I tell my clients that if what I suggest doesn’t improve their quality of life, then don’t do it. Let’s move on to something else!” Lewit is keenly aware of the each client’s emotions and believes that all sales are the result of the clients’ inner drive to re-
lieve themselves of painful emotions or to satisfy emotions yet unfulfilled. For example, a big part of providing greater quality of life is ensuring that clients feel secure, relieving their fears about their money and their future. As Lewit put it, “Clients are absolutely petrified of the economy, of politics, of institutions, and of the world economy affecting us. Bottom line, they want that fear to go away. If my strategies relieve that fear, they will buy, and they will do so without me ever having to manipulate them into some artificial closing situation.” Lewit, in light of greater competition, has also had to shift his marketing strategies. Building instant trust and relationships over time has become a necessity to gaining appointments. His marketing is based on a ‘shopping center ’ concept which gets potential customers shopping in his financial superstore and keep them coming back until they buy. His marketing strategy starts with giving something of value to prospective clients; a bundle
of investment fact sheets, a free wealth analysis, a timely book; or inviting a prospect to one of his many events; golf outings, wine tastings, trips to museums. Giving a gift without any strings attached allows trust to begin building immediately, before even speaking with the prospect about business. “We build initial relationships into ongoing relationships and, in this way, people bond to us over time. They recognize our sincerity and brand. Eventually, they say, ‘I’m going to become a client here,’” he explained. Lewit says, “The branding process must be seamless. The client must get the same message of philosophy, approach, mission and expertise in everything they see and experience with me. Otherwise, consumers see you as just another advisor and move on.” Lewit’s shopping center approach is built on information retained from client focus groups. Lewit says, “I learned that consumers want their accounting, legal, and financial work done with a coordinated team all in one place.” The non-selling sell-
ing system, combined with the wide range of financial vehicles offered through Wealth Financial Group’s shopping center concept, has helped to protect the company from the recession. “I have my ear to the market and develop multiple product strategies. We are like Neiman Marcus and Wal-Mart combined into one unique shopping experience. There is something for virtually everyone,” Lewit said. “When the market goes down, assets under management may shrink, but maybe life insurance picks up. Within the scope of what I do there’s always strength, no matter if the economy is going up or down.” Lewit reports that, so far in the 2012 calendar year, his business has grown by 37%.
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by wendy connick
a Solid ROI Employee Framework by david novack
As a boutique HR and training consulting firm, People2Strategy helps organizations execute long-term business goals by providing solutions aligning a workforce to a company’s strategy. The highly customized solutions they offer are tailored to diverse and global organizations, primarily in the hospitality
industry. “We cater primarily to the ultra-luxury hospitality client,” says Patricia Sader, Managing Partner of People2Strategy. “We started with a couple of employees, and have expanded to a staff that consists of global consultants, designers, website developers and trainers. In addition to our domestic business, we cater to large clients in Latin America and Asia as well.” During the recession, People2Strategy redirected a lot of their efforts, shifting their focus to areas where demand was high. “A lot of companies were not hiring
training managers and adopting the ‘do-more-withless’ business model. We capitalized on that by expanding our services in computer-based training and executive coaching services for executives and frontline supervisors. These were the areas that helped our clients become more efficient and cut costs,” says Sader. For 2012 and beyond, Sader and her company plan to offer more affordable web-based training modules for smaller clients, expand their executive coaching and leadership development services globally, and sell franchises of their business model to those interested in starting their own human resources and executive leadership development firms.
A Personal Touch for Small Businesss
by helen e. moss
No more talking to offshore customer service, particularly for those small businesses in New England getting personal attention from On-line Credit Card Services, Inc. Based in Sturbridge, MA, the company offers merchant credit card processing services, gift and loyalty cards, and check services, including remote deposit. However, Michael Young, president, entered the business serendipitously. He was providing billing services for medical professionals when, in 1991, he bought an electronic payments business as an add-on. “The electronic payments industry just exploded in all different directions,” Young said, and he soon left the doctors behind. Young’s niche market is small business, predominantly in the northeast. “We focus on what people say you can’t get any more – good, attentive customer service not ‘get the customer off the phone as soon as possible’” Young explained. “We take our time to find out what people need and do the job right.” Over 20 years, methods of making payments now
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include payments via Internet and the growth of debit cards, once solely used at ATMs. Conversion from magnetic stripe to electromagnetic verification (EMV), already used in Europe, is on the way and mobile transactions – paying via smartphone, laptop or tablet – are the latest area of growth, all based in the cloud. Credit card transactions are a business asset. On-line can provide funding against this income stream if credit is not available from banks, but Young stresses that this is high-rate, subprime lending and not long-term. On the plus side, the daily cost can be almost unnoticeable. When a business makes its daily deposit to the bank, On-line takes a small portion off the top to pay the loan, typically $75 on a $1,000 deposit, freeing up cash relatively painlessly. Young wants to grow the company. He anticipates looking for effective ways of attracting and training good quality sales people, “feet on the street” who can give great personal customer service.
