The right time. The right place. The right people.
The 6 Meridian crew is a true team. A team comprised of individuals whose interests, talents and skills are well honed, are complementary of one another, and are applied strategically and consistently to accomplish common goals.
But the assemblage of our team didn’t happen overnight. These wealth management professionals were hand-selected and recruited with great intent to fulfill specific roles. As a result, our clients reap the benefits of a truly connected, comprehensive team environment – a real advantage in an industry often riddled with individual interests.
Thomas H. Kirk, III
Partner Senior Managing Director, Wealth Advisor
“The only things in life that should be sugar-coated are donuts.” That is Tom’s motto and approach to wealth advising. This honest, straightforward approach to life and business has served him and 6 Meridian’s clients well, resulting in trusting relationships and favorable outcomes since the 1980s.
Tom sees his role as part teacher, part director. “Our clients are highly intelligent, highly successful individuals,” he explains. “But investment and wealth management options are nearly endless, so I take it upon myself to educate our clients, but also make decisions that are in line with the greater goal and based in reality.”
As Tom sees it, what sets 6 Meridian apart from most brokerage houses is that our success isn’t based solely on revenue. Success is when our clients can rest easy knowing their retirement is secure. “I know our clients as people, as friends, many of them I’ve known and advised for decades. Nothing pleases me more than seeing my friends accomplish their goals with the help of our team,” he says.
Playing golf is a common activity among the 6 Meridian crew, but few are as connected to the game. Not only does Tom see golf as the purest form of capitalism – either you’re doing well and surviving, or you’re not and you’re going home empty-handed – Tom and his wife, Katherine, an LPGA player, are involved with Golf Fore Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing clean water to the continent’s underserved communities.
Margaret Dechant, CFP®
Partner Chief Executive Officer, Wealth Advisor
Often credited as the visionary of the 6 Meridian team, Margaret has earned the informal title of “people architect.” Her ability to connect with individuals and harness their respective strengths is uncanny. And her passion for service is unmatched.
At the start of her decades-long career in finance, Margaret was working within a private banking group when she saw what many others didn’t.
“Realizing that our clients’ needs were bound to grow more and more complex, I asked myself how the services we provide should grow in tandem,” she says, describing the reflection that led to her quest for future-focused financiers, eventually leading a company that provides the expertise, options, fluidity and service that clients’ changing lives demand.
Margaret’s ability to solve issues clients don’t even know they have yet is a coveted and advantageous quality. Looking into each client’s financial situation holistically helps her address areas often overlooked by investors, such as personal and business wealth protection, estate planning, family governance and philanthropic giving strategies.
For Margaret, passion and dedication are in no short supply, and these traits extend beyond the office walls to other interests, namely travel and advocating for animals. In fact, her husband, Todd, admits to not minding the long hours she puts in at work, because he knows that retirement will likely entail a whole ark full of rescues.
From a young age (we’re talking 9 or 10) Andrew knew he wanted to be involved with Wall Street. One of his earliest memories of his grandfather is going with him to visit his stockbroker in Hutchinson, Kansas. The enthusiasm and passion for the markets has been with him for more than 30 years and he is still amazed by how much there is to learn and explore. This strong interest in the financial markets is one of the four attributes he believes are necessary for investment success. The others?
- A basic level of intelligence.
- Time. And we’re not talking a mere 15 minutes a week.
- The right disposition. Get too overcome by fear or greed and you can kiss your comfortable retirement and legacy goodbye.
Leading the investment management team at 6 Meridian, Andrew focuses on researching how to deliver the best risk-adjusted returns for clients so that they can stay focused on their businesses, families, interests and hobbies.
A graduate of Georgetown University, a CFA charter holder, and a former Wall Streeter, Andrew is thankful to be back in the Midwest where he can actively cheer for his beloved Jayhawks and Shockers.
Andrew, his wife Jamie, and their two young boys enjoy traveling (especially to the beach), sports and attending live performing arts events. If not at the office or with his family (or occasionally on the golf course), it’s likely you’ll find Andrew with his nose in a biography. Why? “Most biographies are written about great people. To be great you need incredible talent and incredible passion. It’s fascinating to read about people who have both, to be near it, to examine it,” he explains. Can’t argue with that.
Solid, healthy relationships take time. The same can be said of the relationship between people and their money. According to Bryan, “There is no greater asset than time. And there is no greater influence on wealth. We give our clients the time it takes to grow wealth, so that they have more time for themselves.”
