Philadelphia Business Journal: Globe-trotting accountants clip

pbj.jpg I have a particularly good clip in yesterday’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal on accounting firms sending more and more of their young staffers abroad for international experiences. See a copy of it here, in addition to other examples of my reporting work.

You can also see its beginning on the PBJ Web site, entitled Globe-trotting accountants in demand, though no more, because the site runs on a strict subscription basis. Nevertheless, having 1,000 words with graphics in a regional niche journal was thrilling, taxing and awfully worthwhile. I worked on it for nearly two weeks and completed more than ten interviews, all the while juggling classes, The Temple News, and additional responsibilities for the Business Journal. It feels good to know I can do this.

I am working on a similarly sized piece for next week’s edition now. After that I might need a break from this additional burden, though. Having accumulated some nice clips, I need to focus on my many other varied responsibilities.

Dianne Reed: A woman of fiscal mind watches our youth

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed yesterday, without edits, to run in next Friday’s edition. In 2003, a Bucks County counselor told Dianne E. Reed something she foundstartling.reed-dianne-e.jpg“She told me, ‘these kids are getting angrier,” Reed said.Five years later and fresh off a three year bid as budget director under former Mayor John F. Street, Reed wants to do something about it.In late January, she became the executive director of the Corporate Alliance for Drug Education, a 21-year-old nonprofit based in Old City that focuses on school-based behavioral prevention initiatives.The group trains and dispatches prevention specialists to work in select schools as ‘import teachers,’ speaking to students, as young as kindergarten, about drug refusal strategies and conflict resolution, among other things.“We’re helping kids accept and develop coping skills,” she said.She is eager to leverage her sizable experience to enact change in Philadelphia. Before her role as budget director, Reed spent almost a decade leading the Pennsylvania Economy League. Before that, she worked in the Philadelphia offices of KPMG for eight years.“I have the big picture,” she said. “I have seen how high levels of government implement prevention methods.”At its peak, CADE had 18 specialists working in schools. Now the group is down to nine. Reed hopes to increase that total again and spread throughout the region.State Representative Dwight Evans (D-Phila) last week secured a $50,000 grant so the organization could place specialists in schools in the neighborhoods of Cobbs Creek and Point Breeze for the remainder of the school year.She wants to more actively pursue corporate activity in CADE.On April 10, CADE is hosting a fundraiser and awards ceremony in conjunction with the Franklin Institute’s Star Wars exhibit. The night will include a reception, silent and live auctions, a buffet and an awards presentation.It’s an event to raise money so Reed and CADE can help the kids.

Andrew Brock: Getting out of his father's shadow

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


Andrew J. Brock is finally the boss.

In December, Brock, 40, officially became president and CEO of Brock and Company Inc., a catering business based in Malvern. His promotion marks the conclusion of the 45-year tenure of man he has known his entire life his father, Lynmar Brock, Jr.

“The company has prospered for 81 years, and I’d like to see it prosper into the future,” Andrew said. “The responsibility is falling onto my shoulders.”

Brock and Company was launched in 1927 in Swarthmore by then-22-year-old Lynmar Brock Sr., Andrew’s grandfather.

He made boxed lunches in his mother’s kitchen to distribute to factories in the region. At his peak, Lynmar Sr. was sending lunches to hundreds of locations, delivered by more than 60 trucks. Because of a bout Lynmar Sr. had with Alzheimer’s, a then-28-year-old Lynmar Jr. was forced to take over the family business, losing his father in 1964. Lynmar Jr. grew the business, eventually transitioning the company from the dying boxed lunch industry to the contracted catering business. He provided for his family, which included another son, who now lives in California.

Andrew has been with the company full time since he graduated college 18 years ago, so he has seen it grow.

In 2001, the company expanded into the cafeterias of many regional private and preparatory schools. Today, they distribute to ten states and Washington, D.C.

No questions that Andrew is taking on a successful company, facing all the pressures of business, in addition to the 45-year legacy of his own father looming just down the hall. Lynmar Jr. will stay on in an advisory role.

“I’m very excited about the future,” Andrew said. “I very much value that my father is still in picture.”