by the suit staff
Rolling In the
Pizza Dough Family style from the Rosati Family “As more and more pizzas came out, I just couldn’t put them in boxes fast enough. They were all over the kitchen – I was sort of like Lucy in the candy factory,” explained CEO Marla Topliff, of Rosati’s Pizza.“So it was kind of funny that they never let me work in the kitchen again after that.” In the beginning, Topliff didn’t really need to learn pizza-making when she joined Rosati’s. By doubling the number of restaurants the corporate exec has certainly proven she can raise the dough. Ferdinand Rosati opened a restaurant in Chicago’s famous Taylor Street area in the 1900’s. “He used to put an appetizer on the table called pizza al’olio, and guests just loved it. It was flat, round bread with a little garlic, oil and some tomatoes on top – his idea of pizza,” said Topliff. When she started as Marketing Manager, besides family-operated stores, “Cooks and managers loved the business and the family so much, many asked if they could open a Rosati’s. That’s how our business grew.” The franchise was not in a branded position. By visiting every location, creating marketing and operations manuals, and coordinating logos and designs, Topliff unified the collection of pizza businesses into Rosati’s Pizzas. The economic downturn hurt, but pizza fared better than most. “If people can’t afford go to a fine restaurant, they’ll go for comfort food and pizza is comfort food.”
During the slump, Rosati’s lost some stores, but bounced back. By stabilizing prices and bundling family offers, customers could have an affordable family meal that was still a treat. Rosati’s hasn’t stopped innovating, either. “We just added a chili cheese dog pizza – quite a sensation in Chicago. It really does taste exactly like a chili cheese hot dog you’d get on Chicago street corners. When we presented it to David Rosati, he asked, ‘Do you really want me to eat a chili cheese dog pizza?’ Then he took one bite of it and it went on the menu,” Topliff remarked. Goals include expanding into more states, using social media in every store, and developing a “13th month” of income through
As more and more pizzas came out, I just couldn’t put them in boxes fast enough. They were all over the kitchen – I was sort of like Lucy in the candy factory,” - Marla Topliff
catering. Also working with a Canadian author, Erle Dardick on “Back to the Basics,” a restaurant industry documentary film, Topliff believes communication is really key to success. “I try to pick a few franchisees every day and call to ask how they’re doing. I know every franchisee and their families – who they are and what’s important to them,” Topliff said. “Good personal contact keeps a happy family.”
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by wendy connick
For that bit of entrepreneur in all of us
ome companies hustle to make payroll, finding the journey to success to be a tough grind. Although staying focused only on the bottom line might be useful, it can also be limiting. In other words, the most successful companies are not just repositories of knowledge coupled to sets of “how-to” skills, but often begin with vision, attitude and the right mindset. This is where Reagan Rodriguez excels. Rodriguez, owner of 5th Avenue Acquisitions and Venture Capitals knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship. Reagan Rodriguez, 5th Avenue Acquisitions In the beginning, he went from a driveway business, to a franchise advising business, to creating many small businesses that he could sell. “I was a serial entrepreneur, with the knowhow to build and sell businesses at a very early age. I sold a business that I owned, then started another business and sold it too.” - Reagan Rodriguez Successful and wanting a larger project, in 2006 Rodriguez acquired the American Doctor Sales, a medical practice brokerage, turning it into 5th Avenue Acquisitions and Venture Capital. Their niche market became buying and selling healthcare businesses, including those in the dental, veterinary, optometry www.5thaavc.com and plastic surgery fields. “I was originally a business broker buying and selling businesses.” Why healthcare? Even during the economic downturn,
It is the intangible projects that motivate me more than the tangible”
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financing was available from lending institutions and could be 100% for such businesses. In addition, a pool of people was created who, having sold their business, had money to invest into another. Rodriguez selected as board members people with experience in the healthcare industry, in areas he lacked, along with good business experience. “I work with them as a think tank,” Rodriguez said, “almost like a master mind where we brainstorm for the company.” The art of brainstorming has been successful. “We do work on projects we feel good about or that help in the medical field,” Rodriguez explained. Among the projects Rodriguez is proud of include growing the venture capital for RN Medical, a company which sells Q Laser equipment, a low light laser that helps with pain relief. He also serves on that board. The company is doing very well and is quite innovative. Among his goals are to focus on vision and having passion based on that vision. With the ultimate goal of having offices in all 50 states, 5th Avenue Acquisitions is working on adding partners in the US. The firm plans to grow through adding six new partners a year, and offer training and support by providing tools to help new partners develop the right mindset and attitude to build and run a successful business. “It is the intangible projects that motivate me more than the tangible,” said Rodriguez.
by the suit staff
POST-HOUSING MARKET BUBBLE
he sharp economic downturn, paired with a long, slow recovery has driven people to seek Maria Cabral professional help with their finances. For the lucky ones, that search leads to Maria Cabral, whose financial advisory services company, Contempo Financial Solutions LLC, has been expanding despite the tough fiscal climate. Whether Cabral’s clients find themselves unexpectedly downsized and need to rollover 401(k)s into a safe place, or want relief from those “record low-interest-earning bank accounts,” Cabral points them in the right direction. “[Baby Boomers] are tired of the volatility in the market; they want safety in their money, and people are looking for guarantees, making them look into indexed annuities and cash-value life insurance as an alternative.” The bursting of the U.S. housing bubble – called in hindsight “the pop heard ‘round the world” – happened in 2007, the same year that Cabral opened Contempo. Prior to that, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extended the dream of owning a home, complete with tax breaks, to countless low- and moderate-income Americans. A housing frenzy
ensued, taking on more risk and becoming increasingly unwieldy, with a toxic mixture of low interest loans, constantly rising housing prices and shady mortgages, until the bubble burst, leaving taxpayers holding the bag and many people without homes. Contempo was able to do better than survive this housing debacle. In fact, Cabral’s most spectacular successes are in the area of mortgages. Whether clients want to avoid bankruptcy and stay in their homes, pay down their debt, or pay off a mortgage in record time while saving on interest, in this economy many are afraid to make any kind of move, thinking they can’t afford it. This is where Cabral really helps. The almost magical mortgage acceleration software, “My GPS for Money,” turns the tables on mortgage payment schedules. According to Cabral, banks load 80% of interest payments at the front of the payment schedule. By almost reversing that, the “My GPS” algorithm works to the homeowner’s advantage, netting clients more in real gains than almost any other investment vehicle available today. The testimonials are overwhelming. Cabral’s portfolio of services also includes Medicare and long-term care insurance. Since standard health insurance does not include any provision for long-term care,
she stresses how much it “helps the insured maintain their independence and freedom of choice over how and where their care services are provided, and allows them to protect their assets and be sure their long-term care need does not create a physical or financial burden on the family.” In a related observation, Cabral notes that increasingly, clients are concerned that their remaining assets actually get to designated beneficiaries. “That’s something,” she explains, “people also look for from my services.” Cabral said she gets most of her business through referrals, adding that 100 percent of her clients have expressed satisfaction with her services. “That is something that I’m very proud to say.”
