At Hartman Simons, we serve more than just the commercial real estate community — and we think our corporate clients also deserve time in the spotlight.

Ben Meet this week’s Four on Friday guest, Ben Levenbaum. Ben founded Xceleration, a full-service sales incentive and employee recognition company, in 1999. His experience prior to Xceleration includes developing some of the first web-based incentive programs in the industry. During the past twelve years, he has managed the execution of more than 250 employee incentive programs and the development of 40 websites used to communicate corporate objectives, track performance and maximize incentive participation.

HS:  Tell us about Xceleration.

BL:  We develop incentive and recognition programs for clients looking to reward and recognize their employees, dealers, agents or customers.  Our focus is on managing employee recognition and/or sales incentive programs.  For either type of program we use our proprietary technology, RewardStation®, which is branded and customized for each client. When employees log in, they can see their goals and how to earn points. These points become an alternate currency for employees to purchase everything from televisions to gift cards. 

HS:  Describe your relationship with Hartman Simons.

BL:  Jeremy Cohen drew up our corporate agreements 12 years ago when Xceleration was first founded. Over the years, I have continued to lean on him for the legal structure we need to grow. In the beginning we had basic contracts. As we add employees and higher profile clients, Jeremy continues to serve as our legal counsel and trusted advisor.

HS: How has the recession affected your business?

BL: Actually, our employee recognition program got stronger when the recession hit. Companies were reducing staff and not able to give merit increases. Several of our clients turned to our point-based reward system to reward top talent instead of granting standard raises. The sales incentives side of our business, however, decreased during the recession. A lot of these program budgets were cut. Even so, it has started to recover over the past nine months as companies are starting to refund incentive budgets.

HS:  So we hear you and Jeremy go way back?

BL:  Sure do. We met at Emory when we both played street hockey. We are both from the North and have enjoyed many years of rooting against each other each time our favorite Boston and New York teams play!