MEET OUR TEAM

MEET OUR TEAM

THREE GENERATIONS OF FINANCIAL SERVICE

Since 1934, Wheeler Associates has worked with employers, employees, families, and individuals to provide the insurance, benefits, and financial planning to get them where they want to go.

Andrew Wheeler, CFP®, AIF®

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™

Rather than viewing it as an obstacle, Andy’s goal is to have proper financial planning added to all undergraduate curriculums, on par with doing your taxes. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, he feels it’s his responsibility to educate and grow his clients’ total financial well-being, and his sincerity mixed with humor makes him a great fit for such a difficult topic to navigate. He is determined to do what is in the best interest of his clients at all times, in order for them to reach what they define as their financial success. 

Andy has been a partner at Wheeler Associates for over 10 years and, for each of the last four, has been honored as a President’s Club producer, an accomplishment reserved for top advisors affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network. His financial expertise is noted by colleagues from local organizations and publications, such as the Duluth News Tribune, and by the local television news stations, where he is often interviewed or asked to contribute to stories regarding the financial industry.

He spent much of his youth participating in numerous team sports, concluding with being named a four-time Big-Ten All-Academic team member and captain of the 2001–2002 UW-Madison Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team. The team mentality now flows over into his professional career, and he credits his success to the support and creativity of his amazing Wheeler Associates team. Together, they have created an environment that supports and encourages their clients’ financial well-being.

Andy views his relationships with all of his clients as a partnership, where both parties need to be engaged and held accountable while respecting and valuing the other's contributions. It is paramount for a successful partnership for Andy to understand a client's entire financial foundation, which is why he requires financial planning for his clients in order to help with investments, insurance, and other areas of need.

Outside of work, Andy spends his free time with his son Landon and daughter Addison while coaching their sports teams or simply playing in the yard. He and his wife Becky enjoy traveling together and discovering the next best adventure. Andy is an active member of the Duluth YMCA board, serving as board chair, and he is passionate about helping the organization grow and expand its mission. He loves to be outdoors in all four seasons, running, fat-tire biking, golfing, and skiing.

To explore a true partnership with Wheeler Associates, please reach out to any member of our team to set up a complimentary wealth review.

Presidents_seal
 

Andrew Wheeler is proud to have been recognized as a President's Club advisor for 2017—a distinction based on annual production attained by 15 percent of advisors affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network.

Each year, Commonwealth, the Registered Investment Adviser–broker/dealer that helps us process investment transactions on your behalf, recognizes President's Club advisors by inviting them to an exclusive gathering of their peers, leading industry experts, and Commonwealth home office staff. President's Club advisors benefit from an intensive learning and networking experience designed to help them hone their expertise, share best practices, and provide ever-higher levels of service, education, and leadership to their clients.

Patrick Heffernan, CLTC, CEBS

Financial Advisor

Before joining Wheeler Associates in 2003, Pat was with a large company in the Twin Cities. He remembers sitting in employee benefit meetings and receiving information about the health plan or 401(k) and being very, very confused. From this experience, he draws his passion in helping both employers and employees understand benefits. Pat is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) and Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC) and has said many times that “a benefit is not a benefit unless it is understood.” He uses his communication skills—and usually more than a touch of humor—to make very complex concepts understood. Pat appreciates the role he and the Wheeler Associates team can play in a company’s or individual's situation, ideally seen as a valued partner helping to reach the goals that have been laid out. It is with great enthusiasm that Pat and his team go about the goal of working with good people and companies for a very long time.

Pat is passionate about his community, city, and state and has been involved in programs at all levels. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, where he received the Donald R. Zander leadership award. Pat has served on the board of directors for the Duluth Art Institute, the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Arrowhead Estate Planning Council. He is a graduate of Leadership Minnesota and Leadership Duluth and was recognized by the Duluth News Tribune in 2010 as one of its top 20 Under 40 business leaders in Duluth*.