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by wendy connick
I’ve had conversations with people who actually believe new treatments for HIV are no longer fundable.”
Treating THE Forgotten Disease Keeping awareness alive by Doing Well
n 1987, when the drug AZT was first approved for HIV treatment, the medical community hailed it as a breakthrough—the beginning of the end of HIV/ AIDS as a death sentence. AZT certainly was a major advance in treatment, particularly when combined with other oral agents in a cocktail which prevented the virus from mutating into resistant forms. However, HIV patients still struggle with AZT’s side effects today, and are challenged by its rigorous twice-daily regimen. Resistance has developed as well. “I’ve ...had conversations with people who actually believe new treatments for HIV... are no longer fundable. They claim they cannot do real funding for a truly novel approach to HIV because people are comfortable taking a cocktail of oral therapies…but that is such a narrow view of the actual panorama,” said Conrad Mir, Chairman/CEO of Genetic Immunity. “It is a complete misnomer that HIV is no longer a problem. It is an ongoing problem. It’s still here.” Mir joined Genetic Immunity when he became excit-
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
- Conrad Mir
ed by the potential of their lead product, DermaVir, an HIV immunotherapy treatment. This innovative agent utilizes the body’s own immune system to kill HIV-infected cells, unlike oral treatments which merely slow their production. DermaVir is applied just once every 90 days for three years. “This represents a paradigm shift in treatment! Today, when patients become infected with HIV, they will be on oral anti-retroviral therapy for the rest of their lives. Adherence will always be an issue,” Mir said. “So, I think going from every day forever to once every 90 days with a patch for only three hours, is a pretty good tradeoff.” DermaVir is not an oral therapy…rather it uses a unique transdermal delivery system called the DermaPrep medical device. DermaPrep is based on Genetic Immunity’s proprietary nanomedicine technology platform which can easily be adapted for topical use with other drugs. DermaPrep is a skin patch that delivers over 90% of the medication directly into the body, at a far higher delivery rate than standard medications. The patch delivers the drug to dendritic cells of the lymph nodes via Langerhans cells. This, in turn, utilizes and boosts the patient’s immune system to attack the HIV virus. Genetic Immunity (www.geneticimmunity.com) is currently a privately held company, headquartered in the US and research and development laboratories in Hungary. It has already obtained marketing approval in Europe for the DermaPrep medical device. Mir plans to partner with other pharmaceutical companies by selling them the DermaPrep medical device, which these companies can then use to topically administer their own drugs. “So not only are our peers our competitors, but they can also be potential customers. They can buy DermaPrep from us and suddenly improve the thru-put of their actual drug,” he said. Mir hopes to take Genetic Immunity public in the US, and is planning a U.S.-listing in the very near future.
