Business Briefs

Business Briefs

A new networking group for businesses is forming in the East Windsor area. The group will meet once a week in the morning. For more information, call Marvin at (609-903-6738.

Charlotte Ruden, a broker associate with Re/Max Central in Manalapan, has ranked No. 9 in Re/Max of New Jersey for her sales production during 2003. Ruden sold more than 50 homes last year, and this achievement places her at the top of more than 2,500 Re/Max professionals throughout the state. Ruden was honored at the 18th annual Re/Max Dinner Dance and Award Ceremony held at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City.

Ruden, a resident of Manalapan, was also named to the Re/Max Hall of Fame. Only 10 percent of individuals among the more than 87,000 Re/Max associates worldwide were inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. Associates who have helped at least 350 families during their careers earn this award. Ruden has more than 15 years of experience and specializes in the listing and selling of residential and investment properties in Marlboro, Manalapan, Colts Neck, Freehold, Holmdel, Howell, Millstone, Upper Freehold, Jackson and the Shore area.

Dr. Michael Baskin, an optometric physician whose office is in the Pond Road Shopping Center in Freehold Township, recently attended a conference in St. Kitts in the Caribbean Sea. The conference included courses, panel discussions, hands-on workshops and lectures on topics including systemic medications in optometry, contemporary medical management of glaucoma, new treatment strategies for dry eye and ocular infection, contemporary care in diabetic eye disease, and trends in macular degeneration management.

Industrial/Commercial Real Estate Women Inc. of New Jersey (ICREW-NJ) will host its fourth annual golf outing and clinic May 6 at Forsgate Country Club, Monroe. Registration and a buffet lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m., and golf will be played from 1-5 p.m. with a networking reception from 5-7 p.m. The reception is open to all golfers and non-golfers.

The tournament will be a nine-hole scramble or a four-part clinic, which will include driving, pitching, putting, and rules and etiquette. Several prizes will be awarded throughout the day, and there will also be drawings for prizes. A portion of the funds will be donated to The Women’s Fund of New Jersey.

For reservations and information, call ICREW-NJ at (732) 842-5070.

ICREW-NJ, based in Red Bank, advances the professional development of women in commercial real estate through educational meetings and seminars and promotes opportunity for business growth through networking on local, state and national levels.

Carol Abaya, a syndicated newspaper columnist and a resident of Marlboro, will present a number of programs in the local area.

A writing program designed for teenagers in grades nine and 10 will be presented by Abaya at the JEI Learning Center of Marlboro in a six-week session beginning April 15. Registration is required by April 5. The program is designed to help teens develop higher-level critical thinking skills and learn to write clearly and concisely. The program will address both the current needs of students to write properly and their future needs in the business world, according to JEI Director Stephanie Lew. The fee is $270 for the six-week program. To register or for further details, call JEI Learning Center at (732) 866-9099.

Abaya will present "The Sandwich Generation: You and Your Aging Parents," an interactive program on elder/parent care and role reversal, April 14 and 21 from 7-9 p.m. at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. The program will focus on role reversal, becoming a parent to an aging parent, and the roller-coaster emotions of both elders and their adult children — the Sandwich Generation. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will also be discussed, and will be the focus of the second session. The fee is $22 for both sessions. To register or for further information, call Brookdale at (732) 224-2315; the course number is XGENG043.

"Protecting Your Assets: What Not to Do," a program on estate planning, will be presented by Abaya May 6 from 10 a.m. to noon at Brookdale’s Western Monmouth Higher Education Center in Freehold Township. She will discuss living trusts, probate in New Jersey, estate planning and how to protect assets. The fee is $12. For registration or details, call Brookdale at (732) 224-2315; the course code is XFINL012.

Computer Troubleshooters, a 6-year-old company that provides information technology support to small businesses and homeowners, has launched its 300th franchise.

The newest franchise is in Queensland in northeast Australia. Another six franchises are expected to come onboard in the spring — in Holland, Ireland, England, and three more in the United States.

In the local area, a Computer Troubleshooters franchise is owned by Randy Cranin in Freehold Township. Cranin has more than 30 years of experience in information technology and offers a range of on-site computer services to commercial and residential customers. His Web site is

Computer Troubleshooters USA was named the top tech support business franchise company in 2004 by Entrepreneur magazine in its annual "Franchise 500" rankings, and was ranked No. 231 among franchises overall. The magazine also ranked Computer Troubleshooters the 41st fastest-growing franchise in 2004, No. 62 in the top 101 home-based franchises, and No. 62 in the top low-cost franchises.

Allen Brodsky Studios, located in the Morganville section of Marlboro, is a new company whose goal is to serve the communication needs of small businesses, professionals and nonprofits by providing affordable writing and video services.

Allen Brodsky Studios offers a staff of writers and graphic designers to write and design brochures, manuals, Web sites, and other types of publications. Partnering with a digital printing company, Allen Brodsky Studios also provides brochure and document printing. The studio also provides digital video production.

According to a press release, Brodsky has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and project manager for businesses and more than five years of experience in video production. He has written magazine columns on business communication and taught at the Temple University School of Business Administration, Philadelphia. One of his articles on plain language laws is listed in a standard bibliography of the plain language movement, and he has written and edited more than 50 manuals and technical marketing documents. He is a recipient of the International Award of Excellence from the Society of Technical Communication.

