Meet Ballast.

At Ballast Capital Advisors, our institutional investment approach means our investment process is designed differently. Rather than passively allocating your money into a pre-established suite of funds, we look at your unique situation and goals and thoughtfully construct a custom portfolio with select investments.


Steering ultra-high-net-worth individuals toward greater success.

Your personal, private investment department.

We connect our clients to diverse opportunities, but the management of your portfolio stays with us. This ensures that your funds are not being handled by anyone who isn’t acting in your best interest.

Our Team


Driven by expertise. Delivered with candor.

Greg Carstensen

OWNER & CIO

As founder of Ballast, Greg has over 20 years of institutional investment management experience. Previously, Greg oversaw the fixed-income portfolio at American Equity, managing over $26B in assets. During his tenure, he actively managed sleeves focused on investment-grade credit, distressed debt, real estate, and mortgage-backed securities. In 2007, Greg co-founded CK Capital, which has funded various investment strategies, including private financing and venture capital. Greg earned an MBA from the University of Iowa and a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from St. Olaf College. He is also a member of the Iowa Society of Chartered Analysts.

Chad Carstensen

INVESTMENT ADVISOR

Chad brings a wealth of experience to Ballast, having started his career as a Financial Advisor at Prudential. During his tenure, he demonstrated a collaborative approach, working alongside tax advisors and estate planners to deliver comprehensive financial solutions for his clients. He has spent the last decade at Asymmetria, where he has led investor relations and capital raising, while also serving on the investment advisory board. Chad has played a supporting role in sourcing, underwriting, and managing Asymmetria’s diverse portfolio. Chad received his MBA and an undergraduate degree from the Paul R. Carter College of Business at Harding University.

DJ Stewart

CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER

Responsible for assisting in our strategic direction and supporting investor relations, DJ comes from a 10-year investment background in the alternative markets as well as 15 years of experience working at an institutional trading desk. Prior to joining Ballast, DJ worked as a Managing Director at Credit Suisse, working within the Securitized Products business. DJ received his MBA from The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, and his BS from Cornell University.

Patrick Freund

SENIOR ANALYST

After gaining a decade of institutional investment experience, Patrick joined Ballast in 2017 as an investment analyst responsible for evaluating investments and assisting with portfolio management and trading. Previously, Patrick was a credit analyst for American Equity, responsible for multiple industries totaling more than $3B in assets while holding roles including hedging the annuity business and portfolio management reporting. His earlier experience includes investment management of over $190B in assets ranging from stocks to bonds, bank loans, and derivatives. Patrick earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from Loras College. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling and outdoor activities with his wife and three children.

Steve Harms

CFO

Before joining Ballast in 2016, Steve was Vice President of Financial Reporting and Tax at American Equity. While there, he was responsible for a range of duties, including GAAP accounting and reporting, SEC reporting, implementation of emerging accounting guidance, and income tax provisions and accounting.

Steve began his accounting career with Kiesling Associates, LLP, where he worked from 2000 through 2008 and held the title of Technology Partner. During his tenure, he led the firm’s implementation of paperless audit and income tax engagements, as well as many other efficiency initiatives. As a general practitioner performing audits of private and public entities, he was responsible for assisting clients with income tax preparation, regulatory compliance, and other consulting assignments. He graduated from Wartburg College with a major in mathematics in 1988, passing the Uniform CPA Examination on his first attempt in 1989.

Heather Quandt

FUND ADMINISTRATION MANAGER

Heather joined Ballast in 2021 to lead our fund administration efforts, ensuring that the investment process runs efficiently and enhances the client experience. Prior to joining Ballast, Heather spent seven years at American Equity in various roles, including investment accounting and financial reporting. Heather began her accounting career with Kiesling Associates, LLP, after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant.  

Lindsey Anderson

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Before switching to the financial industry, Lindsey was a Kinesiology graduate from Iowa State University. She spent 20+ years as a performance specialist, working in youth development up to Olympic athletes. She also collaborated with Nike’s research lab in data collection, interpretation, and implementation. Today, in her role as Administrative Assistant for Ballast, she acts as the point of contact for our clients and the liaison between them and the Ballast team. She manages general office operations, which also extends to event coordination.

Lindsey also organizes and submits account openings, transfers, and updates while ensuring office policies and procedures are upheld and updated as needed.