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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.
Herman Kluge impacted the lives of many of his colleagues. It is a testament to his leadership,” said Linda Julian “that many of his former employees became his friend and stayed in touch with him and each other after leaving AIM.”
Herman spent 36 years in facility management, property management, corporate real estate and project management. Of those 36 years, he worked at AIM and Invesco for 14 years and eight months. Most recently, Herman was Senior Vice President of Corporate Real Estate and Property Management for Amegy Bank. In addition to his career, Herman enjoyed performing. He shared that in addition to his career, he “spent even more years performing music in Houston and around Texas.”
“It’s difficult to encapsulate more than 20 years of camaraderie, respect, joy and friendship,” said Anne Warnock. She shared that working for Herman at AIM was a joy. “He was always interesting, intelligent, fun, and a wonderful mentor,” remembers Anne. “We worked hard, but we laughed every single day. Herman could never resist a good...or even bad...pun!” she continued.
Herman had a wonderful sense of humor and if you knew him you knew his love of puns.
Everyone who knows Herman will remember he was a big fan of Elvis Presley, and for Herman’s 50th birthday, his department had a party for him, complete with Elvis mask decorations, and AIM’s own - Jeff Brown (A/V) - played the role of Elvis in a white jumpsuit.
Herman and Carol went to Paris on vacation, and Anne shares that she was in a meeting when he came back to work. Herman paged her relentlessly until she came out to find out what the emergency was - only to find that he wanted to tell her that he and Carol got engaged.
“When Y2K rolled around, we had endless meetings about the potential impact and how to deal with any problems,” said Anne. “I was in Edinburgh (six hours ahead of Houston) when midnight struck, and I phoned to wish Herman a Happy New Year. He asked me how everything was there, and I said mostly fine, but all the streetlights had gone out for several minutes when the clock struck twelve... WHAT!!! he said... until I started laughing! It might have been the only time I got one over on him!”
“On a personal level, Herman and Carol came to my wedding in Edinburgh, Scotland in May 2004. Seeing Herman in a kilt is a memory that will stay with me forever!!” said Anne who was at the Firm for 20 years when she retired in 2012.
Seeing Herman in a kilt is a memory that will stay with me forever!
Nina Smith worked for Herman in the 1990s and shared that Herman was loved by many at AIM. “Herman was one of my all-time favorite bosses. It was an honor to work for him. He was an artsy kind of guy who loved performing music with his buddies and just being his "groovy" self,” said Nina who joined AIM in 1988 and is still with the Firm.
Linda Julian echoes Herman’s sense of humor. “Herman was a truly unique individual,” said Linda. “He made the work in our department fun and professional.
Herman loved to perform and traveled around Texas. In addition to music and Elvis, Herman always enjoyed a slice of Maine Blueberry pie. He and his wife Carol often made vacation trips to Maine.
“Herman was a great mentor and dear friend,” said Linda. “His passing left many people heartbroken. He will be greatly missed.” Linda was at the Firm from 1992-2008 and her final position was Senior Facilities Administrator.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Herman Kluge can be made to the oral cancer research fund at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at www.mdanderson.org/gifts, or directly to Dr. Ann Marie Gillenwater Research, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486, or to the charity of your choice.
Herman Walter Kluge passed away June 2, 2018. Herman’s family and friends held a memorial celebration of his life on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 2:00p.m.
Herman's career spanned 42 years in facility management, property management, corporate real estate and project management. Of those 42 years, he worked at AIM and Invesco for 14 years and eight months. Most recently, Herman was Senior Vice President of Corporate Real Estate and Property Management for Amegy Bank.
In addition to enjoying a successful career, from the age of 13 Herman's most abiding lifetime passion was music. Herman loved making music with friends and he enjoyed performing. He shared that in addition to his career, he “spent even more years performing music in Houston and around Texas.”
Bonnie Donovan passed away following a lengthy illness on April 30, 2020.
Bonnie worked with Mary Kay Coleman from 1994-2005, where her final position was Manager, Shareholder Relations.
Mary Kay Coleman remembers the contributions Bonnie made to her team and the firm. "It has been said that when hiring people look for three things: integrity, intelligence, and initiative" said Mary Kay."These qualities define Bonnie as a person and an employee. Bonnie always saw what needed to be done and got it done. She never missed a deadline. She was a superior writer and editor and an inspirational leader and supervisor. She had a quick wit and breezed through the office with a lively step and kind word for everyone she encountered along the way."
Brian Wirwicz was hired by Bonnie in 2000, and saw her and husband Gerry for lunch six months ago. "Bonnie was taking a chance on an experienced writer with no background in the financial industry when she hired me in consultation with Mary Kay Coleman," said Brian. "Bonnie’s mentorship skills, collegial leadership, insistence on excellence and good humor – especially under pressure – created an atmosphere of camaraderie and loyalty among her staff. She was an amazing woman I’m privileged to have met, worked for and learned from. I’ll remember her, and miss her, forever."
In addition to her full-time career in writing, publishing, and editing, Bonnie was married for over 50 years and has two daughters and four grandchildren.
Bonnie worked on publications for various employers, including St. Joseph Hospital and the American Productivity & Quality Center. She completed her career as an Assistant Vice President at AIM Management Company (now Invesco), where she was much admired by her associates as one of the best bosses ever.