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Spotlight on AIM Alumni

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Richard Berry

October 11, 1944 - November 13, 2022

Berry

Dick Berry passed away at 78 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Dick was Chief investment Officer of municipal bond investing at AIM and then Invesco where he worked for 25 years. He then joined other AIM Alumni at Brasada Capital for 10 years, where he was a Fixed Income Portfolio Manager. Dick was witty, hardworking, and compassionate towards everyone, and he saw a great return because of this throughout his life.

"Our teammate and great friend Dick Berry passed away on November 13th" said Mark McMeans. "What I most hear about Dick from those of us that knew him is "what a great guy", "what a gentleman he was", and how he had such a calmness about him despite having to face so much tragedy in his personal life. Professionally, he probably forgot more about municipal bonds than what I knew and he taught me a lot. He managed our municipal bond private accounts at Brasada for 10 1/2 years and had terrific track records for the twenty-five years he was at AIM. He loved that Ted used to call a bond that Dick would buy "A Berry Bond", meaning that it was a rock-solid position you could hold for years and not have to worry about. Dick was a loyal AIM guy and other than pictures of his family, his office was adorned with pictures, momentos and money management awards from the AIM years. He will be missed."
 
"Dick was one of my very favorite people in the world - I'm so blessed to have known him - we remained close and talked often," posted Patti Hefley. "The world is a lesser place without him. Rest easy, my friend."
 
Jonathan Schoolar posted that Dick was such a gentleman. Always calm, always professional, a complete team player, just a fine human and colleague. Another of the "Great AIMers".
 
Linda Julian, who worked with Dick at AIM and at Brasada, posted this story about Dick with Karla Siemens permission. "I hope you all enjoy this story as it also reflects the type of company AIM was," posted Linda. "A great story about Dick that reflected his humor, warmth, and humility. I had a morning meeting with Judy Creel. Upon arrival, I noticed that Judy was visibly upset. When I asked her what was wrong, she explained that she was taking canned goods to a food bank drop off center before coming to work. On her way there, a bunny ran out in front of her car, and she hit it. It was dark and she didn’t know if she killed it but knew that she had. I could tell that she was out of sorts and wanted to try to cheer her up some way. Then the idea came to me…. I had just been at The Ritz-Carlton for a meeting, and they had just had their Easter Celebration, which included an Easter Bunny costume. I asked them if we could borrow it for a few hours, which they said absolutely – if we didn’t mind that it hadn’t been washed since being worn the day before. No problem, I said! AIM had also just rolled out their new health insurance plan, which had been a huge undertaking by Judy and her HR team…. Now to find someone tall enough and fun enough to play their part of my plan – and who would forgive that the costume wasn’t “fresh”. Instantly, I thought of Dick. He was always so laid back and ready for a joke or story. I went into Dick’s office and told him what happened and how upset she was. The big ask, would he dress up in the Bunny costume hop into her office and explain that his friend was only wounded but lucky for him AIM has great new health insurance, so his injuries were being treated and all was well! I have to admit that Dick was no push over and it took some convincing and a bottle of wine as well, but he did finally agree to it. He donned the costume and was ready to play his part. What we didn’t know is that Ted Bauer was in Judy’s office when the prank was put into place. So, here’s poor Dick hopping into Judy’s office, gives his speech about the bunny only being hurt and is now being treated with AIM’s new insurance coverage, all the while not realizing that behind him sitting on the couch was Ted Bauer. Luckily both burst out laughing and Judy’s sadness was eased. Ted, being Ted, congratulated Dick on his performance as-well! We worked for an amazing company that was amazing because of the people that worked there. I will always have Dick and many other lovely people in my heart. Here’s to a good man who we’ve lost too early. Love and Hugs….."
 
In lieu of a service, the family asks that donations go to Hope for the Day. A non-profit movement empowering the conversation on proactive suicide prevention and mental health education.
 
 
Visit the AIM Funds Friends Facebook page for more tributes including these:
Polly Ahrendts posted: "I am very sad to hear of Dick's Passing. I remember when he joined AIM sometime in the late 1980's. We worked in the Fixed Income Dep't together. He was such a hoot. Always had time for anyone and was kind. I enjoyed our Friday afternoon confabs in the corner of the 19th floor, where he usually got the best of me. Sending heartfelt condolences."
 