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by the suit staff
How One Company Does Well By Making Sure You’re Doing Well
ancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, half of all men and one-third of all women in the US will develop some form of cancer during their lifetimes. Yet a true cure for cancer remains elusive. Almost 70% of cancer cases worldwide are not curable. Chester Billingsley, CEO of Mentor Capital Inc.,(OTCBB:MNTR) wants to change all that. According to Billingsley, the problem doesn't lie in a lack of research or discovery – it's a lack of funding to develop the discoveries that is slowing down the delivery of a cure. “There are plenty of good discoveries out there,” he said. “But between the hoped for sale to big pharma and that earlier discovery, in the industry it's called – in sort of a macabre fashion – the Valley of Death. And the reason so many companies die is because of lack of funding in this gap.” Can-
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
cer research is usually well funded by government, university or nonprofit organizations during its early stages. But, if a drug development company doesn't complete the process of clearing FDA trials and selling this research as a product to a pharmaceutical company, the entire discovery is lost regardless of its potential value. Mentor Capital steps in after a researcher's discovery has been patented and helps fund his firm to complete the process of formal product testing and development. “What we try to do is [to] pick out the very best of the discoveries,” Billingsley said. “ Myself and others talk to the research team and ultimately I ascertain ... whether their medical advance is real t, if it's going to make a difference, or if it's just something that's warmed over.” Billingsley then selects the most exceptional discoveries and Mentor Capital funds the rest of the development period, usu-
ally for one to five years. In recent years cancer researchers have begun to change their overall approach to a cure. “It used to be, they would try to just poison the cancer,” Billingsley said. “The problem with that is, you are very much like the cancer – it's very close. It's like if you have a wart on your big toe, and we'll try to give you enough poison until the wart dies.” A better approach now being funded is to use the body's own immune system to attack and defeat the cancer cells as it does with bacterial infections. The danger of this approach, and a key factor Mentor Capital screens for, is that because cancer cells are so similar to healthy cells in appearance, the immune system might not stop with the damaged cells but could turn on the healthy cells as well, causing even more problems. One new generation of research focuses on tagging the cancer cells so that they become distinct from the
rest of the body. Then the patient's own immune system can identify the cancer cells as intruders and kill them without harming healthy tissues. “Every now and then you hear of miraculous recoveries from cancer. Those miraculous recoveries are always because somehow, the immune system became aware of the cancer and attacked it,” Billingsley said. “We're trying to find and fund cancer fighting companies that can trigger same type of miraculous recoveries whenever any of us is stricken with this deadly desease. .” Mentor Capital has continued to fund the development of the best of cancer research and discoveries during the economic downturn. “It is tougher now. A lot of people are feeling the pinch and they have lost some savings, their house is upside down or their business is not doing so well, so they can't put up the ten or twenty thousand dollars that they historically have invested into
the cancer field.or” Billingsley explained. As a publicly owned company, Mentor Capital is able to acquire funds to invest in commercializing cancer research by acquiring a majority or investment interest in each of several privately owned cancer fighting companies. Other things being equal, these acquisitions raise Mentor Capital's own value and that could cause an increase in its share price Mentor attempts to fund and pass on some of the benefits of public ownership and financing to the cancer companies, even though the research companies themselves are still privately owned. wIn Mentor cancer funding program in progress on a new treatment for melanoma, Mentor Capital was able to step in and start to provide funding when the original source of capital dried up. “Melanoma looks like very bad acne boils, except they're black. These people receive a melanoma vaccine and have been
Every now and then you hear of miraculous recoveries from cancer. Those miraculous recoveries are always because somehow, the immune system became aware of the cancer, and attacked it” - Chester Billingsley
receiving it for seven years – 128 of them. And we’ve seen that when they receive the melanoma vaccine, the black boils recede like tetracycline given to an acne sufferer,” Billingsley said. ”It is a great reward to our shareholders to be able to help the cancer fight in the critical gap where help is needed, in addition to earning financial returns.”
SURVIVORS MNTR Supported Cancer Trial
We and 121 others have been in a cancer immunotherapy trial for Melanoma that was spreading terribly. We are the fighters that have been in monthly treatment for 7 to 14 years.
Real Hope from New Cancer Science: Multi-Cancer Immuno-therapy and Mentor Capital (MNTR), our new trial sponsor, our Melanoma Vaccine. is public and looks to fund development of the (Always consult a financial advisor.) most promising non-profit discoveries. Their shareholders finance our cancer trials (Thanks!)
My healthy daughter (center) was born one year after my first cancer surgery. We’re here today thanks to the financial angels that have supported our trials.
MNTR is investing or in discussion with leading-edge cancer solutions including for Neutron Therapy, Non-Clamping Mammography, Stem Cell Treatments,
(800) 574 - 6320 www.MentorCapital.com Trading Symbol: MNTR
This is neither an offer to sell, nor a solicitation for offers to purchase securities. survivors.indd 1
11/21/11 3:16 PM
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Diversification is the Key Recession-proofing a business by diversifying
D Jerry Ellison, President JBE Incorporated
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
uring an economic downturn, businesses in “recession-proof” industries tend to fare much better than similar size companies in industries not so protected. Small business owners not fortunate enough to be within one of the recession-proof sectors can still insulate themselves from economic turmoil by targeting customers who ARE in a protected industry. Such customers will be more likely to keep purchasing at a decent rate, because they won’t feel the same cost-cutting pressure as customers in other industries.
