Honoring Advisors Who Serve(d): Memorial Day, 2013

In our latest slideshow honoring advisors and their partners who served in the armed forces, we present 18 veterans deserving of praise

On Memorial Day, the nation pauses to remember those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, gave “the last full measure of devotion.” AdvisorOne honors those advisors and partners to advisors—and one famous non-advisor who influences the advisory world, PIMCO’s Bill Gross—who served in the armed forces of the United States. This is the third year we’ve published this slideshow that is meant, in a small way, to thank all those who served their country.

We’ve created a special landing page for you to view all three of our previous slideshows as well. The 18 people on the following pages responded to our call this year to share the particulars of their service—some in the past and some still serving—and, in most instances, some photos of themselves when they were in service. 

Most telling to us, however, were the vets’ responses to how their military service helped prepared them for their advisory careers. We began this series of slideshows in 2011 because anecdotally there seemed to be a large percentage of advisors, both men and women, who had served in one of the branches of the military over the years but in many cases had not received the appreciation they were due for their service.

The comments of this group on their military experiences speak for themselves—profound and humorous, patriotic and often self-deprecating, but humbly proud of their service as well.

(Check out previous Advisors Who Serve(d) installments from 2011 and 2012 for Memorial Day and Fourth of July.)

Larry Frank at a military ball.Name: Larry R. Frank Sr.

Title/Company: Owner RIA - Better Financial Education

Branch: USAF

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant - Major (Pres. Clinton’s early retirement option)

Service Dates:  1978 – 1994

Work you did: Helicopter and fixed-wing pilot; Joint HQ Staff Southcom; HQ Air Staff Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 1st Gulf War; HQ AMC TACC staff

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I met my wife from El Salvador and the rest is history!

 

Michael AndersonName: Michael J. Anderson, JD, CFP

Title/Company: Wealth Manager - True North Advisors

Branch: Army & National Guard

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutentant - Captain

Service Dates:  1996-2004

Work you did: Platoon Leader, Staff Officer, Unit Commander

Michael Anderson, with back to camera, getting ready to jump.Brief story that stands out from your service time:Serving in the 82nd Airborne Division during a fairly “quiet” time (prior to 9/11) it was amazing how intense we still trained. Besides the parachute jumps (which were fairly constant), we would cycle through our training rotations frequently and were on two-hour recall every 12 weeks. I remember a time of being “almost” deployed to Kosovo.

We were ready to go, but they pulled us off at the last second and sent another group a week later (probably for political reasons, but we were at the end of our training cycle and fairly tired). I miss aspects of the service and have taken some of the valuable lessons I learned and tried to apply it to my life every day. It was a great honor to serve and I was thankful to serve for, and alongside some amazing individuals, both in the 82nd and in the Texas Amry National Guard. Airborne!

Bill Gross (left) standing tall in the bridge.Name: Bill Gross

Title/Company: PIMCO - founder and co-chief investment officer

Branch: U.S. Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: LT JG – Lieutenant, Junior Grade

Service Dates:  1967 - 1970

Work you did: N/A

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I arrived at the Pensacola Naval Air Station ready to fulfill my enlistment and ready to become a fighter pilot. And like all raw recruits, we were put in the capable hands of a drill sergeant. Remember, the drill sergeant’s duty is to humiliate and harass us to the breaking point and beyond. And me, the cocky college boy, was so shaken by the experience that it was one of the military moments I remember most vividly. I spent half the night cleaning my rifle, and failing the inspections nonetheless. It took me so long to make up my bunk to my sergeant’s specifications that I slept on the floor. I did push-ups and chin-ups and marched and ran obstacle courses but my sergeant was never satisfied. “You’ll never fly a jet Mr. Gross!,” he screamed. “BLIMPS are more your style!” I ended up flying neither.

 

Dennis CostarakisName: Dennis A. Costarakis

Title/Company: Vice President-Investments - Wells Fargo Advisors

Branch: U.S. Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Seaman Recruit - Commander

Service Dates:  1959 - 1980

Work you did:  Submarine Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: When graduating from college with a math degree, I volunteered for submarine duty and therefore had to get an interview with Admiral Rickover’s staff, which was required at the time. After completing all the interviews I was told I was not accepted to attend the nuclear power school. Immediately after the denial they offered me a teaching position at the nuclear power school.  I declined, went to submarine school, and served aboard diesel-electric submarines.

