Our Mastermind Group
Nicholas L. Gregory, ChWEA, CEBA, ChCCA, ChFWA — Founder and CEO
Having founded a firm called The Financial Engineering Institute back in 1996, Mr. Gregory and his colleagues utilized the Institute’s WealthEngineeringTM Platform and a plethora of other resources to engineer The Family Business Hub and The EBenefits Hub as an ecosystem for businesses. They are gathering places for Businesses to peruse a carefully selected Hub of Alliance Advisors and a categorized portfolio of ExpertSourcing Firms. Businesses create their FWH Dashboards to access the expert sourcing firms and the Family Knowledge Center coupled with Regional Chapters and synchronized with discreet peer-to-peer Forums and dynamic regional and national Conferences.
Nick is dedicated to providing quality education, training coaching and advanced strategies for families of wealth and their advisors. He is also President and Managing Director of The Charitable Capital Design Center, an organization which assists both financial professionals and charitable organizations in enhancing their planned giving capabilities by redefining “planned giving” as a unique form of financial capital. In addition, Nick and his colleagues have developed Give Back Nation, a non-profit, national community foundation to create even bigger waves of giving across the nation. He is also Founder and CEO of The Family Business Hub, a national association of family businesses.
Over the past 40 years Mr. Gregory has consulted with attorneys, accountants, and financial services professionals in better serving their high net worth families and businesses. He also provides consulting for some of the largest financial services organizations in the world. He functions as a speaker, writer and consultant in the areas of cash management, risk management, investing, taxation, estate preservation, employee benefits, business succession and retirement planning, as well as business valuation, asset protection, and charitable giving. Mr. Gregory holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Ball State University with minors in Economics and Finance. Mr. Gregory is a member of the Financial Planners Association, The Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, The International Institute of Financial Engineering, The Charitable Capital Advisory Institute and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Give Back Nation.
Kyle C. Gregory, ChCCA — President of Give Back Nation, a non-profit organization
Kyle and several other entrepreneurial philanthropists developed Give Back Nation as a national community foundation serving hundreds of non-profits on a concierge services basis as well as thousands of giving Americans and their causes. Kyle Gregory has held management positions with UPS, Lowes and The Bank of New York Mellon. Using his vast array of management experience and dedication to “giving back”, Kyle helps great causes expand their fight while creating a “circle of winning” within communities across the nation. Kyle received his bachelors degree in Business Management from the University of Central Florida. He is a member of The Charitable Capital Advisory Institute.
James Sekel — Senior Vice President of Private Banking at TriState Capital Bank
In this capacity, Jim works in developing deposit and loan relationships with family offices, trust companies, investment firms, financial advisors and their clients, as well as business owners and company executives. Jim has nearly 40 years of experience in the banking industry. He has expertise in Private Banking, along with retail and commercial banking. Jim is currently responsible for a $700 million loan and deposit portfolio. Jim is a graduate of Edinboro University with a B.A. in Accounting. Additionally, he earned his MBA from Robert Morris University. He also completed the Graduate School of Retail Bank Management at the University of Virginia and the Central Atlantic School of Commercial Lending at Bucknell University.
John A. Warnick, J.D. — Founder of the Purposeful Planning Institute
John A. balances his enthusiasm for tax savings with in-depth discovery and purposeful questions to ensure the planning is congruent with his client’s core values. He delivers workshops across the nation for estate planning attorneys and financial planners. He facilitates family retreats and providing wealth counseling, fiduciary and philanthropic consulting services. Prior to launching his own business, John A. was a partner in the Denver office of Holme Roberts & Owen LLP for almost eleven years after practicing in Nevada and Wyoming previously. Mr. Warnick received a BA magna cum laude from Brigham Young University and his JD from George Washington University with honors.
Jeff Bae, JD, CVA — Managing Director of Valuation Services
Jeff provides valuation consulting services for business owners, attorneys, accountants, and other professional services providers, for gift and estate tax reporting, income tax reporting, reorganizations, buy/sell agreements, marital dissolution, litigation support, IRC §409A (deferred compensation), financial reporting (i.e., ASC 805/350 and SFAS 123R), ESOPs, and financing purposes.