In 2006, JBE Incorporated’s main customer base was the automotive industry. When the economic crisis forced big automakers into a financial tailspin, Jerry Ellison, president of JBE Inc., decided to change strategies. “We realized that we needed to make sure that we were diversified so as to not be depending on one industry, and so that’s what we have done,” Ellison said. “We saw that there were industries ... less affected by the downturn in the economy, by recession. Because of our focus on those industries, we have experienced growth even during these
by david novack
times.” Ellison managed to re-gear his business toward providing products and services for customers in new industries with only minor modifications. For example, one of JBE Inc.’s major products is sub-assemblies, so Ellison’s company started exploring non-automotive uses for them. “We do it for the lawn and garden, which is Husqvarna, we do it for Cummings, we do work with Sunoco,” he said. “During the downturn in the automobile industry, Cummings was not as adversely affected, ... sales of trucks continued on because of
their global business.” In late 2010 JBE Inc. entered into a contract with Husqvarna to manufacture transmissions for their lawnmowers. JBE Inc. also focused on finding contracts in the aerospace industry, which Ellison’s research indicated was still a growth sector. “This new composite that they’re building aircraft with, a lot of folks may not realize the astronomical effect it’s going to have on that industry. The 787 plane weighed a million pounds and now, through the composite, it weighs 300,000 pounds,” he said. “That’s why Boeing has had so many orders. In November, Boeing received a 21 billion dollar order for some planes – one of their largest orders. The next week, they got another 19 billion dollar order. And then they came back two weeks later and got a 35 billion dollar order.” JBE Inc. is one of four suppliers in Boeing’s South Carolina Mentorship Program Tracking technological advances like the new aircraft composite can provide one excellent indicator of a recession-proof sector; tracking trends can provide another. The health care industry, for example, continues to flourish despite the fact that many Americans can no longer afford health insurance. Health care as an industry is largely supported by the aging Baby Boomer segment of the population, with its increasing need for more and better care. “We looked at the growth markets that are recession-proof. And those growth markets included the aerospace, the IT, as well as the pharmaceutical or medical markets,” Ellison said. “Now we also work with the pharmaceutical, GSK: GlaxoSmithKline.” JBE Inc. provides cold storage warehousing facilities for GSK’s pharmaceutical stock. Diversification is a key part of any small business strategy, because even recession-proof sectors can suffer from sudden industry-specific downturns. For this reason, Ellison
chose to focus on not one, but several growth sectors. Retooling his company to service multiple customer types gave JBE Inc. a much stronger safety net, and the results have been a substantial increase in revenue. “We have diversified, so that if one area is affected, then we also will be producing for another. Consequently that’s why our company has, over the years, continued to grow and to grow,” Ellison said. “This year is, quite honestly, a banner year for us. Our sales reached 31.1 million, and our previous high ... was about 21 and a half million. So we have progressively grown over the years.” Ellison has kept a tight staff despite his company’s diversification strategy. Still, JBE Inc. has grown from three employees in 1982 to 95 employees today. The company has also gone global by managing strategic partners in India, China and England with plans for more... “Yes, China and India are a lower cost. However, that is not the reason we have gone there. We’ve gone there to support the needs of our customer,” he explained. “The reason why we’re doing this is because the world is flat. We’re in a global economy.”
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by the suit staff
There’s Big Cheddar in
hen it comes down to cutting a rocksolid deal in the defense contracting industry, at MartinFederal Consulting, CEO Corey Martin is the man to seal the deal. “MartinFederal is a small and tightly run company,” Martin explained. ” we supplement and work with larger companies and provide needed services to the government that allows for competitive rates and successful task completion without heavy overhead.” Providing support to the Federal government, MartinFederal has four lines of business: cyber and systems security, enterprise and IT support, intelligence services, and programmatics. Despite massive cuts in defense spending, and Congress’ determination to avoid the “sequestration” process – facing $1 trillion across-the-board cuts to federal spending – the firm is virtually thriving, even in such a tough market. “My organization has been able to supplement larger companies/ contractors in providing critical services to the Government at competitive rates” Martin said. “That’s one of the reasons I we work to maintain a low overhead, I don’t need warm bodies just sitting in office chairs. If the work allows the employee to work from home, we are amenable to that; we embrace a flex-type work environment.” MartinFederal looks at its employees as its greatest asset, giving them benefits that match the large companies and even hiring employees from some of them, who want to work where it matters. The company has an expansion plan, adding another 60 staff members to the business in November with the win of a very important space operations contract. “We want to provide the most competitive rates,” he said. The company now has the right to receive “solesource contracts, without open competition, up to a ceiling of $4 million.” Martin said the company has received countless projects from various governmental agencies. Small businesses, being more flexible, can usually make decisions on a dime. In the near future, the firm will be
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
Corey Martin - CEO, MartinFederal Consulting
able to form “joint venture” deals and be able to develop teams to bid on contracts. Working as a small business and teaming with larger contractors, MartinFederal can provide the Government and the larger contractor ’s competitive rates and a Win/Win situation for all. “The government realizes that they get a greater bang for their buck with us,” he said. The firm also received a lucrative contract to work with a large prime supporting NASA. . . We have done a great job in supporting the prime and they have been pleased with our staff and level of responsiveness,” Martin said.
by monica link
There’s No Place Like Home ... for a Brooklyn Architect
rebounding economy, along with improving neighborhoods and even a few housing bargains is driving more New Yorkers toward Brooklyn. Known for its artsy crowds and open loft spaces, the area is even attracting Manhattanites and creating business opportunities for architects like James Koster. Award-winning, Brooklyn Heights-based architect Koster said that in 2012 his firm is seeing an increase in people looking to make Brooklyn their “Home Sweet Home,” renovating brownstones in the process. “People want to move to areas of Brooklyn that were once considered undesirable,” said Koster, CEO of James Koster Architect, PLLC. “There’s a lot of opportunity there for us to grow our business.” Brooklyn is an older part of New York, home to many historic districts, neighborhoods and buildings. As an architect who frequently appeared before the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Koster is uniquely poised to do elegant and accurate renovations, keeping the older, unique flavor of a building while making it livable in today’s world. For restoring a Civil War-era newspaper building, he even won a New York State Preservation League award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. Business prospects have not always been so bright. Along with economic instability, architects like Koster experienced periods of fewer phone calls and even fewer projects that could move from prospect to fruition. Koster said his love for art and design helped him overcome the tough times, as did diversifying projects and expanding his customer base. Before becoming a successful New York City architect, Koster’s love of renovation, architecture and design grew out of inspiration he felt as a young boy watching his mother – also an architect – work on different projects. “I understood the role of an architect as a child,” Koster said. “I developed an early interest in drawing and painting. It was an easy decision to go into the field.” Koster quickly rose to the top of his field, becoming a part of major renovation projects and creating original designs across the city. He was even a guest designer
on HGTV’s hit show, “Kidspace.” After 10 successful years at a fine mid-sized firm in New York City, he founded his own firm in 2003. Koster not only takes part in New York metro area projects, but his nationallyrecognized expertise is also requested for projects across the country. Today, Brooklyn’s star has risen yet again, and Koster plans to help his clients become a real part of its exciting revitalization.
THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.31
by helen e. moss
Heart of an Inventor, Brain of an Environmentalist
art inventor, part environmentalist and part chemical engineer, Christopher Alison, CEO of Ditec International Corp has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. “When I wake up in the morning the only thing I think about is the company and what we are doing with our chemicals,” he added: “ What keeps me going are new innovations, things that change our lives for the better.” Born in Sweden, Alison speaks as passionately about the environment as he does about Ditec. Under the Ditec International umbrella, the company creates and produces environmentally safe sealants to preserve, and cleaning solutions that maintain all types of marine, auto, aeronautic and building surfaces subject to weather, from paint to teak, silver, leather and glass. The list of environmentally damaging chemicals not allowed in Ditec is long. “I do this because I like it. If we always think about money it doesn’t work. People do best when they love what they are doing,” emphasized Alison, and surfaces are not all they do at Ditec. Alison’s newest product may radically change the shipping industry. Ships burn bunker fuel, the tar-like sludge left over after processing petroleum. Heating allows injection into an engine but it is loaded with sulfur, emitting sulfur dioxide when burned. Consider the enormous scale of a vessel’s engine; with over 65,000 ships plying the seas, emission problems immediately magnify. This year marine sulfur emissions must start lowering, reaching tar-
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
gets by 2020. Currently, ships can use post-burning sulfur scrubbers or marine gas oil (MGO) at twice the price, but another possibility will soon emerge from Ditec. Using pre-burning technology, Alison created a product to remove sulfur before fuel is injected into the engine, addressing the problem in a way that is “cleaner, less work, more effective and also cheaper.” Ditec previously developed DNS100 that cleans fuel before burning for gas turbine engines, and is currently installed in 8 Royal Caribbean ships. Alison explained how, in reducing alkaline metals like salts from fuel, “those engines surpassed their life expectancy, going over 25,000 hours without repair and saving an average of $1-3 million per year,” Alison emphasizes, “When people talk about environmental issues or want something good to happen, I usually say ‘try to fix it in your own backyard first’ and Ditec is my backyard. I am privileged enough to actually be able to do something, to create something better that makes life better.”
When I wake up in the morning the only thing I think about is the company and what we are doing with our chemicals” - Christopher Alison
master of Geek Speak by the suit staff
tressing about IT seems a normal state of affairs for businesses without their own colossal computer department. Security, hardware, custom applications and problems with company websites are enough to make many CEOs tear out whatever hair they have left in their head. Enter XSolutions Consulting Services, LLC, a partnership based in New York, who are masters of “geek-speak” but with their feet planted firmly on the ground. Headed by CEO Joseph Imperato, XSolutions is different from other IT consulting firms: they know business from the inside out. He’s a master of hardware, software and web development using software like Sharepoint, while his partner has a wealth of experience in business systems – analysis, forecasting, budgeting, P&L – and also writes all of the user manuals and documentation. Yes, that elusive thing called documentation is provided, written in human terms, with every custom application. After recent presentations on disaster recovery, Imperato was interviewed by one radio station and asked to appear as a future guest on another radio show to talk more about the same topic, vital for small business. XSolutions, a longtime user of “the cloud,” also advocates cloud technology for disaster recovery and business continuity. “With Cloud migration there’s a number of different ways that whole process can go,” explained Imperato. “It can be hybrid, public, private, but probably the biggest challenge we have had is educating our clients as to what the cloud is and what the best way to move into it is.”
Service is his Name, his Aim and his Game by the suit staff
fter ordinary business executives have a sitdown with the computer techie assisting them on some complex IT issue, they’re usually left swirling in a pool of high-tech blather. “Did you even understand anything that person said?” These are the words lingering in the backs of the minds of countless CEOs in the corporate world. Some techies need their own high-brow interpreter; others prefer computers over people. Being a great communicator is surely the last thing on their minds. Enter Matt Service, founder and CEO of Service Internet Solutions (SIS) based in CT. As a master communicator, he speaks to groups at all levels on tech topics in an understandable, commonsense way. Appearing on popular radio shows including “Computer Talk with Tab” on WTIC and “Open for Business” on Hartford Online Radio, he is also an Instructor in Rhode Island School of Design’s Continuing Ed program, where his seminar is an important part of their Web design curriculum. Testimonials raving about Service and SIS call him responsive, and something even more rare – a good listener. As a web developer, SIS has been focusing on businesses for 16 years. “We differentiate ourselves by learning a lot more about an industry,” Service explained. Companies turn to SIS for help with everything from web hosting to application development to SEO. Mainly, SIS creates and develops websites for all kinds of businesses – from a charming website for a doll company to a full blown Intranet, complete with knowledgebase and company directory for a 40,000-employee corporation handling major sports and entertainment venues. He also proves to be facile with mobile apps and social networking. Community-oriented, SIS served as a sponsor for “Startup Weekend Storrs,” where people create new businesses over one weekend. “Make sure there is a purpose to your website,” Service offers as sound advice. “It’s a roadmap for how your business will be accessed over the Internet.”
