The Colgate Scene
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People on the go
Joe Keller '84, left, and David Ross, on the set of Martha Stewart Living Weekdays.
Jadite: From junk to gems|
Joe Keller '85 got into the antiques business practically before his age hit double digits.
"My dad took me garage sale-ing," Keller remembers. "I made friends with a lot of antiques dealers, and they trained me to buy for them." By age 14, he had a serious part-time business buying and selling antique dinnerware. At Colgate, the Madison-Bouckville antique community was a favorite study-break destination.
After graduating, Keller earned a masters in theater history at Tufts and spent several years as a reference librarian at Harvard, all the while selling antique dinnerware on the side. "I never expected it to become full time, but life happened in a way that allowed me to do it," he remarked.
Together with his business partner, David Ross, Keller sells American dinnerware made from the 1920s to the 1970s. They rent 17 booths at eight antique malls throughout New England, sell at major shows as well as online through their website (http://members.aol.com/KellerRoss).
One popular dinnerware line for Keller & Ross is jadite, the mass-produced opaque green glassware that originated in the Depression era. After admiring their booth at the Brimfield show, a representative from Schiffer Publishing Ltd. commissioned them to write Jadite: An Identification and Price Guide. It's the first book to focus on jadite, which has "gotten to be this really weird fad," Keller explained. It came to mass attention when Martha Stewart began using it on her television show. "Jadite just skyrocketed in price. Everyone who thought it was junk is now carrying it. I've never seen something in the antique world become so popular and so inflated this fast."
To identify and photograph as many representative pieces as they could find for the guide, Keller and Ross did extensive research, tapping their friends' and other peoples' collections, exploring the morgue at Anchor Hocking, one of the major producers, and being always on the lookout while shopping.
"My favorite piece is the advertising ball jug that's pictured in the top corner of the cover. We actually found it," Keller exclaimed, "in an antique mall in New Hampshire. Nobody knew of its existence." The jug is valued at $2,500.
The guide, which features color photos and current values, identifies more than a thousand pieces -- canister sets, mixing bowls, dinnerware patterns, ovenware and miscellaneous utensils from Anchor Hocking, McKee and Jeannette. Eleven pages are devoted to shakers alone.
Released in September, the book's second printing was necessary by Christmas. An appearance on Martha Stewart Living Weekdays certainly didn't hurt. Ross appeared with Stewart on the segment, and Keller decided the items to be featured. "There was $30,000 to $40,000 of really rare stuff on the set." Taping the segment was frenetic -- it was the week Stewart's stock went public -- but a lot of fun.
"Stewart really likes jadite. Even though she was so busy, when she saw us unpacking everything, she stopped what she was doing to come over and look."
Keller's next project is a book on the industrial designer Russel Wright, due out next fall. RAC
Mitchell Burman '85 and Steve Bandler '85
Mitchell Burman '85 has a unique vision for optimizing manufacturing, and Analytics Operations Engineering, Inc. is the result.
The consulting firm Burman founded in 1994 while a Ph.D. candidate at MIT is growing at a rate of 100 percent a year and has taken Burman around the world. Driving the company is a combination of high-level mathematics problem-solving and the ability to communicate those solutions on the factory floor as well as within the boardroom.
Working with Burman in the eight-person company is classmate and fellow Deke Steve Bandler, who handles marketing and public relations in addition to consulting.
"Steve is extremely well-versed in technology," said Burman. "He holds the company together from a logistics and systems point of view."
The two met as freshmen in Stillman Hall and after graduation (through a relationship Burman developed while on the London Economics Study Group) worked together in Sydney, Australia, providing demographic and marketing consulting to some of the country's leading companies.
Burman, who insists he was a lackluster student at Colgate, aced the GREs and, with the guidance of mathematics professor Tom Tucker, found himself at MIT. Working in the Leaders in Manufacturing program, he developed an algorithm that optimized production of Hewlett Packard's inkjet printers.
