New York Area Insider: Springfield, N.J. Tech Entrepreneur Ray Bernaz

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Ray Bernaz grew up in New Jersey and has spent most of his adult life living there. While working in corporate banking in New York he and his wife realized that for the same they'd spend on a studio in Manhattan they could buy a house in Springfield.

Even after a stint in London the family decided to come back to their house in Springfield, N.J. because they have great neighbors, enjoy close proximity to New York City and love those cool, deejayed block parties.

Name, Age, Occupation: Ray Bernaz, 31, Technology Entrepreneur and Founder of www.socialibrium.com

Neighborhood: Spring Brook section of Springfield, N.J.

Abode: Three-bedroom, single-family house

How long have you been in Springfield?
We've owned the house for seven years, but for two years we were in London. When we were abroad we rented it out to a couple that wanted it for 19 months. Since were were gone under two years it was perfect.
What do you love most about your neighborhood?

I think it's two things: our neighbors and the location. Some of our best friends are our neighbors; that's one of the draws to this neighborhood and why we moved back here after spending two years in London. We could have sold our house but we wanted to come back here. We have one of these old-school neighborhoods -- 1950s-style and everyone's outside all the time. We have our annual block party when we block of the street and hire a DJ, and have kegs, and everyone is out on the street. You can go from neighbor to neighbor in the summer with barbecues and it's a nice social scene. Everyone has kids of the same age and it's a great community.

The location is great because we have a lot of nice shops and restaurants around, and in walking distance. Plus, it's less than a half-hour train ride into NYC. So it gives you local options, but then you also have access to everything New York has to offer.

Best kept secret in Springfield, N.J.?

The phenomenal kids soccer program. My daughter just started playing soccer and the level of focus and professionalism is amazing. They have trainers to work with the kids and even the trainers say it's one of the best programs they've seen. In full disclosure -- I am coaching too, though I am not responsible for it.

Bryant Park is another one. It's shared with another town and it has a nice lake and a good fitness trail. There is also a nice hill which is great for kids to go sledding on in the winter.

Favorite way to spend a Saturday Night?
Some of the best nights we have had are hanging out in our neighborhood having a barbecue with everyone. We have a bonfire in the backyard and the kids can all run around and the adults can hang out on a nice summer or fall evening. We can break out the s'mores. No one has to drive. Those are the great times.

Your relationship tool for businesses was inspired by your wife?
Yes. I watched my wife trying to manage play dates, and friends, and meetings, and came up with a simplified relationship tool for businesses and also individuals. Maintaining relationships is hard work, it's all too easy to forget to e-mail or call someone and then months have gone by. The tool we provide is a thin overlay that automatically does that so you can take those five minutes you have waiting for a plane or train and send some emails or make a phone call that's overdue. You can use it for friends, but the most enthusiastic users are relationship-driven businesses like consulting, sales, lawyers, etc. If you don't pay attention to relationships they wither and die. This tool helps you keep heat on your relationships so they stay healthy.


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