EGPS Retirement Plan Experts: Humans for the win. 

In the age of robots, AI, and automation, there’s something to be said for working with actual humans. Don’t get us wrong, we love the increased efficiencies that this technology affords us, but we also just LOVE our people. They are the heart and soul of EGPS, and we’re here to share more about them! So, take a break from the latest complicated legislation updates and learn more about our retirement plan experts – their favorite embarrassing song, unpopular food opinions, and more… with a smidgen of work sprinkled in.

RETIREMENT PLAN EXPERTS

Brandon Anderson, Accounting Associate

Lauren Linsmeyer, Director, HR

Kevin O’Grady, Project Manager

Susanne Tillman, System Specialists

Mark Barrett, Enrolled Actuary

Suzy McKeel, APA, Operations Specialist

WORK-RELATED Q&A FOR OUR RETIREMENT PLAN EXPERTS

Q: What was your first job?

Brandon: Mowing lawns around the neighborhood when I was a teenager

Lauren: Babysitting! I feel like I was a baby watching babies! But I loved it.

Kevin: Local paper route

Susanne: Waitress

Mark: My first job was at William M. Mercer (now named Mercer) in Rochester, NY, as an actuarial analyst.

Suzy: My first job ever was as a grocery store clerk at the supermarket in my neighborhood.  I got the job right when I turned 16 yrs. old.  Later, my first job in the retirement industry was as a Loans and Distributions Analyst for Malcolm Thompson and Associates.   

Q: How did you get into the retirement industry?

Brandon: I got a job working at Ascensus several years ago.

Lauren: Just got lucky 😊. I’m in the HR field, and mostly I looked for a company culture that I could support and stand behind, the industry is new for me!

Kevin: Probably the same as most people. Just kind of fell into it, found it interesting, and stuck with it.

Susanne: I started in the banking business and transitioned.

Mark: I majored in Math in college, and I learned about actuaries and what they did from one of my professors.

Suzy: My mother-in-law worked for Malcolm Thompson and Associates and referred me for a position there.  They took a chance on me as I was previously in Oil & Gas for 18 years and didn’t have any prior retirement industry experience.  For that, I am eternally grateful!

Q: What does your job entail?

Brandon: Invoicing and accounts receivable

Lauren: More or less, supporting and advocating for EGPS employees. This includes implementing new systems, bringing new ideas forward to engage our amazing retirement plan experts, adding processes, procedures, and policies to help us move forward with our growth model.

Kevin: Helping coordinate various projects, developing and running trainings, writing processes/procedures, and assisting with occasional compliance engagements.

Susanne: PensionPro maintenance and client portal navigation support

Mark: I am an Enrolled Actuary and I help our clients design and run their defined benefit and cash balance plans that work in tandem with their defined contribution plans.

Suzy: As an Operations Specialist, my duties include scrubbing census data, importing census files into FTW, running eligibility, filing 5500s and SSAs, assembling valuation packages, submitting contributions, and updating vesting with the recordkeepers.  I have also created SOPs for census scrubbing, eligibility, and vesting uploads, trained some new Operations team members as they came on board, held a couple of trainings on census scrubbing and eligibility in FTW for the Operations team, prepared 5500s, and assisted in loans and distributions.  Additionally, I’m training to move into the position of Analyst 2.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job as a retirement plan expert?

Brandon: I enjoy completing tasks and helping others when I can.

Lauren:  I don’t necessarily consider myself a retirement plan expert, but I do have a favorite part of my job – it’s the people that make this industry/company work! Seriously, we have the BEST employees and it’s so fun to support these professionals every day.

Kevin: I enjoy training and the teaching aspect that comes with my role. I also enjoy complex calcs and solving the puzzle for the best solutions.

Susanne: Every day is something different!

Mark: I really enjoy working with my very smart coworkers (other retirement plan experts), and I also enjoy the challenge of working through intricate projects and plan designs.

Suzy: That’s a tough question, there are so many aspects of this job that I love that it’s hard to choose.  My favorite part of my job as a retirement plan expert is learning about everything that goes into retirement plans – it’s interesting to me, and the more I learn, the more accomplished I feel.  In addition, my favorite part about working for EGPS is the people.  I love the positive environment, teamwork, work ethic, and growth opportunities that EGPS provides. 

NOW FOR THE FUN: GETTING TO KNOW OUR RETIREMENT PLAN EXPERTS

Q: What’s your most unpopular food opinion?

Brandon: I absolutely love pineapples on pizza.

Lauren: In general, I’m not a seafood person. When I am traveling to the coasts or around others that are seafood eaters, everyone seems pretty incredulous that I won’t have the oysters 😊.

Kevin: I like pineapple on pizza.

Susanne: I don’t like lima beans and brussel sprouts!

Mark: This is a hard one. But I’m not a big fan of salads – especially if a salad is the whole meal.

