Our Team

Tim SullivanFounder and CEOTim decided to venture into the independent Insurance market and start his own company. He formed Strategic Wealth Advisors Group, Inc. He has a passion for his profession that is evident to everyone he meets. When creating Strategic Wealth Advisors Group, Inc, his mission was to provide personalized, high quality financial services for a diverse group of clients at all income levels. His goal is to provide his clients with the highest level of customer service and dedicate his resources to meet their needs and earn their trust. He creates personalized plans aimed at helping his clients reach their financial and retirement goals. Tim is also the author of a book titled: STRATEGIC WEALTH: A Tactical and Practical Guide To Winning In Retirement.

As representative financial professional, his credentials include Michigan Life and Health Insurance licenses, and a Series 65 securities license. He also has his Insurance Licenses in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.

In addition to spending time with his wife and two children, you can frequently find Tim exercising at Level Fitness. Other hobbies include playing golf, softball, watching his kids play their sports and traveling with his family.

Tim hosts a radio show called “Financially Tuned” which airs Sunday at 3pm on WDTK 101.5 FM and 1400 AM out of Detroit, MI.

David HeimFinancial Advisor

David Heim has been helping people since 1989 as a financial representative reach their retirement and investment objectives. He obtained a Finance Degree with an emphasis in Investments from Missouri State University while playing football and obtaining All-American honors. David is currently licensed in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. He also holds a Series 65 securities license as an Investment Advisor Representative.

Shelby Green – Client Service SpecialistShelby Green assists with processing the operational and administrative parts of the business in a seamless and efficient manner. One of her many responsibilities include cultivating long lasting client relationships with our Strategic Wealth clients to ensure they receive the highest quality customer service because they deserve nothing less! Shelby is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication. Recently relocated to Michigan from Colorado, Shelby enjoys hiking, camping and exploring Michigan.

Strategic Alliances



Dustin Leonard
Vice President of Marketing
Gradient Insurance Brokerage, Inc.

Dustin graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology. Having a natural financial mindset and an affinity for working with people, he immediately accepted a position with Personalized Brokerage Services to partner with independent financial advisors. While there, he had many opportunities to learn the industry and serve in key roles such as: Vice President of Life Insurance Division and Annuity Sales Director. He has held a Life and Health license as well as 6 and 63 registrations. Dustin was also among the first 14 employees to join Independent Brokerage Services, the firm now known as Gradient Financial Group.

Faith and Family is the cornerstone of Dustin’s life. After a productive day at the office, he is thrilled to come home to his lovely wife of 11 years (Jenny) and two beautiful children (Jaden & Ava). He spends much of his free time coaching Jaden’s baseball team and love’s to watch Ava dance. He and Jenny remain very active in the kids’ school and have been blessed to be able to contribute time and energy toward giving back to the Topeka community. For recreation, Dustin enjoys hunting, fishing and outdoor sports in general.


Brady Black
Vice President of Marketing
Gradient Insurance Brokerage, Inc.

Brady Black professionally consults successful, independent agents and advisors in the financial services arena. He has been recognized for excellence in sales production in multiple fields over the past decade and has spent the last four years as Vice President of Marketing with Gradient Financial Group. During this time he has established business relationships with industry leading professionals, represents top insurance carriers and is valued as a tremendous asset to Gradient’s organization.

Studying finance at the University of Missouri afforded Brady a firm foundation of financial insight on which to build his career. His primary area of focus is in helping advisors understand and explain proper asset allocation in an ever-changing marketplace. As a relationship driven individual, Brady thoroughly enjoys getting to know people on a professional and personal level. He is interested in investing the time and effort required to help his clients develop a comprehensive sales approach and build a flourishing long-term financial practice.

Outside of work, Brady enjoys fathering his three children and nurturing a flourishing marriage with his wife Brooke. Brady finds his significance and success through a vision of four pillars in the following order: faith, family, friendships, and fortune. He eagerly awaits the opportunities of every day and prides himself on the daily and lifelong impressions of those he is able to come into contact with.


Jacob Hamilton
Vice President of Life Insurance Marketing
Gradient Insurance Brokerage, Inc.

Jacob graduated from Kansas State University earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and majoring in Finance. Directly after college he accepted a position at CoreFirst Bank and Trust as a personal banker where he began his career helping businesses and individuals realize their financial goals.

In 2010 he was recruited to Gradient Insurance Brokerage and Jacob began working with a growing life insurance team as a marketing representative. He has developed very meaningful business relationships with core life insurance carriers and continues to grow in his knowledge of products and concepts. He currently holds a life and health insurance license in the state of Kansas.

Jacob is now engaged to his lovely fiancé, Keelei and the two have plans to marry in May of 2015. Jacob enjoys an active lifestyle and loves to golf, play tennis, wakeboard and (although a native of Topeka, KS) enjoys snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains.

