RETIREMENT PLANS ARE COMPLICATED.
WE MAKE THE PROCESS SIMPLE.
Why Partner with Retirement Plan Administrators
The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA) is a premier third-party administrator (TPA) that specializes in administration, plan design, consultation and compliance of retirement plans for businesses nationwide. When you partner with TRA, you gain a trusted retirement plan expert.
For over two decades, TRA has been committed to delivering results for our business partners, plan sponsors, and participants so that they can achieve their financial goals. TRA is the largest independently owned, privately held third-party administrators in the nation because we focus on your clients’ success. Discover what makes us a successful TPA firm.
Message From TRA’s President/Owner
Matt Schoneman President
Matt is recognized for his strategic focus, vision and judgment gained during 20 years of progressively responsible experience in the retirement plan industry. He is a graduate of Western Illinois University and holds a Bachelor of Business degree in Marketing and is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA), National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA), and National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO).
Michelle Zentner, QKA®, RPA Vice President of Operations
As the old saying goes, “Love what you do and do what you love.” These words hold true for Michelle. Since entering the retirement service industry in 2000, Michelle has happily laid down deep roots and grown her career with The Retirement Advantage (TRA) for nearly 17 years. She is passionate about and dedicated to finding the most efficient workflow to guarantee client needs are met with full satisfaction.
In her role as Vice President of Operations, Michelle is responsible for directing and controlling activities for various departments to ensure effective policies and procedures are in place and contribute to TRA’s, and their client’s, success, profitability and retention goals.
Chad Empey, CPA Chief Financial Officer
Chad is a seasoned accountant with more than 18 years of experience and is a licensed CPA in the state of Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with several different degrees, including a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting in 2003, a Masters of Accountancy in 2004 and a Masters of Business Administration in 2014. Prior to joining TRA in 2021, he was a director of accounting and reporting for a global manufacturer headquartered in Milwaukee, WI, a manager of external and internal reporting for a retailer headquartered in Menomonee Falls, WI and was a senior accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Milwaukee location.
At TRA, Chad oversees all aspects of accounting, billing and collections, budgeting, reporting and financial analysis. Passionate about providing clear and accurate billings for TRA’s services, Chad and his team are always available to answer any questions our plan sponsors may have regarding their fee schedules or invoices and assisting to resolve any issues they may have.
Outside of the Office:
Outside of work, Chad can be found at one of the many great microbreweries around Wisconsin, playing golf and basketball, spending time with family and friends and going to as many Badgers, Packers, Brewers and Bucks games as he can.
Darin Erdmann, CRPS, CBC Director of Sales and Distribution
As TRA’s Director of Sales and Distribution, Erdmann leads a dynamic team of Regional Plan Consultants (RPC’s), Internal Plan Consultants (IPC’s), Business Development and Marketing professionals. Their primary focus is on expanding TRA’s client base by providing exceptional consulting services to our valued record keeping partners’ wholesalers, retirement plan advisors, and their plan sponsor clients and prospects.
Prior to this role, Erdmann has been in the industry the past twenty-three years, eleven of them with TRA as an RSC covering Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and S. California. An exceptionally skilled Plan Design Consultant, Erdmann has honed his craft in both sales and support roles. He currently holds his Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist (CRPS) and Cash Balance Consultant (CBC) designations and resides in Las Vegas, NV with his wife Deb for the past 20 years.
Annie DeHaven, SPHR, SHRM-CP Director of Human Resources
Annie’s career in Human Resources started in Chicago with Morningstar, Inc., after graduating from the University of Dayton with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Communications Management, and a double minor in Marketing and English. With a desire to experience multiple aspects of the Human Resources field she accepted a Benefits Administrator and then Manager position with UPSHOT, a marketing agency in Chicago, focusing mainly on benefit administration, management of on boarding of new employees, payroll, and management of the facilities and office administration staff. From there, she held an Associate Manager position with a media agency, Mindshare, where her responsibilities focused on recruiting, benefit administration, management of the internship program and creation of a corporate work life balance program.
