HARTFORD — Basement Systems Inc. of Seymour, led by Business New Haven 2009 Businessperson of the Year Larry Janesky, is among the 2011 class of inductees into the Connecticut Business Hall of Fame. The other four inductees are the Channel 3 Kids Camp in Andover, Bloomfield Bicycle & Repair Shop, Central Connecticut State University's (CCSU) Institute of Technology & Business Development, and Mike Albert, president and founder of Pilgrim Furniture City in Southington.
A statewide induction ceremony and networking event will take place from 8 to 10 a.m. May 20 at the Connecticut Laborers’ Council, 475 Ledyard Street, Hartford. To learn more phone 860-523-7500 or visit ctbhof.com.
Remembering the unforgettable Herb Pearce
NEW HAVEN — Some 600 people crowded into Trinity Church on the Green April 27 to bid a final farewell to Herbert H. Pearce, who had passed away April 18 — just three days short of his 95th birthday.
Pearce died of leukemia, with which he had been diagnosed two years earlier. At that time his doctors gave him three months to live. Twenty-four months later he concluded what his daughter called a “perfect life” with a “perfect death” — calling a family meeting on Saturday, April 16, kissing all the hospice nurses the next day, Sunday, and leaving this life on Monday.
The mourners — actually, “celebrants” is a more accurate description — included the cream of New Haven’s business community as well as politicians and leaders of the non-profit community. That diversity reflected the vast sweep of lives touched by Pearce during his nine and a half decades on earth.
Herb Pearce founded the real-estate company that bears his name in 1958 after two decades working for New Haven’s A.C. Gilbert. He was hired there for 25 cents an hour — $10 a week. By age 27 he had 1,000 people working for him.
He was a tireless advocate for his hometown. He was instrumental in the development of the Whitney Grove mixed-use residential and commercial development in the late 1980s. In spite of the financial problems that dogged the project, Pearce believed that maintaining a strong residential base was key to the future of the center city — an instinct that proved prescient.
In the 1980s he was a driving force behind the creation of the bridge that opened Universal Drive in North Haven to commercial development. That bridge is known today as the Herbert H. Pearce & Donald B. Lippincott Commemorative Bridge in honor of Pearce and partner Lippincott’s work to make it a reality.
Pearce was remembered by his friend, retired banker and businessman F. Perry (Buck) Wilson, who recalled Pearce’s misadventures on the links as well as odd culinary predilections. He wouldn’t eat anything green (which pretty much put the kibosh on salads and vegetables), and in restaurants he was legendary for ordering one of his favorites — onion soup without the onions. “This always confused the waiters,” Wilson noted.
Three of his grandchildren — Bradley and Hope Fleming and Matthew Sawyer — recalled how Pearce loved to do “all the grandfather things” except one: allowing himself to be called “Grandpa,” because he thought it made him sound old. He was in his 70s at the time. So instead the grandkids called him “Herb.” Same as everyone else.
Pearce’s highly accomplished daughter and successor at the helm of H. Pearce Co., Barbara L. Pearce, delivered the “keynote” remembrance, covering “nine and a half decades in nine and a half minutes.” She spoke of her father’s three gifts: “a gift for life, and gift for friendship and the power of positive thinking.”
More than once I have heard Barbara Pearce attribute her father’s success to “rat-like cunning.” Not only does this sound unkind — I think it is also inaccurate.
For one thing, rats aren’t “cunning” — that’s an anthropomorphization. As the most adaptable species on earth (human beings are No. 2), rats are supremely opportunistic.
So was Herb, who had an uncanny aptitude to find the most promising opportunity in any set of circumstances arrayed before him.
Beyond that, what always impressed me most about Herb Pearce, above and beyond his sheer drive and will, was the magnetism of his personality. He was the kind of person you just wanted to be around — to breathe his air.
There’s a saying in sales — that customers buy from the person they want to be. Who in his or her right mind would not want to be Herb Pearce, who lived each day as though it were his last?
The final “hymn” of the service was a popular song from another time and place:
O when the saints go marching in,
O when the saints go marching in,
O Lord, I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in.
Whatever else one might say about Herb Pearce, this much is certain: He is definitely in that number.
Oncologist Cardinale on rapidly evolving courses of care
Joseph Cardinale, MD, is medical director of the Fr. Michael J. McGivney Center for Cancer Care and chairman of the Radiation Oncology department at the Hospital of Saint Raphael. Cardinale has been a member of the attending staff at HSR since 1985 and he has served as section chief of Radiation Oncology since 1997. He was named medical director of the McGivney Center in 2000 and he also serves as medical director of the McGivney Center Cancer Center/Hamden Campus, which opened in 2009.
How do providers decide on introducing a new technology or new therapy — is it driven by the technology or the market, or something else?