For more information, call (732) 970-1485; e-mail [email protected]; or visit

Carousel of Home Care, a home health care agency with offices in Howell and Hazlet, has received final accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation for Home Care. Since is founding in 1995, Carousel of Home Care Inc. has serviced more than 3,000 patients by homemaker/home health aides, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to homes in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Accreditation involved an evaluation and review process to ensure that agencies in the state of New Jersey are maintaining strict, defined service standards. Once accredited, agencies must undergo annual monitoring to ensure compliance to the standards.

The Commission on Accreditation for Home Care is located in Verona and can be reached at (973) 857-3984.

ed. note: Investors Savings Bank would not release the name of Castillo’s hometown.

Investors Savings Bank has appointed Jay E. Castillo first vice president of CRA/community relations officer, it was announced by Robert M. Cashill, president and CEO of the bank.

With nearly 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, Castillo specializes in helping low- and moderate-income homebuyers in securing participation in activities and programs that deal with CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) investments, lending and services. In his new position, he also works with government agencies and local community organizations to promote economic opportunity and growth in many neighborhoods across the state of New Jersey.

Partnering with the Somerset County Coalition of Affordable Housing, Castillo has started a First Home Club program for Investors Savings Bank. The program is built on a foundation of systematic saving that allows eligible families to receive grants of up to $5,000 per household for assistance in the down payment and closing costs toward the purchase of a home.

In addition, Castillo has joined with the Faith Bricks and Mortar Affordable Housing Corp. in Union County to begin offering first-time homebuyers in the Union area up to $18,000 in financial assistance if they purchase homes in Union County.

Prior to joining Investors Savings, Castillo served as community development officer and fair lending officer at UnitedTrust in Bridgewater. Under his guidance, UnitedTrust was one of the first banks in New Jersey to offer the First Home Club program, which ultimately resulted in a total of more than 200 participating lenders and over 60 affordable housing loans during his tenure.

Castillo has served on the boards of numerous professional, civic, and cultural organizations and is an active member of the NJDA Entrepreneurial Training Institute, the Literacy Volunteers of America, the New Brunswick Loan Pool Program and the Greater Newark Business Development Consortium. He is a past chairman of the N.J. Bankers Community Development Committee; the Plainfield Health Center; the Latin American Coalition; Faith Bricks and Mortar Affordable Housing Corp.; the Plainfield Business Development Corp.; and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development.

He has won several honors, including the Plainfield Health Center’s Outstanding Community Citizen Award, the Somerset County Coalition on Affordable Housing’s Excellence in Affordable Housing Award, the Latin American Coalition’s Quality of Life Award, and the Plainfield Bilingual Day Center’s Hispanic Heritage Citizen of the Year.

One of the first Hispanics to be recognized under the Minority Achiever Awards, he has been named by the City News as one of the "100 Most Influential People," by the Hispanic-American Association for Political Awareness as their "Outstanding Citizen," and by the Plainfield School Based Youth Services as "Outstanding Community Contributor." He is also a recipient of the NIA Community Habitat Development’s Angel of the Community Award and the La Tribuna newspaper’s Distinguished Man Award.

Headquartered in Millburn, Investors Savings Bank has local branches in Colts Neck, Freehold Township and Marlboro.

Wayne Sos has been named president of WayComm Consulting LLC, Farmingdale, a newly launched independent consulting firm that recommends and implements strategies to reduce telecom costs for businesses in the tri-state area. In his position, Sos will oversee the analyses of telecommunications systems, including local service, cellular, long distance, and data communications for businesses and organizations.

Sos was a senior account manager for Sun Microsystems, Somerset, from 1996-2003, where he sold computer equipment and workstations to telecom providers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless. He was associated with Schooley Mitchell Telecom Consultants before being named to WayComm Consulting.

Sos is an eight-time winner of Sun Microsystems’ SunRise award for sales excellence, a member of the business development and membership committees of MODC (Monmouth-Ocean Development Council), and a member of CRA (Corporate Resource Alliance). He holds a bachelor of arts degree in humanities from Thomas Edison State College, Trenton.

Todd E. Katz, vice president and general manager of Siperstein’s, was recently named one of the "2004 Rising Stars: 40 Under 40" list of the national Chain Store Age magazine. The magazine also ranked Siperstein’s among the "Top 50 Specialty Retailers in the U.S.A."

The youngest of Siperstein’s seven owner/partners, Katz joined the family business in 1987. He is a past chairman of the City of Long Branch Urban Enterprise Zone and past president of the Long Branch Chamber of Commerce. He serves on various committees, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Monmouth County, the Board of Directors of Long Branch Tomorrow, and the New Jersey Repertory Theater’s Board of Trustees. He has also received several awards from nonprofit organizations and charities, including the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Applause Award.

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, Siperstein’s has 16 paint and decorating centers throughout New Jersey, including six centers in Monmouth and Ocean counties, as well as four new centers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Locally, Siperstein’s has a store in Manalapan.