After that Annie decided to take her show on the road, move to Wisconsin, and joined TRA in 2004 where she is currently our Director of Human Resources. She is a responsible for all things Human Resources related, including benefits administration, employee relations, recruiting and hiring, and strategically supporting TRA in any way possible.
Career Achievements and credentials:
- Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from HR Certification Institute
- SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) from Society for Human Resources Management
Outside of the Office:
Annie loves spending time with friends and family, traveling, skiing and reading. She is also enjoys spending time volunteering with Special Olympics.
Carrie Bernier, QKA® Director of Plan Services
Carrie began her career in the retirement industry straight out of college. She got her feet wet by servicing some of the largest Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) with Principal Financial Group for just shy of 8 years. In 2014, Carrie decided to make a change and move into the 401(k) side of things and came aboard with TRA. Carrie’s experience has exposed her to many different types of plans and she is passionate about helping companies and individuals be successful in their retirement.
Carrie is currently our Director of Plan Services. In this role, Carrie is responsible for overseeing our Plan Implementation, Document Services and Processing Departments. Carrie is responsible for ensuring seamless on-boarding and delivering an exceptional customer service experience.
Career achievements and credentials:
- QKA® designation from ASPPA
- Series 7 (not active)
Outside of the Office:
When Carrie is not in the office she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading and going “up north” to enjoy the outdoors.
Charlie Pritzl Director of Plan Administration
Charlie has 21 years of experience within the retirement plan industry. He is passionate about making sure the client’s needs to have a successful retirement plan are met and that all involved in the plan can plan a solid retirement future.
In his role as the Director of Plan Administration, Charlie is responsible for overseeing the entire Plan Administration area. Both the Plan Administration Manager, Client Relations and the Plan Administration Manager, Production will be reporting directly to Charlie. Charlie will be tasked with forging stronger relationships and communication between the two areas, ensuring we are functioning as one team with one goal. He will also be dedicating his time to bringing higher degrees of efficiencies to the areas, taking TRA to that next level of servicing.
When Charlie is not at work he can be found using his analytical skills determining the correct angle to place a 9-iron shot on the green at a local golf course or determining what angles to use in setting up his tent while out camping and enjoying nature whenever possible.
Mark Ruhland Director of IT and Security
Mark has been working in the IT field since the Y2K bug and has always had a passion for technology since first honing in his baby rattle skills. He has a well-rounded background with experience in help desk, servers, storage, networking, IT consulting, and management. He is always looking for ways that IT can better serve TRA and our clients. Outside of work Mark can often be found contemplating what came first, the power on button or the power off button.
Mary Crothers Director of Client Services
Mary has held a variety of roles within management for over thirty years. Her career began in the Mortgage Banking industry and transitioned to the insurance industry. Mary’s passion for people and drive to provide excellent customer service is what motivates her every day. In her role as the Director of Client Services, Mary is responsible for the successful relationships and delivery of exceptional service to all of our plan sponsors and advisors.
Career achievements & Credentials:
- Series 6 & 26 registered (not active)
When Mary is not in the office she enjoys spending time with her eight grandkids! She lives in the country in the state of Indiana with her husband of 37 years, two spoiled dogs and chickens. She loves the outdoors and has a passion for camping, fishing, hunting, gardening, cooking, baking and decorating cakes.
Amy Hilton, QKA® Plan Implementation Manager
Amy is the Manager of the Plan Implementation Team at The Retirement Advantage, Inc (TRA). In her role as Plan Implementation Manager, she is responsible for leading a team of Implementation Specialists, Implementation Coordinators, and TRA’s Payroll Integration Product Manager. While her team is responsible for guiding plan sponsors and advisors in setting up or transitioning qualified retirement plans over to TRA Administration, Amy focuses her time on onboarding, coaching and mentoring Implementation Specialists as well as continuously improving processes to provide an exceptional client experience for all TRA clients.
