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Spotlight on AIM Alumni

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gregGreg Prokott, a wholesaler whose final position at AIM was regional vice president, is proud to have been at AIM/Invesco for one week shy of 17 years.

Living and working in Blaine, Minnesota, Greg left Invesco March 6 2015 and joined Mainstay Investments/New York Life. “I was very proud of my longevity at the firm,” shares Greg, “but then I was offered a role that intrigued me, and I decided to follow this new opportunity”.

Greg describes the skill set of a wholesaler as being a combination of being very relationship oriented and also numbers oriented. “It is a hybrid of skills. Building relationships sounds cliché, but it will always be about the relationships,” believes Greg.

A wholesaler has to document that he/she is providing value for the advisor by providing superior products. At AIM, Greg found that was definitely the case. AIM was about quality people and quality products.

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AIM got us in the game with superior fund management and when things worked out I was able to close the deals by building solid relationships, says Greg.

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As a wholesaler, Greg was located away from headquarters, which he says was fun. He had the strength of a large corporation behind him, but was one of only three employees in Minnesota. Greg found he benefitted from the great resources behind him. At the same time, he was an island. “I was autonomous and able to run my business like a business,” he says.

I think back to the great relationships I had within AIM. I worked for people who cared about the business and the wholesalers with whom they worked. There was a lot of talent I reported to which included Gordon Sprague, Alan Gray, Jim Stueve, Sandy Simmons, Kevin Ramsers and Rob Oda.

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It was great to see so many friends and former colleagues at Chuy’s April 7 and please mark your calendar now for the next reunion Thursday, April 7, 2016. We will share the location and begin asking you to RSVP closer to the date.

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We missed Polly Ahrendts, but did learn she has been invited to give a TEDx talk on women around the world May 28, at the Albuquerque Convention Center.  Polly founded StoryCatcher LLC.  Through the medium of film we see the transformational power of women artists from the developing world gaining access to markets, and thereby fuelling social and economic reform.

Where Are They Now

Many of the marketing group were in attendance and Pam Stephens shares that she is enjoying her family and particularly her grandchildren.

Alexa Burrow and her husband who was out of town were both at AIM, where Alexa worked for 8 years. Alexa is now a Sales Associate for Greenwood King Properties.

David Hessel is CFO of the local Catholic Diocese where he has been for seven years.

Lady-in-waiting Amy Koy is with Tudor Pickering Holt.

Scott Burman recently joined the sales team at AIG. Other former AIM employees at AIG include Don Paullo, Terri Fiedler and Jim Coppedge. Yevonne Barnes , Michelli Cockburn (Anderson) Bruce Guynn, Beth Linesch, Melanie Knox, Ginger Neal, and Michael Olson are at AIG/Valic.

Anne Warnock shares how busy she has been since retiring from INVESCO at the end of 2013. “I am working part time as a PA, and building a house. My husband and I are looking forward to moving out to the hill country,” said Anne.

Dennis Leard is moving this summer into the house where his wife was born. “We will be living in Iowa in a town of 200 where we can walk everywhere. The house was built in 1900 by my wife's grandfather who was the town doctor” shared Dennis.

Julia Nolan is now at Brasada Capital working with Gabe Birdsall, Mark McMeans, Tien San Lucas, and  Dick Berry.

Tell Us What You Are Doing

Share your news on AIM alumni today. If you have forgotten your username or password, click the link at http://aimalumni.com to have your information emailed to you.

Recent posts are from Kathleen Holtwick in Houston who is with National Oilwell Varco. Kathleen’s final position at AIM was a Communications Specialist II.“I love my current position at NOV. As Financial Services Education Coordinator, my focus in expanding and supporting the finance training and education program,” posts Kathleen. Log on to read more.

Terri Altmeyer lives in Kittanning, Pennsylvania where she has two children and is a proud grandmother. “I loved my 10+ years at AIM and continue to enjoy my great friends that I made during my career there. I am so happy that we are able to keep in touch through this (website) and FB,” shares Terri. 

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We are sad to report the passing of Tommy Beer at his home on Monday, April 20th. Tommy worked in the IIDD dept of retail marketing, and as Patti Hefley says “he was a super star”.

Born on August 8, 1968 in Golden, Colorado, he was the son of Barbara Covington and Thomas John Beer. In addition to his mother, Tommy is survived by his loving wife, Kathy Beer; beloved daughter, Zoe Beer.

Tommy was a gentle man who was loved by all who knew him and will be greatly missed. He had a great love of nature and the outdoors. His friends and family knew he was a true friend who would do anything for them.

Tommy BeerA visitation was held at the Lux Funeral Home Chapel on Friday, April 24, 2015 followed by a Celebration of Life the next day.

To celebrate Tommy's memory, the family requested friends and family wear casual, colorful, upbeat clothing. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Wells Fargo "Zoe Beer Donations Account", 4800 West Bellfort Street, Houston, Texas 77035.

Read the full obituary here.

Says Bryan Persyn, "Tommy helped my get my first job out of college with AIM. Back then you really had to know someone to get in the door.  Tommy was a very dear friend of mine and we frequently kept in touch throughout the years.  He will be missed by so many."

Please add a comment to this post with your own memory of Tommy.

 

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Our fifth annual Houston happy hour is set for Tuesday, April 7. Mark your calendar now and indicate your interest on the RSVP page after logging on to AIM ALumni.