Jeff began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in their National Tax Office. As an international tax associate, he advised multinational companies on the tax implications of their international operations as well as coordinating U.S. tax laws with foreign tax laws to develop optimal tax strategies. Jeff’s main expertise is in the valuation of ownership interests in operating businesses and closely-held, private entities that own real properties, marketable securities, and other income-producing assets. He is an active member of national and local professional organizations and frequently travels to Florida to manage VSI’s Miami office. Jeff has been involved in over 6,000 valuation engagements.
Andrew Lane MBA, BSME — Managing Partner of Tri-Merit
Since co-founding Tri-Merit in 2007, he has been responsible for managing the execution of hundreds of R&D tax credit studies across a broad range of industries, as well as overseeing the rest of the firm’s specialty tax services. His experience includes defending R&D tax credit audits at both the federal and state levels, and he regularly presents to CPAs on IRS requirements related to the R&D tax credit, 179D deductions and cost segregation. Prior to founding Tri-Merit, Andy spent over 13 years directly involved in various engineering and manufacturing roles within a broad range of companies and industries including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Delphi, Intel and more. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University).
Marc L. Blevens, MHP — Chief Marketing Officer
Marc heads up all of our marketing activities within each of our regional divisions on a national basis. He coordinates with our benefit advisors and brokers and key national partners as well as our product and service providers. Marc has over 30 years of experience in sales management, business development, broker relations and development, and strategic marketing in group insurance, employee benefits and benefits technology. He has been VP of Sales for a regional TPA, regional sales manager for BCBS of Texas, Director of Strategic Marketing for a national behavioral health company and EVP of Business Development for a benefits technology company. He is a graduate of Indiana State University and has earned the Managed Healthcare Professional (MHP) designation from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
Alan Katz — Chief Executive Officer of Next Agency
Alan served as SVP for Individual and Small Group Sales at WellPoint (now Anthem) and Chief Sales Officer at SeeChange Health. Alan entered the insurance industry in 1983 and is a past President of the National Associations of Health Underwriters. He received NAHU’s “Person of the Year” award in 2013. Alan was an attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Chief of Staff to California’s Lt. Governor. He writes and speaks frequently on sales, marketing, technology, and business planning.
Mark Gastineau — Chief Operating Officer of Next Agency
Mark has extensive experience leading health plan operations for carriers both large and small. He served as CEO and CFO of Blue Shield of California’s Individual, Small Group and Government Businesses Unit. Beginning in 1992, Mark held several financial and operational positions with WellPoint, Inc. including as general manager of its Unicare subsidiary’s Individual and Small Group division. Mark is a member of the State Bar of California and was a certified public accountant.
Colin Ingram — CEO and Co-Founder of FormFire, LLC
Originally a mechanical engineer, it wasn’t long before Colin found himself in the marketing world. In this field he found success in creating market share and distribution channels throughout Europe as well as building an extensive history of international business development across four continents. Eventually, Colin’s road took him to Cleveland where he built his own business consultancy company, providing expertise in not only Ohio, but many other states within the country. It was here that he turned around the fortunes of more than 10 organizations and helped start more than 12 businesses ranging from consulting to tech groups. Colin is a proven expert in business model design and the development of value-based product offerings.
Jeff Ahola — CEO of Ahola HR Soltutions and Payroll
Jeff holds the primary responsibility for charting the strategic direction of the company his parents founded over 50 years ago, while fulfilling its mission to help other family businesses succeed. Under Jeff’s leadership, the company has secured its marketplace position as a top provider of family-focused payroll and human capital management systems. Jeff has a keen interest in family enterprises, a passion going back in the early 1980s when he attended family business study groups, led by the late Dr. Léon A. Danco, considered the founder of this field. Jeff himself led retreats for the former National Center for Family Business. More recently, he participated in the award-winning, internationally accredited executive MBA program for Families in Business at Kennesaw State University. He has also earned the Family Business Advisor Certification from the Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute. In addition Jeff has collaborated with CRAIN’S Cleveland Business to create a Family Business Forum, webinar series, and a newsletter called Family Company. He holds professional affiliations with the Family Firm Institute, Family Enterprise USA, and Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises. Jeff holds a bachelor’s in Marketing and Computer Information Systems from The Ohio State University and an MBA in Finance from Pepperdine University.