Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

ImageAmmo: Literally a New Twist on Showing Your Photos

by Mick Marsden


BNI Member Pete McLaughlin & Mary Ellen McQuire of McClaughlin Associates, the go-to place for all your insurance, in Madison learned about my photography and creative skills through BNI and tole me that I should meet Richard Parri, the idea man behind the new ImageAmmo software for consumers and pros alike. They were right, Richard and I hit it off from the start. 


Friendly, smart, creative, Richard's background was in finance. He built a sizable company that he was at the helm of until 49 when a heart attack changed his course. After 16 years being in the slow lane, the notes and diagrams he created during this time in a simple spiral bound book need to finally come to life. 


Rich Parri, the creative genius behind ImageAmmo at his bank of HD flatscreens demonstrating the  product to me. 


During his time away from the corporate world, he visualized a product that would make presenting images to the world in a unique, dramatic, and interactive way.  The concept got off the ground when Rich met up with Logan Chittenden, a developer that could share Rich's vision. With past experience in game development as well as data management programming, together they refined and grew Rich's notes into the visual treat it has become. More importantly for the consumer and pro alike, a Rhesus Monkey could interface with it. Hyperbole, I know, but it's really stupid simple. 



I had interest in learning more on many levels. As a professional photographer I am always looking for new and creative ways to showcase the many homes my River to Shore Group team presents on line. For the occasional wedding or event I shoot I found ways to share the images with my clients in ways so creative it's not just leading edge, I'd have to say it's bleeding edge. 


Richard and Logan have been working tirelessly on this project for about a year.  I met Richard in his Madison, CT home office perched on the 3rd floor of that takes advantage of serene views his waterfront home's offers. I can't see how I'd get tired of working there. When I arrived the banks of large, flat HD screens reminded me of those TV shows and movies with the super-geek behind a keyboards chasing down criminals, Wall Street thieves, terrorists, and the like. It was simply the perfect venue for him to show me the many ways this product could be used. I was wildly excited. 



Given that a photo is worth a thousand words, the best way to get your arms around the product is to visit:


For me the future is clear. Photography clients would receive a personalized "thumb" drive with their photos and ImageAmmo runtime program on it instead of the old DVD's which can travel a whole lot easier. Buyer's of Real Estate will have a great time exploring the photos of any home I publish online in the very near future. It'll be a killer app for my new iPad to say the least. 


Kiosks are a great use for this technology as well. If you want to see an example Rich and Logan's good work and have a great meal to boot (the make the best pomme frites)  go to Cafe Routier on RT in Westbrook ( where a large touch screen is mounted on the wall in the lounge area for customers to interact with. Very cool. 


I'll be writing more on this great technology as it unfolds. I'll certainly be at the front of the line to incorporate this into my real estate marketing, so hey, Rich and Logan, get the pro-application finished will ya?

HERALD: A fabulous Mac Mail Plug-In

by Mick Marsden

Most who know me know my passion for technology in general, but I'm nothing if not THE Apple enthusiast. Yes I have my iPad 3G 64gb coming, own the iPhone, and a fully loaded 17" MacBook Pro. In fact the entire River to Shore Group uses Apple technology to create better marketing materials, maintain better communications, and have more capabilities wherever we are. 


If you're into social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like, TweetDeck is the best aggregator I've seen. In addition to making it incredibly easy to make posts to whatever accounts you have ownership of or administrator rights. When a post is made in a channel or column you created on the deck, it will feed that post automatically through Adobe Air which places the message into a neat, small, translucent window in any corner you prefer. Goto to download the software and try it out. It's fabulous to write and post one message that's appropriate for 5 accounts in one click, photos, and more.




Another natural addition to your communications palette is the Mac Mail plug-in known as "Herald" written by Erik Hinterbichler from Mountain View, CA (Where else?). It's simply an elegant solution, beautifully coded, and a must have for someone who want's to be on top of their email.



Since using it I find I can quickly delete the items I'd be deleting when I poured over a long list of unread mail, immediately respond to those items requiring it, and simply check off that I read those that I want to keep that require no response at all, or lastly simply click it off for me to deal with within Mail at a later time. 


It is highly customizable and there is simply nothing I can find wrong with it from either a design or function perspective. Goto: for a free download. You might want to donate some $$ to the author letting him know in green what you think of his fine work. 


If you do use it, please post your comments here so others can read the consensus on this plug-in

Todd Hartt joins Fenwick Mortgage

by Mick Marsden

My entire family and I have been using Fenwick Mortgage in Old Saybrook for our mortgage needs for years. Founded by Carl Bulgini in 2005 right here in Old Saybrook I've recommended his firm to many of my real estate clients who've simply loved the rates, service, and courtesy of Fenwick's staff. Having personal experience with a company you recommend to others goes a lot further than hearsay for sure. 



Todd Hartt, whose just joined the illustrious mortgage team, recently left Edward Jones for an opportunity to work with the best. Todd became acquainted with Fenwick Mortgage through his membership at the Riverside BNI chapter that meets each Tuesday at 7:3o am at Essex Town Hall Auditorium. 