www.sisintl.com Service Internet Solutions THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.33
by the suit staff
Staying Ahead of the Curve Able Sheet Metal CEO credits success to no debt and hard work
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
t could have been an incredibly bad omen. Dmitri Triphon bought Able Sheet Metal, Inc., on September 11, 2001. But, it could have become much worse, too. Able Sheet Metal manufactures and distributes roof vents, edging, flashing and other metal pieces for roofing wholesalers and small lumberyards. Companies like his new acquisition started going under after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and continued into the subsequent recession that slowed the building industry to a near halt. Instead of being another small manufacturing company handing out pink slips and closing its doors, Triphon and Able Sheet Metal did something different: it turned a profit. “We came into a recession debtfree. We didn’t have any loans,” Triphon said, noting that some of his competitors faced the recession in the red. “And some of them went under. Some of them had to scale down their operations. And we took advantage of that. We purchased some equipment like 25 cents on the dollar.” Not only did they buy discounted equipment, but Able Sheet Metal also aggressively took
its stake in the market. It wasn’t so easy either, with the price of steel down and building becoming cheaper. “We still manage to get a profit,” Triphon said. “Most importantly right now, [we are] trying to increase the market share.” A native of Russia, Triphon said he left in 1973 “before the Iron Curtain came down.” After working in a related industry for 25 years, he bought Able Sheet Metal with three partners. Established in 1946, the company is based in Los Angeles. Five years ago, they were able to open another location in northern California, which Triphon said is also doing well. Able Sheet Metal services companies in California, Nevada and Arizona. Currently, about 100 people are on the payroll. What puts Able Sheet Metal above its competitors is what Triphon describes as something that seems very basic and simple. “I recognized the weaknesses in the industry ... and we addressed them,” he said. It boiled down to three areas needing improvement – service, quality and price. “Improvements [have been] tremendous. We’ve been growing almost 40 percent a year.” As for 2012, Triphon’s No. 1 goal is to continue to grow beyond clients currently being served in California, Nevada and Arizona. The company is looking to expand into more states, such as Arizona and Utah. “We need to expand,” he said. “We have to follow customers to provide service.”
The Solution to your Web Hosting Woes Bliztek Web Solutions Provides Web Hosting around the Globe
liztek Web Solutions has been providing reliable web hosting and website design for years. In its infancy, Bliztek only provided services to local clients in its Marshfield, MA area. Since then, it has expanded, currently offering and providing web hosting services for clients around the globe. The company stands out and excels by offering tech support not just during normal hours of operation, but 24/7/365. In addition, every web hosting plan comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. In fact, if a customer is not satisfied with regular support, he or she can ask for CEO Steve Brown, and he will personally handle any inquiry. Brown takes great pride in his company and is a hands-on leader. He aims to make sure all clients are 100 percent satisfied. “At Bliztek, I am more focused on a client’s needs than making a profit. We go above
by the suit staff
and beyond to meet and exceed customer expectations,” Brown said. As far as being affected by the Great Recession, Brown saw opportunity rather than obstacles. “The Internet is hot. A web page is a sure way to get noticed,” he commented. The future for Bliztek is bright and Brown has his sights on further global growth. He plans to add more services, hire more employees and get the Bliztek name out there. Always on top of tomorrow’s technology, Bliztek is a company of the future.
Rebuilding Big Pharma’s Business Model
While the business climate for pharmaceutical companies has changed dramatically over the last five years, the business model has not by david novack Declining R&D productivity, rising costs of commercialization, increasing payor influence and shorter exclusivity periods all drive up costs, reducing expected returns on new investment. To restore healthy financial results, the industry is looking for new business models. Ralph Donnelly has seen 20 years of consulting in the pharmaceutical industry ups and downs. As president and CEO of R. Donnelly & Associates, Inc., he provides consulting to integrate FDA/regulatory compliance with improving productivity for FDA regulated industries. This takes many forms such as project management, facility construction and renovation, process improvement, validation services and quality systems development. “Our biggest challenge is to keep up with FDA regulations, and provide value added consulting services to our biotech, pharma, medical device and our new dietary supplement clients. While we’ve taken a real hit with the downturn in the economy, we’ve had some
positive takeaways from it,” says Donnelly. “Our focus has changed from supporting growth in these industries to maximizing integration of production and plant services to maximize their profits.” Specifically, Donnelly states that many of our clients expansion programs and some non-regulatory requirements have been cut. Also, some pharmaceutical companies production has moved to other countries. “While this hurt our business, this has also provide the motivation to rethink the business model and services ” Donnelly said. the original plan was to build a consulting firm that has value with it’s employee’s and client base. “At one point I wanted to merge, but quickly found out that the economic downturn has changed the business model. We need to never loose sight of company’s bottom line while growing. Profitability must be maintained by continuously changing to meet the ever changing business climate.
THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.35
by the suit staff
A Cost Effective Approach To ERP
f one man stands out in the world of Enterprise Resource Planning and Material Requirements Planning, it is Garth Geoghan, President and CEO of DataLink-Systems, LLC. With over 21 years of experience in Information Technology, DataLink Systems is also an authorized reseller of MiSys Manufacturing, ERP software for small manufacturers. “I started in the IT department in manufacturing 23 years ago,” he said from his office in Denver, Colorado. “I was responsible for administering and maintaining ERP systems,” adding,
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
“I developed an expertise in the software and was later hired by a value-added reseller of that particular software product as a consultant.” ERP refers to the integration of as many departments as possible within a company – using a single underlying transactional database being constantly rather than periodically updated – allowing each department to check progress in real or close to real time. Data accuracy becomes of paramount importance. According to Garth, “[An] ERP system allows companies to handle the production process, activity, sales structure and bill of materials, shipping and receiving and all ac-
counting functions.” Geoghan said the process of integration between financials and manufacturing is what leads to all of the departments being integrated,” he continued. “I have written software for years that would provide functional enhancements, and in addition to consulting, I would also be involved in implementation projects,” Geoghan added: “That [is] software for new companies who have just purchased the [ERP] software.” DataLink-Systems’ consultants are located all over the country, saving clients money by mainly working on projects remotely. “My primary residual business is consulting. Implementing systems of this type and scale is a big challenge for a manufacturing company. It changes the culture of how they do business, from procedures to policy,” Geoghan, said, He noted that his software and consulting end of the business has been quite lucrative. “I meet with clients and the executive management team working together simultaneously, Geoghan said, “I help to get them up and go live within a (reasonable) time frame.”
