After more than two decades in the Marines, where he served as a lieutenant colonel, and almost 15 years in financial services following that, Art Gorman took a break from working to start a family.
He and his wife ended up adopting three children, which left Gorman knowing, he says, that he was facing some hefty college costs in the years ahead. He says he knew that eventually he needed to return to work. "I have kids ages 6, 7 and 8. I'm never going to retire," Gorman jokes.
So in a career switch, Gorman chose to go into wealth management, because he wanted a position that would best fit his life and career experiences.
The Brooklyn native got his master's degree in accounting from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, and entered the armed services in 1976, going on to serve as a senior logistic officer in the Marines.
"That's a business Marine," Gorman says. "I was part of a supporting infrastructure, making sure that people had the necessary materials to conduct training and operations. He supported 16,000 service men and women.
Retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1997, Gorman researched dozens of potential careers in finance, as well as general management and logistics-related work. Through some connections, he decided to join Merrill Lynch, where he went to work as a Nasdaq trader, and later was promoted to manager of the firm's equity dealer desk. Continuing his rise up the ranks, Gorman became Merrill's chief operating officer for public finance, the firm's muni business.
"It’s the second most popular product owned by the retail customer: municipal bonds," Gorman says. "The phrase I used to like to say was, ‘It's the most patriotic section on Wall Street to work in, because it builds the infrastructure of America.’"
He left the firm in 2011, only to return for a brief stint in its wealth management training program. Gorman says he joined with another advisor at Merrill, James Ferrante, who was a fellow Georgetown grad and son of an army helicopter pilot. When an opportunity came earlier this year, the two made the move to Wells together.
Gorman says he's found the right fit, because clients are drawn to his diverse background. As he recalls one client saying to him, ''’What more could I want than a former Marine with a master's degree in accounting, who used to be a trader, to manage my treasure?’"