United Planners announces new general partners

Mike Baker, President, CEO and General Partner of United Planners announced the latest addition of General Partners to the Firm: Billy OliverioChad Shindel and Sheila Cuffari-Agasi. Mike said, “We have a commitment to ensure the stability and continuity of United Planners.  Bringing these three outstanding employees into the ownership structure of the General Partner is a testament to our commitment.” Billy, Chad and Sheila joining the General Partnership team is related to an executive transition process that began with the departure of the Firm’s previous General Partners: Tom Oliver, who retired in early 2019 and Dave Shindel, who passed away last October.

When Dave passed away, the Firm’s succession plan was well underway and the business continued to operate smoothly in accordance with its transition plan. United Planners as well as its business partners grieved the loss of Dave as he was an iconic patriarch of the Firm. Mike is confident in his selection of these General Partners and said, “Dave would have wanted it this way. Billy, Chad and Sheila have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to this Firm, it gives me great pleasure to welcome them to the General Partner structure and I look forward to running the Firm with them by my side as the Executive Management Team.”

Billy, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, has been with the Firm since 2010 and is primarily responsible for the Firm’s investment products and services, practice management, corporate communications and corporate events. Billy has been in the industry for 30 years with a diverse background from being a securities fraud investigator to a compliance officer. Billy says, “I’m grateful for this opportunity and it is a privilege to be a part of the General Partner team and I will continue to be committed to the Firm’s innovation, growth, success and amazing culture.”

Chad, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, has been with the Firm since 2017 and is primarily responsible for the Firm’s financial and compensation operations as well as employee benefits. Chad is a CPA and former auditor with a breadth of experience across diverse industries. Chad said, “I’m profoundly humbled at the unique opportunity to serve the United Planners family of employees, financial professionals and their staff in this new capacity for many years to come.”

Sheila, Executive Vice President has been with the Firm since 2006 and is primarily responsible for the Firm’s recruiting initiatives, advertising campaigns and transition operations. With 27 years of industry experience, she has a tremendous amount of knowledge running financial advisory practices, including over 20 years in personal production. “I knew from the beginning this Firm had something the industry lacked and felt blessed to be able to share our unique story and value proposition with “ideal advisors.” We have been selective with who we invite to join our Firm and are able to remain passionate about doing the right thing while serving our financial professionals and their clients. We will continue with the excellence of the prior General Partners to preserve the culture they have built. I am honored to call United Planners my forever home and UP Family.”

Cheri Cook joins Platinum Living Realty

Platinum Living Realty, an independent luxury real estate brokerage with five offices across Arizona, announced that Cheri Cook has joined the brokerage. With more than 5 years of experience in real estate, Cook knows the intricacies of the real estate market in the Valley.

“Cheri has a very caring personality and is dedicated to helping her clients find their dream home,” said Jay Macklin, co-owner of Platinum Living Realty. “We are pleased to welcome Cheri to Platinum Living Realty.” 

Cook and her family moved to Arizona six years ago from a small town in South Dakota. She is married to her husband of 22 years and is always looking for opportunities to get involved and give back to her community.

“Wanting to give back to the community is one of the reasons I became a realtor, to help people achieve their dreams and find their forever home,” said Cook. “I’m always looking to increase my knowledge and expertise in the industry so I can best serve my clients, which is why I’m so excited to now have access to Platinum Living Realty’s suite of resources and services.” 

Cook is also the inaugural member of the new North Valley Agents, a team focusing on the greater north valley including North Phoenix and North Scottsdale. 

“For years there has been this vision of a select group of amazing agents to help home buyers and sellers in the north valley; it is with great pleasure that Cheri is the first to accept that challenge and join this team to accomplish it,” said Bret Ceren, team leader for the North Valley Agents with Platinum Living Agency. “When I think of our core values of Service, Excellence, Innovation and Solutions, Cheri embodies them all and I’m thrilled she is on board!”

James E. Padish elected Scottsdale Bar Association president

Scottsdale litigation attorney James E. Padish has been elected president of the Scottsdale Bar Association for 2020-2021. 

The Scottsdale Bar provides continuing legal education and networking opportunities for its 300 attorney members. It also organizes law-related programs and activities for the benefit of the public in Scottsdale and surrounding cities and Indian communities. 

Judge Padish is a former Arizona Superior Court judge and a 10-time Super Lawyers selectee. His law practice encompasses mediation and arbitration, family law, and general civil litigation and criminal defense.