Spotlight on AIM Alumni

AIM talent: Coming full circle Featured

Mar 16 2017

The annual get-together in Houston is well attended, and while Gene Needles, Chairman, President and CEO of American Beacon makes it each year, others in Dallas have voiced their disappointment that they can’t share in the fun. This year, Gene kindly hosted lunch at his Las Colinas office. We were thrilled to have a few additions from out of the DFW metroplex including Jeff Kissner who lives with his wife Sheila Brown in San Antonio and Michelle Mattina-Eggert who drove up from Austin.

AIM lunchLeft to right: Amy Neves, Stephen Graddy, Jack Broyles, Michelle Mattina-Eggert, Jeff Kissner, Harry Breda, Burke Bradford, Gene Needles, Erica Duncan, Brian Markey, Lee Johnson and Teresa Oxford

Gene shared how he grew the American Beacon business along with the good people in the room (referring to those who were at the firm and are now working with him at American Beacon). He said the company is launching a multi-affiliate business to be called Resolute Investment Managers and American Beacon will be the flagship affiliate under the Resolute brand. The firm recently announced their third acquisition earlier this year. The plan is to take the company public at some point.

Burke Bradford, at Nuveen in Dallas, said he likes the multi-affiliate model Gene is pursuing. “Gene is good at bringing on new products”, said Jack Broyles.

Amy Neves agreed, sharing that American Beacon has grown from 5 legacy American Beacon funds to over 25 funds. “We have an embarrassment of riches. We have so many good funds, it is challenging to keep up. I am excited to see where it all goes,” said Amy who works in the marketing department.

Amy joined AIM in 1998. She came from Austin where she was a financial advisor at BancOne Investments. “Janice Cellier was the AIM Wholesaler who called on me and so I was familiar with AIM. I liked their marketing materials. I asked Janice to share my resume, and I joined soon after, working as an internal wholesaler to Scott Widder. Then AIM bought Van Kampen and I covered the Edward Jones people. In 2010 I got laid off. “It was a great place to work for 13 years and the next year, I saw Gene was hiring and I got in touch,” said Amy. She is an Internal Wholesaler covering Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma for American Beacon. Amy works with Tara Bueno who is an external Wholesaler covering the same territory.

I am so proud of the company that Gene has built, “It’s a great place to work and I am very fortunate to have had the privilege to work at AIM and meet so many wonderful people and now continue the adventure here with Gene and others that came over to American Beacon as well.

Amy Neves

Tara has also come full circle – working at AIM, then Stephens and then leaving Stephens for American Beacon where she focused on two Stephens Funds that Stephens sold to American Beacon and now subadvises.

Harry Breda is at Provasi Capital Partners. Harry was at AIM from 1997 to 2005. “To show how long ago it was, I answered an advertisement in the newspaper,” said Harry. It all goes full circle. I worked on the AIM summit fund and my current CEO just left to go to First Command in Ft. Worth. I had an invaluable experience working for Glenda Dayton. Then I worked for Janus in Denver doing Product management. After that, I sold software for insurance accounting. The upside was zero compliance. When I came back to Dallas and joined Behringer three years ago, I worked on the branding. It was fascinating. We had a tough couple of years, but I think we turned the corner. It is lots of fun,” said Harry. He shared that Ross Curtis is a Product Specialist at Provasi Capital Partners.

Michelle’s career has been varied. After AIM, she took time off to raise her children and then did some work in design and architecture. In May, she is starting with Charles Schwab in Austin. “The 90’s were a great time for us at AIM. I remember I was waiting in reception for an interview. I heard someone saying that Ed Larsen was coming to AIM. I knew right then that I had to get into the company. It was a great ride and a lot of fun,” said Michelle.

Now, Michelle again looks forward to getting back into the industry. Jack was a wholesaler,” she was saying when Jack interrupted to caution Michelle that she better “Get ready to age out.” Gene said, “but we brought you back, Jack. You have not aged out!”

lunch pic5Amy Neves and Jess Kissner

Indeed, Jack has not aged out. In November, 2012 Jack gave a presentation on the importance of planning ahead for a family member with Alzheimer’s and soon had a new calling. He was living the experience personally as his mother had Alzheimer’s. “Jack Broyles is a value-added speaker. He gave this talk from the heart,” said Gene. “It is a topic that touches everyone. People pack the room as all of us have been impacted,” said Gene. Four years later, Jack shares that he is doing “80 or 90 of these gigs a year”. “It has been a lot of fun, so thank you, Gene,” said Jack.

