Allen Harris, CEPA, CVGA, CVB, CEO & Chief Investment Officer
Allen Harris, founder and owner of Berkshire Money Management (BMM), is a 20-year professional investment management veteran. His knowledge and expertise led to the founding of BMM in 2001, to help people achieve a common goal—make money with investments while protecting those portfolios in the most serious of downturns.
Allen’s experience spans the powerhouse of Smith Barney (now known as Morgan Stanley) to CIO of a boutique investment advisory firm, to founder of the 16,000-paid-subscriber Navigator Newsletters property (now sold). Throughout his career, Allen has skillfully guided clients through challenging periods—recessions, bear markets, technology and commodity bubbles, and the “Great Recession.” Despite these obstacles, Allen and BMM not only ensured clients stayed on course with their retirement plans, but also helped them to both capitalize on return opportunities and risk control strategies. Beyond his professional work, Allen is passionate about the well-being of animals. He is an avid supporter of spay and neuter efforts, shelter fundraisers, and animal rescue. He has personally fostered scores of pets in his own house as he tried to find them “forever homes.” Dedicated to community engagement, Allen is also a strong supporter of both economic revitalization and the arts in the Berkshires. Past initiatives include support of First Fridays Artswalk, Shakespeare in the Park, and Taste of the Berkshires. Additionally, Allen and our BMM team also contribute generously to enriching the holiday season for local families. Allen earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics, Finance and Accounting from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA).
Barbara Schmick, President & Chief Operating Officer
Barbara brings to Berkshire Money Management a wealth of experience in administration, planning and coordination as well as sales, marketing and corporate communications.
For over 13 years, Barbara traveled the world working with Fortune 500 companies in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. As an event planner, responsible for the design and implementation of hundreds of medical education programs, she arranged and ran seminars for groups of doctors from Bangkok to Boise and everywhere in between.
She briefly became a partner in her own firm, Philips Healthcare, based in Manhattan, where she managed all aspects of account services, including program design, faculty and audience recruitment, site selection and the development of invitational materials.
Barbara is also a professional photographer who has shown her work at several important exhibitions. As a photojournalist, her photography has graced the pages of several local newspapers. Her work can be viewed here.
In 2003, she moved to the Berkshires full-time and worked at The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group in Troy, New York. First as a client Coordinator and then as an Executive Partner in the Office of the President, she became the principle liaison between the President, internal and external executives, clients and independent consultants. As a valued member of the firm’s Core Leadership Team, she also ran day-to-day operations during the owners’ absence.
At Berkshire Money Management, Barbara works side by side with Allen Harris in running the firm. Barbara also combines her rare talents and years of experience by handling advertising, public relations and marketing for the firm. She also plans events and has created a liaison with the local community and media.
Barbara lives in Pittsfield, with her husband Bill (yes, that’s his bio below) and their chocolate lab, Titus.
Scott C. Little, CEPS®, Vice President
Scott has been with Berkshire Money Management since the company’s infancy, working successfully to help clients. His dedication is exemplary and has resulted in delivering a top-tier level of service and professionalism that clients can rely on.
Scott earned his B.S. in Business Administration and Economics at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA). A self-described family man and Berkshire local, he graduated with honors and was inducted into the Greek honors societies Alpha Chi and Delta Mu Delta for excellence in Business.
Scott has passed the Series 65 exam and is an Investment Advisor Representative, licensed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He also has earned the CEPS® (Certified Elder Planning Specialist) designation. Ask him about his most proud accomplishment, however, and he will say it’s his family, comprised of his wife, Julie and having their adorable little girl, Abbey. Scott and his family reside in Adams, MA.
Bill Schmick, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager
Bill is one of the pioneers of international investing in the United States. A sixty-year veteran of over 30 bull and bear markets around the world, he got his start as an institutional broker at Drexel Burnham Lambert—across the desk from junk bond king, Mike Milken, back in 1981.
In his words, “I learned the business by covering some of the real icons of the financial markets.”
