Advisor Today, the official publication of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, is pleased to announce the winners of its 2020 Four Under Forty awards: Andrew Bartling, FIC, LACP, of Modern Woodmen of America in Rapid City, SD; Richard M. Demko II, LUTCF, LACP, of Guardian Group in The Woodlands, TX; Samuel G. Sones, LUTCF, of Lincoln County Farm Bureau in Brookhaven, MS; and Joyce J. Yoo, of Wisely Financial in San Francisco.
The Four Under Forty awards recognize highly motivated, well-rounded NAIFA members under the age of 40 who balance their work and home lives and are successful at helping their clients secure a sound financial future. They exhibit extraordinary professional success relatively early in their insurance and financial services careers.
“The talented insurance and financial professionals who comprise Advisor Today’s 2020 Four Under Forty award winners represent the new generation of agents and advisors ensuring the success our industry and financial prosperity of American families and small businesses for decades to come,” said NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux. “Their stories provide inspiration to anyone who may be considering an insurance or financial services career or who may be facing early-career challenges. They provide excellent examples of how hard work, dedication and the support of a strong professional association can bring success.”
Andrew Bartling, FIC, LACP
Bartling, 34, began his career as a financial representative for Modern Woodman Fraternal Financial in Rapid City, SD, soon after he graduated from the National American University with bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Business Administration with an emphasis in Financial Management. Despite having few ties to Rapid City, Bartling was able to build a strong client list through sheer hard work and determination. He expanded his prospect lists by becoming involved in the local community and networking with other professionals.
“As a hardworking Individual, Andy has always come out on top,” said Lonnie Tutsch, of Modern Woodmen, who nominated Bartling. “He has a strong character and is extremely hard-working, never giving less than 100%.”
Bartling has been an active NAIFA member since 2009 and is currently the president-elect of NAIFA’s South Dakota chapter. He is a past president on the NAIFA-Black Hills local chapter and has chaired NAIFA’s South Dakota state political action committee and the state Young Advisors Team.
In the community, Bartling is past chair and past membership chair of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Group and received the Chamber’s Young Professional of the Year award in 2015. He currently serves on the Chamber’s advisory board. He is also on the Board of Elevate Rapid City, a public-private partnership promoting the city as a desirable place to live, work, and visit. He is also involved in six fraternal organizations, including the local Lions Club. Bartling sponsors the annual My Plan for the Future Scholarship presented by the National American University Alumni Foundation.
Richard M. Demko II, LUTCF, LACP
After playing rugby for the University of Arizona and receiving a degree in Business Management, Demko, 39, began his career with State Farm and then moved to advanced planning with New York Life. He is currently Principal/Advisor with the Guardian Group, a boutique life insurance agency based in Houston and operating in 21 states.
“Rick is a consummate team leader and empowers others around him to invest in the concept that Together Everyone Achieves More,” said Mark Jones who nominated Demko for Four Under Forty.
Committed to furthering his education and professional development, Demko has earned his LUTCF and LACP designations. He is currently finishing his CLU and is enrolled in RICP. Next, he plans to pursue his RICP. He is a graduate of NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute and a NAIFA Quality Award winner.
Demko is the president of NAIFA’s Houston chapter and a member of NAIFA-Texas’s Membership Committee. He is also president of Rotary Houston Skyline, vice president of BNI Go Getters in the Woodlands, and an active member of the Texas Gulf Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Demko is also a first responder volunteer firefighter with the Spring, TX, fire department.
Samuel G. Sones, LUTCF
Sones, 36, began his career with Southern Farm Bureau (SFB) Life Insurance 12 years ago and is an agent in the Brookhaven, MS, office. He soon emerged as one of SFB’s top producers, twice winning the company’s Mississippi Agent of the Year for all insurance lines and also winning it’s national top Agent of the Year based on life insurance production.
“Sam and I came through Life school together, and I have modeled my career and work ethic after him,” said Daniel Thompson, who nominated Sones and is himself a 2019 Advisor Today Four Under Forty winner. “When I received my Four Under Forty Award last year, Sam Sones’ name continued to come to my mind as a deserving candidate.”
Sones has qualified for the prestigious SFB Round Table, based on his top level of life insurance production, for 11 of his 12 years with the company and has received multiple NAIFA Quality Awards. He has been a SFB “Mentoring Agent” for eight years, working with other agents in the state to promote their career success.
He has served on the Brookhaven and Lincoln Counties, MS, Chamber of Commerce and served as the group’s president in 2018. He is also an active volunteer in his church, serving as a deacon.
Yoo, 39, is the Executive Partner of Wisely Financial in San Francisco. She is a member of The Nautilus Group®, an exclusive group consisting of approximately 2% of New York Life financial professionals. This group of elite professionals is committed to a team planning concept and works with affluent, high net worth, and business owner clients.
Early in her career, Yoo relocated her practice from Chicago to San Francisco and thrived despite starting over in a new market. Her focus has always been on building credibility through trust. With this as the foundation of her work, she has passionately worked for over a decade to provide her clients with fully customized, personal, and needs-based financial strategies for their future.
“Every time I see Joyce, she looks me in the eye and tells me her latest goal,” said Brooke Zrno Grisham, CEO of The Nautilus Group, who nominated Yoo for Four Under Forty. “And, I have the great pleasure of watching her achieve what she sets her heart and mind to accomplish.”
Yoo is a Court of the Table member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has achieved recognition as part of New York Life’s Chairman's, President's, and Executive Councils. She is sought out and requested to be the featured speaker at many engagements throughout the year.
In her free time, she volunteers by visiting patients at medical facilities with her therapy dog and supports charities that serve at-risk children.