James Burke Bradford posted that "Dick was the first professional colleague to guide me to challenge the text books when it came to financial credit analysis. Loved him for that insight .. I always wanted to work for him"
 
Andrew Price shared that "One favorite memory I have of Dick Berry was the response he wrote (in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine) to criticism from John Bogle (founder of Vanguard) of the AIM Muni Bond fund...I can't remember the entire response, but in it, he told Mr. Bogle something to the effect of "...read the objective set forth in the prospectus" and he'll see that the AIM Muni-Bond achieved exactly what the objective was. (I would have loved to have seen John Bogle's face reading Dick's perfect response to the erroneous criticism he had spouted the month before in Kiplinger's..)."

With more than 200 of our members having worked at the firm for twenty years or more, this blog story and the newsletter will feature stories from our members about their time with the firm.

The two strengths that have kept me at AIM/Invesco are the people and career progression

Bryan Richardson

Manuel Castro celebrated 27 years with the firm this year. Manuel is a Senior Derivatives Analyst in Portfolio Operations.  "In my 27 years with the firm, I have done settlements for Domestic, Foreign, Fixed Income, TBAs, Powershares and Money Market. "I am very blessed to still be working here," said Manuel. "Some of my fondest memories at AIM were the barbeques after reaching a billion in assets under management. The once a year picnic and most of all the Christmas party. But I also missed the quarterly meeting with Mr. Bauer( God rest his sole ) and then Mr. Bob Graham. I remember when I first started at AIM, Mr. Bauer came to our new employee orientation and took the time to meet us and tell us the beginning of AIM and how it was founded by Charles (Ted) Bauer, Bob Graham and Gary Crum. Now with the recent pandemic, I realized the importance of spending more time with family. I am very thankful to AIM Investments (AIM Family of Funds) for giving me the opportunity to start my investment career and still be working with Invesco."

Some of my fondest memories at AIM were the barbeques after reaching a billion in assets under management

Manuel Castro

Manuel is pictured in Las Vegas with his daughter, wife, and his father.

 

With the recent pandemic, I realize the importance of spending more time with family

Manuel Castro

When Connie Porter first applied at AIM, in April 1995, she was hoping to get a job working in the Training Department as that was her minor in college. "Unfortunately," said Connie, "I did not have the experience required for that job and was denied an interview. I contacted the HR Dept and told them I would appreciate the opportunity to talk to them in person as my resume may not show all the experience I actually had. The good news is they agreed and found a better fit for my skills in the IT Department as an 'Automation Specialist' for Legal and Compliance due to my Computer Configuration and Sales knowledge. Over the years, I've worn many hats, such as IT Support, Project Manager, Team Lead, Business Analyst and currently as a Principal Engineer (i.e., Software Developer) and … survived Y2K, multiple mergers, and system upgrades.  And, when I say survived, I mean we were busier than a one-armed paper hanger.  But those times allowed me to grow and learn as I might not have at a smaller firm.  So, for all my 26 years of ups and downs, I wouldn't change a thing and hope to retire in 7 years from my Invesco family."

We were busier than a one-armed paper hanger

Connie Porter

 Bryan Richardson has been with the firm since 1995.

He left in 1999 for several years to attend graduate school at The University of Texas, then returned to the firm in 2002. Bryan has been a Senior Client Portfolio Manager supporting the Diversified Dividend Team since 2021.

The company has often done a great job promoting from within...opening new doors for my career

Bryan Richardson

"The two strengths that have kept me at AIM/Invesco for so many years are the people and continued career progression opportunities," said Bryan. "In terms of the people, many of my co-workers over the years have become some of my closest friends. We’ve been able to celebrate the most important things in life including weddings, the birth of children, kids graduating from high school and moving onto college, and retirement from Invesco and other firms. In terms of career progression opportunities, the company has often done a great job at promoting from within rather than going outside to fill positions, and that has always opened new doors for my career."

Rudy Cabarrubia is a Client Relationship Manager covering Retirement and Insurance Partners. "I began my career with AIM Funds in 1999 in the Transfer Agent as a Representative within the AIM Summit Group," said Rudy. "This team was a subset of Client Services that had the primary responsibilities of supporting clients invested in the AIM Summit Fund.  After holding several positions in the Transfer Agent I found my calling at AIM/Invesco when I accepted a position in 2004 with the Distributor’s Institutional Business Development team.  My early experiences on this team helped lay the foundation to a long-term career as a Client Relationship Manager partnering with some of the firms largest and most tenured clients in the Retirement and Insurance space. 