With over 20 years of experience in the retirement plan industry, Amy began her career with TRA in 2013. Amy quickly advanced and has worked as a Team Leader for both the Client Service and Production Teams, and served as Plan Administration Manager, Client Services, prior to transitioning to her current role of Plan Implementation Manager.
Since earning her Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and Business Administration from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 1996, as well as obtaining her QKA designation from ASPPA, Amy has provided a variety of retirement plan services for both Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit Plans.
Adrianne Kuchta, QKA® Processing Manager
As Processing Manager, Adrianne will be directing a team of Transaction Coordinators accountable for providing timely and accurate service to clients. She will also be monitoring processes and procedures to ensure accuracy, timeliness, and measurable performance of ongoing processing to ensure we are meeting and exceeding our service standards.
Adrianne was promoted from Plan Administration Team Leader to her current position of Processing Manager. She has over 11 years of administration experience working with 401(k)/profit sharing plans, defined benefit plans and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP).
Among Adrianne’s many notable career achievement and credentials are:
- Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication from The University of Northern Iowa
- Qualified 401(k) Administrator™ (QKA®) from ASPPA
Outside the Office:
Adrianne enjoys spending time her husband and two young children outside as often as Wisconsin weather allows, cooking and reading.
Jenny Nowak, QKA® Plan Administration Manager, Production
Jenny has more than 10 years of experience within the retirement plan industry. She is dedicated in making sure the client’s needs to have a successful retirement plan are met so that all involved can plan for the retirement they strive for.
In her role as the Plan Administration Manager, Jenny is responsible for making sure the team provides timely and accurate reporting as efficiently as possible. Jenny is always looking for ways to improve our processes to achieve these goals.
When Jenny is not at work she is spending time with her family and friends along with traveling whenever possible.
Michelle Fleischamel, QKA® Plan Administration Manager, Fiduciary Services
Michelle has more than 10 years of experience within the retirement plan industry. She is dedicated to providing high quality service while also implementing process efficiencies. Michelle received her Bachelor of Science in Finance from The University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. She also holds the Qualified 401(k) Administrator™ (QKA®) designation through ASPPA.
As Fiduciary Services Manager, Michelle oversees a team of staff dedicated to 3(16) plan administration. She is responsible for managing the administration of our Fiduciary Services Department in accordance with industry standards and current regulations.
When not at work she enjoys spending time with her friends and family (including two small children and two cats), going to the beach and cooking.
Andrea Miller, QPA, QKC, QKA® Document Services Manager
With over 15 years of experience in the retirement plan industry, Andrea began her career at TRA in 2015. After assisting in numerous projects and leading her fellow Client Relationship Managers in compliance situations and complex document issues, Andrea was promoted to Document Services Manager in January 2021. In this role, she is responsible for all plan document related items, including the restatement of all of TRA’s qualified plans.
Andrea received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The University of Mobile, in Mobile, AL in December 2004. Andrea also has three credentials from ASPPA: Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA), Qualified 401(k) Consultant (QKC), and Qualified 401(k) Administrator™ (QKA®).
When Andrea is not in the office, she enjoys spending time with her three sons, watching them play baseball, or going to baseball games with them (especially Minor League games).
Chris Bedinelli Integration and Organization Development Manager
As TRA’s Integration & Organization Development Manager, Chris is responsible for the alignment and integration of new clients, people and data into our organization that come to TRA through our disciplined acquisition strategy. Chris is also responsible for the training and development programs designed to consistently on-board our new employees and develop them to a mastery level within their respective roles.
Chris has been in the retirement plan industry since 2000. Over the years, his responsibilities have included, product development, process management, managing service delivery, on-boarding/educating employees, and achieving aggressive business development goals. With all his diverse experience, Chris is highly focused with aligning his activities to ensure we have the appropriate processes and infrastructure in place to drive successful outcomes for our clients, advisors and employees.
When Chris is not at work, he is likely spending time with his two beautiful granddaughters, travelling and trying to pick up a new leisure activity, like golf; but, realizes quickly some things are left to people with athletic ability.