Personally, Pat enjoys being very active—he better be, with three young boys who are getting faster every day. Pat, his wife Carrie, and the boys all enjoy hiking; water, downhill, and cross-country skiing; fat- and normal-tire mountain biking; skating; tennis; pickleball; and camping (with some but not all of the comforts of home). He continues to enjoy running races—now more and more with his young boys—and coaching various teams. A memorable moment for Pat is, after getting married and before the “little people” showed up, he and Carrie took a six-month trip around the world, and he continually draws perspective from this amazing experience.

 

The Duluth News Tribune 2010 Top 20 under 40 recognizes local, young professionals and is based solely on the opinions of the editors of the publication. They considered the candidates' contributions to their company, impact to the business world, and their community service. This award is not specific to financial services and does not imply an endorsement, recommendation, or otherwise reflect the performance of the advisor or any accounts.

Ryan Coole, ChFC®, CLU®, CRPS®

Qualified Plan Director/Financial Advisor

Ryan has always been a bit of a geek when it comes to numbers. From the early years of sitting in 4th grade trying to complete the multiplication tables in the shortest amount of time to win the $1 bill from the teacher, his insatiable love of math was born. This started Ryan down the path to appreciating the value of a dollar. He attributes his start in business to his grandfather Robert “Bob” Desanto, the former owner of the Casa de Roma. Every Sunday was spent with his grandfather watching NFL football up until his passing in 1997. The respect and care for money were driven home by Grandpa Bob, and Ryan has bestowed the same care of money on the clients of Wheeler Associates. Ryan spends a majority of his time at Wheeler Associates positioning the firm to better assist its client base. Whether he is assisting a plan sponsor with a retirement plan or helping an individual wealth management client create a financial plan, Ryan takes great pride in putting the client first.

Ryan is a Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist®, Chartered Financial Consultant®, and Certified 401(k) Professional®. He brings broad expertise to the qualified and nonqualified plan space, from the sponsor to the participant. He excels in the management, process, and compliance of retirement plans. His commitment to education in this field has opened up an innovative stream of revenue for Wheeler Associates.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth, Ryan received his BA in accounting while manning the Bulldog blue line for four unforgettable years. When he isn’t at work you can usually find Ryan on the ice rink coaching the girls' high school hockey team or sitting on the soccer field watching his daughters play. A Duluth East native, Ryan and his lovely ladies— Jodi (wife), Madison, Bailey, and Nora—reside in Lakeside. Ryan’s hobbies outside of his full-time job as family chauffeur include golfing throughout the state of Minnesota, everything CrossFit, and solo concert trips.

Jim Wheeler, RHU

Partner, Registered Health Underwriter

Jim, a native Duluthian, began his professional career as a life insurance agent with New England Financial after receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration and human relations at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah.

As a young professional, Jim ultimately joined his father and brother at Wheeler Associates after gaining experience in sales positions. Over the years, Jim has utilized his expertise to help educate employers, employees, families, and individuals on plan designs that best meet their needs. As a partner at Wheeler Associates, he recognizes the value in client relationships and holds their interests as his number-one priority. While helping to grow the family business, Jim is also actively involved in improving the insurance industry as a former life and qualifying member of the MDRT and current member of the NAHU's Leading Producers Round Table.

Jim’s passion to help better those around him extends beyond business operations. He is a trustee for the Duluth Area Family YMCA and First United Methodist Church, as well as a member of the Harbortown Rotary Club.

Jim and his wife, Ann, have been married for more than 30 years and have three children together: Tim, Sarah, and Mary Kate. He enjoys spending time outdoors, skiing, canoeing, and hunting. His love for traveling has taken him on several adventurous vacations over the years. During the summers of 1976–1978, Jim canoed more than 4,000 miles in the U.S. and Canada.

Chelsea Grandmaison

Client Services Manager

As client services manager at Wheeler Associates, Chelsea thrives on building relationships with clients on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to be a resource and often an extension of their team, she takes great pride in providing timely, accurate, and helpful service to all of the groups and individuals with whom she works. 

