Among the topics most people shy away from, the size of one’s paycheck has to top the list. Start inquiring about salaries, and people clam up like a woman who’s just been asked her weight. Undeterred, we took to the phones, scoured newspaper reports, rummaged through 990 forms and Googled until our fingers hurt. Here’s what we found.
Brian Roberts, president, Comcast:
Professor at Ursinus College: $85,600/year (on average)
Professor at West Chester University: $94,200/year (on average)
Professor at Saint Joseph’s University: $105,000/year (on average)
Professor at Bryn Mawr College: $105,900/year (on average)
Professor at Haverford College: $111,800 (on average)
Professor at Villanova University: $115,000 (on average)
Nancy Vickers, president, Bryn Mawr College: $354,334 (2005-2006)
David Black, president, Eastern University: $193,974 (2005-2006)
Alfred Bloom, president, Swarthmore College: $494,801 (2005-2006)
Fire marshal/chief fire officer, Lower Merion Township: $83,000/year
Deputy chief fire officer, Lower Merion Township: $72,842/year
Deputy fire marshal, Lower Merion Township: $59,262/year
Police superintendent, Lower Merion Township: $124,771/year
Police captain, Lower Merion Township: $107,250/year
Police lieutenant, Lower Merion Township: $93,238/year
Police sergeant, Lower Merion Township: $78,206/year
Police officer, Lower Merion Township: $65,554/year
Police dispatcher, Lower Merion Township: $45,808/year
Police records clerk, Lower Merion Township: $39,377/year
Highway maintenance crew leader: $62,410/year
Parking meter attendant: $38,217/year
Ryan Howard (at left), first baseman, Philadelphia Phillies: $10,000,000/year
Chase Utley, second baseman, Philadelphia Phillies: $7,785,714/year
Philadelphia Wings lacrosse player: $22,358-$27,948/year
Elton Brand, power forward, Philadelphia 76ers: $82 million
Joe Paterno, football coach, Penn State University: $500,000+/year
Tony Graziani (at left), quarterback, Philadelphia Soul: $250,000/year
Donovan McNabb (at left), quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles: $5,504,080/year
Saint Joseph’s University Hawk: $34,000 (in paid tuition
per school year)
Villanova Wildcat: $0 (Perks include free T-shirts, courtside seats and free travel to all tournaments.)
Think all those trees take care of themselves? The Shade Tree Division of Lower Merion Township’s public works department maintains about 70,000 trees lining the streets and in the parks system. The Shade Tree Division supervisor brings in $73,035/year; tree trimmers make $57,254/year.
Besides the standard merchandise discount, there aren’t many perks to working retail. What’s to love about working nights and weekends, dealing with problem customers and so-so pay? Well, we found one retailer who knows the importance of keeping both their customers and employees satisfied. Salespeople at Nordstrom work on 100 percent commission. According to a company spokesperson, the average salesperson at Nordstrom makes at least $37,900/year. Top salespeople nationwide (including some in the King of Prussia store) rack up more than $100,000/year.
