20 Under 30 Class of 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to meet the 2012 class of 20 Under 30.

(page 7 of 10)

While attending Missouri State University, a professor referred Zach Swartz to BKD Wealth Advisors for an internship. After he interned for nearly two years, Swartz was offered a junior portfolio manager position with the company, and he quickly worked his way up to become a portfolio manager. He finds his career rewarding in more ways than one. “Financial management is about more than just generating the highest return,” Swartz says. “It is about helping people succeed.” And he helps people succeed outside of his career, too. Swartz is a member of the Springfield Little Theatre Associate Board, and he is the liaison between BKD and Drury for the Drury University Summer Scholars program. Swartz is also involved in his second year of the Junior Achievement program, for which he teaches second-grade students at Wilder Elementary about how people work together in the community and economy. He’s also a member of several professional organizations, including Springfield Rotaract and The Network.

417 Magazine: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
Zach Swartz: No idea. I’m guessing it was to be some sort of architect or engineer. I loved Legos!

417: How did you end up at your current job/profession?
Zach Swartz: One of my professors at MSU referred me to BKD Wealth Advisors for an internship. I interviewed with our Chief Investment Officer, Jeff Layman, and was awarded the internship. After interning for almost two years, I was offered a Junior Portfolio manager position with Wealth Advisors. I had interviewed in Chicago and Kansas City, too, but selected Wealth Advisors because they were offering a job that allowed me to pursue wealth management.

417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
Z.S.: The first thing that keeps me passionate is that finance is constantly evolving and changing. You won’t get bored, because there is always something to research or implement for clients. Secondly, I really enjoy helping people. For some people, finance and investing is a touching subject. At Wealth Advisors, we help our clients develop a financial plan for their life and work with them until they succeed by achieving their goals. Financial management is about more than just generating the highest return, it is about helping people succeed.

417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
Z.S.: I guess I would have to say running. I would never have guessed that I would enjoy running, but over the past couple of years it has
grown on me. Currently, I am training for my second ½ marathon.

417: What charitable organizations are you involved in?
Z.S.: The Springfield Little Theatre Associate Board—I am a member of the board and our responsibility is to create, plan and execute the Little Theatre’s Big Party each year. The Big Party is the largest fundraiser for the Little Theatre and usually brings in about $20,000 for the programs; Drury University Summer Scholars–I act as the liaison between BKD and Drury regarding this amazing program. The Summer Scholars program provides an opportunity to African American students in central Springfield to attend a summer program that exposes them to a college atmosphere. The students stay in the dorms and take regular classes. BKD provides volunteers to the program to teach classes on business topics; Junior Achievement–I act as a “teacher” in the Junior Achievement program. I teach to second graders in Mrs. Underwood’s class at Wilder Elementary. The topic I teach is called “Our Families,” which provides the students with examples of ways the people work together in a community/economy. My first year was last year, and I was amazed at how quickly the students picked up on the concepts we were discussing.

417: What professional organizations are you involved in?
Z.S.: Kansas City CFA Society–I am a member of the CFA society of KC where I attend educational sessions on finance and finance-related topics. Given that KC is a long drive for most meetings, I have started planning happy hours for the CFA Charterholders in 417-land. There are about 15-20 charterholders in the area and we have had pretty good attendance so far. I would love to see us get our own society, but that requires 50 charterholders. So, for all those finance professionals out there, go get the CFA!; CFA Institute–I am a member of the CFA Institute, which is the international organization for Chartered Financial Analysts.; Rotaract – I am a new member of Rotaract and look forward to working with other young professionals to support Boys and Girls Town.; The Network–I am a member of The Network, which offers young professionals opportunities to network and learn about topics affecting our community.

417: How would you define the secret to success?
Z.S.: Being passionate about what you bring to the table.

417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
Z.S.: Helping people maintain and grow their wealth.

417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
Z.S.: The people

417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Z.S.: Short the market in 2008, because Lehman isn’t going to make it.

417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
Z.S.: No idea, I’m guessing it was to be some sort of architect/engineer. I loved Legos!

417: List three traits that define a successful career:
Z.S.: Leaving a legacy and being a role model for others; Creating successful relationships with clients; Passing knowledge to the next generation

417: Why are you a 20 under 30?
Z.S.: Because I give back to the community by helping to educate others in business and finance topics.

417: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
Z.S.: This year, the thing I’m most excited about is earning my CFA Charter. I took 3 exams over 3 years and have waited for a couple of years to earn the work experience necessary to earn the charter.

417: What completed project are you most proud of?
Z.S.: I helped to implement a trading system in our firm that handles the trading and rebalancing of nearly $2 billion in assets across multiple offices.

Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:

Food makes life worth living.

A day at work wouldn’t be complete without a technology issue.

Ten years from now, I hope I’m providing insight to the finance profession.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would invest it, duh.

The best part about being a 20 under 30 is the chicks.

Amanda Snelson, who is an architecture intern at Dake Wells Architecture, loves the creative aspects of her career. “In a way, my hobby is my work, because often my job feels like play,” says Snelson, who is training to be an architect. “I get to sketch with markers!” Her decision to become an architect was obvious—she says she has always let her creative tendencies guide her life decisions. And she also applies this principle to her leisure activities. Snelson is also the founder of Springfield’s PechaKucha Night, an event in which local creatives are invited to make presentations on various mediums of art, music, design, storytelling, architecture or philosophy. She’s also a chairperson for the Springfield Foundation for Architecture and an associate member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Springfield, and she has volunteered for events through Habitat for Humanity and Project CoRE, among others.