Mark PresleyName: Mark Presley

Title/Company: Financial Advisor - Raymond James Financial Services

Branch: Army, Special Forces

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Second Lieutenant - Lieutenant Colonel

Service Dates:  1990 - Present

Work you did: Paratrooper, Ranger, Green Beret

Brief story that stands out from your service time: In 2002 I had been in charge of a Special Forces element in Afghanistan and was allowed to come home for Christmas. I had forgotten we were "sterile," without much in the way of identification or possessions. In the early morning darkness upon arrival back at Ft. Bragg I realized I had no way to get home and nothing to rent a car to travel back to my home state with. In crisis moments like those you realize how important your friends are.

Shane MerrittName: Shane Merritt

Title/Company: Financial Advisor - Merritt Capital Management, Inc.

Branch: Air Force

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Airman - Sergeant

Service Dates:  1988-1995

Work you did: Tactical Air Controller

Brief story that stands out from your service time: It’s hard to synthesize so many events in such a short space, but I would say that not a single memory sticks out, but rather a plethora of them, from survival schools to war... the lessons learned were countless and absolutely play a part in everything I do.

John CrespyName: John Crespy

Title/Company: Senior Vice President Invest. - Raymond James & Associates

Branch: Naval Air

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E-1 - E-4

Service Dates:  1967 - 1972

Work you did: N/A

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Going through boot camp with a tight end from the Baltimore Colts.

Peter Stark (left) at Army-Navy game.Name: Peter Stark

Title/Company: Managing Director - Raymond James Financial

Branch: Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant - Captain

Service Dates:  1989 - 1994

Work you did: Field Artillery Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: The camaraderie was and is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Teamwork, integrity, and a sense of duty define who I am, and it was fine-tuned in the military.

Don TroneName: Don Trone

Title/Company: CEO - 3ethos

Branch: USCG

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Cadet - LCDR

Service Dates:  1973 - 1993

Work you did: Aviator, helicopters

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Aircraft Commander for Vice President George H.W. Bush; helicopter pilot in the movie Cocoon; Officer-in-Charge, Haitian Interdiction Operations, Cuba.

 

 Peter GutekunstName: Peter J. Gutekunst

Title/Company: Financial Planner - Raymond James Financial

Branch: U.S.M.C.

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Pvt. - Sgt.

Service Dates:  1985 - 1992

Work you did: Communications in artillery battery / Desert Storm

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I often quote our First Sgt. Withum and fondly recall his leadership and example.

Edward Sudzina (center) in former Yugoslavia.Name: Edward C. Sudzina

Title/Company: Complex Manager - Raymond James Financial

Branch: Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant - Captain

Service Dates:  1991 - 1996

Work you did: Airborne Ranger

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I remember a colonel who was lecturing me and a larger group of seniors at West Point prior to graduation. He told us we needed to “practice being miserable and uncomfortable” if we were ever going to effectively lead combat soldiers. I recall how unhappy I was to hear that, and how I dismissed his premise as mere “leadership development hyperbole.”

About six months later at Ranger School while on patrol in the mountains of Dahlonega, Ga., I was reminded of the colonel and his lecture. Soaked to the bone, numb from the cold, dangerously sleep deprived, and starving; I vividly recalled the colonel and his speech. I begrudgingly accepted the wisdom of his words, but it did little to dismiss my infinitely stronger thoughts of food, sleep and a warm/dry bed.

Patrick McEvoyName: Patrick H. McEvoy

Title/Company: President / CEO - Woodbury Financial

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Corporal

Service Dates:  1982-1985

Work you did: Military Police, Turkey

Brief story that stands out from your service time: So many great stories, some heartbreaking, some humorous. All memorable. Things have a way of repeating themselves. I joined in a time when the U.S. was not so popular. When I landed in Turkey we were not allowed to wear our uniforms because acts of terrorism against the U.S. military were high. My dad served in WWII and Korea, and I was proud to keep the tradition. So when I landed in Istanbul, I was really chaffed that despite coming to help keep the peace and advance the cause of democracy, I was a target by those who felt otherwise, and was forced to hide the uniform in which I took great pride. Then, I was met by our Turkish liaison, whose first words were, “Thanks for being here young man.” I guess it wasn’t important for the whole world to know, but she did! That meant the world to me.