As a business and finance major, Bryan got his start in the finance industry on the analytical side as a credit analyst in a large bank. He counts it as one of the turning points in his career when he was later offered a relationship management position and an opportunity to begin building a clientele. After 20+ years, many of these clients still look to Bryan to bring the resources of his team at 6 Meridian to assist them with their investment and wealth planning.
A big-picture thinker with an eye for details, Bryan manages the total relationship between client and firm. He’s often a client’s first contact for asset allocation, risk management and portfolio management. Our clients appreciate his proactive approach, identifying and tailoring investment strategies, including alternative investments and structured products, while always keeping the end game in mind.
Bryan and his wife Darcie have enjoyed following their children’s sporting activities over the years, as well as vacations to either mountains or beaches. As a big fan of 70s and 80s bands, a highlight this past year was to see three of his favorites – Journey, Styx and Boston – all play in Wichita. With their daughter planning to play college soccer next year, Bryan and Darcie have much more sports-related travel in their future!
Since the 1980s, Steve has been a force within the municipal bond market. Able to accurately pinpoint the areas of highest value, he advises clients on the best ways to take advantage of this more secure, “sleep well at night” strategy.
Steve’s primary focuses are on producing income, reducing risk and staying ahead of inflation. He’s worked in the fixed income management industry for decades and has guided clients through multiple interest rate cycles and market fluctuations.
“One of the many reasons our team is successful is because we eat our own cooking,” Steve explains. Meaning the team invests in the same portfolios as those recommended to clients. “We put ourselves on the same side of the table as our clients. We eliminate conflicts of interest. And we learn from history. As a result, our clients are amazing at taking our counsel, even when the market is such that the thought of investing nearly makes you ill.”
A veteran in the industry, Steve’s greatest joy is getting to see the plans he developed in collaboration with clients pay off, providing families the ability to do the things they once only dreamed of doing.
Another source of pride and joy: his collection of classic cars, which he is continually restoring to their former hotrod glory. A man of many talents and interests.
Pam Smith, CRPC®, ChFC®
Partner Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor
“Today’s a good day to be a great day.” With that philosophy in mind is literally how Pam begins each day. 6 Meridian’s clients reap the benefits of collaborating with a wealth advisor having such a positive outlook, not to mention the intelligence, experience and tenacity to follow through.
Strong intuition and attention to detail have contributed to Pam’s impressive track record of building sound retirement planning solutions and strategies. Her goal is to really know and understand the client. By doing this, each client has a wealth plan as unique as they are.
As our guiding hand for all things insurance and annuities, our clients have a sense of security knowing that our commitment to their financial success goes well beyond investments.
For Pam, time away from the office is dedicated to travel with her husband Dan, the location determined by its potential to adorn the walls of her home and those of her friends and family. As an accomplished photographer, Pam enjoys the opportunity to capture the intricate details of interesting places.
As Pam explains, “Photography’s not all that dissimilar to my approach to work – garner a spectacular outcome by assessing the grand plan then emphasizing the details.”
Sarah Hampton, CFP®
Partner First Vice President, Wealth Advisor
A born strategist, Sarah was hooked on financial advising by age 16. To her, the field is as exciting as they come, presenting the ability to affect real change in people’s lives. The study of business economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara instilled in her a love for analytics, but the “people side” of the work kept calling her back.
Focusing primarily on wealth advisory and retirement planning solutions, Sarah seeks to identify opportunities for clients then create a plan to accomplish their goals, be they retirement, saving, gifting, leaving a legacy or working through the metrics of a family.
Building strong relationships with clients is unique to the 6 Meridian team, but common among team members. And Sarah is no exception. “We’re literally friends with many of our clients. That’s almost a prerequisite of joining our team. We are trusted advisors, and part of that entails getting to know our clients as individuals and what’s important to them. That’s normal around here,” she says.
Sarah describes the relationship component of her work as central to a strong financial outcome. “When there are peaks and valleys, people get nervous,” she explains. But the 6 Meridian team has the client’s best interests in mind, resulting in fewer knee-jerk reactions. Preparing for a diverse outcome ensures that one day doesn’t define the whole picture. Neither does one month.
When Sarah isn’t working alongside clients, you can find her rescuing and wrangling canines – she’s currently the proud master of six – and finding new favorite activities, among them hiking, hunting, fishing and learning to play golf.