Gradient Investments, LLC Team


mikeMichael Binger, CFA®
Senior Portfolio Manager of Gradient Investments, LLC

Michael Binger, CFA®, serves as the senior portfolio manager for Gradient Investments, LLC. Binger brings over 24 years of institutional equity investment experience to Gradient Investments and its affiliated advisors and clients. He has extensive experience working directly with financial advisors designing and actively managing portfolios. Binger has successfully invested in numerous market and economic cycles giving him a level and depth of experience that is rare in this industry.

Binger started his investment career in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Lutheran Brotherhood in 1987 and gained experience managing assets in a variety of asset classes including convertible bonds, small cap equities, and large cap equities. When Lutheran Brotherhood and Aid Association for Lutherans merged in 2001 to become Thrivent Financial, Binger was selected to work as the senior portfolio manager on the Large Cap Growth team and Large Cap Alpha Team managing over $3 billion in assets. As the senior portfolio manager, he developed and oversaw the tactical investment strategies utilized within mutual funds, variable annuities, pension funds and insurance company products. These investment processes included proprietary portfolio construction strategies, security selection parameters and volatility controlled umbrellas.

Binger graduated from the University of Minnesota earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Finance. He graduated with honors and was the University of Minnesota’s “Wall Street Journal Award Winner.” Binger is a CFA® and a member of The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Twin Cities Society of Security Analysts.

Binger’s media highlights include numerous appearances, providing market insight on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg Radio. He has also been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Smart Money, Reuters, Business Week and numerous other local, national, and global investment publications.

wayneWayne Schmidt, CFA®
Chief Investment Officer of Gradient Investments, LLC

In October 2008, Wayne Schmidt joined Gradient Investments, LLC and serves as Chief Investment Officer. With 26 years of investment experience, Wayne brings decades of institutional experience and in-depth knowledge of the private client market to Gradient Investments, and offers a global investment management perspective.

Wayne is an invaluable and direct resource for affiliated investment advisors and their clients. He provides vast wisdom, knowledge, experience and tools to help investment advisors grow their practice, while also growing clients’ assets.

In a nationwide search that included acquisition considerations, AXA Investment Managers, a subsidiary of the European insurance giant AXA Group, handpicked Wayne to build their U.S investment grade fixed income capabilities and to lead a seasoned portfolio team located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

During his tenure at AXA Investment Managers, Wayne served as senior portfolio manager for the U.S. Investment Grade Fixed Income Team. As the lead portfolio manager, he managed $9.5 billion of fixed income assets with a variety of mandates ranging from aggregate, corporate and government bond portfolios.

Before joining AXA Investment Managers, Wayne dedicated over 20 years to Minnesota Life and its’ $14 billion investment arm, Advantus Capital Management. As portfolio manager, he managed a variety of high-grade funds as part of Advantus’s $1.8 billion Total Return Product for institutional and retail clients. He also served as the lead portfolio manager of the Advantus Bond Fund and the co-portfolio manager of the Advantus Spectrum Fund.

Wayne earned his Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst® and a member of The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Twin Cities Society of Security Analysts.

Over the years, Wayne has been quoted on the global economy in numerous nationally and internationally recognized investment publications such as: Bloomberg, Pension & Investments, Reuters, The Los Angeles Times, Financial Week (2008 Neal Award Winner), Asia Times, InvestorVillage, Safehaven, SFO, Credit Investment News and RGE Monitor (Nouriel Roubini’s Global EconoMonitorinvestment). He has also provided market insights on Bloomberg radio and television.

Wayne’s love of Minnesota is Gradient Investments’ great fortune, as he declined to relocate with AXA Investment Managers following their strategic decision to consolidate function into the high-yield operation in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Mariann Montagne, CFA®
Senior Investment Analyst of Gradient Investments, LLC

Mariann Montagne, CFA® serves as a senior investment analyst for Gradient Investments, LLC. She has 20 plus years of experience working with both institutional and high net worth clients, and has amassed a strong breadth of investment experience during her tenure. This includes company and industry sector analysis, risk monitoring and portfolio management in both the equity and fixed income markets. She is highly attuned to economic and market conditions, and has extensive experience selecting individual stocks, ETFs and mutual funds.

Prior to joining Gradient Investments, she was the senior investment analyst and co-portfolio manager for a Minneapolis-based registered investment advisor with over $500 million in assets under management. Montagne was involved in security selection, portfolio management, client presentations and setting strategic direction for the investment department. Her coverage included individual securities, ETFs and mutual funds in the equity, fixed income and alternative asset classes. Prior to that, she was a senior investment analyst at Thrivent Asset Management, examining industry sectors and selecting individual equities. Montagne also spent several years at Munder Capital Management as the assistant director of research along with covering growth and value equities.

Montagne served for seven years on the Global Board of the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY), including posts as president and conference chair.

She is a Chartered Financial AnalystTM and a member of both the CFA Society of Minnesota and the CFA Institute. Montagne is an alumnus of the University of Detroit where she graduated cum laude with a finance major and an English minor.

Montagne’s media highlights include quotes in Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, NPR, Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on Bloomberg TV and Fox Business News.