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Spotlight on AIM Alumni

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Jeffrey Hemker

1955-2022

JHemker

Jeffrey Hemker passed away February 26, 2022. An amazing person to have as a friend or colleague, Jeff was always surrounded by many who wanted to enjoy his stories and wisdom at every event he attended. Jeff was also ready to help anyone he saw in need. His generosity, kindness, and intellect combined with his wit and dry sense of humor made up the beauty of his personality.
Jeffrey L. Hemker was born on August 16, 1955, in West Salem, Wisconsin. He was a 1979 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse with a degree in Political Science. Shortly after his graduation and the creation of the 401(k) plan, Jeff found his calling in retirement plan sales. Always a top salesperson, Jeff eventually became a National Sales Leader and was happiest when he could share his experience and knowledge with those that sought his advice and guidance. Known for launching and advancing many careers in retirement plan sales and marketing, Jeff would often be stopped and presented with long declarations of gratitude for how his efforts changed the trajectory of a life for the better. The depth of Jeff’s sincere happiness for the successes and accomplishments of others was a wonderful facet of his nature.
Jeff married Alisa, his wife of 21 years, in June of 2000, becoming stepfather to Christopher in the process. The three enjoyed life in Naperville, IL, before moving to Cypress, TX, in 2004. Jeff loved being a stepfather and always tried to instill a strong work ethic in Christopher. With Alisa, Jeff went above and beyond to make not just birthdays and holidays but every day special. It was important to him that Alisa and Christopher had everything they needed to feel safe and secure. This, he accomplished.

For all who knew Jeff, the world will never be the same. Read his obituary.

Celebration of Life: Tuesday, May 24 at 2:00pm CT

Forest Park Lawndale Funderal Home and Cemetery

In the Grand Chapel, 6900 Lawndale ST. Houston 77023: Reception to follow at at a local establishment. Details will be provided as plans are made.


In lieu of flowers, donations in Jeff’s memory can be made to the ASPCA at aspca.org/donate.

 

CCody

Remembering Claude Cody

1951-2022

Remembering Claude Cody

1951-2022

Claude Cody passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, February 8, at the age of 70.

Claude Cody joined AIM in 1984, and departed in 2003. Following his time at AIM, Claude worked for Roger H. Jenswold & Co., where he served as one of its Vice Presidents and later purchased the firm with his cousin Melville L. Cody, Jr. The firm became part of the Capstone Financial Group, where he worked as a Senior Vice President until his retirement in 2016, concluding his career with more than 40 years of experience. 

"Claude and I worked with Gary Crum on the High Yield Bond Fund in the early days of AIM," said Polly Ahrendts. "We worked closely on the 19th floor of Greenway Plaza, attended many Junk Bond deal road shows at the old Remington Hotel, and had a lot of laughs during those years. I enjoyed Claude’s slightly formal, yet quirky sense of humor, with his Cheshire cat smile. Claude was always willing to confer and contribute to solve the challenges at hand. I can still see him walking around the 19th floor “Star Trek” trading desk. He will be missed", said Polly.

“Claude loved to talk to people – family, friends, coworkers, institutional salesmen, brokers, strangers," remembers Michaele Brown, who began her AIM career in April, 1994 as a research associate on Claude's team. "In the entrepreneurial AIM days, Claude put this talent to good use as he both managed money and was always ready to help with marketing requests to meet with brokers both in person and over the phone. Claude’s many marketing trips and phone calls helped multiple AIM funds gather and retain assets, and his efforts definitely contributed to AIM’s growth over the years," said Michaele.

"I always enjoyed my interactions with Claude and considering we were at AIM together in the early 1990s and nearly the entire company occupied a single floor of the building, we would cross paths often," said Barrett Sides. "I remember he walked kind of slowly, always ready with a smile. And he was there at a pivotal moment in my career. In 1992, after a couple of years with the firm, I interviewed for a position as an equity analyst for our domestic equity portfolios and was passed over for the role. Claude was the one who had to deliver the news. (I hope it was "had to" and not "got to"!) I told him that, considering the circumstance and anxious to jump start my career, I was likely to apply to business school and move on. He encouraged me to stay and predicted that other opportunities would soon emerge within our fast-growing (indeed!) department. Sure enough, a similar position was created for our international team and I was fortunate to land the job. Honestly, but for the sake of one, well-timed conversation... Thank you." 

