We’re pleased to present ThinkAdvisor’s 10th annual Advisors Who Serve(d) compilation, in which we highlight stories of veterans in the advisory world, told in their own words.
Advisors Who Serve(d) highlights financial advisors and other industry professionals who have served or are serving in the military. Each year’s initial compilation has debuted over Memorial Day weekend.
We recognize that Memorial Day is meant to honor those who have lost their lives while serving in the military, not for all who have served (who are honored on Veterans Day) or who are actively serving (recognized on Armed Forces Day).
May — which is Military Appreciation Month — and the time around Memorial Day were chosen for this coverage, however, since it is when many Americans focus on military service and thus should give extra attention to this important compilation of stories.
This group is arranged in alphabetical order and includes the first group of the roughly 30 submissions we received. The remaining advisors will be featured around July 4 and Veterans Day, when ThinkAdvisor also recognizes financial advisors who have served in the military.
Name: D. Wesley Adwell
Title/Company: Financial Advisor, West Coast Financial Group, Inc. / Lincoln Investment
Branch: US Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E1 – 1985 E5 Petty Officer 2nd Class
Service Dates: 1981 – 1985
Work you did: Fire Control Technician FTG2
Brief story that stands out from your service time: One memorable event was when Fleet Week was restarted and we visited San Francisco, Ca. in October 1984 with a huge battle group. The ships all got into formation prior to arrival (probably for a photo shoot) and there were ships and subs of all types in all directions to the horizons.
An impressive show of force. The city opened their arms to us and we had the best time that weekend. Everyone was wearing their uniforms in town (which rarely happened) and that was an impressive sight to see. The local citizens treated us great. Very proud time to be in the military at that time.
Name: Frank Amsler
Title/Company: Managing Director and Private Wealth Advisor / Rockefeller Capital Management
Branch: US Air Force
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Second Lieutenant / Captain
Service Dates: 1987 – 1992
Work you did: Pilot, 82nd FTW, Williams AFB; Aircraft Acquisitions, Wright-Patterson AFB
Brief story that stands out from your service time: When I was flying out of Williams AFB in Arizona, I went on an overnight cross-country trip. There was a problem with our fuel, and we got a late take-off on our final leg home. As we taxied in, there was a Chief Master Sargent waiting for us on the tarmac. Technically, as officers, we outranked him, but with his thirty years of service, it was like seeing your father waiting on the front porch.
We climbed out of the jet, and the Chief and I were talking. He said “I never go home until all of my chicks are in the nest. I have only had one crew not return, and after her, I have waited until everyone is home.” I looked at him and said the name of the pilot that had not returned. He was so stunned that I knew her that he had to grab the wing of the jet to steady himself.
By coincidence, that pilot was my neighbor in Boston, and I had gone to her funeral my senior year in high school. She was actually one of the reasons I joined the Air Force. At that moment I felt a strange bond between myself and all who have served, all who were currently serving and all who would serve in the future. The Chief Master Sargent, the pilot that had died in a crash and I were all connected. I have never forgotten that feeling.
Name: Janet Barr
Title/Company: Wealth Manager / Wealthcare Partners of Santa Barbara
Branch: US Army
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Sergeant
Service Dates: 1980 – 1984
Work you did: Logistics Analyst
Brief story that stands out from your service time: I turned 18 and just graduated from high school in Souderton, PA. There was no diversity at all. I got to meet so many great people from across the country. It was a four-year tour, where I learned about life, diversity and service to others. I would look at adversity as having a silver lining and I always took advantage of any opportunity. When asked if I wanted to compete, I said YES!
It was either working in the 120 degree heat or study in the air conditioned library. The military offered a great education savings plan so for every one dollar saved, the military would match it with $2. Talk about good financial planning.
My proudest achievement is being selected as the first female Sergeant to win post honors as the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Month in August 1983. There was a special luncheon to acknowledge this accomplishment. My mom and dad lived about 2 hours away, so they could attend the lunch. My father was an Army Pearl Harbor survivor and was able to be present. The general took my dad for a special “behind the scenes“ tour where most civilians would not be allowed to go.
Name: Stephen B. Burton
Title/Company: Financial Advisor / Raymond James & Associates
Branch: US Marine Corps
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E-1 Private / E-5 Sergeant
Service Dates: 2008 – 2012
Work you did: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Specialist
Brief story that stands out from your service time: There are so many Marines I had the honor of serving with that have left a lasting impression on my life. Many of whom, are no longer with us, and I would like to take this opportunity to list their names. Lt. Col. Geoff Hollopeter, 1st. Lt. Matthew Davis, Staff Sgt. Leon H. Lucas Jr., Cpl. Paul W. Zanowick II, Lance Cpl. Jason D. Hill, Cpl. Mark R. Goyet, and Lance Cpl. Christopher Camero. Semper Fidelis.
Name: Armond Croom
Title/Company: Founder / Croom Financial
Branch: US Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Lieutenant
Service Dates: 2000 – 2004
Work you did: I was a supply corp officer on the USS Nimitz. My main job was to handle the service side of a carrier and handled Procurement and accountability over all supplies.
Brief story that stands out from your service time: The story that stands out to me was relieving the USS Lincoln during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Lincoln had been out to see and away from their families for 8 months in the middle of the ocean. When a ship relieves another ship, you have to pull up beside that ship to perform an Unrep.