Over the next decade, he established international equity departments for some of the best-known names on Wall Street including Merrill Lynch, Prudential Bache, Dillon Reid and Salomon Brothers as well as British investment banker, Flemings. In the process, he introduced hundreds of companies from Asia, Africa and Europe to American investors and helped many of them list on U.S. stock exchanges. He is also a veteran investor in the world’s currencies, stocks and bonds markets.
In the late Eighties, he turned his attention to emerging markets, sensing that the U.S. appetite for investments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and parts of developing Asia had finally arrived. He is also an expert in mines and metals.
“I traveled extensively visiting companies everywhere from Papua Niugini to Medellin, Columbia. I think I have been in every major precious and base metals mine in the world at one time or another.” Over his 28 plus years in financial markets, he has worked as an investment strategist, a research analyst, and an institutional broker and money manager.
Prior to joining Wall Street, Bill had enjoyed a successful 15-year career as an award-winning journalist for some of the nation’s largest publications including Forbes Magazine. “I never gave up my love for journalism and writing,” he explains, and I probably never will.”
Today, he continues to practice that profession and has found a happy medium as a money manager and an investment columnist, writing several weekly investment columns for several regional publications including the Berkshire Eagle and a widely-read blog, “afewdollarsmore.com”. His voice is also heard by thousands of listeners daily as WBRK Radio’s Market Watch commentator.
Through his investment columns, Bill began warning investors in early 2008 that the markets were heading for a serious decline and actually came within 14 points of calling the bottom on the S&P 500 Index in 2009. He also protected many of his investment clients during the financial crisis.
Here at Berkshire Money Management, Bill works directly with new and prospective clients in creating and monitoring portfolios. In addition, he works directly with new clients in developing an investment strategy to suit their goals and needs.
A Fulbright Fellow, Bill earned his B.A. from Temple University in 1974 and his M.B.A. from New York University in 1981. He recently completed a certificate in financial planning from Kaplan University. He was and always will be a U.S. Marine serving his country during the Vietnam War and earning several medals including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Peter Coughlin, CSA®, Certified Senior Advisor and Executive Director
Born and raised in Pittsfield, Peter joins Berkshire Money Management with 30-years of investments and wealth management experience. Previously associated with UBS Private Wealth Management and Wells Fargo Advisors, he possesses the ability to create trusting and lasting relationships with families, entrepreneurs and corporate executives. He is highly regarded on our team for his knowledge, persistence and commitment to clients.
Peter resides in Pittsfield with his wife Sheila, a registered dental hygienist with Dr. Paul Gamache, D.M.D. Peter’s oldest daughter, Tara, is an alumnus of UMass Amherst and is an executive recruiter living in Las Vegas with her husband Brian and their two children Cailyn and Tierney. His other daughter, Audra, graduated from Springfield College and is an Occupational Therapist working with special needs children for the Annapolis school department. She lives in Annapolis with her husband Wes and children Ava and Derek. Peter has two twin sons, Patrick and Christopher. Patrick recently graduated in May from The George Washington University and lives in Los Angeles, where he is a software engineer working for Raytheon. Patrick’s twin brother, Christopher, graduated in May from Georgetown University. Chris lives in the Washington, DC area and is an analyst with the Federal Government. Peter graduated from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. A former Big Brother, Peter has volunteered for numerous local initiatives and has coached youth soccer and basketball. On weekends, he can be found on his bike or hiking the Appalachian Trail. He has recently earned his Certified Senior Advisor designation (CSA®) as well.
John Bielski, Supervisor of Capital Trading
John Bielski is in the House. This 40 year-old trader of all things financial, has joined Berkshire Money Management as the company’s chief trader and all around go-to guy. Some of us have worked with him before in another life and have long admired his experience, calmness under fire, and meticulous attention to detail. That’s what you need in a trader today.
He has over 18 years of experience, including those rough and tumble times of the Dot.Com boom and bust at the beginning of the century, as well as the 2008-2009 Financial Crisis. “Johnny,” as he likes to be called, keeps the stress level down by staying active and fit. On his time off, you might see him tooling down a back-country road on his motorcycle, his long-time girlfriend, Kaila, behind him. He finished his first Rugged Maniac competition last year and is an avid fisherman as well. Like most of us, Johnny has passed his Series 65 and is a registered investment Advisor. More importantly, he and Kaila are animal lovers, so they fit right in to our family at Berkshire Money Management.
