February 2020 Scholarship Recipients

February 28, 2020
Marc Click

Marc Click (Louisville, KY) spent a total of eight years serving in the Navy in both Active and Reserve duties.  “I had a great experience,” Marc says.  “Traveling the world, building a fraternity of relationships with my shipmates.”  After leaving the Navy in 1996 at the rank of Petty Officer Third Class, Marc joined the financial services profession.  “I’ve always had a passion for this business and a passion for people – I’ve learned what’s better than making money is helping people with their money.”

Currently Marc is working within the financial services industry where he started over twenty years ago.  He’s at the point in his career where he wants to grow his skillset and develop his craft for added value.  He sees the Chartered Financial Consultant® program as the next step in his journey.  “I have wanted this certification for more than 20 years.  I have seen what it has done for others success.”  We’re so thrilled to help Marc continue to meet his goals and better his clients lives while elevating their financial legacy.  We wish him the best in his studies – Bravo Zulu!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Prudential and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.


Andres Cordoba

Andres Cordoba (Charlotte, NC) enlisted in the Air Force in 2003 after high school.  “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, what my passion would be,” he says.  “I decided to join the service.” In 2004, Andres deployed to the United Arab Emirates, doing ground refueling during operations in Fallujah.  “That was definitely a different time,” Andres says.  “It was an exciting time, but definitely very tough.” Upon his return from deployment, Andres was faced with an Air Force undergoing a budget crisis.  He was given the option to join the Army and deploy again, or to volunteer to leave early with an honorable discharge.  He chose the latter, saying “I think I’ve found what I want to do.  I want to pursue it.” 

In 2005, Andres started as a bank teller, and was then quickly promoted to a sales assistant.  From there, his career has taken him from the trading desk, to the wire house side, and now he’s with TD Ameritrade, which is about to merge with Charles Schwab.  He wants to make himself as valuable and knowledgeable as possible, and wants to complement his CRPC education by completing the Chartered Financial Consultant®.  We’re proud to know Andres and we’re grateful for his service.  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Porch Software, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Marcus Gold

Marcus Gold (Dumfries, VA) enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1998 and went on to serve our Nation for twenty years, before retiring in 2018 as a Master Sergeant.  “It was a very great time – I did a lot, learned a lot about how to solve problems, build good teams, but the thing I take the most pride in was helping and encouraging my young Marines,” Marcus says.  “We all come from different backgrounds, but I’ve learned if you take care of people, they’ll take care of you.”  Marcus has taken such good care of his Marines he still has folks calling him for advice.  “It’s a great feeling to be viewed in that aspect.”  The majority of Marcus career was spent in North Carolina, in the infantry.  After a few deployments, Marcus got married and started growing his family and needed a break from the action.  “I transferred to the schoolhouse and taught military tactics, martial arts, and a variety of subjects for a few years.” 

Before retiring from the Marine Corps, Marcus completed his MBA and envisioned a post-military career with an entrepreneurial bend.  He attended a job fair to get a sense of his options, “and for some reason, I stopped at every table but one,” Marcus says.  As he was getting on the elevator, he realized he had missed a table so he turned around and went back.  The table was staff with representatives from New York Life, and after speaking with an Army veteran with New York Life, Marcus felt like he had found his path forward.  “I came in, met the people, loved them, loved the company, loved what they stood for, and I got on board.”  Now in his second year, Marcus is gaining the essential skills to make his second career as successful as his first.  He wants to focus his career on helping non-profit organizations secure the funding they need, and completing the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® will help him do just that. “I did physical security for people for years,” Marcus says.  “Now I’m in still in security, but just a different mindset, helping people secure their finances.”  We’re so proud to know Marcus and we wish him the best in his coursework and career.  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of New York Life, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. 

James Grabinski

James Grabinski (Kaiserslautern, Germany) Is an Active Reserve Air Force Technical Segeant and Financial Planner with First Command who says he felt called to serve “for love of my neighbor”.  James’ wife is also Air Force, and they are currently stationed on Germany, where they’ve been for the last 4 years.  James has served a combined 11 years between Active and National Guard duty and deployed 4 times. “I owe the military for a lot of growth as an individual, a husband, and a father.” 

As the end of his contract approaches this summer, James is intending on separating and focusing fully on his work with First Command.  “I’ve always had a love for numbers and math; the general passion of solving problems.  I just fell in love with the company and the people; I went all in.”  To ramp up his confidence and competence, James will be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® program, which will provide him with a comprehensive financial planning education.  We’re proud to help James serve others, and we thank him and his wife for their service.  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Rocketer, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.


Rickeisha Hammond

Rickeisha Hammond (West Point, MS) wasn’t planning on joining the Army when a recruiter showed up at her house.  “He was actually there to see my baby brother.  I was in college and I just happened to be home that day.  I thought, ‘I may as well sign up, too!’”  Its with that spirit that Rickeisha dove in headfirst to her Army service.  As an automated logistics specialist, Rickeisha was responsible for the tracking and inventory for some very high-ticket weapons and pieces of machinery.  “I love numbers,” she says.  “I was good at that job because I can remember numbers better than anything else.”  An injury to her ankle curtailed Rickeisha’s military career, and she was medically discharged in 2010.  “The military will discipline you, it will change your mindset,” she says.  “What you think you know, you really don’t until you get that discipline. I was a whole different person when I came home.” 

