Author: Andy Leung

In honor of Veterans Day and National Veterans and Military Families Month, we’re pleased to present ThinkAdvisor’s 12th annual Advisors Who Serve(d) compilation, in which we highlight stories of veterans in the advisory world, told in their own words.

Advisors Who Serve(d) highlights financial advisors and other industry professionals who have served or are serving in the military.

This year’s compilation of advisors’ stories debuted on The Fourth of July.

This group of eight stories and photos is arranged in alphabetical order so you can keep track of advisors as you scroll through. Maybe you’ll even recognize a few faces along the way.

Michael Ball

Title/company: Financial Advisor / Edward Jones

Branch: U.S. Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Ensign / LT Commander

Service dates: 1999 – 2019

Work you did: Surface warfare and retired out of U.S. Special Operations Command

Brief story that stands out from your service time: There is nothing better than returning from deployment with everyone safe and sound. A highlight was always seeing the new fathers who were meeting their little ones for the very first time and all those who were reunited with families after being deployed to the combat zone. No matter if it was my first deployment or my last, the feelings were always the same, with the same intensity of love, joy, and comradeship.

Chuck Carrick

Title/company: Managing Director / Beacon Pointe Partner

Branch: U.S. Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Private E-1 / E-5 in the National Guard, upon later graduating from college and achieving 2nd Lieutenant status

Service dates: 1977 – 1981 Regular Army, 1981 – 1984 National Guard and Reserves

Work you did: 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Ft Myers, Virginia, spending 2 years as a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I was fortunate to serve in a time of peace, however many of the leaders I served under were Viet Nam veterans. They taught me about dedication, honor, sacrifice, and teamwork. These soldiers helped to ensure that we truly understood the incredible honor we had to be sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A place where families from across the country came to connect and honor those who sacrificed everything so that we could enjoy our freedoms.

David Chepauskas

Title/company: Senior Wealth Management Adviser / Summit Financial, LLC

Branch: Field Artillery branch

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant / Major

Service dates: 1977 – 1990

Work you did: I graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1977, as a Second Lieutenant choosing to enter the Field Artillery branch. After attending officers’ basic artillery course (OBC) in Fort Sill Oklahoma, I was stationed with the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell Kentucky for five years.

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I commanded a field artillery firing battery for two of those years as a first lieutenant. After completing the field artillery officers advanced course (again at Ft Sill), I had the privilege of commanding the largest artillery battery in the US Army, stationed in Berlin, Germany.

This was a unique assignment, living in a walled in city over 100 miles inside a communist country (which most Americans did not realize), during the Cold War. The city of Berlin was surrounded by multiple Soviet Divisions, and we had a single Brigade; we were outnumbered many times over. Interestingly, we were able to travel through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin.

I often say that seeing a communist country in 1990 during the Cold War was perhaps the best advertisement for capitalism one could imagine. Crossing through Checkpoint Charlie from West Berlin, a bustling metropolis like Manhattan or Paris, into East Berlin, was like walking into a black and white movie from the early 1900s. The city buildings still had not repaired many of the bullet holes 45 years after World War II ended. The seeming attraction of an 11 to 1 currency exchange rate would presumably enable a 28-year-old to purchase things we normally couldn’t afford on a Captain’s salary. To our surprise, it apparently didn’t matter how much money we had available; there was virtually nothing to be purchased. The department store front windows would display fine German crystal and dishware, collectibles, cameras, etc. But when we went inside to purchase, we found that they were only there for show; nothing was actually available for purchase. People would wait patiently on long lines to buy rotten fruit. Shabbily dressed citizens drove East German-made vehicles which seemed too small to fit into. The primary source of heat was coal, giving one a headache from the fumes by the end of the day.

Upon completion of my German tour, I was accepted to teach on the West Point faculty, so I was sent for a master’s degree at the University of Georgia. As a faculty member at West Point, I attended night classes for a second master’s degree in business. It was there that I took a finance course, deciding that I wanted to make a career in finance.

Sandra Cho

Title/company: President / LPL-affiliated Pointwealth Capital Management

Branch: U.S. Navy Reserve

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E03 (Petty Officer 3rd Class) / E02 (Petty Officer 2nd Class)

Service dates: 2002 – 2005

Work you did: Journalist, now it’s considered Mass Communications

Brief story that stands out from your service time: At the end of boot camp, Chief said to all the female recruits that we could pick out a movie to watch at the end of our last night. He read out loud the names of 30 videos. After hearing the last movie name we all screamed and cheered and picked that one unanimously. He threw his cap on the ground and said, “Damn! I’m sick of watching G.I. Jane!”

Richard Dickson

Title/company: LPL-affiliated Financial Advisor / Galene Financial

Branch: U.S. Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Private / Captain

Service dates: 1990 – Oct 2000

Work you did: 734th Company EOD

Andy Leung

Title/company: Private Wealth Advisor / Procyon Partners

Branch: U.S. Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant / Captain

Service dates: 1990 – 1997

Work you did: Combat Engineer and Executive Officer of Marine Corps Security Forces

Brief story that stands out from your service time: The Dayton Accords were signed in 1995 signaling the end for the war in Bosnia. NATO immediately deployed as the peace keeping forces in Sarajevo. Our Marine company in Naples was the most forward deployed US units and were attached with days notice to the NATO Headquarters being established in Sarajevo. We worked jointly with units from the other NATO members to include French, British, Turkish, Italian Greek and others to stabilize the area. The lessons learned was always be prepared, be flexible and work together to get the job done.