"It made Hewlett Packard more than $280 million," said Burman.
As Bandler put it, "Mitchell is something of a mathematical genius." In between consulting gigs, he has been teaching at the Wharton and Sloan business schools. Mitchell is also a regular guy -- pointing to his Colgate experience, time as a waiter, fireman and other jobs in which he interacted with all kinds of people.
Analytics, Inc. has the technical skill to help companies with scheduling, forecasting, performance analysis and incorporating advanced management.
"It's a blast. The work is great," said Burman. "We've worked for the chairman of Motorola designing a new sensor system, rescheduled a fabrication production facility for Boeing and redesigned production processes for Baxter Healthcare."
Burman has worked in gold mines in Western Australia, textile mills in Brazil and has provided turnaround services for private equity funds. Beyond work, he enjoys wind surfing, playing the piano and agreeing with his fiancée's plans for their upcoming June wedding.
Bandler, who had participated in Analytics' projects while running his own management consulting business on the west coast, joined the company full time at the beginning of 1999 and will also be getting married this summer. JH
Maura Lofaro Harrower '89 (left), her 17-month-old daughter Mallory, and Terry and Gary Trauner '80 with newborn Aaron Mark and big brother Benjamin, 6
A dedicated doctor
Out in sparsely populated Wyoming, obstetrician/gynecologist Maura Lofaro Harrower '89 practices in a competitive medical community where there are more Ob/Gyns per capita than anywhere else in the country.
"It's the only place I've seen where doctors actually advertise in the paper," she remarked. Lofaro, who went to medical school and did her residency at the University of Colorado, has been in private practice since 1997. A New York native who grew up in Denver, she and her husband Kim Harrower, a Navy pilot, settled in Jackson Hole, which is not far from where he grew up.
Jackson Hole Ob/Gyn, which has an attachment area of 175 miles, has a total of 4,500 patients, being cared for by Lofaro and her medical partner Roger Brecheen, M.D., and two certified nurse-midwives.
"You often start your practice with a lot of new obstetrics patients," Lofaro observed, "who will grow old with you" and later have different health care needs. Her primary interest is in urinary incontinence and pelvic reconstructive surgery, "but I do love delivering babies." Lofaro estimates she's already delivered 1,200 infants. One particular tot she helped bring into the world last September is the son of Terry and Gary Trauner '80 -- one of only a handful of other Colgate graduates in the Jackson Hole area.
"Pregnancy was a high-risk deal for us," explained Trauner. Contemplating having the baby in a bigger city, the couple began visiting facilities in Salt Lake and Denver. "We were told we had a great doctor in Maura right here in town," said Trauner, who's CFO of an internet service provider called OneWest. By coincidence, around the same time, Lofaro and the Trauners ended up at a dinner party with mutual friends and discovered their Colgate connection.
"We told her right off we were going to drive her nuts, and we asked all sorts of ridiculous questions, but she and her staff didn't blink an eye, " Trauner commented. "Maura was there at every appointment, and she told us when it was time, `I'm gonna sleep at the hospital if I have to. I don't leave until it's done.' We became really good friends." Aaron Mark Trauner came into the world on September 27.
This spring, Lofaro and her partner will break ground for a new building that will include a birthing center, a progressive feature for those who are interested and need no intervention during birth. "Many of our patients are into natural childbirth and alternative medicine," she remarked.
Though it's a challenge to juggle a busy medical practice and a family with a small child, Lofaro finds respite in the rural splendor of her surroundings, which provide a stunning backdrop for skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and horseback riding, although she pointed out, "we have to be careful of moose going after our dogs."
One day a month Lofaro travels 75 miles to see patients at a clinic in Pinedale; each member of her practice similarly services a different off-site location. "We do it as a service for our patients who have difficulty with transportation," she explained. "It's nice to get out of town, go to these ranching communities and see how they live." RAC
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