National & Regional TPA Distribution Team

When you work with TRA, you gain a trusted retirement plan expert. For more than two decades, we have delivered consistently strong results for our business partners, plan sponsors, and participants so they can achieve their financial goals.

Our financial advisors and wealth management partners know we work tirelessly to deliver on the promises they have made to their clients. We are committed to a simple mission: delivering real and measurable results.

As the largest independently owned, privately held third party administrators in the nation, we provide expert plan administration, resources to grow your business, and outstanding customer service to you and your plan sponsors nationwide.

Regional Plan Consultants

Our Regional Plan Consultants (RPC’s) are strategically placed across the country to provide assistance specific to time zone and market culture. They will:

  • Help you win more business and deliver more value to your clients
  • Improve your marketing efforts
  • Collaborate as an extension of your team
  • Deliver a consistent experience with fewer hassles and better results
  • Consult with you on personalized plan design
  • Provide meaningful, measurable difference to your business

Download TRA’s distribution team territory map

  • National Sales Team

    • Darin Erdmann – CRPS, CBC Director of Sales & Distribution

      Cell: 702.371.7761 | Direct: 702.415.2073

      Internal Plan Consultant: Austin Solomon | 262.420.5140

      As TRA’s Director of Sales & Distribution, Darin leads a team of 8 Regional Plan Consultants (RPC’s) and 3 Internal Plan Consultants (IPC’s) focused on growing TRA’s client base. The team is focused on providing best in class consulting services to our record keeping partners’ wholesalers, retirement plan advisors, and their plan sponsor clients and prospects. Darin’s emphasis is on strengthening relationships with key contacts at our record keeping platform partners, broker-dealers, and centers of influence as well as developing the team of professionals that work with him.

      Additionally, as TRA’s Director of Sales & Distribution, Erdmann oversees and manages the company’s sales team activities, assists in identifying new market opportunities and generates additional growth in the company’s defined retirement planning markets.  He is also responsible for the assignment of sales territories, setting of goals, assisting in the closing of new business and establishing training programs for the firm’s Regional Plan Consultants (RPCs).

      Prior to this role, Erdmann has been in the industry the past twenty-three years, eleven of them with TRA as an RPC 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 19 years.

       

  • Regional Sales Team

    • Brian Flynn Regional Plan Consultant - IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, WI

      Cell: 312.590.3089 | Direct: 312.660.0098

      Internal Plan Consultant: Brenda Brumm | 920.831.3296

      Schedule A Meeting

      Brian is the Regional Plan Consultant for The Retirement Advantage (TRA), a national non-producing TPA firm. He is responsible for creating successful partnerships via the marketing and distribution of TRA services to Financial Advisors, Retirement Plan Wholesalers and Plan Sponsors in IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, and WI.

      Flynn has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years with a focus in the retirement plans. He has worked for some of the largest recordkeepers and has a keen sense of the business.

      Prior to joining TRA, Flynn worked for Lincoln Financial Distributors, Ameritas and John Hancock.  He started his career in benefits consulting working on some of the nations largest DB and DC plans.

      Flynn graduated from DePaul University, with a bachelor’s degree in Commerce with an emphasis in Finance and Accounting.  He is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary and a Cash Balance Consultant.

      Outside of the Office
      Brian and his wife Katie enjoy travelling and spending time with family.

      Recent Informative On-Demand Webinars:

    • Chase Meitler – QPFC Regional Plan Consultant - CO, MT, ND, NE, SD, WY

      Cell: 785.434.6047 | Direct: 303.362.8501

      Internal Plan Consultant: Nate Maly | 262.420.5323

      Schedule A Meeting

      Chase is a Regional Plan Consultant for The Retirement Advantage (TRA), a national non-producing TPA firm. He is responsible for creating successful partnerships via the marketing and distribution of TRA services to Financial Advisors, Retirement Plan Wholesalers and Plan Sponsors in CO, MT, ND, NE, SD, and WY.

      Meitler has worked in the financial services industry for 5 years with a focus in retirement plans. He has worked for some of the largest recordkeepers and has a keen sense of the business.

      Prior to joining TRA, Meitler worked for Transamerica and Empower Retirement.  He started his career on the Rollover Distribution team at Empower. It did not take long for him to realize his passion is connecting with business owners. He grew up in a successful family-owned business and has a great understanding of what a business owner’s day-to-day entails. Understanding the client’s business and what they are trying to achieve is vital to Meitler’s sales process.

