Having a father who is an entrepreneur leaves a big impression. My father, who was a developer in my home town of Louisville, Ky., would build 20 or 30 houses at a time, and on weekends he'd take me around to job sites. He was a true entrepreneur, and I was very proud of him every time I saw one of those houses rise.
He tried to do the right thing as far as financial planning goes. He took out a policy to pay for my college expenses, and I'm sure he thought he assembled a financial plan for his later years. But I also learned from him that being an entrepreneur is all risk and reward, and unless you have a solid plan, bad times can devastate your business. In 1973, when I was 10, I saw his business collapse after interest rates rose. The building industry imploded, and he felt that he had no control over his fate. I'll never forget watching him go through that.
That experience shaped my future path. I realized as I got older that I wanted more control over my life than my father had over his. I also wanted to help others avoid the problems he had faced. So my dad's experiences set the stage for my decision to go into wealth management and my commitment to helping entrepreneurs with both their personal investments and selling their businesses.
I started my banking career close to home, at Citizens Fidelity Bank and Trust. After completing a management training program, I started as a branch manager and was promoted to regional manager two years later. When PNC purchased the bank three years after that, I was promoted to sales manager for Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. I also had about 500 clients of my own.
In 1999, I joined Hilliard Lyons as a senior vice president in branch administration. Three years later I was promoted to assistant head of the private client group. I moved to my current position in 2005 after Jim Allen became CEO.
I had an experience a few years ago that reminded me why I got into this business. One of our advisors came to me to discuss a client in the transportation industry. I noticed that the man didn't have a succession plan. There was no one to take over when he died. I saw an opportunity for the client to take advantage of a spike in the business, and I told the advisor to suggest that he look for a buyer. He did and the man got the maximum value for his business. We then protected his estate.
Clients like this man make me think of my father. I've always believed that if my dad had a good financial advisor at a good company, and a more comprehensive financial plan, he might have ended up in a better position.
As Told to Pat Olsen