Business & Finance

From Typewriters to Smartphones, Arlene Fricke Still Clocks In

Arlene Fricke celebrates the 50th year of her career.
Fricke can still jot down notes in Gregg Shorthand.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Arlene Fricke’s shorthand resembles, well, not much of anything.

The writing style, known as Gregg Shorthand, is a relic of days long gone. Fricke learned the trick at the Berkeley Secretarial School, from which she graduated in 1967. Only those in the know can decipher the messages hidden in the code’s squiggles, loops and scratches.

For many years, shorthand was critical to the Cranford resident's job. It helped her to quickly record information from the attorneys she served. And while technology has since mostly quashed the need for that fast-paced writing, Fricke remains a key player in her law office.

Sign Up for E-News

This month marks her 50th work anniversary. She has been employed as a secretary by several smaller law firms that, through the years, merged and ultimately became the New Brunswick-based group Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst and Doukas.

“When I tell people that I have had one job my entire life, they are very surprised,” Fricke said. “When you work at a job that you like and for people who you like and appreciate you, then I think you have a formula for a good job.”

Fricke kicked off her career at the law firm of Ryan, Saros, Davis and Stone in Elizabeth. She worked as a secretary and legal assistant, took care of the books, maintained lawyers’ daily calendars and did just about anything else that was asked of her.

She recalled surrounding a table with the firm’s partners each morning, sifting through piles of mail.

“We would create an assembly line together to sort and distribute,” she said. “Today, we have a mailroom.”

The law firm eventually became Longo and Stone. In 1977, it combined forces with Hoagland and Keefe. Finally, in 1992, the law firm took on its current name.

Through it all, Fricke said, she adapted to new technology and the changing times. When Gregg Shorthand grew inefficient, she used a clunky cassette machine to dictate audio notes taken by attorneys. Those behemoths eventually gave way to lightweight, portable dictation machines, she said.

But she can still use Gregg Shorthand in a pinch.

To see her firm go from three attorneys in one office to more than 80 spread across six workplaces has been “simply special,” Fricke said. Even so, most of her work still supports the same attorney, Ted Hubert, who she’s supported for the lion’s share of her career.

“She has been a vital asset to the expansion of the firm and a true part of our core,” reads a statement from Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst and Doukas.

As it happens, the firm is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year—meaning Fricke has been there since well before the beginning.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - March 16, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Another commuting mess this morning, as the antiquated Portal Bridge got stuck in the "up" position at 4:22 a.m.  That caused a bunch of rush hour trains to be cancelled between Newark and Manhattan for four hours or so.  Both NJTransit and Amtrak riders were completely screwed. You may recall the proposed Gateway ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 15, 2018


NEW BRUNSWICK - When you rent out apartments to Rutgers students, expect some surprises. But one landlord received a shocker beyond expectation: a $8,117.07 water bill for the last three months of 2017, TAPInto New Brunswick reports. The landlord went to the City Council meeting this week, pleading that the bill on his Comstock Street ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 14, 2018


TRENTON - Ever since we met Gov. Phil Murphy, he has been talking about the same stuff: higher taxes for the rich, saving NJ Transit, legalizing marijuana, giving more money to public schools and a higher minimum wage. So, when lawmakers went to Trenton yesterday to hear the rookie governor's first budget message, there weren't a lot of ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 13, 2018


TRENTON - As Gov. Phil Murphy prepares to deliver his first budget address at 2 p.m. today, at the State House, observers will be curious if his proposals jive with the state's pension mess. Look for the governor to talk about campaign topics like equal pay, health care, climate change, immigration and offshore drilling, as well as the proposed ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 12, 2018


NEW BRUNSWICK - If you want to succeed in New Jersey, you need to figure out, to some degree, what all these millennials are thinking.  New Jersey Future tried to get to the answer, during a recent day-long event in New Brunswick that NJ Spotlight covered.  Bottom line? Our millennials are fleeing and that is bad. We need them to buy ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 9, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Not only is President Trump against the Gateway Tunnel, it seems he is ready to shut down the entire federal government if any money is budgeted for the desperately-needed infrastructure project. The word from Washington is that Trump is ready to scorch the Earth if Gateway gets just one sawbuck from Uncle Sam. Of course, this dispels all ...

Rutgers Student on Front Lines of Orangutan Conservation, Research

March 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Deep in a tropical forest in Borneo 15 years ago, Rutgers student Didik Prasetyo first encountered a young male orangutan that he named “Jerry.”

The great ape was one of several orangutans that Prasetyo and other researchers followed at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station in the Mawas Conservation Area in Indonesia. Prasetyo was skeptical when colleagues said ...

RU police investigate assault on Douglass campus

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University police are investigating an aggravated assault and attempted sexual assault  reported to March 14 at 3:55 a.m. in front of Hickman Hall on the Douglass campus.


The victim, not affiliated with Rutgers University, reported that she was walking with a male whom she did not know in the area of Commercial Avenue and George ...

Rutgers voices support for proposed state budget

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University officials have often been wary of the governor's annual budget message, wondering what type of budget cuts the university may sustain and how it would potentially impact tuition and the overall quality of education.

This budget message, delivered March 13, appears to be a sigh of relief.

Pete McDonough, Vice President of External Affairs at ...

Latino, Caribbean, Hip Hop, Jazz music, even Yoga and skating, celebrated in city

March 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK – Music, cultures and lifestyles will be celebrated in the city all year, with festivals and special events scheduled for weekends from April through October, including the city’s first day to highlight yoga.

City council members this week approved permits for nine events, starting with the traditional Rutgers Day Parade on April 28, which will start on Senior Place ...


This National Literacy Month, Let's Rein In Screen Time

March 13, 2018

Dear Editor: As speech-language pathologists across New Jersey prepare to mark “National March into Literacy Month,” let’s address the alarming number of young children who spend countless hours a day on a handheld screen.

According to a study from the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, the more time that children under two years spend on smartphones, tablets and ...

New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters Clinches Gold Certification

March 16, 2018

NEWARK - The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) is proud to announce that the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters has once again received Gold Certification – awarded to the strongest chapters in the nation.

NJAHU achieved Gold Certification from national headquarters underscoring how well the organization has operated and achieved its lofty goals in the ...