Dog bather: $8/hour
Pooper scooper: $15/yard
House cleaner: $75+/house
Private chef: $60,000+/year
Private chef (live-in): $90,000/year (plus perks)
Professional organizer (residential): $50+/hour
Babysitter: $13-$15/hour I
Overnight dog/cat sitter: $70/day
Michael Nutter, mayor, Philadelphia: $186,044/year
M. Night Shyamalan, director: $10,000,000-$13,000,000/movie
Pat Croce, sports and entertainment guru: $30,000-$50,000/speaking engagement
Bagger, Acme: $7.25/hour
Barista, Starbucks: $7.25/hour
Career counselor (of adults): $100/hour
Cashier, Whole Foods Market: $10/hour
Divorce attorney: $350/hour
Dog walker: $15/30-minute walk
Equity actor, People’s Light and Theatre Company (Malvern): $555-$700/week
Freelance writer, national magazine: $1-$2/word
Hair stylist (experienced, with a strong list of clientele): $80,000-$100,000/year
Interior designer: $145/hour
Lawn maintenance crewmember: $8-$12/hour
Limo driver: $7/hour (plus tips)
Painter, Nolan Painting (Havertown): $15-$20/hour
Painting crew leader/foreman, Nolan Painting: $50,000/year
Personal trainer (in-home): $100-$130/hour
Pharmacist, Acme: $51.50/hour
Piano teacher: $22-$30/hour
Pilates Instructor: $30/hour
Pizza maker, Peace A Pizza: $9-$14/hour
Professional organizer (corporate): $150/hour
Nanny, Philadelphia Nanny Network: $500-$700/week (live-in), $400-$500 (otherwise)
Yoga teacher (registered): $25-$30/hour
Refuse collector, Lower Merion Township: $44,715/year
Refuse truck driver, Lower Merion Township: $47,842/year
Andrea Gilbert, president, Bryn Mawr Hospital: $400,800/year
Elaine Thompson, president, Lankenau Hospital: $292,308/year
Barbara Tachovsky, president, Paoli Hospital: $370,543 /year
Director of libraries, Lower Merion Township: $83,723/year
Head librarian, Lower Merion Township: $64,536-$70,352/year
Reference librarian, Lower Merion Township: $51,832/year
Children’s llbrarian, Lower Merion Township: $56,179/year
Golf caddy, Aronimink Golf Club (Newtown Square): $60/bag (18 holes)
Golf caddy, Whitford Country Club (Downingtown): $30/bag (18 holes)
Server, Waynesborough Country Club (Paoli): $10/hour
Men’s locker room attendant, Merion Golf Club: $8-$10/hour (plus tips)
Linda Grobman, superintendent, Radnor Township School District: $194,000/year
First-year teacher, Lower Merion School District: $48,265/year (bachelor’s degree), $50,955/year (master’s degree)
SAT tutor: $20-$30/hour
JoAnn Huth never saw herself as the entrepreneurial type. But she’s learned that when a great idea hits, you better run with it.
Growing up in New York City, Huth was exposed to fashion at a young age. “I used to model gowns for my mother, who was a seamstress and a sample maker of evening gowns,” she says.
Huth’s career path led her to the corporate world, where she was a director of human resources. “I’d always ask myself the question, ‘Why doesn’t someone come up with something to fix?’”
Like many women, Huth loves handbags but hated switching her stuff from one to the other. “I knew there had to be an easier way,” she says.
Thus, the idea for the Transfer Bag was conceived. It’s a clutch-like purse lined with spacious interior elastic pockets to hold all necessities—from your wallet to your cell phone—in a neat, organized way. Its compact and has a built-in handle, making it easy to grab and “transfer” from one handbag to another. Huth designed it in three sizes and six styles, so it easily fits into bags of various shapes. And with its own handle and shoulder strap, it’s attractive enough to stand on its own as a clutch.
“I thought it was a great idea, but I wasn’t sure if anyone else would feel the same way,” she admits.
Her doubts were allayed when she sold 300 bags in the first three hours of the New York Gift Cash & Carry trade show. The next day, she sold 400 more.
“My daughter said, ‘Mom, you have something here, and we’re going into business,’” Huth recalls.
That daughter, Jennifer Rubinetti, is now her partner in Accessories by JoAnn Huth. “Women tell me that once they’ve used the Transfer Bag, they find themselves using all their bags more often than ever before, since they can switch them in seconds,” says Huth. “And for once, they have no trouble finding things inside those big bags they once referred to as a black hole.”
While it’s certainly a thrill to run your own company, be your own boss and sell a product that you conceived, there’s also a huge commitment that goes along with all that. Huth estimates her startup costs for the Transfer Bag—which launched early this year—have already exceeded $100,000.
“There were costs I didn’t even consider, like inventory storage, shipping, product development, logos, trade shows, Web development, professional photographs for catalogs and brochures, and much more,” says Huth.
Still, she projects that in the next three to five years, she’ll hit $1 million in sales. Despite all the hard work—and spending more money than she’s making—Huth is enjoying herself.
“I would encourage anyone who’s starting out in their own business not to give up,” she says. “Building a business takes time and patience. But in the end, it’s very gratifying.”
To learn more, visit accessoriesbyjoann.com.
There’s a piece of jewelry Beth Shak has been coveting for almost four years. Unfortunately, it’s not a diamond bracelet found at any Main Line jeweler. Shak has her eye on what she considers the ultimate piece of bling: the World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet given annually to the tournament’s champion player.
