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Today, David and Lori are finding solutions to land management, and translating these learnings to bettering the ranch they have owned for 20 years. “At first,” said Lori, “the ranch was a family retreat. Over the years we became involved in raising beef cattle. At the same time, we are working to restore the land to a better state than it was 20 years ago,” she explained.
We are working to restore the land to a better state - Lori
Trey Wilkinson recalled in an interview how Ted Bauer lived the philosophy that we are put on this earth to produce and every day you should “get up and get after it, keep your mind and body engaged.” David and Lori, like many AIM colleagues, are living that philosophy. For them, it currently translates into their goal to live off the land, and to transition from selling beef wholesale to offering their grass-fed beef on the retail market.
The day we spoke, David was planning to finish the interview and head back out to his tractor, which is air-conditioned and thus enables him to work in the heat of the Texas summer. Even with a tractor from 1980, which has some old school elements, David says how amazing the modernized farming equipment is. The missing piece he added was a radio with bluetooth capability.
Lori has a very large vegetable garden and is a trained master gardener. In July when the heat ended the vegetable growing season, she went to work canning tomatoes, freezing green beans and peaches. She has jars of salsa, spaghetti sauce, and other food staples lining her shelves.
I am a big proponent of knowing where your food comes from
Meanwhile, they are both master naturalists, working to restore their land to a more natural grass land. “If you visualize the last 100-150 years,” said David, “the land had been torn up, turned into farms and the native grasses were stomped out.” There is a volunteer program through Texas A&M to bring awareness of nature, and through a partnership between Texas A&M and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Lori and David enrolled in education outreach programs. “We felt if we better controlled our land, we could be betters stewards, and so we decided to do it on our own,” said David.
The ranch is located about 95 miles directly west of downtown Houston, enabling Lori and David to spend time with two of their three children who live in Houston. They also have parents living within five miles of them to whom they provide care.
Whether they are busy with family or the farm, David says they have a lot of energy out on the ranch. “We sleep well at night. We are physically tired. Life moves on and this is our new adventure,” he said.
On Easter Sunday morning, Tracy Sullivan passed away after a lengthy battle with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. Tracy was surrounded by the love of her family, who stood fiercely by her side throughout her diagnosis and treatment.
Sheri Morris, her colleague and friend at Invesco, shared that Tracy was with Invesco for 21 years and "in that time touched so many of our lives both professionally and personally. She served as the US Funds chief tax officer and was a well respected expert in Funds taxation at Invesco, as well as, a renowned industry leader serving on the ICI Tax Committee and as a panelist. Tracy had a passion and great talent for product structuring. She met every challenge with excitement and determination to find the best available solutions for Invesco and the Funds’ shareholders. Tracy was a tenacious leader who led by example with integrity and was a fearless champion for her team" said Sheri.
"Tracy faced her illness with courage, strength and determination. Although she was intensely private about her journey, she was comforted by all of the phone calls, visits, and text messages with loving words from many of you. We will remember her as a wonderful colleague who gave freely of her time, offering advice and encouragement to so many. Tracy’s years at Invesco brought her great joy and she placed the highest of importance on the relationships she formed with each of us. She leaves an amazing legacy behind. We are all better for having known her and she will be greatly missed," said Sheri.
"Tracy meant so much to me, from her brilliance and wit, to the way she treated others. Tracy, was a strong woman who led a fantastic team," shared Mindi Lowy, a PWC colleague.
"She was a leader, not only for women, but men as well," said Mindi. "It was amazing for me to watch her instantly connect with young team members at our dinners, making them feel comfortable and confident. Through almost every interaction with Tracy, I was able to learn from her. From the way she treated others, the manner in which she cherished her family,and her determination to push herself to go the extra mile."
Mindi has cards in her office from Tracy for various milestones in her life. She has artwork in her office that they painted together. "I think of Tracy and the lasting impression she has left on me every time I walk
in my office and see the memorabilia. I am a better person because of her and for that I will forever be grateful," said Mindi.
There are many at Invesco whom Tracy touched in her two decades with Invesco and she is missed.
It was great to see so many AIM colleagues connecting after several months, a year or even longer. From Ivy McLemore who was thrilled to see his former boss, Frank Serebrin to Ann Srubar who caught up with her former supervisor, Janet Luby, hugs abounded.
Brandi Scott has returned to recruiting with Experis. "My tenure at AIM first introduced me to the world of recruiting and after running into an old colleague from those days, I've now joined the very team that placed me in roles that have built my career. As an IT Recruiter for Experis, I'm one of a dozen veteran recruiters who work with clients like ExxonMobil, Lyondell, United Airlines, Halliburton, Schlumberger, SCI, Memorial Hermann, TCH, CenterPoint Energy, and several others seeking IT talent. Even caught up with one of my former AIM IT Boot Campers who is now an IT Director! This is so much fun and the biggest reward is the feeling of joy when my candidates receive a job offer," shares Brandi.
I'm thrilled there continues to be more AIM Alumni attending (the happy hours). It's truly special to be part of such a unique group.
Neil Thomas is seeking new opportunities in the world of IT. He shares that after several years operating Buffalo Paint in the Bellaire/Meyerland area, he is selling the business.