 Michael WestName: Michael West

Title/Company: Vice President Investments - Raymond James Financial

Branch: Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: SP4

Service Dates:  1980 - 1983

Work you did: Armorer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: My first airborne jump in Vencenzia, Italy, five folks were injured because the pilot overshot the drop zone.

Chuck LanfordName: Chuck Lanford

Title/Company: Financial Consultant - Raymond James Financial

Branch: U.S. Army Reserves

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Private - Major

Service Dates:  1988 - present

Work you did: Active Duty: Infantry Platoon Ldr, Exec Officer, Logistics Officer with a tour in Germany and Macedonia. Currently, Major, Army Reserves, Training Support Div, Army Forces Command, Ft. Bragg. 2001-03 Call up for Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom.

Brief story that stands out from your service time: My platoon sergeant, Timothy Webb, stands out to me as an outstanding noncommissioned officer who helped guide me through the many challenges of being a young Infantry lieutenant. I learned quickly how important having a great team of support is critical to any organization’s success.


Steven Repak in Germany in 1991.Name: Steve Repak

Title/Company: CFP - Repak Financial Services

Branch: Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E-2 - E-7

Service Dates:  1985-1997

Work you did: Instructor at the Fort Bliss Texas Advanced Non-Commissioned Officers Course

Brief story that stands out from your service time: When I was a private stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, my platoon sergeant invited me, Kevin and my other friend Mike to his house for Thanksgiving dinner. We were all single soldiers, all far from home, and most importantly had nowhere else to go. Our platoon sergeant lived on post and his house was about ½ mile from the barracks. He gave us directions and told us be there around 3pm. On Thanksgiving Day, all three of us walked over to our platoon sergeant’s house. We didn’t know what to expect so once we got there, we picked Kevin to ring the doorbell. We all heard a lady scream out at the top of her lungs, “Henry, why don’t you peel yourself from the recliner and answer the door.”

We were all shocked because we couldn’t believe that someone would be screaming at our platoon sergeant like that. The funny thing is it didn’t stop there. From the second we arrived until we left, our platoon sergeant and his wife bickered back and forth and seemed to be total opposites. But even with their bickering we could all tell that they loved each other dearly. After we had our turkey and dressing we watched the Cowboys on television and once the football game was over we all thanked our host, excused ourselves and walked back to the barracks. I recall on the way back telling Mike, “When they say that opposites attract, they weren’t kidding.”

Dan JossName: Dan Joss

Title/Company: Wealth Manager - Fox, Joss & Yankee

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Private - Captain

Service Dates: 1983 - 2000

Work you did: Logistics

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I am always reminded of the close friendships we develop that remain long after our service to our country.

Rob SmithName: Rob Smith

Title/Company: Financial Advisor - Edward Jones

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Master Sergeant

Service Dates:  1992 – 2012

Work you did: Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Agent (0211). This role consisted of identifying and counteracting threats by hostile intelligence organizations, or by people engaged in Espionage, Sabotage, Subversion or Terrorism.

Brief story that stands out from your service time: The most touching time for me was seeing the smile and look of gratitude and selflessness on the face of one of my Marines while giving him a standing ovation during the Marine Corps Birthday Ball in 2006. This was only 5 months after standing next to his hospital bed in Balad, Iraq, after he was told by his doctor that he may be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. As Marines, we do what we do for our nation and our citizens and for the individuals to our left and our right. I will never forget any of my Marines, they are the “who and what” I miss most.


Geoff MenoName: Geoff Meno

Title/Company: Financial Advisor - Edward Jones

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Lieutenant to Captain

Service Dates:  2004 - 2010

Work you did: Infantry and Reconnaissance Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Multiple overseas deployments taught me to appreciate the finer things in life - time with family and friends, a good meal, and clean socks. As a financial advisor, my experiences help me keep things in perspective. A little dip in the market? Things could always be worse.

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Check out previous Advisors Who Serve(d) installments from 2011 and 2012 for Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

We know there are more of you out there who served, so please consider adding your name and story to the growing list of Advisors Who Serve(d) by filling out this simple questionnaire at AdvisorOne.

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