Meggan Walsh joined Claude’s team in 1998 and she remembers he was instrumental in helping her to make the transition to equity investing. "As the leader of the team he was approachable, a natural conversationalist and generous with his time," said Meggan. "He served as a valued source of historic knowledge on mergers, acquisitions and corporate actions to younger investors and was always willing to share investing lessons that he had learned. I appreciated how down to earth he was - he was not into fancy clothes or labels. I recall fondly his comment “Wranglers are good enough, thank you”. Words that were tested when a baby girl joined his family. Claude was very proud of his children. He reveled in their milestones and was happiest when recalling his weekend family events," shared Meggan.

Read the full obituary here, and add a memory for the family here.

A memorial service was conducted on Saturday, the 19th of February, in the sanctuary of The Church Of St. John The Divine, 2450 River Oaks Boulevard in Houston. The Rev. Dr. Doug Richnow, Priest Associate officiated.

In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed to Southwestern University, Attn: Kent Huntsman, PO Box 770, Georgetown, TX, 78627; or to the charity of one's choice.

Joel Brown started with AIM in February 1999 as the Assistant Manager of the Pricing & Corporate Actions team within the Fund Administration department headed up by Mary Benson and Dana Sutton. "Since Y2K was supposed to decimate the world's infrastructure by the end of the year, I figured I would be with AIM for just a few months and then move on to something else," says Joel. "Obviously, that didn’t happen; here I am 20+ years later. While we made it past Y2K without a hitch, the 2001 tech bubble market crash definitely put a damper on things. In 2008, I became the manager of the Pricing & Corporate Actions team, which was timed perfectly to take on all the headaches associated with the financial crisis. I have little doubt my managers had a good laugh about the timing of this “promotion”. A few years later I became the Global Director of Pricing & Corporate Actions. In 2014, I moved into a manager role within the Global Performance Measurement and Risk (GPMR) team headed up by James Jacoby and Blake Cmajdalka. And finally, in July 2019, moved into my current role as Head of Global Portfolio Analytics.
These past decades have been an absolute whirlwind. I consider myself lucky to have worked with so many friendly and talented people. I tell others that the people, and the AIM kinship, is why it is so common to see employees with 10+ year tenures. I could write a book about all of the opportunities and guidance provided to me throughout my time with the firm. It is because of this, that I make a conscious effort to do what I can to help others with their career aspirations and the approach they take toward working with peers and management."

 

The people, and the AIM kinship, is why it is so common to see employees with 10+ year tenures.

Joel Brown

Prior to AIM, Joel worked at Morgan Keegan, Oppenheimer Funds, and SunAmerica. Joel met his wife, Nicole, at SunAmerica in Denver. "Back then, Nicole moonlighted as a singer in a band in Denver and is now the lead singer of Newspaper Taxis in Houston," said Joel. "I don’t know why, but people are way more interested in hearing about Nicole’s band than about my job – weird, I know. I am, and have always been, an adrenaline junkie. I do (kind of) feel sorry for all the abrasions, wounds, and scares that she, and my mom, have had to endure throughout the years. But hey, we got some good stories. Nicole and I have one son, Cole, who is currently a junior at University of Houston – Go Coogs! I wish Cole, and others of his generation at the beginning their careers, the good fortune to find opportunities to surround themselves with as many talented and sharing people as I experienced at AIM."

 

I like to tell people that I started at AIM on a 3-month project over the summer of ’93 and it’s been a long 3 months.

Robert Martin

Robert Martin will celebrate his 29th year with the Invesco in 2022 where he is managing the unclaimed property process. "I like to tell people that I started at AIM on a 3-month project over the summer of ’93 and it’s been a long 3 months," said Robert. "One of my fond memories was when Bob, Gary, and Mr. Bauer served barbeque to everyone.”



One of my fond memories was when Bob, Gary and Mr. Bauer served barbeque to everone .