Andrew’s mother is on staff, too, in leadership and administrative capacities. Andrew says he enjoys working with his family but knows there’s added pressure in being the boss’s son.

“It’s both exciting and a little daunting,” Andrew said.

Bill McDowell: Designing on Philadelphia's parkway

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

mcdowellbill.jpgOh, Bill McDowell has built in Philadelphia before.

He was chosen as senior building executive for the design and construction of the new Philadelphia home of the Barnes Foundation on the back of a career of construction in this city.Now he’s charged with helping bring one of the most celebrated art collections in the world to the city in which he was born and raised.

“I have had a lot of experience in the city of Philadelphia,” McDowell, 50, said. Like helping develop the concept for the expansion of the Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse on the campus of St. Joseph’s University, and being involved in the planning of the 30th Street Station rail yards, and heading the redevelopment of Reading Terminal Headhouse, now the front of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, as part of the city’s Redevelopment Authority in the 1990s.

“But, by far this is the most important project I’ve ever worked on,” he said. “A project like this might just come around once in a century.”With the hiring of McDowell, who works with the architects, consultants and will hire the construction team, the new building’s design has begun.“It’s full steam ahead. Not only is this a go, it’s ‘can we go any faster?” he said. “The conceptual design process will be done this year, what it will look like. The technical aspects, we will continue to work on into 2009.”The first step is to design how the building will be situated on its future site, a high profile and, to some, controversial lot on Center City’s Ben Franklin Parkway.“I always thought the parkway in Philadephia is under utilized. The creation of density is what Philadelphia needs… to move it from being primarily an auto to a pedestrian route,” he said. “But we’re interested in retaning the qualities of the current building, to see the uniqueness and its intimacy preserved.”But one of Philadelphia’s sons has had to take a professional move to the ‘burbs, by the way of Lower Merion, the current headquarters of Barnes, for now.“For work, I have a 610 area code now, it’s tough,” he said. “At least my cell phone is still 215.”

Mark Helpin, Kornberg School of Dentistry and Temple University saving young teeth

As filed last week for today’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

You just have to protect those teeth.

Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry, in conjunction with Henry Schein Inc., a Melville, N.Y.-based distributor of medical, dental and veterinary supplies based, did just that last week.

“Poor dental care is the most prevalent disease in childhood,” Mark Helpin, acting chairman of Temple’s department pediatric dentistry, said. “We’re not just trying to teach people to treat their mouths, we’re relating the health of the mouth to the overall health and well being of a child.”

As part of the annual Give Kids a Smile day, more than 80 children, many from the Kenderton Elementary School at 15th and Ontario St., received free dental care from nearly thirty dental students, faculty and staff. Schein did its part by giving $40,000 in dental supplies to Temple and the University of Pennsylvania’s dental school, part of the $2.1 million sent nationwide in order to treat an estimated 1 million children in the country.

At Temple, children were given oral hygiene instruction, a cleaning, fluoride application and more if necessary. Schien sent disposable mirrors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, bibs, cups and other materials necessary for the event, Helpin said.

“This shows that corporate America can be involved in worthwhile and people orientated pursuits and projects that have meaning in the most personal way and the most human level,” he said. “Temple University itself has an unusual and extraordinary commitment to Philadelphia. The dental school is staying true to that.”

Temple is hosting a smaller, similar, citywide event on March 20.

“We’re part of the community and have a responsibility to serve the community. We’re concerned about children, not just one day, but after. ” Helpin said. “We want people to know they can have a dental home for their children at Temple.”

See other examples of my reporting here.