Tim is a man who’s always on the search for wisdom in the form of a good quote. In fact, one of his favorite African proverbs guides his steps every day: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
This deep commitment to teamwork and partnering with clients makes him a perfect fit for 6 Meridian’s approach to wealth management. He may be one of the firm’s youngest professionals, but he already understands his role as a wealth advisor – to help clients achieve their goals and dreams.
Tim credits his strong work ethic and ability to collaborate to his days in college football, first as a player and then later as a coach. According to Tim, “The gridiron is a metaphor for life – every player has an important role to play. On the field, you’re in it together, no matter what.”
These days, Tim spends time outside of work with friends and family, playing sports to stay active or enjoying downtime with a good book. He’s still involved in football as a volunteer offensive quality control coach for Tabor College, and is an Ambassador for Young Professionals of Wichita.
But at the end of the day, it all comes back to quotes, or sometimes just one word – maximize. It defines what he ultimately wants to do, for other people’s lives, his own personal potential, and for 6 Meridian.
Trevor Phillippi, CFA®
Vice President Director of Operations
You may notice Trevor as a familiar face with a new title. Once the assistant vice president of portfolio management, he’s been promoted to vice president, Director of Operations. This new role still uses his passion for developing and managing the full life cycle of an idea but shifts his focus from client portfolios to overall operations for the 6 Meridian team.
His knack for ensuring optimal performance is what makes Trevor so well suited for his new role: He does whatever it takes to provide what the team needs for success. Whether it’s overseeing human resources, technology, operations, or compliance efforts, he helps secure the foundation that allows the advisors to concentrate on what matters most. “My job is to make my colleagues’ work lives easier so they can give their full attention to our clients.”
Trevor is no stranger to responsibility and wearing multiple hats. When he’s not hard at work at 6 Meridian, he’s hard at work rehabbing and renting houses with his wife, Heather. And when a small window of time does present itself you might find Trevor volunteering with a local pet rescue or reading one of the literary classics.
Even as he learned to embrace the change that comes with having lived in multiple locations throughout his life, Josh also learned to take comfort in a constant – golf. In fact, he started swinging clubs with his dad when he was 8 years old and has loved the game ever since. For Josh, golf provides not only an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, but it also reinforces the importance of integrity, with it being the only competitive sport that relies on players assessing self-penalties.
Integrity is important to Josh, and part of what led him to pursue a career in investment management. He understands the responsibility of managing others’ hard-earned wealth and feels a sense of fulfillment when he helps that wealth grow. It’s something he’s developed significant experience in, most recently as a portfolio manager for a large family office.
At 6 Meridian, Josh continues to do what he does best – leading the teams efforts in municipal bonds and fixed income manager due diligence. He looks forward to helping the firm as they continue to grow their capabilities in these areas.
Away from work, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife, who is understanding of his need for the occasional golf fix. He can also frequently be found on the sidelines of young son’s sporting events or playing with his toddler daughter.
Assistant Vice President Client Relationship Manager
Stephanie’s fondness of the financial world began in a high school accounting class, specifically during a class trip. Just one visit to a brokerage and she was hooked. Hey, when you know, you know.
A world-class problem-solver (trust us, she’d win this competition), Stephanie utilizes her breadth of account history knowledge and financial prowess to explore and uncover even the most hidden solutions. In fact, her skills are so honed that she is frequently tapped to train and coach others in the industry – if you have questions, she’s the one to call.
Stephanie attributes 6 Meridian’s history of multiple generational client service to a unique approach: “Our friends become our clients and our clients become our friends.” And you’ll often find Stephanie and her husband, Todd, supporting the Wichita State University and Bishop Carroll High School athletic programs alongside many of those friends. She describes the atmosphere at games as, “An even split between cheering and sharing advice on the best funding strategies for raising children.”
Assistant Vice President Client Relationship Manager
One of the friendly faces our clients come to know well, Denice started in the industry in 1994 for what she thought would be a temporary gig while attending graduate school, but the perfect fit couldn’t be denied, nor replicated.
As a client relationship manager, Denice assists clients to establish new accounts and coordinate fund movement transactions, communicating with branch operations to ensure each client request is processed in an efficient and timely manner. Early in her career she also worked as a branch operations manager.
Among her favorite aspects of her work, she lists the lasting relationships she’s established with clients. But for her, it’s no cliche. When asked what’s kept her with the team for so long, she replied, “This team cares as much about the client experience as I do. That’s not something you find just anywhere.”
Denice spends much of her time away from the office with her husband watching sports and attending performing arts events. Her favorite athlete happens to be her son and her favorite actress is her daughter.