      Meitler graduated from Fort Hays State University, with a Bachelor of Administration degree in Marketing with an emphasis in Management.  He also has an Qualified Plan Fiduciary Consultant (QPFC) designation.

      Outside of the Office
      Chase enjoys spending time with his two children, Josie & Hutch. On the weekends, you can probably find him fishing or golfing. He enjoys spending his free time doing any outdoor activity/sport.

    • Grant Livingston – GFS® Regional Plan Consultant - CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT

      Cell: 860.884.6756 | Direct: 617.717.1610

      Internal Plan Consultant: Jodie Mellon | 920.831.3346

      Schedule A Meeting

      Grant is the Regional Plan Consultant for The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA), a national non-producing TPA firm. He is responsible for creating successful partnerships via the marketing and distribution of TRA services to Financial Advisors, Retirement Plan Wholesalers and Plan Sponsors to our New England territory of  CT, MA, ME, NH, RI and VT.

      Livingston has worked in the financial services industry for 30 years with a focus on retirement services for the past 18. His experience is deeply imbedded in recordkeeping, investment analytics and at the plan sponsor level.

      Prior to joining TRA, Livingston helped build the TPA platform during his 10 year tenure at MassMutual. He was part of the team at WisdomTree Investments that created and launched one of the first ETF based 401(k) platforms. As an industry wholesaler, he is credited with helping advisors sell close to $1 billion in retirement plan assets.

      Livingston graduated from Charter Oak College, with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and completed graduate studies in Research, Measurement and Quantitative Analysis at SCSU. He is a graduate of the 3-year CUNA Management School at SUNY. He has been a nationally recognized industry speaker and trainer throughout his career.

      Outside of the Office
      Grant and his wife Andrea enjoy time with their family and friends and have three sons.  He is involved in his local community with youth sports and is an active Umpire and Football Official in CT with the CIAC.

    • Jesse McLeod Regional Plan Consultant - AZ, So. CA, HI, NM, NV, UT

      Cell:  925.300.6136 | Direct: 702.613.5827

      Internal Plan Consultant: Nate Maly | 262.420.5323

      Schedule A Meeting

      Jesse McLeod is the Regional Plan Consultant for The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA). He is responsible for creating successful partnerships through the marketing and distribution of TRA services to Financial Advisors, Retirement Plan Wholesalers, and Plan Sponsors to our Southwest territory of AZ, So. CA, HI, NM, NV, and UT.

      Jesse has over 12 years of Retirement Plan Sales, Design and Service experience. Prior to joining TRA, he has built his career as a top producer consistently over 10 years at Mutual Of America and 2 years with Paychex, Retirement Services. Jesse has a passion for helping people to secure a dignified retirement. He has extensive experience assisting non-profit and other organizations in setting up group retirement plans that are ideal for both the business and employees.

      Jesse has his series 6 & 63 Securities Licenses as well as Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS) and Cash Balance Coach (CBC) Designations.

      Outside the Office: 

      Jesse considers both California and Utah home. He currently resides in Salt Lake City, UT with his two children, Max and Madeline. They enjoy outdoor activities together. Among their favorites is Snow Skiing/Snowboarding, Hiking, Rock Climbing, and White Water River Rafting.

      Recent Informative On-Demand Webinars:

    • John Caraang Regional Plan Consultant - AK, No. CA, ID, OR, WA

      Cell:  213.808.9309 | Direct: 503.946.4330 

      Internal Plan Consultant: Austin Solomon | 262.420.5140

      Schedule A Meeting

      John is a Regional Plan Consultant for The Retirement Advantage (TRA), a national non-producing TPA firm. He is responsible for creating successful partnerships via the marketing and distribution of TRA services to Financial Advisors, Retirement Plan Wholesalers, and Plan Sponsors in Alaska, northern California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

      John has worked in the financial services industry for 10+ years with a focus in the retirement plans space. He has worked for some of the largest recordkeepers and has a keen sense of the business.

      Prior to joining TRA, John had worked for Cuna Mutual Group, T. Rowe Price, and various credit unions. Most recently, he held positions such as regional sales consultant at CMG where he assumed the role of an internal rep, licensed member consultant at WSECU discussing investment solutions with members, and plan consultant for T. Rowe Price assisting workplace investors with service and education on their employer-sponsored retirement plans.

      John attended South Seattle College with a focus in Accounting. He also holds the following credentials: FINRA Series 6, Series 63, SIE, and WA Life & Health Insurance License.

