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PenChecks NIPA Accredited Pension Administrator (APA) Designation Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to the PenChecks NIPA APA Designation Scholarship Recipients! 

November/December 2018 Testing Window

Natalie Fults of Premier Retirement Plan Services

Natalie is an administrative assistant and distribution specialist at Premier Retirement Plan Services in Wilsonville, Oregon. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a degree in Latin American Studies-Spanish but found her way to the pension industry last year through a wonderful opportunity.  While she has only worked in the pension industry for about a year, she has enjoyed learning the role of third party administrators and looks forward to growing in this industry. Natalie aims to be a lifelong learner, especially while advancing her career and is thankful for this opportunity to pursue her APA designation. When she’s not in the office, Natalie spends time enjoying her passions of healthy cooking and staying active in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. 


Alison Quesada of Atessa Benefits

Alison Quesada joined Atessa Benefits in 2014 as a Pension Analyst after moving across the country from North Carolina to San Diego. She was promoted a year later to her current position as ERISA Compliance Manager.  

Alison graduated Cum Laude from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2005, where she obtained two degrees: one in Mathematics with a concentration in Actuarial Science and the other in Finance with a concentration in Risk Management and Insurance, with a minor in Economics. In addition, she holds a Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS) designation.

She has been in the retirement industry for 12 years. After graduation, she was a retirement participant account services representative for two years, and then moved to the compliance arena, which has been her area of focus for the past 10 years. She thoroughly enjoys compliance because it is challenging and requires continuous learning and growth. “No two days are the same,” she explains. 

When she has spare time, Alison enjoys reading, spending time with her husband, and exploring beautiful San Diego. 

She is beyond excited to be selected for this scholarship to continue her education and add the APA designation to her background. Alison wants everyone to know that she is very grateful to NIPA and PenChecks. She truly appreciates it!


K. Bradley Helms of Acuff & Associates

Bradley is a plan analyst and marketing specialist with Acuff & Associates in Brentwood, Tennessee. After attaining a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, he returned home to Nashville to pursue a master’s degree in molecular biology with the ultimate goal being attending medical school. After deciding that the world of medicine was not the path for him, he followed in his grandfather’s footsteps into the retirement plan industry. Although Bradley has only been working in this arena for a little less than a year, he has enjoyed learning a new world and is excited about contributing in the growth of Acuff & Associates through marketing and sales. He is thankful for the opportunity to pursue the APA designation, Bradley believes it will not only aid in overcoming the learning curve of the industry, but also enhance his value to his company.


August 2018 Testing Window

Melanie Romer of Resource Benefits Administrators

Melanie has been a Client Service Specialist at Resource Benefits Administrators in Waco, Texas since July 2015. She started as a receptionist for the company in January 2015 and after 6 months she transitioned to the pension administrator role. Before she started working in the retirement industry she was a business owner for 10 years, then worked as a call center supervisor for 5 years. She loves working in the retirement industry and is excited to be a recipient of the of the APA designation scholarship. Melanie looks forward to becoming an active member of the NIPA Association.


 May/June 2018 Testing Window

Marilyn McDonald of Gorrelick, Tievy & Abacus

Marilyn McDonald is a Pension Administrator at Gorrelick, Tievy & Abacus in Rockville, MD. In 2016, she graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with an Accounting major and Actuarial Mathematics minor. After graduating, Marilyn worked in Human Resources which fortified her affinity for helping others. An interest in numbers and love for solving problems led her to the pension field. As a newcomer, Marilyn has grown and learned so much in the past year at the TPA firm and is excited to face any new challenges to come. She is grateful to have been given this opportunity to enhance her career and further understand this expanding field.


Marilyn comes from a large Caribbean family and is part of the first generation to graduate from college. In order to give back to her community, she tutors math and enjoys coaching volleyball to children. She believes that working with adolescents is the best way ensure a bright future. Her willingness to work hard and dedication to education stems from her desire to make her family proud. Marilyn's biggest dream is to become a successful business owner, just like her father.


Jeremy Beasley of Gorrelick, Tievy & Abacus

Jeremy graduated from the University of Maryland in Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2007, with a B.S. in Financial Economics.  After graduation he started his first job in the retirement industry with T. Rowe Price.  Taking an immediate interest in the Retirement Planning sphere, he has continued his career in the industry for over 10 years and running.  Currently, as a Retirement Administrator for Gorrelick, Tievy and Abacus, Jeremy is looking forward to continuing his professional growth and is excited for the opportunity to pursue his APA designation through NIPA.

Tara L. Coghlan of Martin, Martin, Randall & Associates, Inc.

Tara is a Retirement Plan Data Specialist and a Loan/Distribution Specialist at Martin, Martin, Randall & Associates, Inc. in their Jackson, MS office. She is a graduate of Northwest Mississippi Community College and has a background in the Finance Industry. Tara began her career in the Retirement Plan Industry after an abrupt and unexpected move to Mississippi from Illinois in 2016. Tara was hesitant of the decision she had made to join a completely new industry; however, it did not take long until she realized how much she loves this industry and wants nothing more than to succeed and be considered a valuable asset to not only the company she works for, but also the ERISA and retirement industry as a whole. The Retirement Plan Industry has become a major factor in her life, as well as the clients and platforms that she works with on a daily basis. Tara looks forward to obtaining her APA designation and becoming an involved member of the NIPA Association. 


Rebecca Magnuson of SuperiorUSA Benefits

Coming soon!

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