Howard County Financial Advisors | Williams Asset Management

About Us | Our Team

 

Board Room - Our Team
 

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A truly collaborative team of financial advisors, financial planners, and investment experts, we’re adept in helping you tackle a broad range of needs — from retirement income, education, estate, tax and insurance planning to the efficient management of tax-smart investment portfolios. Additionally, the Commonwealth team consists of more than 45 professionals with the CFA®, CFP®, ChFC®, or JD certification/designation. These experts act as an extension of our own team; supporting us in delivering tailored guidance. Working together collectively, we’ll help ensure that even the smallest details of your financial life are properly addressed.


 

 

Gary Williams, CFP®, CRPC®, AIF®

President

Growing up as the son of a Baltimore County bricklayer, Gary learned lifelong lessons about money at an early age. His family’s frequent financial struggles (deepening with the death of Gary’s mother when he was just eight years old) forced them to periodically rely on welfare, with little or no extra cash for emergencies. It was an experience that instilled a profound belief in the values of hard work, putting family first, and saving and investing for a more secure future—values that ultimately shaped his career.

Gary attended Towson University and graduated with a BS in business administration with a concentration in finance. He quickly realized that, as a financial advisor, he could help others avoid mistakes and achieve financial security; it's something he feels strongly about. And for the past 24 years, Gary has done just that, specializing in working with pre- and post-retirees to help them maintain an enjoyable lifestyle during their retirement years.

A lifelong learner, he has continued to hone his expertise over the years, obtaining several specialized designations including CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional, Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM, and Accredited Investment Fiduciary®. His extensive experience has made him a highly sought-after investment commentator for news outlets such as Money Magazine, Bankrate.com, Yahoo Finance, Maryland Public Television’s Business Connection, The Business Monthly, and others as well as a regular columnist for the Baltimore Business Journal

To help raise money for charities dear to his heart, Gary wrote the acclaimed Amazon bestseller* The Art of Retirement (with foreward by NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott). The book uses the story of Michelangelo’s incredibly long (and challenging) life and famed art as a metaphor to compare the reader’s life to a masterpiece while emphasizing the importance of creating a resilient, well-crafted portfolio. All profits from The Art of Retirement are donated to the Y in Central Maryland, Augie’s Quest, the Maryland SPCA, and the Brigance Brigade Foundation.

Gary is exceedingly active in the community and serves on numerous nonprofit boards including the Association Board of Directors of the Y in Central Maryland, the Investment Committee for Mount Saint Joseph High School Endowment and the Brigance Brigade Foundation Board of Directors.

Gary, his wife, Lee, and their three children—Abigail, Nicholas, and Emerson—live in Howard County, Maryland, along with their goldendoodle, Cali. In his spare time, Gary enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, and surfing.


Leaders seal
 

Gary is proud to have been recognized as a Leaders Level advisor for 2018—a distinction based on annual production attained by just 7 percent of advisors affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network.

Each year, Commonwealth, the Registered Investment Adviser–broker/dealer that helps us process investment transactions on your behalf, recognizes Leaders Level advisors by inviting them to an exclusive gathering of their peers, leading industry experts, and Commonwealth home office staff. Leaders Level advisors benefit from an intensive learning and networking experience designed to help them hone their expertise, share best practices, and provide ever-higher levels of service, education, and leadership to their clients.

*Ranked #62 in Retirement Planning books for 2013

Nicholas A. Ibello, CFP®, AIF®

Vice President – Wealth Management

Born and raised in Baltimore, Nick’s attraction to the financial services industry started while attending Calvert Hall High School. His introduction to investments started with a finance class stock market “game,” where students created investment accounts, researched stocks, and then invested with play money. Despite enjoying every aspect of the game -- research, analytics, and monitoring -- his lower-place showing caused Nick to ask the student who won the challenge how he did it. “My dad is a financial advisor,” was the reply. This experience lit a spark that drove Nick to learn as much about the industry as he could.

He graduated cum laude with a BA in economics and a concentration in finance from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. After “cutting his teeth” at T. Rowe Price, Nick began looking for a firm that more closely matched his philosophy, investment process, and passion for helping people reach their financial goals—joining Williams Asset Management as a full-time wealth manager. Nick has earned prestigious designations, including CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation.

Nick is married to his beautiful wife, Jami, and they currently reside in the vibrant Canton area of Baltimore City. After witnessing the polarizing income levels and economic conditions in the city first-hand, Nick decided to volunteer through the CASH Campaign of Maryland’s Pro-Bono Financial Planning Program. A program that has been specifically designed to provide free access to quality financial planning guidance and coaching for low-to-moderate income individuals and families in Baltimore and across Maryland.

Outside of work, Nick maintains his energy and focus by staying healthy and fit: playing racquetball, cross-training, and adhering to a disciplined diet. Growing up in a tight-knit Italian family, he’s come to understand the value of always having someone there to look after your best interests. It’s a lesson he’s carried over into his professional relationships, and for which his clients are incredibly appreciative.


BusExperience_seal
 

Nicholas Ibello is proud to have been recognized as a Business Experience advisor for 2018—a distinction based on annual production that places him among the top 47 percent of advisors affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network.

Each year, Commonwealth, the Registered Investment Adviser–broker/dealer that helps us process investment transactions on your behalf, recognizes Business Experience advisors by inviting them to an exclusive gathering of their peers, leading industry experts, and Commonwealth home office staff. Business Experience advisors benefit from an intensive learning and networking experience designed to help them hone their expertise, share best practices, and provide ever-higher levels of service, education, and leadership to their clients.


