Dennis A. Ballen, CFEChief Executive Officer
Dennis Ballen earned his C.F.E. (Certified Franchise Executive) certification from the International Franchise Association in 2006. It is the highest designation possible for franchise executives. He brings his passion and understanding of executive suites and real estate to Astrius clients, as well as a deep knowledge of creating effective sales procedures, advertising programs and operations systems than can be applied by anyone to achieve success with their executive suites.
- Mr. Ballen launched the franchising of Intelligent Office in 1999, taking it from its first franchise to almost 50 units across the United States and Canada. Through Mr. Ballen's expertise, it became one of the largest executive suite chains in the U.S.
- He served as second in command of Intelligent Office until 2007, handling the sales and real estate of each franchise, as well as performing key operations support and marketing functions. Mr. Ballen developed the company's popular Remote Receptionist service as well as its premier television commercials which are still in use today.
- In 2006, Mr. Ballen oversaw Intelligent Office's expansion into Canada with seven-figure Master Franchise licensing deal.
Real Estate Highlights
- Mr. Ballen started his career as a tenant broker for some of the largest fast food chains in the industry. Known for his skills in demographic analysis and commercial lease negotiations, he performed site work for such prestigious clients as McDonald's, Taco Bell and Jack In The Box. He also served as a real estate consultant to McDonald's for several years.
- Mr. Ballen oversaw all of Intelligent Office's real estate needs, finding the sites and negotiating the leases for almost 50 premier executive suites in Class A office buildings throughout the United States and Canada.
Franchising & Consulting Highlights
- As CEO of Gibraltar Transmissions, Mr. Ballen grew the chain to over 100 franchises, the third largest transmission company in the United States at the time. System-wide sales reached over $60 million.
- Since 1990, Mr. Ballen has used his vast knowledge and experience to consult for numerous developing franchises, as well as The International Franchise Expo and Intel Corp.
- Through Franchise Marketing Associates, a company dedicated to franchise development, Mr. Ballen successfully franchised numerous businesses, including the executive suite industry's largest franchise, Intelligent Office.
- Outside of his business efforts, Mr. Ballen is proud to have served his country in the United States Marine Corps. He is also an internationally-recognized powerlifter, specializing in the bench press. He was honored to be a part of the 2001 United States Powerlifting Team, competing in Luxembourg where he took home a silver medal. He has placed first in the U.S.A. Powerlifting Nationals, as well as the Amateur Athletic Union National and World Championship.
Kenneth I. ArstarkPresident, Chief Operating Officer
Ken Arstark brings a diverse background from the private and public sectors to the Astrius team. He has held a variety of management, sales and marketing positions in the franchise arena, and also brings extensive experience as a senior-level administrator and educator.
- Mr. Arstark served as Senior Brand Architect for All-Ways Advertising Company USA where he created and executed the Trade Show Promotion Division interfacing with exposition management companies and exhibitor marketing directors, building brand awareness, driving show traffic, and incentivizing sales.
- As partner and Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Arstark established the master franchise operations for HCXLI Salons for the entire Long Island, NY, territory. His responsibilities included sales, marketing, advertising, human resources, site acquisition, and salon design.
- For 15 years prior, Mr. Arstark owned Academic Advertising Specialists, focusing energies on developing booster, fund-raising and school identity programs and creating Major Donor development campaigns for several prestigious private NYC schools.
- As the Director of Intramural Athletics and Club Activities, Brooklyn College of The City of New York, Mr. Arstark oversaw all phases of the 10,000 student intramural program including sports, hobbies and education-based competitions, while also serving as Adjunct Lecturer in the Athletic Department.
- Mr. Arstark served as Ombudsman and Dean of Students for The Department of Education of The City of New York, liaising between high school administration, parent organizations, community groups and students within the 1 million+ student NYC school system. He also engineered high school security policies and conducted conflict resolution seminars to teachers.