These days, Rickeisha is the owner of an event planning company and she’s looking to both expand that business and open a side business offering financial planning services to her community.  To set herself up for success, Rickeisha will be completing the Financial Services Certified Professional® program, which will give her the product knowledge and sales knowledge she’ll need to hit the ground running.  “You can never have too much education – EVER,” Rickeisha says, and we agree with her!  We thank her for her service and wish her the best in her studies.  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of SCOR Reinsurance, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.


Michael Koziak

Michael Koziak (Norton Shores, MI) spent six years in the Marine Corps reserves.  Originally, Michael wanted to be a military police officer, but that role wasn’t available in the reserves.  He chose infantry instead, and was selected to be a mortar man.  In 2006, Michael deployed to Fallujah as a Rifleman, where he stayed for about eight months.  This deployment changed Michael’s career perspective.  “I wanted to be Military Police, but our time in Iraq changed my mind about how much risk I was willing to put myself in.  My job didn’t feel like it meant a lot to people.”  Michael transitioned from the Marine Corps in 2009 at the rank of Corporal.   

After leaving the military, Michael worked a few different jobs, but a career path wasn’t clear to him until Michael’s brother in law took a job at New York Life.  He brought Michael in as his first client, and the experience was eye-opening for Michael, who has been with New York Life himself since 2013. Along with his financial services duties, he’s also a mentor agent for new agents, which allows him realize his passion for coaching others.  “I love the people I work with,” he says.  “I can tell we’re all trying to do what’s right, not just make money.”  Michael has set his sights on the RICP® program, which will give him a cutting-edge retirement planning education and allow him to push his career forward.  We’re proud of Michael’s service and we wish him the best with his coursework.  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of New York Life, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. 


Roland McIntyre

Roland McIntyre (Ooltewah, TN) is an Air Force Veteran who says that the experience of serving has shaped him forever.  “The Air Force core values will shape all I do,” he says.  “Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do are values that have prepared me for this career.”   He says that the highlight from him time in uniform were the connections that he made.  “Working with individuals, the fellow airman, helping with different vehicles.  I take tremendous pride in being able to assist and help out there.”  

 After leaving the Air Force in 2012, Roland went on to earn his MBA from Keller Graduate School.  This March will mark seven years since Roland joined AIG.  “I really enjoy it.  Every year I have the opportunity to learn more and do more.  Hopefully getting this education is the thing that takes my career to the next level.” Roland wants to complete the Chartered Financial Consultant® program and then aims to sit for the CFP® certification exam.  To Roland, professional designations are the mark of a true professional.  “I’d love to have the ability to show my client that I’m capable of providing the best possible service.”  We’re thrilled to help Roland meet his goals and serve his clients to the standards he holds himself to.  We’re thankful for his service and we wish him the best in his coursework!

 This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Robert Miller in honor of his father, Sidney Miller, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company


Darren Odom

Darren Odom (Brooklyn, NY) has a combined 20 years of service between the Army, the National Guard, Reserves, and the Air National Guard.  During his tenure, he deployed to Panama and then to the Middle East for both Desert Storm and Desert Shield.  As a Loadmaster in the 139th Airlift Squadron, he deployed to Greenland and Antarctica as support for the National Science Foundation. After leaving the Air National Guard, Darren joined a Civil Support hazardous materials team that works with local law enforcement when there’s a chemical, radiological or explosive threat.  Darren was working at the Boston Marathon in 2013 during the terrorist bombing.  “When we saw the explosion and people started running toward us, our job was to run toward what they were all running from,” Darren says.  “Then, after we heard the second explosion, we started running faster. That was the job, but nothing could prepare us for that day.”

Darren joined the life insurance profession in 2014 and is now currently a Financial Services Representative at Primerica.  His focus is almost entirely on the military service members and families stationed at Ft. Hamilton in New York.  “At some point, I decided that I wanted to teach people in the military how to retire,” he says.  “they recruited us, they paid us, and if you served 20 year you’d get a pension, but they never taught us how to invest.  I want to teach people how to retire from the military with more than the pension.”  To better equip himself, Darren sees the Chartered Life Underwriter as the next step.  “To me, the CLU® says I’ve gone a little bit deeper.  I see life insurance as the first step towards estate planning; and I think the CLU® designation is most important for a life insurance agent.”  We’re so glad to know Darren, we thank him for his service, and we wish him the best with his CLU® coursework!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Ernst and Young, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company


William Speier

William Speier (Watertown, SD) retired from the Army in 2017 at the rank of Colonel after an impressive 26-year career that took him all over the world – the Far East, Middle East, Europe, and the Balkans.  Bill entered the Army in 1991 and spent his junior grade officer years, “overseas earning my craft,” he says.  “I came back to the US and fell in love with service.  I wouldn’t want to do anything other than what I was doing.”  Bill can credit his service to a lot of successes but perhaps most important was meeting his wife.  She herself is a retired Lieutenant Colonel – they retired together in 2017!