Mark Atkinson

Vice President – Investment Operations

Mark grew up in north Baltimore County where he was the youngest of five children. Money was always a concern for Mark and his family. He learned at an early age to work for what you want. Things only got more challenging when his mother died of breast cancer at a young age, but watching his father care for her through years of her disease taught him the importance of family and taking care of each other.

Working part-time, Mark paid his own way through Towson University, graduating debt free with degrees in economics and business, with concentrations in finance and international business. After working with American National Savings Bank and American Express Financial Advisors, he found his true career as part of the Williams Asset Management team.

As vice president of investment operations, Mark serves as the firm’s head trader, manages and monitors our asset allocation models, and is a member of the firm’s investment committee.

He’s been happily married for 36 years to Cathy, who helps manage the pension plan for retired DuPont employees. They have two children and one delightful grandson.

Giving back to others is deeply ingrained in Mark. He spent more than six years as an assistant scoutmaster and troop leader with the Boy Scouts and is active in leadership roles at White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church. He is a member of the church’s stewardship committee and volunteers for Family Promise (working to keep homeless families together and provide support until they are able to find permanent housing) and Workers without Wages (a church group helping people constrained by physical and/or financial limitations with tasks such as painting, cleaning, repairs, and yard work).

Marie Lee

Director of HR and Executive Assistant to the President

Marie was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the U.S. when she was just a couple months old. She grew up in Howard County, Maryland, with her parents and two sisters. Her positive and cheerful personality and a deeply engrained strong work ethic are instrumental in helping to keep our office flowing. 

Drawing on years of experience working in fast-paced environments, including large companies such as Deloitte and Sinai Hospital, she has mastered the skill of going above-and-beyond to continually exceed expectations, ensure the accuracy and completion of even the smallest details, and deliver a truly exemplary client experience.

Marie also has a longstanding passion for art. She was honored to be awarded a certificate from the Howard County Board of Education as Art Student of the Year—a skill which has taken her far on the creative side of our business, including selecting the art and accessories for our beautifully designed conference room and third-floor offices.

In her spare time, Marie enjoys painting on weekends and spending time with her husband and 8-year-old daughter, Mya.

G. Thomas Watson, CFA®, CFP®

Senior Planning Associate & Chairman of Investment Committee

Growing up as an only child in his family in Harford County, Tom enjoyed going out to his local golf course late on weekend afternoons to play nine holes with his dad. It was during this quality time that he learned that having a positive attitude and an even-keeled temperament can help overcome many obstacles.

After attending the College of Charleston and caddying at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, he returned to Maryland and enrolled in the actuarial science program at Towson University to put his aptitude for math and problem solving to good use. When Tom was in college, his father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. In the intervening years before his father finally lost his battle with cancer, Tom saw in the overwhelming support of family and friends just how much impact one individual can have on their community. Although it was a difficult period in his life, Tom graduated with a bachelor of science in mathematics in 2010.

His desire to learn as much as possible about investments drove Tom to earn the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) credential. It's the most respected investment management designation in the world, requiring nearly 1,000 hours of rigorous study. Tom has also earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®) certification since joining Williams Asset Management, which will better enable him to serve our client’s comprehensive financial planning needs and help them meet their financial goals.

He currently resides in Eldersburg, Maryland, with his beautiful wife, Lauren; 12-year-old stepdaughter, Riley; toddler son, George; and infant daughter, Evelyn. The family loves to take walks with their friendly rescue dog, Athena, on the weekends and enjoys spending quality time together around the house or going out for an occasional afternoon round of golf.

Brian McKinney, CFP®

Associate Financial Planner

Brian was born and raised in Baltimore County. At nine years old, his life changed dramatically when his mother suddenly suffered a stroke. Going from a dual to a single income household was challenging, but it equipped Brian with an insight into how life and financial situations can suddenly change. Learning independence (e.g., cooking meals, cleaning/ironing clothes, and budgeting money) at a young age led him in search of a career where he could help others.

His path became clear at Loyola University Maryland when he was accepted into the student-managed Sellinger Applied Portfolio Fund class. There, he was given the opportunity to actively manage a $500,000 grant and gain experience in asset valuation, risk management, and portfolio diversification. Brian graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance with a minor in information systems.

Following college, he joined T. Rowe Price as a mutual fund accountant and quickly climbed the corporate ladder to a senior fund accountant role. However, realizing his true passion was helping people achieve their financial goals, Brian chose to join Williams Asset Management as a financial planning services specialist in 2016. In his free time, Brian likes to stay fit and active by going to the gym frequently and playing golf on the weekends.

Diana Abel

Administrative Assistant and Receptionist

Born and raised in Silver Spring Maryland, Diana brings an extensive administrative background to our firm, having worked as an executive assistant to division presidents at large companies including Northrup Grumann and WR Grace. For more than six years, she worked as an executive assistant to the Sales Department at JDSU and was eventually promoted to a financial position where she led the Sales Commissions Team.

After losing her sister to the disease, Diana became a strong advocate and fundraiser for the Lymphoma/Leukemia Society, active each year in the “Light the Night” walk through which she has personally raised more than $10,000 for the charity. In her spare time, Diana is an avid reader, loves to cook, and enjoys spending time with her three children and new granddaughter Bella.

We’re proud to have such an experienced individual serving as our director of first impressions! She is the friendly face you see when you walk in our doors and the voice on the other line when you call into our office.

Advanced Planning Team

Our partnership with Commonwealth Financial Network®, a leading Registered Investment Adviser–broker/dealer, gives us access to a team of advanced planning specialists who can help us provide you the best possible service.

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Research Team

Our partnership with Commonwealth Financial Network®, a leading Registered Investment Adviser–broker/dealer, provides us access to a team of investment research specialists who assist us in our efforts to provide you with the best possible service. Each of the professionals on this team brings a breadth of experience in the industry and within his or her own specialization.

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