The primary factor is the interest and expertise in the physicians in that department. It makes no sense if no one knows how to use it — unless their interest is in learning how to use it. Most of the decisions are driven by expertise and interest and also having the need as far as patient care.
So in your area you have robotic surgery.
We have two very different types of robotic equipment. One is the da Vinci Robot, which is used by surgeons and is a type of laparoscopic instrument. The laparoscopic arms are robotically controlled and the surgeon can see much, much better, it has a ten-times magnification and [displays] in three dimensions — [users] have extreme control over their visualization and movements. That has been a big advance in surgical techniques for a variety of different diseases. The other type we have is a Cyberknife for robotic radiosurgery. It’s a robotic arm. It’s actually the same robotic arm used in the Mercedes [automobile] factory for doing spot welding and it is ultra, ultra-precise. A neurosurgeon out in California had the idea of mounting a very precise radiation unit unto one of those robotic arms and it turned out be a very significant invention.
That came from a practicing physician?
He was training in Sweden on the Gamma knife, which is similar name but a very different technology. He felt there were improvements that could be made, and he came up with and eventually partnered with people in industry to develop it further.
Do robotics have an impact on those who might not have the manual skills we would typically expect in a surgeon or older physicians?
I’m not a surgeon, so I am not in my area of expertise. But my impression is that it still requires a good amount of dexterity and three dimensional visualization.
What types of cancers are on the rise in New Haven? Is it different from the nation at large?
Overall cancer incidence has decreased in the United States very slightly over the past couple of years. We still see a lot of lung cancer. Prostate cancer took a very big rise with the advent of PSA testing in the early ‘90s and has since leveled off.
So we discovered more cancers. People didn’t necessarily develop more.
Right. There is a pool of people that if the test wasn’t available would have been diagnosed later. It was also true [of breast cancer] when mammography became more utilized.
Is there an overall direction you see cancer treatment going?
The treatment of cancer is really multi-modality — surgeons, medical oncologist who administer the drugs, radiation oncologist…We all work very closely and as a team in many, many cases to develop the treatment plan that usually will encompass more than one treatment modality. As far as drugs, the newest [developments] are targeted therapies where the chemotherapies we’ve used in the past — and still use, to a large degree — are called cytotoxic agents, and they have a fairly broad cell-killing effect. The newer drugs are targeted at very particular areas of the cell. They have the potential for greater efficacy and a lot less side effects.
The biggest advances that we’ve made over the years in terms of increasing our cure rates is early diagnosis. We’ve made some headway in the treatment and improving our cure rates through treatment, but they pale in comparison to the effect that finding a cancer earlier would have. Early diagnosis is truly the key.
Hasn’t that been questioned in the case of prostate cancer?
There is a lot of controversy right now with prostate cancer and whether [early diagnosis] really affects survival — but we learned that lesson many years ago with the use of pap smears for cervical cancer. It is rare to see an advanced cervical cancer any more. In fact, cervical cancer has decreased because of the ability to find disorders that would lead to cervical cancer and treat them before they actually do.
Colon cancer is along the same lines as we screen better using colonoscopies. Polyps are able to be detected and removed. The incidence of fatal colon cancers is decreasing, and the same is true with breast cancer. We’re finding breast cancers earlier with the use of mammography, and the earlier the stage, the better the survival [rates]. I personally believe that there will be a time the same will be true with prostate cancer. The problem with prostate cancer is that the natural history is so long. Prostate cancer is relatively slow-growing compared to other cancers. So if one is diagnosed early, it takes a long time to demonstrate whether the early diagnosis will really impact someone’s survival.
Will we see a lot more innovations in surgical technology?
Technology is improving a lot of surgery in neurosurgery, for example. There is technology now that basically navigates the surgeon through the areas of the brain to allow them to do much more precise surgery and to cause less injury. Techniques in thoracic surgery with laparoscopic involved and things using ultrasound that allow them to better see where they are directing their instruments. I think they’ll be continued improvements [in surgical technology].
There have been questions raised about the prevalence of cancer among minorities. Is this a detection issue, or do higher cancer rates stem from other factors?
I think it is more the detection issue. Lower-income people are less likely to seek medical care and to undergo evaluation that could lead to early diagnoses. Yesterday we did a free prostate screening — we do that twice a year. We do a free head and neck screening, we do a free skin cancer screening, we have a program [at HSR called Sister to Sister to help those who can’t afford mammography or cervical cancer screening.
The 2010 health-care debate brought a proposal by a government panel to reduce the frequency of mammograms to reduce overall costs to the system. There was much pushback from cancer doctors including here in Connecticut, but the recommendations did come from cancer researchers and physicians. How do we appropriately address a question like this?