Lee Johnson, currently at Affiliated Managers Group, started in client services when he joined AIM in 1992. “They noticed I was a talker so I moved to marketing where I could talk as much as I wanted,” laughed Lee. “I met Dawn, my wife of twenty years, at AIM. She designed the charter check book,” said Lee. Another small world coincidence is that Dawn and Lee’s son is looking at playing football at Arkansas where Jack Broyle’s Dad coached football from 1958-1976 and then took over as Athletic Director until 2009.

Lee recalled that when he was internal, Jack’s Dad was a member of the Augusta National. Lee wanted to play Augusta and asked Jack could he help him do that. “Johnson,” Jack said, “can you write me ten million of business?” When Lee told him no, he could not, Jack said, “Well, I can't get you onto Augusta.”

The entire lunch was filled with laughter and sharing stories of the wonderful people and opportunities at AIM.

Burke started at AIM in 1994. “I could not find work so I went home to Midland and a family friend referred me to Jim Salners,” said Burke. “It was on my seventh call at 7a.m. that Jim answered. He asked if I could get to Houston the next day. The rest is history,” said Burke.

Brian Markey was at Van Kampen in Chicago. He started at AIM in 2003 and recalls he was ‘like a new puppy all excited by the culture’. His wife noticed there were lots of happy hours. After AIM, Brian went to Allstate to do wholesale in Dallas. He joined American Beacon six yeas ago. 

Erica Duncan, VP of Marketing and Client Services at American Beacon, joined AIM in 2004. She worked on merging the Van Kampen marketing into AIM. She recalls how they were two dynamic marketing teams. “We had a lot of products to look at,” she remembers. Erica was at Enron post business school. “It was business school come to life. I was grateful my Dad had taught me to be diversified. My team at Enron was acquired by UBS. After ten months, the energy industry had tanked and they cut many of us off. We were driving to Arkansas for the 4th of July. I got a call and while I was not actively looking to move, Sharon Murphy invited me to join American Beacon,” said Erica.

Theresa Oxford was at AIM from 2005-2012. She started her career at a broker dealer and she currently can see that office from her office at American Beacon so she said it came full circle. Now in the Legal department at American Beacon she said “Gene is humble about the growth here. Every day is like a box of chocolates. I never know what will be in my inbox day to day. It is a great place to be,” said Theresa.

Stephen Graddy joined American Beacon in 2014 and is their Senior Corporate Communications Advisor. Stephen was at AIM from 1998-2005 which he said, means “I straddled the good and the bad market years at the end of the tech bubble. Sheila Brown had my resume. I did not know a mutual fund, but I started at the right spot in her Training department. Ivy McLemore tapped me on the shoulder a year later when he had an opening in media relations. The work experience was great, but the lasting friendships is what it was all about. Stephen pointed down the table to Harry and said Harry has a wedding certificate with my name on it. Harry and Bill Konrath were in my wedding. Trey Wilkinson was also there. I was lucky to come across such great people,” said Stephen.

Sheila Brown gave me the best advice. I was sitting at my desk eating lunch when she told me that the company gives you an hour. Get up and change your perspective, she said, and I took that to heart and have done that ever since.

Stephen Graddy

Jeff Kissner said that Gordon Sprague was his connection. Jeff went through Sheila Brown’s training class and later, the two married. Jeff covered Texas with Jack and also worked with Mark McMeans. Jeff stayed at the firm until 2010 and then went to USAA for six years. Jeff recently left USAA and plans to take some time to travel.

It was wonderful to share the afternoon together, including a tour of the American Beacon offices. Join in the fun of catching up with former AIM colleagues. Log on and RSVP to join us at the Kirby Ice House in Houston on Thursday, April 6.

Read 1951 times
Login to post comments