Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Monday, March 10, 2014, 4:20 AM
Jeffrey A. Bartos

Maybe it's a characteristic of the CEO species, but many of them work incredibly hard, on duty most of the time, and compensated more than accordingly. Should chief executives expect the same drive from their employees?

"That's a great question," Mark Group CEO Jeffrey A. Bartos responded during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Inquirer. "I had to learn to not expect that same level of time and hours from everyone and I had to learn that in the job. I give Abby [Feinstein, Mark's marketing executive] a lot of credit. She’s been good at pointing out that, `this is my personal time.'  I respect that.

"I think there’s a give and take. You know someone’s committed; they work hard; they are passionate; they love the company, and they are good at their jobs and you have to respect those boundaries," he said.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 3:30 AM
SEPTA general manager Joseph M. Casey, here in the Market East Station, uses the system himself to commute from his home in Elwyn, using the Media line. (Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer)

Now that SEPTA’s got some money, there’s a lot of clamoring, general manager Joseph M. Casey said, for projects that would extend SEPTA’s reach into the suburbs in various ways. Even then, the question is how to get riders from the nearest SEPTA stop, be it bus or rail, to their offices – the last-mile question. “That’s the dilemma,” Casey said during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday’s Philadelphia Inquirer. “The population of this region hasn’t changed that much in the last 20 or 30 years. You just have sprawl. And we, as an agency, can’t continue chasing that sprawl.

“When businesses develop, they should think about how the people get to work. Until recently, it was people would drive and we’ll build parking lots,” Casey said. “Now when the price of gas goes up, they think transit: Wouldn’t it be nice to have transit? But it has to be part of the development and planning and land use.”

In the past, he said, there were “all these small railroad towns,” like Glenside, or Ambler, or Lansdale. People “walked downtown. They walked to train.  But [through] all these years, the people and businesses who worked in those towns spread out and made those stations less efficient.”

POSTED: Monday, March 3, 2014, 3:15 AM
SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey (Michael Bryant/Staff photographer)

When Joseph M. Casey first became SEPTA general manager in 2008, he quickly learned how to score points as the new guy in charge. 

“One of the first visits I had was at the Callowhill depot,” Casey told me during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday’s Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’ll never forget it. Mr. James approached me and said, `I want to show you something.’

“I said, `Fine.’ He showed me the restroom facilities and they were similar to the City Hall [subway station], probably even worse. They were to me, unusable. I came back and I asked my facilities people what we could do. We went out there and within a couple of months, we had all new facilities. Don’t get me wrong, this is turn-of-the-century facility, but we went out and fixed them up.”

POSTED: Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 4:35 AM
U.S. District Judge Stanley Brotman (Tom Gralish/Inquirer Staff)

U.S. District Judge Stanley Brotman was a lucky man.

Judge Brotman died on Friday and his funeral was Tuesday, but a few months before he died, he had an opportunity that very few people have.

In September, when he finally retired, after closing out a long-standing case in the Virgin Islands, where he also served, his colleagues held a retirement dinner for him in Princeton. Because he was the longest-serving federal judge for the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, he had more than 38 years on the federal bench, mostly in Camden, to build long relationships. More than 80 people attended, said U.S. District Judge Jerome Simandle, who now heads the New Jersey court, but started out as a magistrate when Brotman was one of three judges sitting in Camden.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 3:55 AM
Cynthia Figueroa

Most nonprofits are eager to tout the number of people served, so it probably wasn't the greatest news that when Congreso de Latinos Unidos started more carefully measuring its results its client numbers actually went down. 

"The number of people we served actually shrunk dramatically when we started doing it, because we started to catch the duplicates and how many times they were served by Congreso," Cynthia Figueroa, Congreso's chief executive, said during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Inquirer.

Nothing wrong with that, obviously. It doesn't hurt clients to get more help. 

POSTED: Monday, February 24, 2014, 3:00 AM
Cynthia Figueroa

Cynthia Figueroa heads a $25 million nonprofit, and she said, it didn't happen by accident. That's something ambitious young women need to understand, Figueroa, the chief executive at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, told me during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer.

POSTED: Monday, February 17, 2014, 4:15 AM
William R. Sasso, chairman, Stradley Ronan Stevens & Young (Candace DiCarlo)

No doubt, as chairman of the 200-attorney Philadelphia-based law firm, Stradley Ronon, William R. Sasso is a wealthy man, yet he rarely goes on vacation, even for a week.

"I just can’t relax for long periods of time. I guess," Sasso told me during our Leadership Agenda interview, published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer. "I feel that if my clients want to talk to me about something that’s important to them, I should always be available to them. I've gone on a vacation and I spend a lot to time talking to clients because I don’t want to say, `I’m on vacation. Can I get back to you.'

"If it is important enough for them to call me, it’s important enough for me to try to resolve whatever difficulties they have," he said.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 3:25 AM
Irv Richter (left), chairman and CEO of Evesham-based Hill International, and Camden mayoral hopeful Amir Khan is pictured at the planned site of Acts Industries LLC on E. State and River Road in Camden on Oct. 14, 2013. (APRIL SAUL/Staff/File)

Talk to these CEOs long enough, and you can't help but be impressed with their hard work and discipline. Often, like Irvin Richter, the chairman and chief executive officer of Hill International Inc., they founded their companies and built them up to multi-million dollar enterprises. Richter grew up in the projects in New York -- and is now a millionaire many times over, having grown his construction consulting and project management firm to 4,000 employees worldwide.

Yet, for all his hard work and discipline, Richter can't stop eating. He jokes about the Irv Richter Dixie Cup, a half-gallon of ice cream. "I just can't lose it," he said. "I stopped smoking on a dime, but I can’t do it with food."

What’s your nemesis, I asked him during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Inquirer.

About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer