This is a statement we have lived and worked by since 1985. The core of our team has been together for 20 years and were founded on the vision of better serving our clients and giving independent financial advice. HighTower Advisors supported our boutique, client-centric philosophy and became our home in 2014.
Lars Knudsen leads the team at HighTower Bellevue. He founded his RIA practice 30 years ago on the basis of his belief in wealth stewardship. This vision continues to guide his team today.
Born and raised in Alaska, Lars is a third-generation entrepreneur. His interest in finance dates back to his boyhood days as a golf caddy. His godfather, also a successful business owner, said that if Lars saved a hundred dollars, he would match it with another hundred and help him invest it in stocks of Lars’s own choosing. His curiosity sparked, the young man accepted the challenge and quickly got into the habit of tracking his stocks’ performance in the daily newspaper and watching his investment grow.
Due to his early experience investing and lifelong exposure to his family’s business endeavors, Lars knew as a young man that he wanted to pursue a career in business and finance. After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University with a degree in Accounting and Finance, he worked as an accountant before establishing his own financial planning business, which merged with national CPA firm Moss Adams after 14 years of independent success. He later founded Triad Wealth Stewardship, now known as HighTower Bellevue, to deliver a personalized, custom approach to financial planning and family wealth stewardship to clients.
The term stewardship means to care and be responsible for assets or resources, and reflects the thoughtful, dedicated approach Lars and his team take to serving clients and their families. He and the team derive tremendous pride and purpose from helping clients bring their personal beliefs, family values and wealth into balance. To Lars, there is no more fulfilling challenge than interpreting the “big picture” of macroeconomic trends, current events and history to create financial plans that can make a genuine difference in the lives of his clients.
Lars is also active as a board member and an active contributor to several charitable organizations.
Dan Stober is a Managing Director and Partner at HighTower Bellevue. With experience in equity markets, manager research and selection, as well as portfolio construction, Dan values the multi-leveled relationships he shares with clients and partners with them to help achieve their financial goals.
As a young man, the Seattle native was initially on track to join his dad’s successful insurance business, when the world of investing came knocking. Beyond Monopoly -his favorite game as a kid- came the thrill of making money based on high-quality research and knowledge. As a detailed, self-described “Type A” person, Dan found that finance provided the best path for what has become a successful and fulfilling professional journey.
After graduating from Western Washington University with a business degree and concentrations in finance, marketing, and decision science, Dan launched his career at Smith Barney. While learning operations, investments and relationship management as a sales assistant, he obtained his Series 7, 63 and 65 licenses as well as his Life/Disability Insurance license. Six years later, Dan joined Lars Knudson at FSG, which would then merge with Moss Adams. At FSG, he was charged with account management, took the lead on the firm’s mutual fund selection team, and was an active member of the firm’s investment committee. Dan and Lars eventually joined forces to form Triad Wealth Stewardship.
Today, Dan takes great pride in his role at HighTower Bellevue. He is happily “in the trenches” regarding portfolio management and research, two of his professional passion points. The transition to HighTower has freed him up from time typically spent on operations, allowing him more bandwidth to use his deep knowledge across all asset classes and tap into his personalized brand of client services, which includes coaching clients on taking the emotions out of financial decision-making and being a “go-to,” hands-on client resource.
Dan lives in Issaquah with his wife, Jessica, and two daughters near the rest of his Seattle-based family. He enjoys spending time at his family retreat in Leavenworth, Washington as well as playing golf, enjoying water- and snow skiing, exercising, and reading.
Randy Williams-Gurian sees his role as Wealth Manager at HighTower Bellevue centered on the commitment to a true fiduciary standard. In line with HighTower Bellevue’s stewardship-centric approach, Randy drives client success based on four critical elements: estate planning, tax planning, risk management and insurance. He takes pride in working with clients on a variety of financial issues and helping them make great decisions that may impact their financial future for the better.
Being hired as a CPA at Weyerhaeuser was the first step in a long career in the financial services industry. While it provided the practicality of a paycheck, he quickly discovered that accounting was too limited to satisfy his attraction to the stock market, corporate finance and other more dynamic financial happenings of the day. With a BA from the University of Puget Sound and MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from University of Arizona, Randy soon found himself working in finance at market leading companies including Hewlett Packard and Agilent Technologies. After this foray into corporate finance, Randy was an integral part of a successful retirement planning practice with BAC Capital Advisors over the course of 12 years, after which he joined Triad Wealth Stewardship.
Randy’s artful ability to explain the complex investing landscape in simple terms led him to author his own national newsletter in the mid-point of his career. His insights on tech stocks and other investing how-to tips found him enjoying periodic guest spots on CNBC. With his intellectual curiosity for the financial markets and intuitive understanding of market conditions, Randy revels in active dialogues related to the financial news of the day.
Today, Randy’s belief that clients want more from a financial advisor drives him to consult in 401(k) and personal financial plans, creating an integrated and comprehensive approach that provides a broad perspective with informed solutions.
Michael Policar credits his passion for the financial markets back to a very influential fourth-grade teacher. At the age of 10, his teacher illustrated fraction computation using stock quotes from the newspaper, which at the time were quoted in fraction format instead of decimal format today. Michael took the instruction as an education on stocks, as the lesson’s also involved the basics of trading and taxation. At 13, he began his investing journey focused on acquiring shares in dividend paying companies.