What kept me at the firm has been the amazing people I've had the privilege of working with and the friendships built over the years

Rudy Cabarrubia

"What has kept me at the firm has been the amazing people I’ve had the privilege of working with and the friendships built over the years.  Some of my closest friends today are with people I originally met at AIM.

There have been a lot of fond memories during my time with AIM/Invesco from shooting free throws in the Summit arena during our $100 Billion milestone celebration to building lasting friendships with those in my new hire training class.  However, the most special memory of all was meeting Lidia Resendiz for the first time in the lobby of 11 Greenway Plaza.  I didn’t know it at the time, but she would later become my soulmate and mother to our daughter Roxana."

Lidia will soon mark 25 years with the firm where she is a Senior Compliance Officer - Trust. "In 1999 I started off as an administrative assistant in the pricing group under the leadership of Mary Benson," said Lidia.

"With the help of the firm, I was able to go back to school, earn my finance degree and move up to assistant manager. One of my highlights in that team was in 2012 when I was offered a 4-month secondment in London with their pricing team. I had never been overseas before, and it was an unforgettable experience! I even had a chance to have a pint with Jeff Andrews! In 2014, as part of the company’s mentorship program, I was able to recognize it was time for a change and fortunately landed in my current group – Invesco’s Distributor’s compliance team supporting Invesco’s Trust Company. I am grateful for the people I have met along the way, many of whom have changed my life, but there are no words to describe how I will forever be appreciative in meeting Rudy Cabarrubia.

I am grateful for the people I have met along the way, many of whom changed my life

Lidia Resendiz

He made me realize there was so much more to life than just being behind those beige cubicle walls. Rudy solidified the definition of happiness for me."

 

Hamen Patel

1961-2022

PatelHarsh Gupta shared that Hamen Patel, a loving husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend, passed away on September 10, 2022 at the age of 61. Although his passing comes as a shock, it followed a long and full life. He will be sadly missed. Harsh joined AIM in 2000 and worked in the IT Department.
 
To plant a memorial tree in honor of Hamen Bapubhai Patel, please visit Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
 

Terri Fiedler is President and CEO of AIG Financial Distributors, the sales and distribution organization for AIG Life & Retirement. In this role, Terri oversees sales for the entire spectrum of protection, retirement savings and lifetime income solutions across a broad range of distribution channels.

Terri's first job in the Financial Services industry was with AIM as a marketing specialist (internal wholesaler) in 1993 before she was promoted to Key Account Manager in 1995. “I’ll never forget Patti Hefley helping me with formatting my resume before I was to interview with B.J. Thompson,” recalls Terri.

The founders and senior leadership at AIM ensured employees could earn increased responsibility and new roles

Terri Fiedler

B.J. hired Terri, and she was ready to prove herself as a Marketing Specialist. For the next nearly 20 years, Terri primarily focused on National Accounts for AIM and then Invesco, building up an impressive roster of wins and adding increasing levels of management responsibility. Then, in 2012, Terri joined AIG Life & Retirement as Executive Vice President, Strategic Accounts and began her role as CEO of AIG Financial Distributors in May 2019.

2021 Outstanding Woman in Banking and Finance

The Women’s Resource of Greater Houston recognized Terri as an Outstanding Woman in Banking and Finance at its largest annual fundraising event in Houston last year. The organization's mission of helping women and girls make choices toward becoming independent, productive and financially stable is a cause that Terri is passionate about.

“The Women’s Resource has created so many fantastic programs and tools to help women gain the financial skills and knowledge they need to improve their lives,” Terri notes. “I was so thankful to receive this recognition from an incredible organization that does such important work across the Houston community.”

Supporting Women in Financial Services

Terri’s leadership style has always been an inclusive, culture-driven one. She consistently demonstrates a willingness to share her expertise with others, particularly with female professionals.

I frequently encourage women to identify career opportunities that look like a stretch, but are actually a challenge they are ready to take on

Terri Fiedler

“The founders and senior leadership at AIM ensured employees could earn increased responsibility and new roles, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to achieve so much with AIM,” reflects Terri. “Still, the story across financial services is one where more senior levels of management become increasingly male-dominated. Clients would benefit from more female leaders throughout our industry.”