Gregg Shallan

Title/company: Managing Director – Investments / Wells Fargo Advisors
Branch: U.S. Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Ensign / Commander

Service dates: 1981 – 2001

Work you did: Naval Special Operations Officer (EOD)

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I spent 20 years as a Navy Special Operations Officer (EOD). As an EOD Technician, we were responsible for rendering safe all types of unexploded ordnance, from mines to IEDs to nukes, around the world, on land or underwater. I experienced the joy of traveling around the world, the wonder of new cultures and the responsibility of serving as a Commanding Officer. But to me, the most special takeaway from my service was the privilege of being part of the Specops/EOD community This was an all-volunteer outfit that accomplished amazing missions in an inherently hazardous environment. As a young officer, I learned to keep my mouth shut and ears open. I learned to trust my teammates in high-pressure situations, and to work harder than I had ever done before, just to keep up. I learned that every person had a talent, and it was up to us to discover it, nurture it and refine it, which would invariably lead to a much stronger organization. To look back on my career, and know I was a part of this elite force, gives me the confidence that I can handle anything that life throws my way.

Daxs Stadjuhar

Title/company: National Managing Director LPL-affiliated Mariner Advisor Network

Branch: U.S. Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2nd Lieutenant / Captain

Service dates: 1995 – 2002

Work you did: Infantry Officer – Over my 7 years I was a Heavy Weapons Platoon Leader, Rifle Company Executive Officer, Aide-de-Camp to a Brigadier General, Support Platoon Leader, Strategic Plans Officer, and a Air Assault Company Commander for Charlie Company, 2-502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne

Brief story that stands out from your service time: My time in the Army and the mentorship by great leaders is one of the things that has made me who I am. I could tell stories of “close calls” and “what if’s” but the best part of the Army was meeting my wife when I was serving in South Korea between 1995 and 1999. She was serving as a Military Intelligence officer and after our first date I knew she was the one. I proposed after only 4 months and we were married several months later when we took our mid-tour leave. No one can deny that marriage is hard, but it can be even harder in the military when you are trained to put the Army first. During those tough times we always fell back on the fact that you never quit at anything. We were trained to always keep running, always do more pushups, to keep climbing the hill even though you were exhausted. While those brute strength approaches can work in training and deployments, they don’t always work in a marriage; unless you flip the script. You can learn to listen harder and you can learn to close your mouth longer. I look back on those early years and the fact that we continued to tell each other that we were not going to quit on our marriage. That same attitude has helped both of us in our education, raising our children, and building businesses. You have probably never heard of someone saying the Army saved my marriage, but it sure did in my case, and much more. 

The first graduates of the College for Financial Planning’s Diversity Scholarship program have now entered the advisory field as certified financial planners (CFPs).

In January 2021, the Kaplan Company’s College for Financial Planning in Centennial, Colo., announced the first 20 recipients of its nearly $500,000 Diversity Scholarship Program, which offers up to 60 scholarships annually to underrepresented individuals pursuing the education requirement necessary to earn the CFP certification. Each scholarship, valued at about $7,600, covers the full cost of a one-year program for CFP certification education, consisting of required education and CFP exam preparation.

Of the first 20 scholarship recipients to began the online educational program in March 2021, 14 completed it one year later, according to Gregory Ten Eyck, director of communications for Kaplan North America.

Out of those 14, eight sat for the CFP exam in March 2022 and six of them passed it, Ten Eyck said.

Four of those six discussed the impact it has had on their lives and their careers with Financial Advisor magazine.

Andy Leung is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, Leung served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. He received an M.B.A. degree in finance from the University of Connecticut. He currently resides in Wilton, Conn., with his wife and three children.

A financial services industry veteran with more than 20 years experience serving institutional clients for UBS Investment Bank, Leung is  a private wealth advisor with Procyon Partners LLC in Shelton, Conn., which he joined in 2018. Leung, a former independent business owner and operator, said he has an understanding of the financial needs and challenges of franchising and small business ownership–an asset in his new line of work as a private wealth advisor.

“Working directly with people and developing real personal relationships is very rewarding,” he said in an email. “Fiduciary responsibility should be something that all clients should expect of their advisors.”

Leung said he had certain career goals in mind when he set out to gain the CFP certification.

“My goal was to serve two groups that I represent, and I feel are underserved: Chinese and U.S. military personnel,” he said.

The accelerated learning offered by the scholarship program was a key benefit, he said.

“Oftentimes, people take 18 months to three years to study for and sit for the exam,” he said. “The Diversity Scholarship Program was condensed and accelerated so that participants could complete the study material and sit for the final exam in 12 months.”

Leung said his prior experience in the financial services industry enabled him to smoothly transition to his new career, but not without encountering some bumps in the road along the way.

“Balancing building a practice and studying for the CFP definitely challenges one’s time management skills,” he said in the email. “Having a supportive work environment and family life is critical to one’s success in the program.”