Zack Marcotte, CFP®, AIF®, AWMA®,CRPC®, RMA®, Financial Planner
Zack is a “once in a lifetime” employee. Horatio Alger has nothing on him. Commonly referred to as “Zack of all trades,” this young man is equally at home with a screwdriver or pen in hand.
Born and bred in the Berkshires, he began working at Berkshire Money Management during his senior year of high school. Over the next 11 years, he has witnessed and participated in the building of our firm from startup to success. His tech-savvy and versatility make him an important part of the Berkshire Money Management family. Zack’s time working side-by-side with BMM’s professionals has provided the kind of on the job training that no college ever could and led to his desire to become a financial expert. Zack has taken continued education very seriously, racking up 5 credentials, including the Certified Financial Planner™, the golden standard in Financial Planning. Like so many American success stories, Zack started in the mail room, worked his way through operations, the compliance department, and as a financial advisor. Now he oversees the firm’s Financial Planning department. From here Zack has his eye set on earning a master’s degree in personal financial planning. In his free time Zack enjoys wood working, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and venturing into the wilderness with his dog, Dexter. Zack just recently joined the Foundation for Financial Planning, offering free financial plans for domestic abuse victims, cancer patients, and wounded veterans.
Jayne Bills, IACCP®, Compliance Professional
Jayne, a veteran of one of the largest banks in the world, is our compliance officer. Her job is to make sure our company complies with all its outside regulatory requirements and internal policies. She is the person who deals with the Securities and Exchange Commission and, as such, Jayne has a thorough knowledge of the company and the responsibility to effectively communicate Berkshire Money Management’s key ethics principles and compliance regulations to the SEC and everyone else. In short, she is our sheriff and yours as well.
Prior to joining us, Jayne worked at Citigroup Treasury in their Capital Markets and Capital Planning space. She met her husband, Dan, while both attended Providence College in Rhode Island. She graduated in 2007 with a B.A. in Quantitative Economics. For a decade, they lived in the New York City area commuting, competing and, at times, wondering if there just might be a different way of life. The birth of their first son, August, gave them the incentive to find out. It was a perfect match—the job, “The Berkshires,” and their interests—hiking, cycling, antiquing. So far, so good, Jayne and her family are thrilled to be here.
Joanne Wandrei, Client Care Specialist
Joanne Wandrei has over 16 years of experience as an Executive Assistant for an Investment Advisory Firm in Williamstown, MA. Joanne acts as a liaison with Berkshire Money Management’s dedicated support team at Charles Schwab and our clients to handle account matters. Her depth of knowledge and experience in the back office keeps client service at the highest of standards. Joanne and her husband, Dennis, reside in Adams, MA. They are avid bowlers and the proud parents of two sons, Derek and Jason.
Lauren Russo, CVB, Financial Advisor
Lauren is one of our newest employees at BMM. Freshly out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Economics, concentrating in Managerial Economics, as well as a Psychology minor, she worked hard to be able to graduate one semester early and to start working sooner rather than later.
Lauren has always had a passion for business and a knack for numbers, so a career in finance seemed like the perfect fit. In the meantime, she is studying for the FINRA: Series 65 Uniform Investment Advisor Law Exam – the first of many future certifications. She has lived in Pittsfield her entire life, and is thrilled to stay local and take advantage of BMM’s philanthropic ways to give back to the community. Lauren is a proud aunt to four, and loves spending free time with her family. She dreams to use her newfound financial skills and previous business management knowledge to one day open a nonprofit organization in the area. For now, she is BMM’s freshest face and cannot wait to gain experience and bring value to our company/family.
Nate Tomkiewicz, CRPC®, Financial Advisor
Nate Tomkiewicz is Berkshire Money Management’s youngest member. That says a great deal about this 2018 graduate of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Business Program. Like Lauren, Nate was able to graduate a semester early while working and learning at BMM since 2016. You see, the culture of this firm is so unique in so many ways that it is almost impossible to hire from without. In other words, whenever possible, we “grow” our own. We did so with Zack Marcotte, Scott Little, and now it’s Nate’s turn. It was only fitting that Zack should take him under his wing.