      Outside of the Office
      John enjoys spending time with his wife, Euphoria, two sons, Jude and Kingsley, and their most recent addition, their goldendoodle, Barkley. They love exploring the great pacific northwest landscape, trying out local restaurants, and attending community events. When he’s not spending time with family, he is at the gym or out running, training for a marathon.

    • Michael Schessler Regional Plan Consultant - No. NJ, NY

      Cell: 773.495.1551 | Direct: 646.278.9160

      Internal Plan Consultant: Jodie Mellon | 920.831.3346

      Schedule A Meeting

      Mike is the Regional Plan Consultant for The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA), a national non-producing TPA firm. He is responsible for creating successful partnerships via the marketing and distribution of TRA services to Financial Advisors, Retirement Plan Wholesalers and Plan Sponsors in Northern New Jersey and New York.

      Mike is a North Jersey native and started his career in the Retirement industry in Washington D.C. over 20 years ago with Paychex Retirement Services. He relocated to Chicago and spent 15 years working in the Retirement industry in several capacities from Management to Wholesaling to TPA Consulting before returning back to his home state of New Jersey.

      Mike has gained a deep knowledge of the industry and prides himself on building strong relationships with his Advisor and Recordkeeper partners, with the ability to act as a “connector” and help others in his network collaborate and form lucrative business relationships.

      Outside of the Office

      Mike enjoys travelling, painting, guitar, concerts, the Jersey shore, and exploring all that New York has to offer.

      Recent Informative On-Demand Webinars:

    • Nic Irick Regional Plan Consultant - AR, KS, MO, OK, TX

      Cell: 913.645.9331 | Direct: 913.693.1899

      Internal Plan Consultant: Austin Solomon | 262.420.5140

      Schedule A Meeting

      With over a decade in the retirement plan industry, Nic currently is responsible for TRA sales and marketing distributed through financial advisors and product wholesalers in AR, KS, MO, OK, and TX.  He partners with investment advisors and many of the top recordkeepers in the country to deliver comprehensive and customized solutions for our mutual clients.

      Nic is also an Eagle Scout, a testament to his leadership, work ethic and character. Additionally, Nic is Sandler Sales Certified.

      Outside of the Office
      Nic keeps busy restoring historical buildings across rural Kansas. Nic is happiest while in the great outdoors with his wife Shelby, daughter Kevan, and black lab Jet. Most weekends are spent hunting and fishing.

    • Paul D. Phan – CRPS Regional Plan Consultant - DC, DE, KY, MD, S. NJ, OH, PA, VA, WV

      Cell: 571.393.9273 | Direct: 703.497.5417

      Internal Plan Consultant: Brenda Brumm | 920.831.3296

      Schedule A Meeting

      With over a decade in the retirement plan industry, Paul currently is responsible for TRA sales and marketing distributed through financial advisors and product wholesalers in DC, DE, KY, MD, S. NJ, OH, PA, VA and WV.   He is passionate about simplifying the complexities and technical aspects of 401(k) and defined benefit plans to help advisors and plan sponsors build, manage and evaluate successful solutions that meet their well-defined retirement goals.

      Paul has spent the past 11+ years in retirement plan sales, within both direct and wholesale channels.  Before he joined TRA, Paul built his professional background working with:

      • Mutual of America
      • National Auto Dealer Retirement Trust
      • Mutual of Omaha Retirement Plan Division

      Paul earned his Economics degree from Seton Hall University and masters in Management from Keuka College.  Paul has his Series 6, 63 and 65 Securities Licenses as well as Virginia Life, Health Insurance Licenses.  He also has his Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist® (CRPS®) and Cash Balance Consultant (CBC) designations.

      Outside of the office, Paul is into 80’s music and culture, classic cinema, studying philosophy (not a typo) and weightlifting. Above all else, making memories with his wife Alexis, a special ed teacher, and toddler daughter Emerson is the source of his happiness.  The Phan family resides in Ashburn, Virginia within easy proximity to his TRA partners.

      Recent Informative On-Demand Webinars:

    • Stephen Switzer Regional Plan Consultant - AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN

      Direct: 706.494.8730 | Cell: 251.455.2716

      Internal Plan Consultant: Jodie Mellon | 920.831.3346

      Schedule A Meeting

      Stephen is the Regional Plan Consultant for The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA) for the Southeast territory. He is responsible for creating successful partnerships through the marketing and distribution of TRA services to Financial Advisors, Retirement Plan Wholesalers, and Plan Sponsors in AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, and TN.

