January 2017 Scholarship Recipients

January 12, 2017
Kristofer Chester

Kristofer Chester is an Active Duty Special Operations Intelligence Officer currently in the process of retiring after a remarkable 20-year career with the Navy SEAL Teams. He learned about The American College Penn Mutual Center for Veterans Affairs through a partnership with The Honor Foundation, a transition-readiness program that specializes in preparing Navy SEALs and Special Forces for life after the military. Kris will be completing coursework toward the Master of Science in Management (MSM) degree, a one-year program that will contribute to his impressive leadership skills and help develop the executive skills to prepare him for a successful second career. Kris says that his time in the Navy taught him to value each individual’s unique talent and to empower his people, honing each person’s strengths and taking into account their weaknesses in order to create synergy on his teams. He firmly believes that “humans are more important than hardware” (Special Operations Forces Truth #1). After a yearlong process of weighing the executive MBA programs of various notable colleges, and not quite feeling the connection or finding the right schedule, he finally learned about the MSM program. It spoke to his heart with its emphasis on leadership and valuing people as a company’s greatest asset, resonating with his own approach for the past 20 years. He felt he had finally found the perfect step-off point to prepare for his next mission in a new career. Upon notification that he was accepted into the scholarship program, Kris exclaimed, “I can’t believe this is even something that is real. I am so beyond honored and humbled by the opportunity! How soon can I start?”

Bryce Dabbs

Bryce Dabbs is an Active Duty Lieutenant Junior Grade in the United States Navy’s Supply Corps. Due to transition from Active Duty in the summer of 2018, Bryce has his sights set on a career in the financial services profession. He explains that his time in the Navy taught him how to operate in a high stress environment and how to foster relationships, skills that will be invaluable in a career as a financial professional. “You treat people like they’re yours,” Bryce says. “As an advisor, you don’t have clients, you have households.” Under a full scholarship from The American College Penn Mutual Center for Veterans Affairs, Bryce will now complete the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation program, which will further equip him with the skills necessary to help provide financial security for those households he serves.

Marc Firlie

Marc Firlie spent seven years in the Navy, attaining the rank of Lieutenant and receiving the Navy Achievement and Commendation medals before transitioning in 1994. It all began in high school when Marc was recruited to play football at the U.S. Naval Academy, an experience that he calls “the best decision I ever made.” Being surrounded by people with similar goals and ambition made his time in the Academy worthwhile. After completing his studies, Marc worked in the surface Navy and was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1987 and then again in 1991. During the latter deployment, his ship was responsible for enforcing the no-fly zone during Operation Desert Shield. Upon returning home, Marc’s career concluded where it began in Annapolis. After leaving the Navy, Marc began his second career in financial services. The most meaningful part for Marc is helping people. “Having their trust is important to me, and it’s something I don’t take lightly. I enjoy the relationships I have formed with my clients.” Marc has already demonstrated advanced knowledge of his firm’s wealth management process. Completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program will contribute significantly to the skills Marc has acquired in educating his clients.

Eileen Maier Jones

Eileen Maier Jones, the wife of a Navy Lieutenant Commander currently on Active Duty in Bahrain, is the owner of Expo Logistics Associates LLC. As a small business owner handling exhibition freight for trade shows, conventions, expositions, and consortiums, her knowledge of international shipping has come in handy while personally handling all PCS moves, including a move to and from Guam. Eileen says her time as a military spouse has taught her resiliency and has built her confidence. “I’m much stronger than I ever thought I was,” she said. She has always had an affinity for the financial industry, earning a Bachelor of Arts in economics and an MBA in finance as well as completing her Accreditation in Financial Counseling (AFC) with AFCPE. “The financial services industry has always been my forte.” Eileen is goal driven and focused on success. In 2015, she applied for and received the FINRA fellowship for military spouses. In just one year, she completed her 1,000 practicum hours and is sitting for her AFC exam in early January. Her goal is to become more marketable in order to fulfill her life’s calling of helping people as a financial planner. As a scholarship recipient, she plans to complete the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program and sit for the CFP® exam. “There’s never a downside to learning,” says Eileen.

Cody Rasmussen

Cody Rasmussen is an active reservist in the U.S. Army and currently holds the rank of Captain. Now in his 14th year of service, Cody was originally motivated to enlist following the attacks of 9/11. Only 17, he begged his mother to sign his enlistment papers; at the age of 19, he was sent to Afghanistan. Upon his return, his commander sent him to Officer Candidate School and flight school. Now, Cody is the Brigade Headquarters Detachment Commander, and is about to return to Office Candidate School to work as an instructor. In his civilian life, Cody has been involved in financial services since 2011 when he joined Prudential. Working mainly with health insurance, Cody stayed at Prudential until 2013. He and his wife went on to help set up a National Health Insurance Brokerage to enroll people into the Affordable Care Act, and remained there for the next two years. Cody was then recruited by John Hancock to help rebuild the organization’s presence in Utah, which he calls “a ton of fun, and lots of work.” Cody believes that educating clients is his number one priority as a financial services professional. “I love taking clients who are terrified and explaining how things work. They need a plan first, and then you can sell them financial products.” To grow his skills, Cody is taking the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program, which will give him the kind of knowledge that he can use immediately with his clients.