417 Magazine: Why are you a 20 under 30?
Amanda Snelson: I strive, in everything I do—from where I buy my coffee to how I spend my free time—to better our community, and I make every decision with integrity.

417: How did you end up at your current job/profession?
A.S.: I have always let my creative tendencies guide my life decisions. So, when I wanted to major in something where I could practically apply my creative side, architecture was the obvious choice. After graduating from Drury University and finishing a rewarding internship with Jason Hainline, my husband and I moved away so he could pursue his graduate degree. Unfortunately at the time, jobs in my profession were dwindling as construction stagnated. Moving back two years later, I applied to numerous architecture firms hoping to jumpstart my career. Dake Wells Architecture showed interest in me, and I’ve never looked back! I love my work, and everyday I am grateful for finding such a rewarding workplace and career.

417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
A.S.: I always aim to think of the big picture and the impact of my actions on the community. If I see a gap or problem, I attempt to find a way that I, as an individual, can better the situation–we can always do something. Setting a solid foundation of a meaningful intention behind every work and personal decision makes everything that much more significant and rewarding in the end. The passion comes with knowing you are changing the world (your world), however small, for the better.

417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
A.S.: Vegan cooking, home improvement (we have a fixer-upper in Midtown), iPhoneography, traveling (I am forever a wanderlust), biking, sketching, yoga.

417: What charitable organizations are you involved in?
A.S.: Springfield Foundation for Architecture (affiliated with AIA Springfield) Chairperson, Exhibition Organizer (headed the coordination of the exhibition “Springfield Modern: The Mid-century Architecture of Richard P. Stahl, FAIA” displayed February 2012 at Drury University); PechaKucha Night, local founder and organizer (5 events from March 2011-January 2012, upcoming events TBD); Habitat for Humanity’s Toolbelts and Bowties 2011 volunteer doghouse designer (submitted through Dake Wells Architecture); Project CoRE (affiliated with OTC, MSU, Drury, CID, and UDA) design competition that took place in November 2010 to design an affordable sustainable single-family residence in Springfield (submitted design through Dake Wells Architecture). We received a Certificate of Merit; Ozark Greenways’ Bike to Work Week, firm representative motivating coworkers to use alternative transportation which led to Dake Wells Architecture winning the 2011 participation award.

417: What professional organizations are you involved in?
A.S.: AIA Springfield (American Institute of Architects), Associate Member, Holiday Party Planning Committee Member, Joplin Community Advisory Charrette volunteer–prepared maps and diagrams compiling information from FEMA used for a two-day planning charrette planned by AIA Springfield and AIA Central States focusing on post-disaster recovery; NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) IDP (Intern Development Program) Auxiliary Coordinator; Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture volunteer critic for student designs at mid-term and the end of each semester.

417: How would you define the secret to success?
A.S.: Have big dreams genuine to your true desires in life, and stay focused on the big picture (with patience in your back pocket). If you are bored or blaming others for being unsuccessful, you are doing it wrong. Patience is very important with this one!

417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
A.S.: The creative process is such a challenging and rewarding aspect of my work. In a way, my hobby is my work because often times my job feels like play: I get to sketch with markers! In addition, being able to see my hard work come to fruition in the built environment is extremely fulfilling by helping design nationally recognized built environments that add culturally to the community. Finally, the everyday challenge of always learning something new and knowing that there is so much more to learn is satisfying.

417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
A.S.: I’ve lived in 417-land my whole life (besides a two-year stint in Vancouver, Canada), so working in this area feels like a tight-knit community. I feel that my potential to grow my career here is endless, as I am extremely lucky to have a broad network of people here that support my similar interests.

417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
A.S.: Connections with people are the most important thing, and being an introvert is no excuse. Your personal network of people will either help or hurt you as you work to achieve your dreams.

417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
A.S.: I wanted to be an artist, because my initials spelled A-R-T and I enjoyed creating.

417: List three traits that define a successful career:
A.S.: Integrity, love/passion, patience

417: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
A.S.: I am looking forward to observing the construction of Newburg Addition and Renovation of the cafeteria space for Newburg R-II School District and seeing the finished project. The finished project will provide the Newburg R-II School District with a bigger cafeteria, handicap accessible restrooms, a brand new entrance and updated kitchen equipment.

417: What completed project are you most proud of?
A.S.: That’s a very hard question to answer as I feel all of my “projects” are like my children as I have invested so much time, energy and emotion in each one. SFFA’s recent exhibition opening of “Springfield Modern: The Mid-century Architecture of Richard P. Stahl, FAIA” at Drury University’s Pool Art Center was really rewarding, as more than 100 people from the community came out to learn about the rich architecture history of the area while honoring the work of many influential architects of the area. Also, every single PechaKucha Night has been really gratifying, and I always learn something new about 417-land’s creative community. If I have to pick just one, I am most proud of the first project in my architecture career which was a renovation completed last fall on Missouri State University’s campus: Carrington Auditorium.

Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:

Being part of a creative community makes life worth living.

A day at work wouldn’t be complete without a Captain Kirk joke.

Ten years from now, I hope I’m balancing career with family.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d continue my day-to-day life.

The best part about being a 20 under 30 is engaging with a wider audience.

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