July 2019 Scholarship Recipients
Bobby Collins (Wichita Falls, TX) spent a few years as a railroad conductor before deciding he needed a change of pace. “I told my father, ‘I’m going to join the Army,’ and he about blew a gasket. ‘Look at what you’re making!’ he said. But I needed some time away, so I joined the Army.” A combat engineer, Bobby spent most of his time in uniform stationed in then-West Germany. “I enjoyed my service and I’m proud of it,” Bobby says. In 1989, he left the Army and began working in the insurance business, writing cancer policies to business owners and employees through TLC National. In less than ten years, Bobby moved up the ranks from Agent to Vice President of TLC National. Wanting a new challenge, Bobby resigned and started his own company. “I was writing Medicare supplements and I wanted a change. I came upon annuities, and I really enjoyed learning what they could do for folks.” Since then, Bobby has enjoyed some success, but he knows he is not done learning. “I’ve been doing this since 2007, but my baby boomer clients, they want to see a designation after your name; it holds clout.” Bobby will be pursuing the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation, which will give him the cutting edge, up-to-date knowledge he needs to serve his clients better. “I want to be aware of every option I can offer a client. I know there are things that I am not aware of and that makes me nervous. I am looking forward to learning more and more. My wife asks me, ‘How much more do you need to learn?’ and I say, ‘I can’t answer that!’”
Shannon DiAmco (Colorado Springs, CO) is the spouse of a retired Air Force Major with 22 years of service. High school sweethearts, Shannon has been with her husband, Rudi, for the entirety of his military career and they have two children. When their son was four years old, he was diagnosed with special needs. “Military life and moving every two years is stressful enough,” Shannon says. “But when you add a special needs kid into the mix, it gets even harder.” Shannon spent the early part of her children’s life as a stay at home mom, but once her kids started school Shannon went back to school herself, got her teaching degree and enjoyed a successful elementary teaching career for five years. Shannon says that her experience as a special needs parent has changed the course of her life. “I used to think I was made to teach in the classroom, and I did for a number of years. However, I soon realized I have a much bigger purpose. My heart’s desire is to be a resource for families who are caring for special needs kids by educating on a much larger scale.” To grow her skillset and further her acumen, Shannon will be completing the Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC®) designation, which will equip her with the latest tools and information to be a resource to her future clients. “I know the challenges mothers are facing in their own four walls. I know that firsthand,” Shannon says. “I want to take some of that burden off. I want to be a guide and set a path.”
Trevor Maxwell (Suffolk, VA) says that he joined the Navy at 17 to “go see the world” outside of his hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia. At the time of his enlistment, he was assigned as a Fire Controlman, but says he “wanted to do something a little cooler than that, I wanted to jump out of planes and blow stuff up.” The remainder of his Navy career was spent in Explosive Ordnance Disposal – the bomb squad. At the time of his retirement, Trevor had attained the rank of Senior Chief and was the recipient of two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. “I can’t run and gun with all the young guys anymore,” he says. “So if I’m going to get stuck behind a desk, I want to do it on my own terms.” During his retirement transition, Trevor sat down with a financial advisor and was immediately struck by their proactive approach. “In the military, it's more of a reactive approach, where most people don't worry about their finances until there’s already a problem. I want to encourage a more proactive stance and teach folks to be smart before there’s a problem.” Trevor has spent the last year immersing himself in the financial services profession. He passed the exams for his Life, Health, and Securities licenses in short order, and is now ready to undertake the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program, which will help further build his skillset and confidence.
Seth Montz (Schuylkill Haven, PA) is an Army Reserve Captain with eight years of service. As a reserve officer, Seth was able to pick his branch where he chose Finance. "I knew nothing about it, but it sounded like a unique challenge. I wanted something that would translate well to the civilian world." In his civilian world at that time, Seth was working as an undercover Narcotics Agent when he realized what he truly wanted to do with his life. "I didn't want to be undercover for the rest of my life," Seth said. "I didn't want to be a ghost while the world was traveling around me. I kept thinking back to my finance training in the military and how there could be a different path." After two years of working undercover, Seth was called back up to the reserves to work as a Resource Manager, processing reserve payroll, and managing a budget of $18 million. Reflecting on his experience, Seth said, "I liked it. This is cool. I'm in uniform, I can be present in the community, and I want more of it." He then was selected by the Commanding General to be the Aide-de-Camp and deploy. Seth was deployed twice to the Middle East where he further reflected on his passion of becoming a financial professional. With that being said, Seth recently resigned his badge and is pursuing a new career in financial services. "I've found that I enjoy this lifestyle of educating people on their personal finances and helping people get into a better position in life where they don't have to worry. I'm now going to pursue exactly what I like doing and what comes natural to me." To that end, Seth will be completing the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) program, which will provide him with the vital information he needs to better manage his clients' retirement.
Thomas Scuccimara (Fresh Meadows, NY) is the son of a WW2 vet and credits his dad for his desire to serve. “I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps.” Thomas has a combined 26 years of service between Active and Reserve service. He is a graduate of the Naval Academy, where he was a varsity fencer! While on active service, Thomas worked in Cryptology, a field he said “led me to some great assignments. I was privileged to have served there.” After 14 years, Thomas transitioned to the Navy Reserves and continued to serve another 12 years. “It’s been a great military life ad a great experience for me.” Thomas has had a successful 27- year financial services career, going from working as a stockbroker, to a wholesaler, then to financial planning, then to Chief Distribution Officer. “I was the guy who would fix things that were broken,” Thomas says. Now, he’s taking the next big career step, launching his own firm, and he knows that he needs to set himself apart from his competition. Thomas will be pursuing the CFP® ChFC® because, as he puts it, “After all this time in financial services, nothing beats a formal education. As a fiduciary, you have to do the right thing all the time. An education gives you every tool you need to make that happen.”
Paulmichael Youngmills (Norfolk, VA) enlisted in the Navy after the recession hit and finding a job on Wall Street was proving difficult. “Opportunity knocks,” Paulmichael says. “And I am prepared to learn and listen.” Paulmichael spent his four years in the Navy as a Yeoman, an Officer’s admin, but he was known on the ship for advocating for education, working with his fellow sailors on maximizing their education benefits. “Receiving education is one of the best things about the military,” he says. Upon his transition from the Navy in 2014, Paulmichael reentered the financial services profession and earned his Chartered Federal Employee Benefit Consultant designation. “The bulk of my prospects and clients are veterans,” Paulmichael says. “I want to be fully knowledgeable on everything they have to deal with so I’m not giving them an ignorant consultation.” To further broaden his knowledge, Paulmichael will be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation. Equipped with a comprehensive financial planning education, Paulmichael will be able to better serve his clients. “As my knowledge base grows, I can give people a more encompassing view. I have all of these tools in my tool bag and I’m going to take care of you.”