Susan Barnett: bringing local news to CBS 3

As filed – without edits – last week for today’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

YOUR LOCAL TV NEWS usually isn’t all that local.

Anchors travel from market to market, like Susan Barnett did, geography be damned.

She had worked in Miami, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Champaign, Ill. But the new co-anchor of CBS 3’s 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts has finally landed the big spot in her native region.

“You have to travel all over the country and earn your stripes, especially when you come from a huge city like Philadelphia, it is hard to get here at all,” the Bucks County native said. “Making it to this level is really the ultimate for me.”

Barnett grew up in Levittown, graduated the University of Delaware and now lives with her husband in Delaware County, but does her job better here because she’s done it elsewhere, she said.

“The Philadelphia news style was ingrained in me,” she said. “But, in my travel, I got to see how news is reported around the country.”

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Rae Scott Jones: helping St. Joseph's keep up with the Scott-Joneses

As filed – without edits – for yesterday’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE are students in the supermarkets.

That’s a healthy level of community involvement Rae Scott-Jones might tell you.

Scott-Jones, who was named assistant vice president for government and community relations at St. Joseph’s University, has lived in the school’s Wynnefield neighborhood for nearly a quarter century.

“I want more students in the community. I think that’s important because we all live here. The more we interact the more we are likely to get along and develop some understanding. We are less likely to antagonize individuals than groups,” she said. “We live and work here. It’s critical that we live and work here together.”

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Janet DeArmond: demoted to the top of Customer Service Review

As filed – without edits – last week for today’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

IN 1999, JANET DeARMOND FOUNDED Customer Service Review Inc., a consulting firm specializing in customer service training in Wayne. Somewhere after spending 14 years as the company’s president, she left.

She’s back.

“There was an opportunity. I know the company. I love it. Probably the most engaging years of my career i spent here,” DeArmond said. “I know the clients. I know the business.  I really missed it.”

So after to attend to personal obligations, Liz French, the company’s current president and CEO, who was a vice president under Dearmond, brought her back into the fold.

“I’ve always stayed in contact with Liz. We both have a lot of respect for each other,” she said. “There are no strong egos here.”

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Chet Zoltak: the human resources feel eight hours closer to home

As filed – without edits – for today’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Chet Zoltak has taken on another time committment after the workday and still can’t believe he’s at his Philadelpia home so much.

Zoltak, minted as president of the Philadelphia Human Resources Planning Society in November, spent 2005 commuting to a job as global leader of learning and talent development for the Timken Co., a friction management and power transmission manufacturer in Canton, Ohio.

“Two weeks there, one week here,” he said. “Sometimes I’d jump on a plane. Sometimes I’d drive… 7 1/2 hours.”

He took the position in late 2004 after operating his own consulting firm in the region, after being contacted by a headhunter.

“It was an opportunity to build a new function, which is something I love to do,” he said.

But midway through 2005 the commuting drained him and he and his wife wouldn’t move. So, it came as no surprise when, in January 2006, he took the position of corporate director of organization development for the AmerisourceBergen Corp., a pharmaceutical company in Valley Forge.

“I am developing key leaders,” he said. “It’s talent acquisition and management.”

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Denise Williams: the Philadelphia branch of Goodman Marketing Partners

As filed – without edits – last week for today’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Denise Williams has a brutal walk to her boss’s office.

Denise Williams

She is a one woman-office charged with launching East Coast operations for Goodman Marketing Partners, a direct marketing company in San Rafael, Calif., 20 miles north of San Francisco.

“They’ve been pretty much West Coast exclusive, so my job now is 50 percent business development and 50 percent hands-on business execution,” she said. “It’s a remote world, but still clients need face to face time. I’m developing new business relationships and working with those clients.”

She hasn’t filled the role even two months yet, but her plans of expansion involve moving out of her home office in Morgantown to a higher profile locale.

“In the next three to five years, we want to be in a position to establish a significant presence in the City of Philadelphia,” she said, noting the region’s place in the advertising world. “I’ve been in and among the best marketing directors in the world right here in the direct marketing hub. This is where direct marketing is. This is the place to be.”

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Stephanie Reyer: meeting old things for the first time, like Philadelphia and the Constitution

As filed last week for today’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.reyer-stephanie.jpg

If only Stephanie Reyer could find a good dry cleaner.