Suzy: I don’t care about potatoes…I love mashed potatoes, but you can keep the rest.

Q: If you could be any animal, what would you be, and why?

Brandon: I would be an eagle so I had great vision and could fly.

Lauren: I have a two-year-old and spend a lot of time playing “horsey” right now. So…I don’t know if that’s on my mind or if I just think horses are awesome, but I believe I would choose to be a horse. I think it would be so fun to run like the wind (without getting tired immediately).

Kevin: A sloth. Very chill vibes

Susanne: A bird, so I could fly high in the sky above everything else.

Mark: I would be one of my dogs. They really have a good life, especially with me working from home. I have two Labrador Retrievers and I guess I spoil them a little bit.

Suzy: A horse…they’re strong, athletic, beautiful, and free spirited.  They are wild at heart but can be tamed.

Q: What’s an embarrassing song you like?

Brandon: Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship

Lauren: The amount of Disney songs that I know every single word to is embarrassing, but then I have no shame in singing every single word in front of a non-Disney adult if I hear it…Did I mention that I do not have a strong talent for singing?

Kevin: I enjoy things that are so terrible they become entertaining. For that reason, I have been known to pull up Corey Feldman music videos.

Susanne: Eric Church – Drink in My Hand

Mark: Probably – “Don’t Worry be Happy” by Bobby McDerrin. It seems like some people get really annoyed when they hear this song, especially my wife’s grandfather.

Suzy: Oh gosh…it’s more a genre than a song……….I like rap 😳.  I especially like to work out to rap.  I’ve been listening to a lot of Christian rap recently because it’s clean, and it’s actually pretty good!  Check out Andy Mineo if you’re interested.

Q: Which movie or TV show do you quote most often?

Brandon: MacGruber “there’s a big difference between winging it and seeing what happens. Now let’s see what happens.”

Lauren: Right now…Ted Lasso, he’s always in my head right now reminding me to not bring an umbrella to a brainstorm!

Kevin: Movie – Step Brothers, TV show – The Office or Arrested Development

Susanne: Reba – “When Pigs Fly”

Mark: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I quote this movie all year long. For example: “Surprised, Eddie? If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now.”

Suzy: My family and I love to quote movies and TV shows.  Here I am again not being able to choose – there are just so many!  The top 3 that I quote most often are: Father of the Bride, What’s Up Doc, and Coming to America.

Q: If you could have a lifetime supply of anything, what would it be (and why)?

Brandon: Chimichangas

Lauren: Could I choose dinner? Doesn’t matter what it is as long as I don’t have to make the decision every night on what to eat. Think of the potential! Goodbye decision fatigue!

Kevin:  Straight cash, homey

Susanne: Visits to heaven to see my daughter.

Mark: This would have to be M&M’s Almond Chocolate Candies because I really, really, like them.

Suzy: Good red wine.  I like to enjoy a nice glass of red wine & good red wine is expensive! Lol 🤷

MORE AND MORE LAYERS OF OUR EXPERTS

Brandon: If you knew me… You know I like to golf as much as possible.

If you really knew me… You know I have twin 11 year old daughters

If you really really knew me… You know I had a kidney transplant 22 years ago.

Lauren: If you knew me…you know I live in Phoenix, Arizona and have my whole life.

If you really knew me…you know I love watching documentaries, mostly on nature or space or cooking or history…to name a few.

If you really, really knew…you know I’m an introvert that loves people but doesn’t get energy from them. To reenergize myself, I need some hot tea and a good book (I’m also a mom so this doesn’t happen often, maybe that’s why I’m so tired 😊?).

Kevin: If you really really knew me, you’d know I skipped this part on purpose.

Susanne: If you knew me… You know my family is everything to me!

If you really knew me… You know I love football! Namely, the Florida Gators and Jacksonville Jaguars.

If you really really knew me… You know I am afraid of heights!

Mark: If you knew me…you’d know that I have a son and two daughters, and two dogs.

If you really knew me…you’d know that I play guitar.

If you really really knew me…you’d know that I was in a rock band in high school and college and I played guitar and was the lead singer. But, that was a long time ago.

Suzy: If you knew me… You know I was recently re-married in 2020 (COVID Zoom wedding!), and we have 5 kids together – 3 are mine and 2 are his from previous marriages.  Only 3 are “still at home” and they’re in high school. 

If you really knew me… You know that I love to spend time with my husband, family, and friends.  I also love to exercise and decorate.  And I love Jesus!  I’m a small group leader for the youth group at our church and I’m a Red Raider fan to the core – Guns Up!

If you really really knew me… You would know that I have a crippling fear of vomit.  I’ve also never broken a bone, I’m the oldest of 5 – I have 3 sisters and a brother, I’m left-handed, I’m honest, and I’m empathetic to a fault. 

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