David Grammier IT Development Manager
Bio and picture coming soon.
India Troyer, CMA, MBA Financial Planning & Analysis Manager
India has more than 13 years of experience in managerial accounting and finance. She graduated from Lakeland College with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration. She holds a Certified Management Accountant (CMA®) designation from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (with statistics) through Juran Institute. Prior to joining TRA in 2016, she worked for a global business process outsourcer in a variety of accounting and finance roles supporting a Fortune 100 client. India has extensive experience with budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis, process improvement, and financial system setup and integration.
At TRA, India oversees accounts receivable and financial planning and analysis functions. She enjoys working with a team of dedicated and enthusiastic people who believe in consistently providing great customer service to both internal and external customers.
Outside of the office, India enjoys reading, genealogical pursuits, strategy games, spending time with her husband and friends, and watching hockey.
Jennette Hutchinson Client Services Manager
Jennette started her leadership career serving as a non-commissioned officer in the US Army Reserves. In the last 14 years, she has held a variety of service industry management roles. Jennette worked in telecommunications then transitioned to the insurance industry.
There are two things that Jennette is passionate about: people and process/performance improvement. In her role as Client Service Manager, Jennette is responsible for driving outstanding client service and performance improvement by managing the change process to achieve intended organizational and cultural outcomes.
When Jennette is not at work she enjoys spending time with friends and family (especially her young son and dog), traveling and dancing.
Michelle Greenwood Accounting Manager
Michelle obtained her Bachelor in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from San Diego State University and has over 25 years of accounting experience. Prior to joining TRA in 2019, she worked for a local CPA firm for seventeen years after acquiring seven years of accounting experience in the newspaper industry. Michelle has a strong background in budgeting and financial statement preparation, inter-company transactions, conversion to cash basis, tax return preparation and financial analysis.
At TRA, Michelle oversees a team of five employees performing accounting functions including accounts payable, general ledger, payroll, billing, accounts receivable and collections. She is excited and privileged to work with such a dedicated and cohesive group of team members.
Outside of work Michelle enjoys many hobbies and active outdoor pursuits, with traveling, golf, hiking, and watersports at the top of her list. She is a proud mother of three daughters, and is also now loving being a grandmother to two girls and a boy.
Bill Sunagel Marketing and Communications Director
As Marketing and Communications Director, Bill Sunagel is responsible for developing and executing all of TRA’s communication and marketing initiatives. Bill plays a vital role in the development of TRA’s short and long term marketing strategies, aligned across all departments and phases of the business. Bill is also accountable for positioning TRA’s growth strategy, cultivating opportunities in new and existing customer markets, and growing demand for TRA’s products/services. In addition, Bill oversees TRA’s multi-channel marketing plan for sales support, customer acquisition, customer retention, customer loyalty, PR, web management and lead generation. Furthermore, he will ensure the TRA brand is communicated clearly and consistently by TRA associates to our clients and partners.
Bill has 19 plus years of B-2-B and B-2-C marketing experience; with various positions including Marketing Director, Internet Marketing (SEM), Graphic Design and Public Relations. Bill has unique combination of creativity and analytical skills with the ability to assess both vantage points to create desirable solutions. Bill holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication with emphasis in Public Relations from Marian University in Fond du Lac, WI.
Outside of the Office:
Bill enjoys spending time with family and friends, coaching/playing hockey, skiing, fishing, snorkeling, mountain biking and pretty much anything outdoors.
At TRA we design, implement and securely administer retirement plans to help businesses meet their unique objectives, delivering exceptional service throughout.
TRA offers businesses innovative retirement plan solutions that are cost-effective, easy to manage and delivered with an exceptional customer service experience.
Our Business is Knowing Your Business
The complexities of offering and administrating a retirement plan are often time consuming and confusing for many small businesses to manage.
Working with your financial advisor, TRA’s dedicated retirement professionals proactively provide a high level of personalized service to understand your vision for the retirement plan and quickly make recommendations that are in your best interest, while always abiding by industry compliance and ethical standards.