The new director of exhibits at the National Constitution Center left a lifetime in New York and a career at the American Museum of Natural History in the city.

“I’m the new kid on the block again,” she said. “It’s both challenging and invigorating.”

She had a long tenure as the associate director of exhibition graphic design for the American Museum of Natural History during which it transitioned from a dusty after-thought to a first-date spot, but thought it a time to move on.

“After nine years, what we did was established,” she said. “You start looking for new adventures.”

So, she moved to Center City.

“The lifestyle here is fantastic, an amazingly walkable city, amazing beautiful,” she said. “It has everything New York does, on a scale that’s more human.”

She started Feb. 25, just enough time to get some homework done, part of her professional move from a science museum to one focused on American history.

“I’m doing a lot of reading,” she said. “I wish i had the way to keep it all in my head.”

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David Dinenberg: growing Grasso

As submitted for the Philadelphia Business Journal last week, unedited, for Friday’s edition.

David Dinenberg made some big deals as a real estate broker.

“But I was so unsatisfied,” said the new chief operating officer of Grasso Holdings, a full service real estate firm based in Philadelphia.didenberg-dave.jpg

It wasn’t for him. Uniting one company looking to buy and another looking to sell, no matter the field, left him feeling like a middle man, Dinenberg said.

Dinenberg’s new role will let the company’s CEO David Grasso focus on the largest deals and developing strategy for the growing firm.

“I cover the day to day management of the company,” said Dinenberg of his corporate management of the company’s affiliates, involved in construction, development, residential sales, leasing and property management. “Now I need to understand everyone’s projects.”

Those projects vary for Grasso, which isn’t asset specific. They’ve recently renovated the Lofts at Bella Vista and the Packard Grande, two Center City condominiums. Last year, Grasso opened Valley Square, a 400,000 square foot shopping center in Bucks County. In the coming months, the company is to break ground on a 1.2 million square foot mixed-use project in Center City, which will include a Whole Foods Grocery, a Best Buy, a hotel and high end rental apartments.

“We are a medium sized company doing huge deals,” he said. “We put our sights above where most people would put their own sights.”

“The best thing about real estate is that there are so many aspects to real estate,” Dinenberg said. “That’s what captivates my interest in the business in general.”

As the company continues to expand, Dinenberg is charged with developing an internal structure, offering oversight without hurting the company’s independent and entrepreneurial spirit, he said.

“You need those checks and balances as you grow up,” he said. “And we’re growing up.”

As he reduces his load of personal projects and shifts to a leadership role over the accounting, human resources, marketing, public relations, sales and leasing of Grasso and its affiliates Tycoon Entertainment, GH Property Services and GH Realty, Dinenberg said he hopes to help the company grow in a healthy way.

“I can take that to the next level, to operate Grasso and offer corporate oversight,” he said. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

See other examples of my reporting here.

Steve Emerson: from Alaska to New Jersey, for family

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in Friday’s edition.

Steve Emerson came back from Alaska almost a decade ago, and things are just starting to thaw now.emerson-steve.jpg

Emerson Personnel Group, the staffing and recruiting firm that Emerson’s parents started in Cherry Hill, N.J. 38 years ago, has had a slow transition of power, from father to son to brother in the time since his return in 2000.

“Almost glacier-like,” Emerson, 51, said.

Emerson had co-owned the business with his brother and served as vice president, but has recently finished the process of buying out his brother, who wanted to venture out on his own.

“Now I’m even in charge of things I don’t want to be in charge of.” the oldest brother of four joked.

It has been a family business since Emerson’s mother and father launched a Dunhill Staffing franchise in 1971.

“It has been advantage, to be able to say we’ve done this for 38 years,” he said.

In 2000, they bought out the franchise and put the Emerson in the name.

“There’s the pride and the passion of having your name on the door. Not that we wouldn’t always work hard and do the right thing, but it means something more,” he said. “I’m Steve Emerson, and this is Emerson Personnel Group.”

His youngest brother Bill had been at it for 18 years, but now is a one-man recruiting firm in Moorestown, N.J.

While Bill took increasingly took over control from their aging father, Emerson lived in Alaska for more than two decades, working as a mental health therapist mostly in Fairbanks.