Gary Foster: a weighty new challenge

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in last Friday’s edition.Gary Foster is moonlighting.The director of Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Education has assumed the presidency of the Obesity Society, an interdisciplinary group based in Maryland that is considered to hold preeminence in the field ofgary-foster.jpg obesity. The commitments are demanding.“It’s a challeneg and opportunity. The presidential activities take considerable time and effort,” said Foster, 48, who grew up in Levittown.The benefit for Temple is the increased visibility Foster is giving CORE, which opened in March 2006 on Temple’s health sciences campus.“The work is not all unreated, so there’s lots of synergies,” said Foster, who was courted from his position as clinical director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders to start Temple’s program. He traded 25 years at Penn for the chance to chair the largest school-based obesity prevention trial in the country, based in more than 10,000 square feet of dedicated research and clinical space.In 1981, he took a research assistant position at the University of Pennsylvania. There he worked under the legendary obesity physician Dr. Albert J. Stunkard, among other “luminaries,” including Kelly D. Brownell, who is now the director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.“It was pretty clear for me,” he said. From then on, a man who never had a weight problem himself was determined to find a reason why so many others do.He went back to school. He got a masters in psychology from Penn and his PhD in clinical psychology from Temple. And his interest continues.“We don’t know as much about obesity as the lay public thinks we do,” he said. “We eat too much and don’t exercise enough… it’s more complex than that.”He has been a part of the group for nearly 20 years. Now, as president, he thinks it’s time to decide for what the group wants to be known.“Obesity is the most prevelant, serious public health issue of our time,” he said. “We at the Obesity Society need to be poisted to address that…”

Cadence Cycling Foundation: giving North Philadelphia kids the bicycle dream

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

For Jack Simes, it’s all about the smiles.

The executive director of the Cadence Cycling Foundation, housed at the Cadence Cycling & Multisport Center in Manayunk, is helping to introduce youth from Philadelphia’s underserved neighborhoods to the cycling world.

“There was a huge amount of enthusiasm,” said Simes, of the program’s first 30 young participants. “Cycling is a huge world sport, so it can take these kids around the world if they want it to.”

With a $10,000 retail donation from Fuji, a bicycle retailer with headquarters in Northeast Philadelphia, the foundation started its indoor training session with 22 modified single speed bicycles. Inside the Cadence Cycling Center, the bikes are on stationary trainers and linked through a computer system that allows riders to race each other, without moving. In April, the young riders, mostly between the ages of 11 and 16, will hit the streets with their instructors leading the way.

The kids have plenty of support, from Jay Snider, co-founder of the Cadence Cycling Centers in Philadelphia and New York, who is an avid rider to Simes, who was on all three U.S. Olympic cycling teams in the 1960s and won a world championship in 1968.

“We’re introducting competitive cycling to kids who might not get a chance to ride,” Simes said.

See other examples of my reporting here.

Nicole Williams: a rare model

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in last Friday’s edition. American law firms have not always had black female attorneys. Some don’t have any today.Nichole L. Williams, an associate in the Haddonfield, N.J. office of Archer & Greiner, is one of particular note and promise.


Last month, Williams, of Blue Bell, was selected for membership in the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, a prestigious professional organization for women of color.

“The organization has an incredble reputation,” said Williams, 29. “I wanted to be a part of that.”

The Coalition formed in 1971 in New York City and has rapidly expanded beyond its now symbolic name. Today, the group numbers some 7,000 members in 24 states and Washington, D.C.

With her membership in the organization’s Pennsylvania chapter came a leadership role, as Williams took on co-chair responsibilities of the public relations committee. She is charged with promoting the group’s signature event, the Madame C.J. Walker Awards luncheon and economic development seminar to be held on March 1. Little more than two weeks later, in her capacity as board member of UrbanPromise, a nonprofit that offers activities for youth in Camden, N.J., she is hosting a fundraising bowling event with Andre Iguodala from the Philadelphia 76ers at Lucky Strike Lanes at 13th and Chestnut Streets on March 18.

Oh, and she is a lawyer, too, one with a goal in mind.

“In this role as a black female attorney, I take it as my reponsibility to speak for those who don’t have a voice themselves,” she said. “To serve as a role model.”

She concentrates her practice in corporate law and joined her firm’s sports and entertainment practice group in August. There, too, she is representing underrepresented groups, as the only female and the only associate member. She doesn’t seem worried. Williams will continue her drive to service and find strength in an organization full of successful people who had plenty of reasons not to be.

“As a young, black, female attorney, I wanted to surround myself with women who were doing incredible things” Williams said. “I’ve done it.”