After we have crafted a retirement strategy that reflects your vision, business needs and resources, we specially design a service model to meet your needs. This allows TRA to seamlessly integrate into your workflow and saves you valuable time and money.
The Right Resources and Experience for the Right Financial Solutions
Our scale of clients, investment options and retirement platforms enables us to partner with a wide variety of industry leaders.
Through our extensive industry experience, quality processes and depth of resources, we have developed stringent criteria for evaluating which best-in-class retirement providers are committed to excellent customer service and superior retirement outcomes, and we hold them to the same high standards to which we hold ourselves.
We are not forced to fit your plan into a specific box, investment type or product. This allows TRA to be a true partner to you.
Our Custom Service Model & Support Systems Make the Difference
All clients are not created equal or want the same “one size fits all” approach. As part of the value that TRA delivers, you receive a solution and process designed to meet your needs, your resources and your goals.
TRA provides all clients and partners with a dedicated single point of contact and a support team that monitors and consults with you on how to keep your plan performing to your specific goals.
Retirement Plan Solutions
TRA has made a commitment to bring together the services that benefit plan sponsors and keep them in compliance.
- Plan Design and Consulting
- Flexible Plan Design Options
- Summary Plan Descriptions
- Prototype and Custom Plan Documents
- Full Conversion and Implementation Services
- Core Compliance Services
- Signature-Ready Form 5500
- Integrated Payroll Services
View the range of retirement plans that we service.
Making a Real Difference for You
TRA uses state-of-the-art quality control processes and follow-up procedures to help minimize risk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year after year. What’s more, the TRA Quality Team reviews every plan as a second quality check for accuracy and compliance, ensuring your retirement plan avoids any possible breaches from a Department of Labor or IRS standpoint.
As your retirement needs and government regulations change, TRA proactively takes the necessary steps to communicate how those changes will impact your retirement strategy, inform you of the optimal options and implement any plan changes as quickly as possible.
Healthy Company Culture Brings Healthy Partner Success
- Career Growth and Learning
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
- Environmental Sustainability
- Social Impact
- Work-life Balance
CYBERSECURITY IS IMPORTANT TO YOU…IT’S IMPORTANT TO US TOO
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity consists of all the technologies and practices that keep computer systems and electronic data safe. And, in a world where more and more of our business and social lives are online, it’s an enormous and growing field.
Why is Cybersecurity important?
Just like others in the finance industry, TPA’s must follow stringent security practices such as the guidance outlined by the DOL.
Cybersecurity is one of the most urgent issues of the day. Computer networks have always been the target of criminals, and it is likely that the danger of cybersecurity breaches will only increase in the future as these networks expand, but there are sensible precautions that organizations can take to prevent and minimize losses from those who seek to do harm.
Getting hacked isn’t just a direct threat to the confidential data companies need. It can also ruin their relationships with customers, and even place them in significant legal jeopardy. With new technology, from self-driving cars to internet-enabled home security systems, the dangers of cyber crime become even more serious.
With the right level of preparation and collaboration with industry security experts, most cyber attacks can be completely prevented, and in the event an attack is successful it is possible to minimize damages, and fully recover from a cyber breach and its consequences.
What is TRA doing?
As you know cyberattacks are on the rise and no one is immune. That is why it’s vital to understand what the service providers you choose to do business with are doing to address threats to you and your employees.
With TRA’s comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and protocols we continuously monitor for attacks and vulnerabilities to protect your data and give you comfort when doing business with us.
- Security Architecture – aligned with industry best practices and DOL guidance for maintaining cybersecurity and protecting retirement plans, to identify, block, and respond to threats
- Security Awareness – an employee culture focused on cybersecurity
- Security Training & Testing – to prevent social engineering and manipulation of our employees
- Security Verification – continuous monitoring, ethical hacking and security and software updates to reduce risk
Click Here to view what we do to align with the DOL Guidelines.