I remember my wedding day in 1999. My wife appeared at the doorway to the church we were to be married in with her and her dad locking arms. She was nothing short of beautiful, and I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life loving and being loved by her.
I remember my first workday after our honeymoon. Keri packed my lunch that day because, well, we were newlyweds and she wanted to do something nice for me. And, being a horrible new husband and in a rush, I left for work forgetting to grab my lunch bag. Not great for day 1 of married life. I got halfway to work and somehow remembered I didn’t take it. Forced with a decision to make, either be late to work and go back to get the lunch my lovely wife packed, or be on time for work, and risk allowing her feeling unappreciated for the kindness she had done. I turned around and went back to get my lunch. Good decision.
I remember my first day in 2003 when I joined forces with my good friend Adam at Freedom Financial Solutions, now known as Hixon Zuercher Capital Management. I arrived at Adam’s house at 8am. He had a non-compete from his prior employer and couldn’t do business in Findlay for 1 year. We set up shop at a card table in a spare bedroom and we began the work of setting up prospecting appointments for anyone who would give us the time to meet with them. We knew we had a great service to offer, but at only 25 years old at the time, it was an uphill battle. But we were young, hungry, full of life, not yet scarred by the hundreds of ‘no’s’ we’d soon receive. We battled forward, seeking to build a business and offer a unique style of wealth management to our community.
I remember holding each of my kids for the very first time. Feeling the love and weight of responsibility in my arms. Knowing I’d do anything to protect and provide for these little ones. I’d go off to work, hoping to serve my clients well, to offer our services to those who needed it, to research and invest our client’s money well. All in hopes of providing for my family and fulfilling my purpose. I’d arrive back home after a long day’s grind, and lovingly hold my little ones to give Keri a much needed break.
I remember the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. The market couldn’t find the bottom for a year and a half. Topping in October of 2007, the market wouldn’t find its trough until March of 2009. And, it wouldn’t recover the October 2007 highs until May of 2013. Adam and I learned through the school of hard knocks how to run and manage a business with declining revenue for an extended period of time. But we did it. We’re still here today to tell the tale.
I remember the day mom died in 2011. I took the call from my dad when he exclaimed in a voice I’ve never heard before: “She did it. Pam…Mom…she’s dead. She committed suicide.” I was at work when I took the call. I told Adam, who prayed for me and said he’d be there for whatever I needed. The next 24 hours were a whirlwind, I remember bits and pieces. I remember shopping for caskets, I think that’s when it all caught up to me, I had to leave. I remember myself and 5 of my closest friends being pall bearers the day of the funeral. I remember wondering if this financial advisor thing was really for me.
I remember the day in 2013 when we hired our first financial advisor, our first significant hire. Josh proved to be an invaluable member of our team, and is now my business partner, and still serves our clients with skill and excellence even to this day.
I remember in 2017 when we first crossed $100 million in investments that our clients had entrusted us to steward. So humbling. So grateful. So much responsibility. Then $200 million in 2020. Then $300 million in early 2022. Adam and I celebrated each milestone. God’s been good to us. We’re so blessed to help steward generational wealth for over 300 families in Northwest Ohio and across the country.
I remember launching my book in late 2021 and as a result, launching Refocus Coaching in early 2022 to help retirees deal with the transition from their career into a life of significance.
I remember when Adam declared to Josh and me that he was contemplating being done. Retiring. Being a visionary CEO for 20+ years was fulfilling and exciting for him. But he also wanted the opportunity to explore other challenges and chapters in his life. Adam is not only my business partner, but my best friend. Far be it from me to prevent him from spreading his wings as he explores what’s next. Josh and I embraced his desire to transition out, and we did our best to honor his dedication to this firm for the 21 years he’s been at the helm.
I remember Adam’s last day. August 1, 2023. My emotions ranged from excited to overwhelmed. But mostly sheer happiness for him and his family and they explore what lies ahead for them. As part of his transition out, I’ve been named CEO of the firm. Adam left big shoes to fill. He was a master visionary, a gifted communicator. He demanded excellence, but in a loving way. He was smart, and had good instinct. And, he was a great financial advisor. All things that will now be missed.
Now having been named CEO, only time will tell whether or not I have what it takes to lead our organization into the future. But this I know: I will try my best. I will give it my all. No, I won’t be perfect. I won’t be Adam. I’ll be me. I’ll be the best me I can be for my team, our clients, and our community. I’ll be the best I can be for my family, for my wife of 24 years and my kids (a Senior, Sophomore, and a 6th grader). I’ll do my best to continue the legacy that Adam has blessed our firm with, and I’ll seek to take us to new heights and serve more clients that need our help.
I remember my first day as CEO. August 2, 2023. Josh and I chose to spend the day offsite, doing strategic planning and vision casting for the months and years ahead. And…we’re excited. We’re excited for what lies ahead. Knowing there is a vast and endless sea of people who aren’t prepared for retirement either from a financial, or a non-financial (mental health) perspective. And…we’re here. We’re ready. Ready to meet those needs and assist them in managing their wealth and purpose well.
To Adam, I bid you farewell. You’ve left the firm in good hands. We’re eternally grateful for your leadership for the past 21 years.
To the HZ team , Josh, Melinda, Scott, Becky, Kelli, Ashley, Jess, Austin, Chase, Amy, and Angela, our future is bright! Thank you for showing up each day to serve our clients well! We’ve got this! This is our purpose, to steward generational wealth. And I can’t do it without you.
For me, for our clients, for our team, for my family… I believe it more now than ever…
The Best Is Ahead!