Whenever you talk about technology and how one is going to approach a population, not an individual, there is a cost associated with that. One has to analyze the cost versus the potential benefit and that’s where the controversy arises. Every time you have a screening test or enact some kind of policy, you know you’re not going to catch 100 percent of the people. I don’t make this kind of policy, but my assumption what they’re trying to do is develop guidelines that will have a threshold that they’ll catch a certain number but knowing it’s not going to be 100 percent. I think that’s why there is a big controversy with PSA test because of the costs involved.
There has been controversy also about additional tests for women where traditional mammography may not find early cancers in women who have what is referred to as ‘dense’ breast tissue. How is this handled now?
The problem is with mammography itself. If the breast is very dense, one can easily miss some of the findings that would lead to a breast cancer diagnosis. Now [recent Connecticut] legislation requires a mammographer to put in their report that there is dense tissue, then the person can be screened further with ultrasound or an MRI.
What is the most important piece of advice that readers should take away from this?
I believe in screening and early diagnosis, and I want people to really understand that is something they should not be afraid of doing. The cancer treatments that have developed over the years have improved so much that when someone is diagnosed early, the changes in one’s life is generally quite minimal and people can live a normal life with current treatment.
Since you specialize in prostate cancer and many of our readers are men, why don’t we leave them with a specific recommendation on screening?
Men without any risk factors should start being screened at the age of 50. If one has a risk factor like a first-degree family relative that has prostate cancer or African Americans, [age] 45 or 40.
Catherine Smith of North Branford, commissioner of the state’s Department of Economic & Community Development, will also chair Connecticut Innovations Inc. (CII), the state’s quasi-public technology-investment arm. Smith, who also chairs the Connecticut Development Authority and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, was formerly an executive with ING, having most recently served as chief executive officer of ING U.S. Retirement Services. Before that she spent 17 years at Aetna, working in investment management, corporate planning, health plans, investor relations and financial services.
New Haven’s Hospital of Saint Raphael (HSR) has named Ralph De Natale, MD to a two-year term as president of the hospital’s medical staff, which includes more than 1,000 physicians. A fellow of the American College of Surgeons, De Natale earned his medical degree from the University of Bologna in Italy. He completed his residency at HSR and fellowships in cardiovascular and vascular surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas.
John Bashaw has joined the New Haven law firm of Brenner, Saltzman & Wallman, LLP as a partner in the areas of environmental law, zoning and health & safety. Bashaw, whose recent practice has focused on health & safety issues in the nanotechnology industry, has nearly 25 years’ experience representing companies in litigation and agency-enforcement actions, the purchase and sale of contaminated properties and the regulation of waster material.
Response Marketing of New Haven has added two professionals to its marketing team. Kim DeMartino of East Haven joins the firm as senior account manager. Previously she was a managing director of the Catapult Group, responsible for the Dannon account. Response also named North Havener Danielle Morfi account manager. Previously she was a brand manager for Agilent.
Leonard (Lenny) Genovese of Oxford has been named outside membership sales representative for the Waterbury Regional Chamber. Genovese is the former owner and president of Shred-All, LLC in Waterbury and was also a real estate sales executive with Bannon Hebert Real Estate Agency in Middlebury.
Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises has named Frank Leone vice president, table games. He will be responsible for all table games operations and activities, and report to Senior Vice President Todd Greenberg. Before joining Foxwoods, Leone was casino manager at Trump Taj Mahal Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, where he supervised a staff of 1,300 employees and was responsible for 130 traditional table games, 70 poker tables, Keno and simulcasting for a department with $173 million in annual revenues.
Long Wharf Theatre has contracted with AMS Planning and Research to secure the services of Joshua Borenstein as interim managing director until a permanent successor to Ray Cullom — who departed in March just two years into a five-year contract — is named. Borenstein is a project manager with AMS in its Fairfield office and will serve with LWT on a consulting basis. He was at Long Wharf from 2003 to 2008 most recently as associate managing director. He holds an MFA in theater management from the Yale School of Drama and a BA with honors in classical civilization from Wesleyan.
Special Olympics Connecticut (SOCT) in Hamden has hired Tony Terzi as director of corporate relations. Following a 20-year career as a television and radio sportscaster, Terzi has spent the last six years as sales manager of Diversified Building Services in Wallingford.
The Board of Trustees for the Connecticut Community Colleges has selected Anna M. Wasescha to serve as the next president of Middlesex Community College in Middletown, succeeding Wilfredo Nieves, now president of Capital Community College in Hartford. Wasescha is currently special assistant to the president of the Minnesota State Community and Technical College System. She holds a BA (English literature), MA (higher education) and Ph.D. (educational policy and administration), all from the University of Minnesota/Minneapolis.
TD Bank has named David B. Sportelli vice president/SBA loan specialist in the SBA Division in the bank’s New Haven office. He is responsible for expanding TD Bank’s SBA loan production throughout Connecticut. Sportelli, of Guilford, has 33 years of banking experience. Prior to joining TD Bank, he served in small business lending at CIT Group in Branford for the past 15 years.