Robert Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brandon delaTorre has been with the firm for 23 years and is currently living in Acworth, Georgia, a Northwest suburb of Atlanta. Brandon started in AIM Client Services in January of 1999. "I became a Supervisor in Financial Services in January of 2001," said Brandon. "In June of 2006, I moved to Denver to manage the Client Services team. The Denver office was closed in 2009. At that time, I was offered a job within the Sales Operations team in Houston, where I worked on budgets and various reporting for the sales organization for about 3 years. In June of 2012, I began managing the internal sales desk.  In July 2019, I moved to Atlanta when we consolidated our sales desks to the corporate headquarters , after the Oppenheimer acquisition.  I've been married since 2001, and we have two boys.  In my free time, I’ve enjoyed coaching my boys’ baseball teams.  I played college golf at Stephen F. Austin University, and still enjoy chasing the little white ball around the course as often as I can get out there.”

I played college golf at Stephen F. Austin University, and still enjoy chasing the little white ball around the course as often as I can get out there.

Brandon de la Torre

In 1985, Leslie Schmidt's first job with KPMG (Peat Marwick at the time) was to audit funds and the management company at a small firm with fewer than 50 employees that occupied half of the 19th floor of 11 Greenway Plaza. The company was A I M Management Group.

Many people forget that Leslie Schmidt first worked at AIM as an auditor for KPMG. She has been a fixture at the firm for so long. Leslie learned what a fax machine, tick marks and a mutual fund were during her first week at AIM. More importantly, she learned more about her primary client, and by 1992 she joined AIM.
Leslie read the book After the Trade is Made: Processing Securities Transactions from cover to cover, part of her interest in learning the business, and in her almost 29 years with the firm, she says she kept the same company, while changing jobs, some in London and Dublin, and continuously learning and enjoying new challenges.
“Houston had a number of mutual fund and fund management companies,” remembers Leslie. “My reason for wanting to be and stay at AIM was the positive attitude, challenging work and the environment of teamwork. Senior leadership was approachable as well – this was all so enticing to me.”

My first job with KPMG was to audit funds at a small firm, A I M Management Group.

Leslie Schmidt

“As a team, Bob, Gary and Ted were a great leadership team, and a great complement to one another. One approach I learned was how Mr. Bauer - whom I finally called Ted after he visited AIM’s very small (10 person) office in London on numerous occasions - would stroll through the much larger AIM Houston office and talk to people. When I spent time in London and then returned to Dublin from 2008- 2010, I was head of a 300 person office. How do I stroll around the office and engage in conversation? I would bring chips and Texas Velveeta cheese and rotel and mix it up and familiarize them with chili con queso. I also made jambalaya one time.”

One approach I learned from Ted was strolling through the office - and in Dublin I shared Texas chili con queso!

Leslie Schmidt

Leslie says she never managed a portfolio or traded, but she did most other things at one time or another, including chairing a number of Manco and fund boards. Her longest position was her most recent one. She has been president and CEO of the Invesco Trust Company since 2012.
“It was great timing to retire; and leaving was bittersweet,” said Leslie. The pandemic was helpful as there were no good-byes, but it is regretful as well. There was no real closure.”

I have life-long friends.

Leslie Schmidt

Leslie has no concrete plans for the future, but since her return from Ireland in 2010, she has a page full of to-dos. In addition to tackling that, Leslie has a man in her life. A family friend in Reno, Nevada encouraged Leslie to get a dog.” In fact,” says Leslie, “she was relentless - a real dog with a bone. I relented and now I can say I finally found a man that can put up with me!”
“There will never be another company like AIM. It is amazing the connections I have through AIM or AIMsters. I have life-long friends,” said Leslie.

 

Have you joined the AIM Funds Friends Facebook page?

DWilson

DeDe Wilson posted a picture meeting up with John Blanton, Latrice Hughes and Teresa Hollins. Their friendships blossomed over the tenure at AIM. "We kept in touch on Facebook, we all are foodies so we just decided to try new and different restaurants together. Good friends and good food is always a great combination," said DeDe.

"I have been on one amazing ride with Invesco," said Dede. "I started as a temp at the tender age of 24, brand new mom of a 4 week old. Invesco, allowed me so many opportunities, that allowed me to accomplish so many personal goals." 

Invesco allowed me so many opportunities

DeDe Wilson

So much has changed though and it is so different now. It was so much fun back in the 90’s, but I love what I do and we work from home. So who doesn’t love that. We were working from home way before the pandemic hit. Since the pandemic, I do miss seeing my co-workers."
DeDe shared that she is turning 50 on May 16th and will be getting married on May 30.

Have you connected with a former AIM colleague recently? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. your picture with us for the next newsletter.

I will be getting married at the end of May

DeDe Wilson