Last summer, the prize was just within Shak’s reach. But as it turned out, she was destined for second place. To her credit, she beat 825 other players in the WSOP No-Limit Hold’em event. She left Las Vegas and headed back to Bryn Mawr without the bracelet, but $328,683 richer in winnings. Not a bad payout for playing a game she loves.
Earning money as a professional poker player doesn’t come easily, says Shak, a married mother of five who averages one tournament a month, along with various poker events. “It’s usually a 10- to 14-hour day playing these tournaments,” she says. “It’s very grueling.”
Shak pays all of her travel expenses and tournament buy-ins, which takes a huge bite out of her winnings. “I’ve traveled all over the country and the world since I started playing poker professionally four years ago,” she says. “I’ve been as far as Australia.”
Shak’s husband, Daniel, a skilled high-stakes player, turned her on to the game. “I picked it up right away,” she says. “I just seemed to have a knack for it.”
After she further honed her skills playing online, her husband encouraged her to take her game to the next level and start entering tournaments. “I think some people may look at poker as just playing cards,” she says. “But you really have to use your brain. There’s a lot of thought involved, a lot of psychology involved. It’s mentally fatiguing. I have patience and the ability to pick up ‘tells’ on people. I can tell when people are bluffing.”
But Shak admits that, even with sharp skills, Lady Luck is still a big part of the game. “You can take some bad beats,” she admits.
Making big bucks is never a guarantee. This year, in the same event she placed second in last year, Shak came in 62nd, winning a mere $7,547. But her main motivation is not so much the winnings she brings home as the respect she gains from being good at what she does.
“I love tournament play,” says Shak. “I can’t imagine going back now to a normal career—and I certainly can’t imagine not playing poker.”
Photo by Steve Legato
There aren’t many people who can put “Guinness World Records Holder for Speed Balloon Sculpting” on their resume. John Cassidy is one person who can. In February, he received certificate confirmation from Guinness that he owned the record for creating 747 balloon sculptures in one hour. It was also a personal best for him; he beat his previous record of 654 balloons in an hour.
Balloon sculpting is one of many talents that have enabled Cassidy to make a full-time career of entertaining. A resident of Mont Clare, a small town near Collegeville, Cassidy performed his first magic show when he was 9 years old, entertaining the kids in the neighborhood. Soon after, he honed his talent for blowing up balloons and shaping them into everything from dogs to banana hats. In his late teens, he started doing birthday parties—and what began as a hobby evolved into a passion.
“For years, people told me I could make a living out of this,” says Cassidy. “I couldn’t believe that I could make a living doing something I really loved. It certainly wasn’t a traditional career.”
Cassidy credits his father with encouraging him to pursue his passion. “He gave me the permission to go after something I truly loved,” he says. “That was all I needed.”
Cassidy attended magic seminars to pick up some tricks, along with pointers for keeping a crowd entertained. After years of doing parties and shows for kids, he realized adults were entertained by his antics, too. So he expanded his business to include corporate events, trade shows and private parties.
“Kids are much easier to entertain than adults,” Cassidy contends. “With adults, you have to engage them right away or you lose their attention. Kids are willing to watch, plus they don’t have the option of leaving and driving home.”
Cassidy’s work has received national recognition. He’s performed at the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood, Calif., in the off-Broadway production Monday Night Magic in New York, and in the World’s Greatest Magic Show, The Mac King Show and The Amazing Jonathan Show, all in Las Vegas. He was offered a permanent Vegas show, but he turned it down. “I love the Philadelphia area; my family is here,” says Cassidy. “This is where I want to stay.”
Cassidy’s wife, Jen, works with him full time as both his manager and assistant during his shows.
“John’s performance fees for an event are based on two factors: the location of the event and the scale of the show requested,” Jen says. “Although some small party events can be booked for as little as $350, John’s most popular request is for the $1,200 show he performs for larger community events.”
In addition, Cassidy offers $2,900, $3,900 and $4,900 versions of his full-scale theatrical show, which has become increasingly popular with corporate buyers, college bookers and performing arts centers. “I still can’t believe I make a full-time living doing something I love so much,” says Cassidy. “It’s not really work.”
To learn more, visit johncassidy.com.