This early introduction to investing led teenage-Michael to the teachings of Columbia professor Benjamin Graham and his most successful student, Warren Buffett. The combination of a value investing philosophy and continuous studies of behavioral psychology, financial advice was not a career choice, it was a calling.
“I get to build puzzles all day, every day. Clients bring the pieces and we put them together in a way that helps them achieve their needs, goals and priorities.” He says. “Learning the basics at such a young age has allowed me to translate complex situations into simple terms for our clients. Less financial jargon usually leads to better outcomes in my experience.”
Michael’s track-record of advising clients has led him from the bank institutions to HighTower Bellevue and the Fiduciary model, allowing him to focus all of his energy on providing excellent service to his clients and their families.
Michael and his wife Karen live in Sammamish with their son, Anthony. Karen, M.Ed. and former elementary educator in the Lake Washington School District are both native to the Northwest, and spending time with family is their number one priority. Michael thinks he’s better at golf than he really is, and enjoys cheering for the Seahawks, Mariner’s and his alma-mater, Arizona State Sun Devils. He sits on the board for the ASU Alumni Association of Seattle as the Scholarship Fundraising Director.
Andie Evans is the Director of Client Communications and Marketing at HighTower Bellevue, where she keeps Lars Knudsen’s days running smoothly and helps to ensure clients’ needs are thoroughly met. In addition, she leads the HighTower Bellevue team’s marketing activities.
After growing up in a household where both parents were financial advisors (and spending more than one summer working in their offices), Andie earned a degree in Mass Communications from Minnesota State University, Mankato. When her exploration of career paths outside the financial industry left her feeling unfulfilled, Andie went back to her roots and accepted a position as the director of client services for Diversified Wealth Management (DWM) in her native Minnesota. When the DWM advisors retired and sold their practice, Andie relocated with her family to Washington, where she joined the HighTower Bellevue team.
The personal connections between the HighTower Bellevue team and their clients are highly meaningful to Andie. Andie recognizes that often, the way clients handle their money reflects where their hearts are. Conversations about financial planning encompass family, values, and deeply personal choices. Andie loves getting to know the team’s clients and becoming a part of their lives. She also appreciates the opportunity to use her communication skills and background to support the team’s marketing efforts through activities such as planning events and developing marketing materials.
Andie enjoys spending her time outside of work with family and is actively involved with her church. She loves to sing, bake and share trivia from her Minnesota homeland.
Judy Evans is a Client Service Associate at HighTower Bellevue, where she helps keep the practice running smoothly. Her responsibilities range from greeting visitors to the Bellevue office and coordinating compliance materials to managing meeting notes and keeping the other team members briefed on new developments with clients. Another important aspect of Judy’s job includes guiding insurance and annuity business through its process.
With more than 20 years of experience in financial services, Judy’s knowledge of the industry spans a wide array of subjects and skills. She joined Financial Security Group, Lars Knudsen’s original financial planning business, after working for several years as an administrative assistant and receptionist for a small local financial services firm. Judy continued her work with FSG through its merger with Moss Adams and later was part of the founding team at Triad Wealth Stewardship in 2007.
Navigating unexpected challenges is one of the most fulfilling aspects of her role at HighTower Bellevue. She appreciates that every day is different and that each colleague’s skills and specialties contribute to the team’s overall success. Judy also enjoys getting to know the clients, and her attention to detail helps to ensure that their needs are taken care of promptly and pleasantly.
In her free time, Judy enjoys reading, fine wine and traveling with her husband to their house in California to enjoy the sunshine of the Golden State.
James Neill, CIMA is a Client Service Associate at HighTower Bellevue. He assists the team with a variety of day-to-day activities and special projects, including case preparation, financial modeling, quantitative analysis for client presentations, and more.
Financial services is in James’s lineage: his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all bankers. James always anticipated following in their footsteps, but settled on a slightly different course by pursuing a career in wealth management. The personal relationships with clients, as well as the complexity and variety in the wealth management field, attracted James to his current role. Before joining HighTower Bellevue, James was a pricing analyst at Invesco in Houston, Texas.
At HighTower Bellevue, James is particularly interested in the wide variety of financial instruments and securities available to the team to help meet their clients’ investment needs. He spends significant time diving into the research and analysis that informs the team’s trading activities. As a detail-oriented person who loves to learn, James recognizes the importance of building a strong knowledge base and having the ability to explain to clients why a particular approach may make sense for them.
James recently relocated to Washington from Texas. He enjoys reading, exploring the outdoors in his new home state and spending time with his family.
Diane Donohue is a Client Service Associate at HighTower Bellevue, where she facilitates operations for the team. Diane specializes in the most practical aspects of client service and helps clients establish new accounts, process transactions and maintain accurate records.
Diane is dedicated to providing personal attention and building relationships with clients through trust and communication. Because a responsive and proactive attitude creates a highly individualized client service experience, Diane strives to embody this philosophy in every interaction.
She comes to HighTower from an investment firm in Tucson, Ariz., and brings a diverse administrative background in real estate, law, banking and marketing.
A native Northwesterner, Diane lived in sunny Arizona and snowy Montreal before permanently resettling in the land of rain to be closer to her grown children and large extended family.