Bill’s second career seems like it’s on track to be a big success, too.  In his first year with Modern Woodman, he was recognized as his region’s “Rookie of the Year” and his district’s “Agent of the Year” during his first year as a registered rep.  His contract with Modern Woodmen ended in late 2019, and now Bill is working through State Farm’s internship program.  “I’ve always had an interest in personal finance,” he says.  “I started investing young. It’s just another way to keep serving and helping others.”  In order to keep serving others at a high standard, Bill is planning to complete the Chartered Financial Consultant® program and sitting for the Certified Financial Planner® exam.  We’re so proud of what Bill has accomplished and we wish him the best with his studies!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Mr. Knut Olson and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company


Frank Towle

Frank Towle (Charlotte, NC) enlisted in the Navy the same year he graduated from high school and spent the next seven years in aviation ordnance.  On September 11, 2001, Frank was in Mayport, Florida on a training exercise when they received the news of the attack.  He spent the next few weeks on an aircraft carrier in New York Harbor, and from there, he deployed to the Persian Gulf. Upon his return stateside, Frank spent time as a drill instructor and later managing weapons for a Navy SEAL unit. When Frank separated from the Navy in 2006, it to follow his dream job of law enforcement.  “I was accepted to the police academy – my lifelong goal,” Frank says. 

Frank served as a police officer for his hometown of Westfield, Massachusetts for five years.  It was during that time in his life that an interest in financial services was piqued. A series of deaths in the family exposed Frank to the importance of planning for the future.  “When my grandfather passed away, my grandmother had no idea what to do – she almost lost her house.  No one was prepared for anything.”  That experience informs his work now with MassMutual.  “If I can help someone be prepared, then I did my job,” Frank says.  By completing the Retirement Income Certified Professional® program, Frank will be equipped with a cutting-edge education to prepare his clients to enjoy their retirement.  We’re proud to know Frank and we wish him the best with his coursework.  Bravo Zulu!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Corey Search Group, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.


Mitchell Washington

Mitchell Washington (Black Jack, MO) is a Lieutenant Colonel with over 31 years of service in the Army National Guard set to retire this June.  Mitchell enlisted in 1989 and after completing his training, worked as a medic until he attended Officers Candidate School.  Following OCS, he commissioned as a field artillery officer.  “It’s been a fantastic journey,” Mitchell says.  “I’ve seen the world.  I’ve got nothing but good things to say about my time in the military.”

In his civilian life, Mitchell has been in financial services since 2000.  He’s currently working on building his book of business back up following a two year deployment in 2017 and 2018.  “It’s challenging when you’re deploying and working on a book of business.  You lose all of that work.  It’s like starting all over when you return.”  Now that his retirement date is in sight, Mitchell can now fully focus on rebuilding.  The next step in his plan: earning his ChFC® and CFP® designations.  “The ChFC designation would allow me to stand shoulder to shoulder when competing against my peers and grow my practice with confidence,” says Mitchell.  We’re proud of Mitchell’s 31 years of service, and we wish him the best with his coursework.  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of VOYA Foundation, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.

David Wirt

David Wirt (Brandon, MS) came from a family of military service.  “My dad is a Vietnam era vet, my granddad is a WWII vet; it’s a family tradition,” David says.  “I joined the Army right out of high school at 19.”  An intelligence analyst for the 1st Cavalry division, David’s five years of service took him to Iraq twice during the Surge.  “It was all around a very good experience and I did a lot of fun stuff, and it instilled a great sense of work ethic.” David says.  “I miss it every day, really.”

After separating from the Army, David used his GI Bill to get his bachelor’s in accounting and followed it up with an MBA.  He’s been in financial services since 2014 and is presently an Assistant Vice President and Trust Officer for Bancorpsouth Bank.  David’s job focus is employee benefits.  “The ChFC® would broaden my knowledge across the financial services spectrum and allow me to focus on services other than employee benefits,” he says.  He plans to complete the ChFC® and then sit for the CFP exam.  We’re so excited for David and we wish him the best in his studies!  Congratulations! 

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Lincoln Financial and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.


Brian Zarnick

Brian Zarnick (West Columbia, SC) enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17.  “My mom had to sign my paperwork,” he says.  “When I imagined myself in the Marine Corps, I knew I’d only do four years.  I wanted the experience before I went off to college.  I wanted to get an idea of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”  Brian worked in Aviation Supply, tracking down aircraft parts to replace broken ones.  “If we suddenly had a squadron with an unusable F18 part – they don’t have another expensive part just sitting on a shelf – it was our job to make deals and find these parts,” he says. 

 Currently, Brian is with BB&T Investments and says his military experience has given him a boost in this career.  “It was kind of a surprise.  I was always interested in personal finance, but what really stood out were the connections you can make with other people.  The impact you can make on lives.  How you can make relationships with strangers, build on that, and become an important part of their lives.”  To better foster those relationships, Brian wants to complete the Chartered Financial Consultant® program.  We loved hearing Brian’s story, and we thank him for his service.  Congratulations!

 This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Mr. John Howard, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.