“My wife and I were planning to fish for three months and stayed for twenty years,” he said. “Once you get passed the cold and the darkness, it is the most spectacular place on earth.”

He returned, though, and spent eight years with the family business, before finally taking over complete ownership.

The company does most of its work placing temporary administrative personnel, but increasingly does a portion of its work directing executive searches and direct hire for companies throughout the region. But he has plans. He’s leading the company into staffing positions in the allied health fields, hoping to grow the business even more.

“In recruiting, you’re always looking for a niche that won’t go away,” he said. “Oh, and I’m looking for a sales person. It’s tough to find a good sales person.”

Emerson has two sons who might someday want to carry the business further.

His mother is a shareholder; his brother still consults for the company, and his father comes into the office regularly. Emerson’s wife Mary is the office manager. It is still a family affair, indeed.

“We love each other because we see a ton of each other,” he said, noting the advantage a family business has. “When you’re home, you’re still thinking about the business, about how to fulfill our mission of becoming the best and the most excellent staffing agency in the region.”

See other reporting by Christopher Wink here.

James Buysee: the Philadelphia office

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in today’s edition.

James T. Buysee is a one man regional office.

Last year when he was being courted to head up North American operations for BMS, a reinsurance intermediary based in London, the subject of his moving was never discussed. Not to company offices in Chicago, Minneapolis or Connecticut. Not even to Dallas, the center of the firm’s U.S. operations.

“I didn’t bring it up,” the Paoli resident said. “I like it here.”

So for now, Buysee, who started on Feb. 1, is charged with better uniting those disparate locations from an altogether separate one. He is splitting the leading role with Anne Marie Roberts, president and chief operating officer, who is based in Dallas, one of those offices Buysee isn’t in.

“Those folks in London decided they needed another person on the ground,” he said. “More arms and legs.”

He is meant to focus on fostering relationships, finding new people, resources and business productions. The company has seen rapid growth in recent years, but to do more, there needs to be a better united strategy among U.S. offices, he said. In the next 18 months or less, he hopes to do that.

“Recently our growth has outpaced our internal systems,” he said. “So now it’s about tying the teams together into a single cohesive company with a single culture.”

BMS was born as a correspondent broker based across the Atlanic Ocean but is increasingly looking to have a larger presence in the United States.

“I hope to be a big part of that transition,” he said. With nearly 30 years in the reinsurance brokerage business, he could be the right man for the job.

But he’ll be doing it here.

Soon Buysee might be asked to develop a small staff and perhaps develop a presence in Philadelphia, he said.

“I don’t have any intentions of leaving.”

See other reporting by Christopher Wink here.

Perry Weinstock: doctoring across the river

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in yesterday’s edition.


His colleagues told him that a move from Philadelphia to New Jersey was a mistake.

Ten years ago, though, Dr. Perry J. Weinstock made the move. He was recruited by Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J. as the director of clinical cardiology and associate head of his division in 1998.  For ten years he served the growing research university and served it well. In January it was announced that Weinstock would be made head of the division of cardiovascular disease at Cooper.

“I’ve waited ten years for this promotion,” he said.

Before Cooper,  he was the director of cardiology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital with a nice office and patients he liked. So, at first, he rebuked calls from Cooper. But the calls persisted enough that he crossed the Delaware River for a tour. He was impressed with the facilities and staff.

“To this day I love Jefferson,” he said. “But, Cooper has really emerged as a premiere research hospital in the Delaware Valley. It is truly an honor to lead such a fine institution.”

Still, more work is to be done, he said. Weinstock has plans to expand the hospital’s preventative cardiology practice.

“I also want to promote quality,” he said. “At all levels of cardiovascular care: inpatient, outpatient, prevention, treatment after the fact.”

He thinks his background in practiced cardiology, rather than strictly an academic, leadership or supervisory role, will help.

“I have actually worked on the battle lines,” he said. “If that general sits in the ivory tower and never gets his fingernails dirty, it’s hard to listen to him.”

For it, he has a lesson, ten years in the making.

“There’s life on the other side of the river.”

See other reporting by Christopher Wink here. Above, an artist’s rendering of Cooper University Hospital after impending renovations, taken from the hospital’s Web site.