Todd Hart: Mortgage Originator Extaordinaire


I met with Todd a few weeks back to get to know him and his work ethic. Wow. Todd's demeanor and attention to detail makes him well suited as the lead representative for the firm. Todd's got more licenses than a boatload of fishermen, Series 7, 66, life and health insurance licenses, and of course hie holds both a national and state mortgage originator's licenses. His background and experience makes him your best choice for your next mortgage or refi. Todd holds an MBA from SCSU as well. 



Prior to working for Edward Jones in Essex, he has 11 years experience in marketing and sales in the Pharmaceutical industry with Pfizer. 


Todd is a local person who was born and raised in Old Saybrook. He is an avid skier and sailor and has 15 years experience professionally in the marine industry, most of that here in Essex. 


He lives here with his 3 daughters and wife, Nicole. 

JRM Architects: A world of talent and experience

by Mick Marsden

One of the things I most like to do at BNI is meeting with each member to get to know their business and a little about them personally. Jim Martin joined our illustrious Riverside BNI chapter a few weeks ago and met him at the Crow's nest for breakfast.

On a personal level, I can't see how anyone could dislike the laid back, smiling demeanor of this creative professional. It turns out that Jim and I had many, many friends and acquaintances in common as well as avocations including sailing and travel. We're kindred spirits on the creative level as well.  

Jim at the helm of the Amistad, a boat and organization he is so passionate about. 

I discussed with him his business principles and his approach to design adn architecture and learned that and much more. Jim felt it was the right time to take a new look at the way owners; designers and builders approach potential new projects. It’s no surprise to anyone that everyone is holding on to his or her budgets more tightly than we’ve seen for decades. And yet, we all want to continue to move forward with the ever-growing deferred maintenance and renovation projects.

One of Jim's sensitive historic restoration projects located in Essex

To accomplish this, JRM Architecture has developed a new way to structure A/E design and construction teams that works better for all of us in this challenged economy.

Essentially, Jim has cut most of overhead costs and is able to pass the cost reductions along to clients. He has created an alliance of professionals, combining some of the most talented and seasoned professionals in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. They offer complete Architectural and Engineering services including feasibility studies large and small, schematic budget estimates, construction documents and construction administration, as well as specialty services such as program space planning, laboratory space planning, planning and research for project financial funding, historic planning and preservation, LEED planning and certification fulfillment documentation.

Because of this “no overhead” structure, they are able to take on small renovation projects and additions to the large academic and commercial projects for which the team have become known.

Being idle is not an option to stay competitive.  The JRM Architecture | Interiors | Planning team would be happy to discuss their qualifications and discuss any project you may have to help you find ways to move ahead, despite a tight budget.


Jim at Essex's Town Hall Auditorium at a weekly Riverside BNI Meeting


CALL JIM AT (860) 391-9072 OR EMAIL HIM AT


Melissa Ziobron and her good work on the East Haddam EDC

by Mick Marsden


If you don't know Melissa Ziobron here in East Haddam, you might want to get to know her especially if you're a business owner of any kind. She's got a tough job as the lead person on East Haddam's Economic Development Committee. She works tirelessly to help business owners clear hurdles, find space, and the like to make their business happen. Business of all kinds benefit our town on a multitude of levels: they pay taxes, provide jobs, and some bring in customers to town who'd have no reason to visit that may spend their dollars elsewhere. 


The benefits are obvious however town commissions and some of the ordinances they rigidly enforce create obstacles that sometime send businesses to other towns that are more business friendly. Melissa personifies pro-business so seeking her help is wise.


Melissa Ziobron the gal on the go... 


I've gotten to know Melissa over the past few years and she seems to be everywhere. I love her broad smile and upbeat attitude on life and our town. She's a fantastic woman on all levels. She's been instrumental in helping my wife's business, CT Farm Fresh Express relocate from a home based business to temporary quarters in the industrial park in a space owned by Parady and Sons, who treated her very well, to her permanent location on 24 Mt. Parnassus Road owned by none other than Bob Casner. Bob too has been great to work with and has done a very nice job readying the location for her business. The bottom line is that none of this would have been possible without Melissa's tireless efforts.


Deb Marsden in front of her new location for CT Farm Fresh Express on 24 Mt. Parnassus Road. 


Melissa was born in 1971 and lived here with her family until she was 4. Her family relocated to East Hampton for a while but came back to East Haddam a short time later so she's been here from her school years to the present. She's been married to Scott Ziobon, her husband of 16 years, and together raise their 2 children, Brittany (15) and Bryan (11). 


Ernie & Cindy Piatti, owners of the Hilltop BBQ & Steakhouse are grateful for the support and guidance that Melissa gave them in getting their great restaurant open.


She had aspirations to be first selectman in 2005 but sadly lost. That failure taught her a lot about communication and the frustration of party politics. She also learned how to really see an issue from both sides and how to build bridges and foster compromise that works. That knowledge has made her a great asset to the EDC and our community. 


Melissa assisted Marcy Vitigliano's new Morning Glories Foral Design in coming to town from Norwich.