Assistant Vice President Portfolio Trading and Operations
According to Ammie, receiving nicknames, such as chief negotiator, compliancy whip and honey badger – because of her tendency to badger the team about regulations – are all signs that you’re doing your job well.
Between her analytical mind, technological prowess, and fondness for math (she solves word problems for fun), it’s no wonder Ammie was recruited to manage 6 Meridian’s trading and operations. Throughout her career with the group, she has overseen the trading of nearly one billion dollars in discretionary portfolios.
Working in tandem with our chief investment officer and portfolio analyst, Ammie adheres to strict policies, and executes trades with a surgeon’s precision. She continuously analyzes portfolio trading volumes and the resulting market impact, then works closely with the trading floor to ensure that our clients receive the best possible outcome.
“This field is fast-paced; timing and precision is key,” Ammie explains. “That’s why I love it.”
Ammie’s other passions include SCUBA diving with her husband, Nick – ask her about their encounter with a Manta Ray in the dark – and running. She’s racked up more than 10 half marathons and is training to run “the long one.”
“That’s 26.2 miles, or 138,336 feet, or 1,660,032 inches!” she declares with gusto. Did we mention she likes math?
As a client, you may not have many face-to-face meetings with Will, but he’s working for you, nonetheless. Like all of the team, his priority is your financial future and finding the best solutions to preserve and build your wealth. The 6 Meridian team depends on him to conduct the research and analysis necessary to offer recommendations for investment strategies.
Will’s financial industry background is solid and includes a master’s degree in finance and the completion of all three levels of the CFA exam. Add to that a team player with a great attitude, and you can see why he’s a perfect fit.
The last few years have been busy to say the least, with getting married to his wife, Allison, completing his education, moving twice (from his home city of St. Louis to Rochester to Wichita), and having kids (two boys, Joel and Colin). But for a guy like Will, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
When he’s not at work or being Super Dad, Will enjoys bike riding and thinking about where in the world he’d like to travel to next. That is, unless a Cardinals game is on.
Assistant Vice President Marketing and Business Strategy
The creative genius behind client interactions, Amanda ensures the team’s mission, vision and values are consistently delivered with quality, refinement and a little spark.
Amanda works with 6 Meridian’s team members to develop an overall client appreciation strategy, then coordinates the firm’s client events, communications, branding, and community involvement and philanthropy.
Not one to sit back and wait for an invitation, Amanda also seeks clients whose values, goals and philosophies align with those of the team. “I strategize with each advisor regarding referrals and new clients,” she explains. “But our strategy sessions aren’t based on what an individual or family brings to the table. Instead, we look at how we can bring value to them as a client, and how to begin and maintain a solid relationship.”
In addition to a degree in finance, Amanda also studied natural resources and environmental sciences, a world that carries over into her personal life and hobbies. Yes, just your run-of-the-mill hobbies like hiking the Grand Tetons, a favorite vacation spot for her, husband Mark and young son.
In the financial services industry since 2001, Lisa noticed something different when introduced to the 6 Meridian team – everyone is right where they should be. Or in her words, “Each team member knows his/her role, and everyone is excellent at what they do. I was both intimidated and energized by the dynamic.”
Lisa’s role on the team is one of immense value to both advisors and clients. Lisa works closely with the advisors to expand and deepen our wealth management offerings. She assists the team by developing and monitoring tracking systems to ensure a seamless client experience through each step of the wealth planning process, and to help our clients determine how to live the life they want to live and achieve their goals. Lisa also oversees performance monitoring systems that guide client engagement during review meetings.
Among those of whom she’s most proud: “My family. And me for managing to be great at my job and as a mom.” Her husband, Kevin, and daughters couldn’t agree more!
Tracy is officially 6 Meridian’s office administrator, but she’s quickly earning a second title – Chief Baker. Whether it’s cookies, breads, or pies, her coworkers always look forward to finding out what delicious goodies she’ll bring next.
In fact, Tracy’s mad baking skills are a clue as to what really makes her tick – doing whatever she can to help make others’ lives better. At work, she’s quick to warmly greet clients and make sure they have a good experience. At home, she demonstrates her love and support for her husband, Sam, and their four children and volunteers for her church and other local nonprofits. Regardless of where she is, Tracy constantly shows that she truly cares about people and their well-being.
That’s what makes Tracy such a natural addition to the 6 Meridian team. Tracy is the behind-the-scenes magic that keeps the office running smoothly – overseeing phone systems, appointment scheduling, correspondence and office technology. She manages all of this with a grace and positive attitude.