Chelsea graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a degree in mass communications. She spent two years playing for the Yellowjacket volleyball team before she returned home to Carlton, Minnesota, to coach the high school team for the remainder of her college career. Chelsea then traveled to Elmira, New York; Quad City, Iowa; and Shreveport, Louisiana, and also spent about 14 months in Ottawa, Canada, in search of the "perfect place to live," but soon realized that the perfect place was right under her nose in Duluth. After spending about eight years in the hospitality industry, she was eager to stretch her intellectual muscle and entered the financial industry. After passing her FINRA Series 7 and 63 securities registrations, she became the newest member of the Wheeler Associates team in 2014.  Chelsea is also licensed to sell life/health insurance and works with Medicare clients. 

Chelsea is a proud graduate of Blandin Community Leadership Program and serves on The Hills board of directors. You can often find her with her husband, Dave, hiking through the Northwoods, mountain biking, spending time out on the calming waters of Lake Superior, instructing a yoga class, or trying her hand at baking up a delicious vegan dessert. 

Hannah Stevens

Group Services Director

Before starting her career with Wheeler Associates, Hannah worked in management and operations for ZMC Hotels at the Edgewater Hotel and Waterpark in Duluth. She began as a lifeguard with the company and quickly migrated through the Aquatics department to become the aquatics director and, eventually, director of operations. In 2013, Hannah had the opportunity to work as the project manager for hotel renovation and reconstruction while living in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Hannah fondly recalls her 10 years working for the hospitality industry and has transferred her skills in customer service, organization, and communication to the Wheeler Associates team. Although Hannah is new to the insurance industry, she enjoys the education and fast-paced administrative duties in her current role as group services director and looks forward to many years of growth with the company.

Hannah decided to become a resident of this community after she attended UMD in 2004 for psychology and health education. Since graduation, Hannah has enjoyed her time in Duluth and is an active participant in its multitude of sporting events, including running Grandma’s Marathon and various 5ks, as well as attending Bulldog hockey, football, and basketball. She looks forward to becoming even more involved in the community.

A lot of Hannah’s time is spent on Duluth’s lake walk with her husband and dog Auggie, running, biking, or walking to the various restaurants and eateries that Duluth’s downtown and Canal Park area have to offer. Her life passion is traveling, and she feels very fortunate to have been to Europe, Mexico, Jamaica, and many locations across the U.S. She hopes to land back in North Carolina soon and will be embarking on many more adventures with her husband for years to come.

Emma Grover

Product and Systems Manager

Emma became a member of the Wheeler Associates team after seven years in the customer service/hospitality industry. Her professionalism, quick wit, and welcoming demeanor create an inviting atmosphere for all of the clients and vendors who visit our office. 

While working on her associate of arts degree at Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College, she was part of the Thunder volleyball and basketball teams. After graduating in the summer of 2011, she began working on her bachelor’s degree at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. She graduated with a degree in business management, marketing, and human resources in 2013 and moved to Denver, Colorado, to experience the mountain life.  After about a year, Emma found her way back to Duluth to be close to family and friends. 

Emma is a total sports junkie. During her free time, you can find her running, biking, playing beach volleyball and basketball, and doing CrossFit. She loves to adventure around the world, read, watch college basketball, and, of course, spend time with family and friends. 

Tiffany Tomassoni

401(k) Education Specialist and Support Advisor

Tiffany joined the Wheeler Associates team in February 2018 as the 401(K) education specialist and support advisor.  She comes from a background in the finance, teaching, and sales industries. She has developed a knack for using those teaching abilities and applying it to the financial industry in helping individuals and families plan for their future.

Tiffany is a proud Iron Ranger—born and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota. She attended college at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and graduated in 2011 with a degree in education and a minor in psychology. Tiffany and her husband, Dante, currently reside in Hermantown and love everything the Twin Ports area has to offer. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends; hiking with her dog, Watson; attempting to improve her dreadful golf game; trying out new recipes; playing summer league volleyball; reading; snowmobiling, and trying to find “zen” in yoga. She loves to try new things and check items off her bucket list—a couple of the more notable items checked off that list were running the Grandma’s Marathon and skydiving.