Robert Humes started with AIM in October of 1997, just prior to the rollout of the Slash & Burn Project. For those of you who don't remember that project, Robert shared that every computer, monitor, network wire, router... almost the entire IT infrastructure, was replaced. "I've spent many, many hours at Greenway Plaza, and have had the great opportunity to meet, and work with, some fantastic people here," he said.
I had the great opportunity to meet, and work with, some fantastic people during my time at AIM.
"After a great deal of soul-searching, I decided to leave Invesco in November of 2015, ending an 18 year, 1 month, and 2 week tenure (not that I was counting). Since leaving Invesco, I got married and have continued to build my Computer Consulting firm which I have run for the past 15 years or so," said Robert.
More than 70 AIM Alumni gathered at Kirby Ice House for our ninth annual Houston reunion. We were thrilled that Mike Cemo joined the crowd of returning and new faces. It was a great evening to catch up with friends and colleagues.
Sharing memories, laughs and updates included discussions about the $5.7 billion in stock Invesco is paying for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.'s Oppenheimer Funds unit. The deal is expected to close at the end of the second quarter 2019. It will make Invesco the 13th largest global investment manager and the sixth largest retail investment manager in the U.S. with $1.2 trillion in combined AUM. Individuals still at the firm were sharing how they will be impacted.
At the gathering, various memorabilia were displayed, including buttons with toasters on them. Frank Sererbin, Marketing Director with Sondhelm Partners, shared the story of the toaster button. Frank explained that the buttons were a marketing promotion comparing how people could invest in a CD at a bank and get a free toaster, or they could invest in AIM Charter Fund and grow their assets.
Jim Salners and his wholesalers created the toaster campaign for the AIM Charter Fund. They liked to say that if you invested in a CD and not an AIM Charter Fund, you got toasted.
Other reminiscing included remembering when an employee threw a phone when Mr. Bauer was walking by the group. "He suggested if someone was going to throw something, phones cost $280 so a $22 keyboard would be preferable," remembered one colleague.
AIM hired many of its employees straight out of University, and AIM employees were a family at work, and outside of work, many had children about the same time. "Our babies are now 17 and 18 years old," laughed Shannon Truman.
It was a great crowd and a good time was had by all.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has selected Mark Santero to serve as president and CEO of the association’s investment management subsidiary, RE Advisers. Mark was also voted CEO of Homestead Funds, the mutual fund company created by NRECA, by the Homestead Funds’ board of directors and appointed to serve on that board.
My new role is a truly unique opportunity.
Mark brings more than 30 years of experience in investment management to RE Advisers. Most recently, he was the CEO at Dreyfus Corporation, a subsidiary of BNY Mellon Investment Management. He also has served as chief operating officer at BNY. Mark joined AIM in 1991 when he joined the Institutional Group working for Abbot Sprague. Initially, Mark worked in North Carolina at the NCNB's offices on behalf of AIM Distributors. Mark helped run the funds for AIM and prospected the New York and Boston areas one week a month.
In 1994, Mark moved his family to Houston to assume the sales manager position. “When we got off the plane Bruce, Kathy and Ann were there waiting for me and my family and welcoming us. The relationships I made at AIM remain strong. We still try to get together, and Neal named our get togethers TGIF – Thank God for Institution Friends. We always mix in golf, as that is a bond that ties us together. We also love telling old stories. For my first meeting with the group, we met for strategic planning at a bungalow in The Woodlands. I had just joined the firm and did not know anyone. I walk in and find out I am sharing a room. That night, I go out to the living room intending to sleep on the couch as my room-mate was snoring. Neal was already on the couch, having found that his roommate also snored. I remember I did not get very much sleep on that trip, and there I was trying to make a good impression,” recalls Mark.
RE Advisers has tremendous potential to help rural electric cooperatives and their employees by providing exceptional money management at an affordable cost.
Mark credits Ted Bauer and Bob Graham for his successes. “Besides my Dad, the most influential person in my life was Ted,” said Mark. “Just watching and being around Ted influenced my own development. Second was watching Bob’s style. I attribute a lot of my success to emulating those two. Ted wrote the book, People are the Product, and we lived it every day.”
“My new role is a truly unique opportunity,” said Mark. “RE Advisers has tremendous potential to help rural electric cooperatives and their employees by providing exceptional money management at an affordable cost. I’m excited to be a part of that mission.”
“Mark brings exceptional vision and leadership to this position,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “His extensive experience and understanding of investor needs will help position the business for future growth and success. Providing access to top-quality financial products and trusted money managers is an important part of NRECA’s service to members.”
I credit Ted Bauer and Bob Graham for my successes. Just watching and being around Ted influenced my own development. Second was watching Bob’s style. Ted wrote the book, People are the Product, and we lived it every day.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.
RE Advisers, a subsidiary of NRECA, directs $10.3 billion in assets as of March 31, 2018. Based in Arlington, Virginia, the company manages stocks, bonds and mutual funds for a wide range of clients, including investors in the Homestead mutual funds, institutions, pension plans and a model portfolio program sponsor. Homestead Funds are distributed by RE Investment Corporation.