      Stephen is an Alabama native and started his career in the TPA sector of the Retirement Industry more than a decade ago. Stephen has worked in several capacities including TPA Consulting, Plan Sales & Design, and Leadership roles, notably having served as a Client Service Manager for TRA. Stephen has extensive knowledge of the industry and plan administration and prides himself in educating, consulting, and building relationships with Plan Sponsors, Advisors, and Recordkeeper partners.

      Stephen holds the Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) designation, and has his Series 65 Securities License.

      Outside of the Office:

      When not enjoying the beautiful coastal waters and beaches of Florida and Alabama, Stephen enjoys building furniture, leatherworking, 3d printing, and weightlifting.

      Recent Informative On-Demand Webinars:

  • Internal Sales Team

    • Brenda Brumm Internal Plan Consultants Team Lead

      Direct: 920.831.3296  | Fax: 800.459.5815

      With a flair for listening and interpreting clients’ needs, Brenda is known for developing custom retirement plan solutions that not only meet expectations but far exceeds them. She is a retirement plan industry veteran with 30+ years of experience and is currently focused on internal sales and marketing strategies distributed through plan advisor and plan provider partners.

      Prior to joining TRA, she worked in the retirement plan services division at The Principal Financial Group, American Century, JP Morgan Chase, and TIAA.

      Brenda and her family have called Kansas home for over 25 years. They’ve entered the joyful world of grandparenting and now have four amazing grandsons.

    • Jodie Mellon Internal Plan Consultant

      Direct: 920.831.3346 | Fax: 800.459.5815

      Jodie has the unique role of supporting several TRA’s Regional Plan Consultants, while also developing new business opportunities and marketing TRA’s services in areas that are not currently supported by TRA. Financial advisors and their wholesalers also turn to Jodie for plan design illustrations and marketing support, as she offers a wealth of technical knowledge and possesses strong communication skills.

    • Austin Solomon Internal Plan Consultant - currently servicing AK, No. CA, ID, OR, WA

      Direct: 262.420.5140   | Fax: 800.459.5815

      Austin represents retirement plan specialists for TRA across America, he assists financial advisors and institutional wholesalers with any questions and concerns they may have about plan consultation and design. Austin has a strong understanding of proposals and illustrations which are a key part in assuring the chosen retirement plan is the best fit for everyone involved in the process. Austin has a wealth of technological skills on various different platforms and possesses strong interpersonal communication skills.

    • Nate Maly Internal Plan Consultant

      Direct: 262.420.5323 | Fax: 800.459.5815

      As an Internal Plan Consultant, Nate is responsible for proposal and illustration generation, as well as providing a high level of client service to all TRA partners. With a strong background in plan design and administration, Nate uses his prior experience to provide the right solutions for clients.

      Prior to joining TRA, Nate worked at Principal Financial Group in the Retirement Services Division. Nate has been in the retirement industry for five years and has a background in plan administration, plan design, and broker support.

      Outside of the office
      Nate enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing, and cheering for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

  • Sales Support

    • Bill Sunagel Marketing and Communications Director

      Direct: 920.831.3251 | Fax: 800.459.5815

      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, 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.

    • Travis Avery Marketing and Communications Specialist

      Direct: 920.831.3273 | Fax: 800.459.5815Travis Avery - Marketing & Communications Coordinator

      As a Marketing and Communications Specialist, Travis is responsible for assisting in the development and executing of TRA’s marketing and communication initiatives. On any given day, Travis will specialize in:

      • Building and maintaining marketing and sales collateral in support of the nationwide sales team
      • Administering and coordinating webinars and events/seminars
      • Overseeing company social media efforts
      • Promoting and building awareness for new releases of e-books, info sheets, forms, etc.
      • Assisting with the recording and analyzing of KPIs and other metrics
      • Training staff on new technologies and programs
      • Coordinating various announcements and onboarding of new company acquisitions
      • Expanding the collection of helpful internal and external tools and resources

      Travis has 10+ years of B2B and B2C experience, particularly relating to the fields of Marketing, Graphic Design, Communications, and Customer Service. In 3½ years, Travis was able to attain a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, and maintains a keen interest in being a great teammate and expanding his skill set.

      Outside of the Office:

      Travis enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching sports and movies, and laughing at how inconsistent his golf shot is.

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