I am proud to be a first-generation American. My parents, who immigrated from Jordan before I was born, are industrious, hard-working people. They came here with nothing, true pioneers seeking a better life. My mother received a scholarship to complete her master’s degree in nursing from New York University. Although I was born in New York City, we moved to Georgia when I was young.
When I look back, I can see that being the child of immigrants influenced me more than I realized at the time. I appreciate the values of tenacity, grit and hard work ingrained in me. I believe they have served me well.
I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit. In high school I started a landscaping business. I went door to door handing out flyers to generate customers. Through this I learned how to run a business and the importance of great customer service and customer relationships. I realized a large part of success was about quality control, using mistakes as growth opportunities, and even straightforward things like maintaining my equipment. At the time, minimum wage was $6 an hour, but I was making $50 an hour. This success gave me a taste for building and running companies. I was able to buy my first car and pay my way through college because of that business and the pursuit of excellence and growth.
I studied chemical engineering at Georgia Tech. To save money, I chose to commute to school, but I found the drive to interfere with my studies, so I ended up sleeping in the back of my car and heading home on the weekends. We still joke about those days. When I graduated, I went to work for General Mills. Shortly afterwards, I married my sweetheart who was finishing up pharmacy school back at the University of Georgia (UGA).
While launching into my new engineering role, I was prayerful and intentional about where I wanted to invest my career. I was aware of the “golden handcuffs” and the difficulty of transition later in life, so I wanted to be sure to begin with the end in mind. Fortunately, my wife Ashley and I, following Dave Ramsey financial planning principles, prioritized paying off all her pharmacy school debt in our first year of marriage. Becoming debt-free opened the door, allowing freedom for exploration into my life’s calling.
In my heart, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, incorporate my faith, pursue higher learning, and empower others, all while earning well. I considered getting a PhD in psychology, going to seminary, opening a counseling practice, pursuing a path into a financial realm, going into ministry—all kinds of different things. Then I discovered that the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) discipline and a Master’s of Wealth Management would marry everything I wanted to do! What better way to counsel and empower others than financial planning? I knew this to be the right next step.
When a colleague introduced me to Jim Rasmussen, we both knew God had a unique plan for us. Our visions and passions aligned on what we wanted to do and our skill sets were complimentary. Jim was rounding out a 20 year career at Chick-fil-A and had a huge network of people to serve. My entrepreneurial spirit, engineering background, attention to detail, and business building experience all made for a perfect fit. Together, we both deeply desired to serve and help others take hold of their finances. Jim and I could do more together than we could apart. After much time in prayer and planning, we officially launched One & Done Financial, now Pandowealth, in January 2017.
It is with great pleasure that I look out and see our growing firm, both in team headcount and the number of households we serve. Our team culture is strong, thanks to our emphasis on generosity and trust that we encourage externally to clients as well as internally within the firm. I am very thankful for our clients who demonstrate trust in our advice and services. We are thrilled to continue helping you grow wealth to empower purposeful living and giving.
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