Several years ago, Fiedler worked with her colleagues at AIG Life & Retirement to create the Women in Distribution networking group. The group has become a setting for female colleagues to build relationships and help one another enhance their careers.

Clients would benefit from more female leaders throughout our industry

Terri Fiedler

“One of the most significant moments in my career at AIM was when I became a Key Account Manager,” reflects Terri. “As I was considering this role, it felt far beyond what I was ready for at that time. Without the encouragement of my mentors and my husband, I might not have gone through with the application. Now, I frequently encourage women to identify career opportunities that look like a stretch, but are actually a challenge they are ready to take on.”

Today, the AIG networking group includes hundreds of colleagues across all levels in the organization. “It’s been such a pleasure to see so many women take advantage of our Women in Distribution Network to grow their professional careers,” says Terri. “Across our industry, we’ve seen many positive steps taken around diversity and I intend to do what I can to continue this progress in the years to come.”

Good Times

Apr 15 2022

The AIM Alumni Houston Happy Hour returned in April - hugs were abundant. Smiles were miles long. Everyone was thrilled to return to Kirby Ice House, whether they were able to attend the last one in 2019, or had missed a few. For many, this was their first time to the annual gathering. Pat Bray was the first to arrive, and enjoyed The Masters until Patti Heffley, Ginger Neal and a few others arrived and the volume turned up! With 85 RSVPs, it was such a large turnout that as one person said, "There were so many people I didn’t get a chance to catch up with everyone - I can't wait for next year." For those of you who could not attend, we will soon have the pictures on the Photo Gallery..with 100+ pictures, it will be worth the wait. It was Good Times, just like the sign says! 

It was great to connect with new attendees including Stephanie Herrejon, Gina Parthum, Janice Griffin and Michelle Gibson. Then there were the regulars including Bob Graham, Gary Crum, Sydney Dilgren, Sharon Lester, Sylvia Elizondo, Pat Bray and Tien San Lucas and others including Ginger Neal and Patti Hefley who had missed a few events and were happy to be back.
Linda Julian was thanked by many for managing the AIM Family Funds Facebook page.

Simon Hoyle posted about the event on the FB page, saying, "AIM get together tonight - 100% more proof people are the product. Thanks for the chance to catch up, tell stories, and reminiscence with you, a very dear familiy. Well deserved shout- out to Mama Linda Julian! and others who put us face to face again."

Pamela Stephens said, "What a blast. I was totally lit to see everyone. We truly were and are a family. Loved seeing everyone."

Stephanie Herrejon, Vice President, Human Resources for ZaZa Hospitality, LLC was enjoying seeing so many friends at once. Stephanie was at AIM from 1998-2002, where she was a meeting planner. "I have so many wonderful and heartfelt memories from my time at AIM," said Stephanie.

 

"As one of the meeting/event planners I was able to work with so many amazing people throughout the company from coordinating Le Peep lunches on the 25th floor (had to have tortilla soup on the menu) to the annual employee golf tournament to various fly-in’s and wholesaler meetings locally and nationally – my job was pretty great! Some of my fondest memories include working with Patricia and Anita from the AIM foundation team, they were always so kind and a highlight of my day. I also had the honor of working on Mr. Ted Bauer’s retirement party. It was a great experience working with so many people throughout AIM who had special touches to contribute to the event in honor of Mr. Bauer. The most unforgettable memory was being the onsite coordinator in Houston at the National Sales meeting on September 11, 2001. It was a team effort helping attendees get home safely. I will never forget. I am very grateful for my time at AIM."

I am still smiling after a wonderful "reunion"

Barrett Sides

AIM get together.. - 100% more proof people are the product

Simon Hoyle

I loved, loved, loved the reconnects

Brandi Jackson Scott

We truly were and are a family

Pamela Stephens

 

We had some real distance travelers this year

Barrett Sides

 

"I am still smiling after a wonderful "reunion" - what a lift to see so many happy alumni after a few years off." said Barrett Sides. "We had some real distance travelers this year!  Another great comment on how special and inspiring those years were and how lucky we all were to be a part of it.  And thank you Bob and Gary!  And, of course, Ted.  Until April, 2023!