- Mr. Arstark also served on the Boards of the Principals' Advisory Committee guiding school policies and the worldwide business preparatory program, Virtual Enterprises International. In addition, Mr. Arstark volunteered as corporate sponsor/mentor to one of the virtual corporations, Universal Promotions, in a Brooklyn, NY high school.
- Outside the business arena, Mr. Arstark has served as The American Red Cross Water Safety and Small Craft Director of Aquatics at several private children's camps where duties included writing and implementation of the Emergency Action Plan (EAP), course curriculum and administration.
- An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Arstark regularly engages in freshwater fly fishing, cycling and skiing, as seasons unfold. Mr. Arstark has earned a B.S. Degree in Secondary Education and an M.S. Degree in Administration.
Greg BrooksDirector of Operations
Greg Brooks is a seasoned member of the Astrius team, with experience overseeing the operations of nearly 50 executive suites across the United States and Canada.
- From 2003 to 2009, Mr. Brooks served as Director of Operations for Intelligent Office, an executive suite/virtual office franchise with almost 50 locations.
- Mr. Brooks was third in command of the company, helping to author the company's Operations Manual and ensuring that the manual's procedures were followed by each location.
- As Director of Operations, Mr. Brooks helped oversee the design and build-out of the company's executive suites, including project management, suite design, permitting, materials acquisition, furniture, fixtures, equipment, communications and wiring.
- Mr. Brooks trained franchisees in the operation of the business and executed impact visits to maintain the integrity of the company's operations throughout the system. Mr. Brooks also managed franchisee support, helping almost 50 executive suite locations pool their knowledge and work towards success.
- Mr. Brooks was also responsible for the hiring and training of the company's operations support and receptionist staff.
- Prior to executive suites, Mr. Brooks ran his own consulting and design firm dedicated to the construction of specialty restaurants. With a lifelong hobby of carpentry, Greg enjoys building fine furniture by hand and even designed and built his current home, where he lives with his wife and daughter.
Matthew BallenVice-President of Advertising & Marketing
An accomplished screenplay consultant and entrepreneur, Matthew brings 15 years of experience in the writing and production of television commercials, branded entertainment and other banner creative projects to the clients of Astrius.
Matthew got his start at NYU film school, and has a passion for storytelling, branding, and communicating to audiences that comes through whether he's working on a screenplay, commercial or other branded entertainment project.
- Intelligent Office: From 2000-2005, Matthew handled the writing and production of most major creative materials for this executive suite franchise. Matthew created the company's two premier marketing projects, their "Little Receptionist" and "Not It" TV commercials. Both spots are still in use today, several years after production, as are his video tours of the franchise (all viewable at www.intelligentoffice.com).
- Constant Link: Matthew oversaw the initial branding and launch for Constant Link, a virtual receptionist company. This included the company's tagline “Your Everywhere Business Receptionist,” as well as their attention-grabbing how-it-works video, “Phillip and Harry” (viewable at www.constantlink.com).
Branded Entertainment & Film/TV
- Matthew's branded entertainment work has included such clients as the Independent Film Channel (www.ifc.com), the Palm Pre mobile phone (www.palmpre.com), Repechage (www.repechage.com), and PrintPOD (www.myprintpod.com), a new wireless printing kiosk currently being used by Disney Resorts, US Air and Marriott. He oversaw all branding for the launch of PrintPOD, including their name, logo, website and kiosk software interface.
- On the film and TV side, Matthew is the Creative Director for ScriptLaunch (www.scriptlaunch.com), a screenplay analysis, development and management firm based in New York. Matthew's script polish of “Hollreigel,” an original screenplay by German film director Simon Verhoeven, was sold to the Academy Award-winning producers of “The Lives of Others.” His other clients have gone on to work with prestigious production and management companies such as Anonymous Content, A Band A Part and Berg & Wiedemann, as well as place in the top 10 of the Slamdance screenwriting competition. Matthew has also had a television a show in development with The Independent Film Channel, and his short-form work has been featured on the home pages of FunnyOrDie.com, Nerve.com and Vimeo.com.