Gary Crum, Bob Graham, many Houston residents and AIM colleagues from out of town make this event which has grown to about 100 of us a very special get together. Time and location will be shared soon. Log on and view the 2014 Houston Happy Hour photo album. This is a great chance to get together. See you soon!

 

The AIM Golf Tournament at Old Orchard. Ed Larsen with Dave Barnard, Warren Tennant and Mark McMeans.

Ed Larsen positively impacted so many of us when we worked at AIM. Ed's talents, wit and compassion were shared beyond his family and the workplace.  "Ed," said Dick Barry, "had time for everyone." Many former AIM employees were fortunate to be able to attend Ed Larsen's service.  We share Polly Ahrendt’s remarks from Ed’s service here. To read Ed's obituary, click here.

Following are some memories and stories.  We hope you will post a comment on your AIM Alumni activity feed or at the bottom of this set of remembrances.

Janice Cellier, who is still with the firm and whose last position at AIM was Divisional Sales Director shares that “Ed had more of an impact on my life than I am sure he ever knew. I first met Ed at Transamerica Funds and grew to love him there. He was such a gentle soul. So smart and yet so relatable to us everyday people. I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii with he and Stephanie in 1994 for a top producer trip. Staying in Lanai, he would just simply admire the beauty of the island, the people and their talented carving craft. I recall playing golf with Ed in many venues, and as we would drive up to the tees, whether in Hawaii or Arizona, he would get out and admire the beautiful flowers. He seemed to know the type of flower and just smile and get caught up in its beauty. It was never about the golf.

Ed 's love of the cartoon to tell his story was something that I used in almost every meeting. He had such a talent for finding the right animation to express exactly the right point at the right time. His ease of telling a story helped me tell mine as a wholesaler.
Hopefully imitation was the highest form of flattery.

I recall PM's telling us that when Ed went on vacation, they would take the opportunity to sell some of his 500 plus stock positions....Ed's farm team as he called it. Ed would just laugh. I owe much of my success to the opportunity to work with such a great man. I will always remember him with a full heart and wish that I had lived life as he did.”

Richard Berry, now with Brasada Capital, worked in fixed income. "Ed was the CIO and I reported to him. He was an equity person so he did not play a direct role in Fixed Income. What I liked was Ed used the people around him to obtain his information. He did not like committees. He did not make unilateral decisions. Rather, Ed walked around and talked to people," said Dick.

"Ed was a big believer in chemistry. He believed you put people together that would mesh – that the egos were such that they could work together and mesh ideas, share responsibilities and get along. I always admired that in him. Managers so often put people in slots that were unsuitable. These were all talented people, but you had to look at how people work together," continued Dick.

The AIM Golf Tournament at Old Orchard. Ed Larsen with Dave Barnard, Warren Tennant and Mark McMeans.

"I also liked how Ed did not look over your shoulder. He did not stand around second guessing. He also knew in investing you would make some bad decisions. There is a lot of human error in the investment business, but if you had more good than bad decisions that is what mattered. Ed was always smiling which made everyone around him comfortable. Ed thoroughly enjoyed the business and you could tell. His dedication never changed as he got older. Stephanie, his wife, is a psychiatrist. We would kid Ed about his even tempered demeanor, saying “It must be Stephanie”, but it was not. It was his personality.

I used to play golf with Ed. I would put together an AIM golf trip and Ed went along. You learn a lot about someone on the golf course. There is plenty of opportunity for tempers to flare. You see a person’s true character on the golf course. I never saw Ed get upset about anything," recalls Dick.

Rob Shoss, whose final position at AIM was as Senior Portfolio Manager, told us that “Ed was an amazing man with so many special traits. He was a true gentleman, carrying himself with great class and humility, regardless of his stellar pedigree and performance track record. In one minute, he could be presenting or socializing with clients, wowing them with his knowledge and stock market prowess. In the next minute, Ed would bring them to their knees with his wit and humor.

Ed was always approachable and widely respected and admired. As CIO, he dealt with many company personnel challenges and found ways to effectively defuse crises with deft social skills. Ed was so beloved throughout the organization that many approached him with personal issues outside the office and he always had time and knew how to provide needed advice. In summary, Ed was a special and truly great man who left an indelible mark for many and will be sorely missed.

Dawn Hawley, whose final position at AIM was as Chief Financial Officer, had the extra good fortune and great experience of working with Ed not only at AIM but also for four years at the Menil Foundation.

The AIM Golf Tournament at Old Orchard. Ed Larsen with Dave Barnard, Warren Tennant and Mark McMeans.

"A couple of years after Ed retired from AIM, and about one year after I had left, out of the blue, Ed asked me to consider an opportunity at the Menil, which he thought I might enjoy supporting the finance committee. Ed’s expertise was very valuable to the Foundation and had a significant impact on the endowment’s success. We would sit next to each other during manager presentations and he would point out (to me) issues. Ed was always kind when he questioned the managers, but they knew this committee had a very experienced portfolio manager and better be able to support their positions.

Ed was also an art aficionado and both he and Stephanie participated in many of the wonderful events at the Menil and other institutions. He knew people from all over at these events, always greeting them with that wonderful smile and discussing art with the same depth of knowledge as he did the economy and the markets.

Ed touched many at AIM, was invaluable to the Menil, and double good fortune for me!"

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