Nate has passed the Series 65 exam and is an Investment Advisor Representative, licensed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition to his role as a financial advisor, Nate has his fingers on various projects from tracking our model portfolios to working on our numerous databases and software programs. Born and raised in the Berkshires, Nate loves outdoor pursuits from fishing to snowmobiles. He has had a love affair with the financial markets since he was a kid. He is already assisting in the management of our investment portfolios.
Nichole Dupont, Community Development Director
Nichole is a freelance writer, editor, and communications consultant whose work has appeared in multiple regional and national publications including Berkshire Magazine, The Take, Rural Intelligence, the Berkshire Eagle, Newsday, and the Huffington Post. She has also helped businesses and non-profits—Simon’s Rock college, Emma Willard School, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, and many others—‘find’ their stories and bring this unique content to their branding vision, as well as websites, local and national media, and other public platforms.
Nichole earned her Bachelor’s in History from Clark University, and has done extensive post-graduate work at Yale University and Middlebury College. She is a native of the Berkshires, and returned to the area to raise her children, Anna and Lucian, who are now teenagers. In addition to writing, Nichole is an avid boxer—alongside her daughter—and also trains Brazilian jiu jitsu with her son. She travels quite a bit, and her most recent journey brought her to Central Africa to visit extended family. In a former life, she was an English (and film studies and Spanish) teacher. “In order to accomplish our mission of helping people lead spectacular lives, we have to let them know everything we can do for them,” BMM founder and CEO Allen Harris said. “Everyone comes to us for investment advice, but we do so much more. Nichole worked with us as a consultant for nearly three years, and she sees the passion we have for what we do. We always work well together, and seeing that she really gets us, we wanted her to join the BMM family.”
Jamie Smith, FPQP™, Client Success Coordinator
Jamie is our new Client Success Coordinator. She is is the friendly face that greets all visitors to BMM. Jamie will also be responsible for all accounting operations, as well as assisting Joanne with client onboarding, scheduling, and other client service needs.
Prior to joining Berkshire Money Management, Jamie was an executive assistant at Atlas Private Wealth Management in North Adams for nearly six years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with a concentration in accounting and a minor in mathematics. Jamie also attended the College of Financial Planning and earned her designation as a Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™.
As a result of growing up in a military family, she was able to live in numerous states, graduating from high school in Ohio. She returned to the Berkshires — where her family is originally from — to attend college. Jamie now lives in Adams, MA with her husband, daughter, and one cat. She is currently researching and piecing together her family tree as far back as possible.
Natalie Wheeler, Operations Manager
Prior to joining Berkshire Money Management, Natalie was the Director of Office Operations at Atlas Private Wealth Management for nine years. During her time at Atlas, Natalie helped spearhead organizational goals and procedures to ensure that all general office and personnel operations ran smoothly across multiple offices. Her professional versatility provided all employees with the necessary tools, training and resources they needed to be successful. Natalie also managed employee benefits and all human resource questions and concerns.
Natalie has always had a passion for leading team members to be efficient, productive and effective. Natalie currently resides in Southern Vermont with her children Tre and Gianna and fiancé Ryan. Natalie is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post 29. In her free time, you’ll find her playing frisbee with her four year old black lab Sofia, playing a round of golf, participating in the color run or climbing obstacles at an inflatable 5k. Natalie is excited to bring her multiple years of office operations to BMM.
Larry: 8 years old, tri-color is the charmer of the pack!
Edith: 10 years old, very shy and always on guard. She takes a while to warm up to strangers, but then she’s a sweetie pie!
Henry: 7 years old. Happy, happy, happy! Loves everyone. Henry is the happiest dog you’ll ever meet.
Titus: 10 years old, happy dog who loves attention, especially when there are treats involved!
Dexter: 2½ years old, lover of all things…seriously he even oddly likes getting in trouble!