In 2007 she took the position at the EDC instead of putting her family through another race for the 1st selectman's post because she thought she could do more for the town in this capacity. I have to agree. She knows how to surround herself with individuals that possess talents and attributes to complement hers and it shows in how much she gets done on the short 14 hours a week the town pays her to do this most critical function. In my opinion they should pay her for a full week and reduce hours in a less important function in town government. But that makes too much sense. (Sorry for my cynical comments about government and the moronic decisions that are constantly made at all levels of government. I don't think I'll get much blow back on that comment, but then again...)


Long blogs aren't good so I don't want to go into too much detail on the tax incentives that are in place for both new and existing businesses. Melissa tole me that there are breaks for home based to larger businesses, that will make East Haddam look more attractive to new business and existing businesses alike.  Melissa told me that a business that invests $3m will be awarded an 80% tax abatement over 7 years! She tells me a $25K to 150K investment will get that business a 50% tax abatement for 2 years. There's more for home based business and the like so I encourage you to call her for details. She told me that full details would be on her EDC page within the new town website soon. 


One things for sure: To know Melissa is to love her. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious. You'll leave her feeling better than when you arrived to talk to her. 


As I left her from our meeting I asked her what she saw as the biggest problem we have in our democracy both here and elsewhere and her reply was spot on from my perspective: Getting credit for the idea overrides the true merit and benefit of the law or policy itself. We see it constantly: Not your idea? Then it's bad. With both sides doing it all the time, we the people get sold short each and every time. So laws that would be really beneficial don't get passed and the ones that do get passed help the wrong people or are just plain stupid and ineffective. Let's just leave it there. 


To contact Melissa call (860) 227-3411 or email her

Computer Signs is a one stop shop for everything visual!

by Mick Marsden

Art and Maura Vercillo founded Computer Signs in 1986 on Rt. 1 or Boston Post Road. Andrew, their son, has been working in the business since he was 14 and absolutely loves the business. 



Their facility is top notch and cutting edge. Their capabilities are endless. Want to wrap a bus, car, or other vehicle with your message. No problem. Trade show signing, decals, jobsite signs, banners, carved and cutting 3D architectural signage, boat and car graphics and lettering, A-frames, ADA signage and more. 


Andrew Vercillo will take your design and make it happen or create a design for you that will wow you!



Their new laser engraving services will allow Computer Signs to make 3D or 2D incredible detail on just about any material you can think of. I was blown away by the small tolerances of cut outs on an acrylic sample Andrew showed that happened in about 24 seconds. Wood, corona, engraving stock for labeled switch panels, metal, you name it. 


Andrew enters data into his computerized cutting lathe that creates his 3D signage and projects. 



Computer Signs is open 9-5 Monday - Friday, Saturday 9am - Noon. Call them at 860-388-9773


The friendly staff wants to make you happy!


So next time you need a sign, badge, banner, wrap, or anything you need to hand a sign on, call the capable and affable team at Computer Signs. 

A Real New England Spring!

by Dale P. Athanas

For those who do not live in New England, I can tell you that spring is a rare commodity here. In Connecticut, we have had precisely two real springs in the last twenty years and the spring of 2010 is one. The usual scenario is cool and damp through mid-June and than hot and humid overnight. So when we do get a real spring, we really savor it. 


As I write this it is 6:00am on a Friday morning in late April. According to our local weather prognosticators, we should have temps in the low 70’s today and the 80’s on Saturday and Sunday. Joy, my fiancée, and I are very tuned into the wildlife and growing things. With 200 acres of woodland behind our Old Lyme home and another 400 in front, we do get our share of birds and animals. 



The excitement this week was definitely the return of the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. Last year we had four feeders out and counted as many as 12 of these beautiful little birds at one time. And boy do they put on a show! For those who do not know, these hummingbirds are territorial and very aggressive. They are constantly bullying each other and chasing all over the yard. We have a large awning over one level of our deck and these tiny little rockets will fly right through and will sometimes stop and hover right in front of our faces as if to say “Hello and thanks for the food”! Another of our wonderful feathered friends that visited us this week was a Barred Owl – fairly small so probably a male. He was here for around a half hour and kept going from tree to tree – probably looking for one of our many Chipmunks. He was finally chased away by several Blue Jays. We have also been entertained by a pair of nesting Red Shouldered Hawks. To round off the day, our local Opossum wandered through the yard right after dark to eat his fill of the spilt birdseed. We suspect that he has taken up residence under our deck.



And of course, the other big spring bonus is the flowers. Joy has planted at least 2000 daffodil and tulip bulbs on our property so far and is enthusiastically planning to put in at least a thousand more this fall – that’s what happens when you have a big piece of land – things tend to get out of hand! To add even more color to the spring pageant, we are having a spectacular year for the flowering trees especially the dogwoods and cherries. And of course, spring would not be complete without fresh asparagus right out of your own garden. We cut ours for the first time this year – ah, nectar of the gods!


So, in closing, take some time away from your busy day to get outside and really appreciate this beautiful spring weather – who knows, it may be the last for many years!

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7