I grew up in rural Minneapolis, KS (population approx. 2,000) on a farm with my parents and younger brother. Growing up lower, middle class – money wasn’t always easy to come by. However, this upbringing did instill a couple of principles in me that I still value highly today. Spending many days of my childhood summers throwing hay bales and fixing barbed wire fence, the value of a hard day’s work has never been lost on me.
Another principle I learned growing up in a small Midwest town was to always treat others as you’d want to be treated. Sounds simple, but in a hometown where “your parents knew if you’d been acting up before you even got home”, this was ingrained at an early age. I still value this principle and strive to run my business with it in mind.
Sports were a big part of my life growing up. Although I had a successful high school career in football, there weren’t many colleges looking to recruit a 165 pound senior. So my college football career started at a tiny junior college in the middle of nowhere, Highland Community College. There I went from non-existent on the depth chart to an All-Conference selection by the time I finished up. This led to a scholarship offer at Emporia State a Division II college in KS. While battling for a starting spot, I suffered a devastating knee injury, tearing my ACL on the very last day of spring practice.
After sitting out a year and a grueling physical therapy regimen, I was able to come back from that injury to help our team to its first-ever playoff appearance as a Division II school, earning All-Conference and All-American honors along the way. My head coach later shared with me a note following that season that he’d written before that year started… he was unsure about starting me at free safety due to the uncertainty of how I’d come back from my injury and thinking “I’d lost a step.” In a weird sort of way, hearing his doubt after the way my football career had ended was actually very gratifying. It reinforced the fact that hard work does pay off.
Transitioning to the business world from college, I was blessed with an incredible opportunity and a bit of luck. I learned about Advisors Excel through a friend and joined the startup company as the 12th employee in 2007. At the time, our company was a small, unheard of brokerage company in Topeka, KS. Today, Advisors Excel is an insurance and wealth management platform that employs over 650 employees and is the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the United States, our advisors gathered over $14B of assets last year. Featured in Tony Robbin’s recent NY Times Best Seller MONEY Master the Game, it’s been an amazing ride watching our small little company “grow up” and become recognized as the industry’s leader in the space.
At the core of our company’s success is a simple philosophy
“It’s very difficult to outperform the core group of associations you surround yourself with and this is what truly differentiates Advisors Excel. The simple formula of focusing on the biggest and brightest financial advisors in the country and facilitating the ease of how ideas are shared among them has led to results we could never have imagined.”
When not working, you can find me enjoying time with my family at our home in rural Silver Lake, Kansas. I’m blessed to have met the woman I was meant to spend the rest of my life with while still in high school. Sarah, easily has the more challenging career between us as she spends her days at home with our three children: Braun, Nash, and Nellie (no easy task!). Sarah also stays busy coaching high school volleyball with four former state championship teams to her credit, while also being honored multiple times as a KCA and KVA Kansas Coach of the Year. To say I’m proud of her coaching skills is an understatement!
Some of my passions include traveling anywhere and everywhere with our family - some of our favorite trips so far include Italy, Billund, Denmark (for you Lego fans!), Montreal, and Copenhagen. We have a long list of future destinations on the bucket list as well, so make sure to bring up any “must visit destinations” if we get a chance to connect personally!
I also enjoy staying physically active with CrossFit and took the Level 1 certification for you CrossFitters out there. Although not a big runner, I’ve been talked into running a couple of Tough Mudder races (see pic above for my favorite part of race). To relax and unwind, I enjoy bass fishing in the pond behind our house, as well as collecting (and drinking) wine! I’m also passionate about giving to causes that help children in need, here are a list of a few of my favorite charities: Make-A-Wish, World Teacher Aid, The Help Foundation, Front Row Foundation.
GETTING TO KNOW BRAD
Favorite Food: Scallops!
Favorite quote: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” ~ Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
Best piece of financial advice received:
“If you’ve got your health, you can always make some money. But all the dough in the world can’t buy back your health. Isn’t it clear that the person who compromises his health in the name of making money is cutting himself a really lousy deal?” ~ Peter Barton, “Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived”
Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
Favorite movie: To laugh… Dumb and Dumber. To be entertained… The Matrix. To be moved… American Beauty.
Hidden talent: Secretly good at video games…
If Brad could meet anyone, past or present, it would be: Elon Musk
What motivates Brad: Empowering others to do and experience what they fear to commit to.
Place Brad would most like to visit: Mars (Thanks for the inspiration Elon!)
Favorite book: How to Win Friends and Influence People
Something on Brad’s bucket list: To write a book. (in progress!)
Biggest accomplishment: Three amazing kids and marrying the woman I love.