by wendy connick
Whether Medical Technology Failure or Human Error
ll techn o l o g y, no matter how well designed, has a failure rate. But when medical technology breaks down, the results can be fatal. Although the FDA subjects any new medical technology to a review process before it can be marketed, amazingly enough, there is no defined procedure for monitoring the equipment’s performance once it has been placed on the market. “When there’s a medical malpractice lawsuit, people think that everybody’s named as a defendant, but actually, often the medical device servicer and the medical device manufacturer are not among those named,” said David Darnel, founder of MedProductsLaw Inc. Darnel began his career as a hospital biomedical engineer in 1979 (Certified Clinical Engineer) and later transitioned to the legal side of medical technology. “Occasionally lawsuits would arise in the hos-
pital, and I would be called as the hospital’s engineer, as a fact witness,” he added. “... I was able to see how different lawyers operated and I said, ‘You know, I can do that.’” Even when a medical device operates perfectly, human error can result in patient injury or even death. In recent years hospitals have emphasized buying and deploying technology over hiring more medical staff as a money saving strategy. “If the standard of care medically, let’s say, is to do carbon dioxide monitoring on this category of patient, the old approach is to hire people to do blood gas testing,” Darnel said. “The new approach reduces the need for clinical FTEs [full time equivalents] and instead, hooks up a continuous or sampling monitoring device.” Bringing in more and more technology to handle medical needs also increases the risk of either product failure or human
error in handling that technology. For example, multiple monitoring devices, each using different alarms might be missed or misinterpreted, leading hospital staff to ignore a critical warning. Darnel believes that the best way to cope with medical technology failure is to take precautions to keep it from happening in the first place. “There’s a safety theory that says that an injury doesn’t happen but for the alignment of several problems. It’s called the Swiss cheese model of error, where an error doesn’t pass through unless all the different factors line up,” Darnel said. “So you can achieve a safer healthcare process if you’re involved in the design, acquisition and the training of the devices, rather than reacting after the fact to change procedures.” Recently, Darnel became the Director of Biomedical Engineering at the new Orange Regional Medical Center in New York.
www.medproductslaw.com THE SUIT MAGAZINE p.37
by monica link
Passion But Technology Changes Business.
oday, as social media has come to dominate the time of Internet users, consumers can and do make their voices heard immediately about experiences with people, products and services. Boston-based Criminal Defense Attorney Steven J. Topazio is among legal professionals who say the Internet has significantly altered their ways of doing business, adding a new avenue for clients to tell others about their experiences. “People are technically savvy,” said Topazio. “Law used to be a word-of-mouth profession - that is, getting clients exclusively from referrals from other clients. When I started practicing law, it was thought undignified in the legal profession to advertise for work. Over time that perception changed and legal advertising focused primarily on print – but today more people are going to the Internet instead of relying on print to look for help with their legal problems. As technology changes you have to adapt to survive. If you utilize the internet in your law practice, you have to do your best job every time and treat clients fairly to be a success. You should do everything possible to satisfy a client so as to and avoid negative reviews. Consumers rely on reviews when making a selection and positive reviews drive business,” said Topazio. “Anyone with a computer can check you out online and research your results.” Getting great results is the focus of Topazio’s law firm, the Law Offices of Steven J. Topazio. As a solo practitioner starting out in 1990, Topazio experienced the growing pains of every young attorney fresh out of law school, learning how to build a clientele and maneuver through the courts at the same time. “In the beginning, you don’t understand the legal system or how you fit in,” He said. “Law school teaches you law and theory but not how to practice. The legal system is [made up of] disjointed pieces of a puzzle and you have to learn how to put that puzzle together to be successful. Using social media to generate business is just another piece of the puzzle at your disposal.” Topazio networks with a close-knit group of attorneys who give each other support and business referrals. Now he not only has a website showing the full range of his expertise, but also uses Facebook, Twitter and other social
THE SUIT MAGAZINE - JUN / JUL 2012
Steven J. Topazio, Boston Criminal Defense
channels well, making it easy for people to find him when they need a good lawyer to go to bat for them. Passionate about helping everyday people fight against problems in the legal system, be it against a prosecutor with all her resources or against corporate giants, Topazio is a skilled and experienced defense attorney who handles primarily criminal and personal injury cases. As an attorney, he is happy with this niche and uses technology extensively to connect with current and future clients. Starting each day in court, Topazio typically spends afternoons working on cases and meeting with clients. His labors of legal love weren’t diminished by the economic downturn either. In the area of criminal law, for instance, he found that people tend to make more bad choices when times are tough. Despite the bad economy, Topazio has found that when faced with a potential loss of liberty people will continue to use the internet to locate and hire an attorney – and everyone deserves to have an advocate.