888.758.7305 info@firstannuity.net

Team First Annuity

Our People

MORE THAN TWO DECADES OF HELPING ADVISORS SUCCEED

Our History

First Annuity & Insurance Marketing is a family-owned and operated national insurance marketing company headquartered in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Founded in 1995 by company president and CEO, Darin W. Lucas, First Annuity was built on a foundation of integrity and good-old-fashioned hard work. While many of the national marketing companies at the time were focused on recruiting masses of agents and rapid growth, First Annuity chose a different path focusing on building solid relationships and partnerships with each of our clients, one at a time, a corporate philosophy that exists even today. First Annuity continues to be a life and annuity leader in providing viable solutions to all facets of advisors’ business. We invite you to be part of our family and experience the genuine sincerity that we all share in helping you achieve your goals, both professionally and personally.

Our Mission

Our mission at First Annuity & Insurance Marketing, Inc., is to provide results-oriented, value-based business solutions designed to meet our advisors’ objectives by providing innovative prospecting solutions, superior industry product knowledge, skilled training and customer service/support that rivals no other National Marketing Organization. We seek to partner with each of our clients daily and strive to build long-term relationships.

Our Principals

Darin Lucas

President & CEO

A native of Colorado, Darin attended Colorado State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing. Starting First Annuity in 1995 was the culmination of both a high school and college thesis outlining his vision for the next generation of an insurance marketing organization. Understanding that a smaller organization that spends more time with each agent and attends to their business needs has proved to be a timeless business principle.

Darin has always enjoyed all that Colorado has to offer, including hiking, camping and skiing in the back country. Since he and his sons are amateur World War II historians, they have enjoyed travels to places like London and Normandy, France, to research and document the stories of the G.I.s who fought there. They always believe in the “have-passport-will-travel” philosophy of life.

Darin and his wife, Holly, enjoying spending time their sons and exploring their diverse interests. They reside in West Denver and are always active, especially during the Summer months in Colorado.

Carl Muehlemeyer

Executive Vice President

Carl received a degree in Business Management with a minor in Journalism from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. After pursuing several different business ventures, attempting to find his niche, he began his career in the insurance industry in 1996, when he successfully acquired his Life, Health and Disability Licenses and Series 6 and 63 securities licenses. From that point forward, it was the sound business principles of Darin Lucas, combined with Carl’s own creative vision that propelled First Annuity & Insurance Marketing to continual success.

Today, Carl continues to provide creative direction and vision for First Annuity. He also maintains key relationships with a select group of producers that he has worked with for many years – relationships that he says will never change, no matter what success lies ahead for First Annuity.

Carl is passionate about playing guitar and collecting/buying/selling/trading guitar gear. He also enjoys golf, tennis, fly fishing and is active in his church. Both he and his lovely wife, Shanin, are Colorado natives and have three active sons that keep them very busy; they reside in the city of Arvada.

Company Operations

Nicole Skattum

Executive Vice President | Operations

Nicole’s key role is to develop world-class operations support of our advisors. Her team employs proven methods to accelerate the time to issue and time to pay incoming new business and provide any pre- or post-sale service required. Additionally, the team focuses on assisting producers in servicing clients and growing their business.

Nicole began with First Annuity in 2002, working full-time while attending college classes at night at Metro State University in Denver. A Colorado native, she grew up in Arvada and has been married for 10 years. She and her husband, Paul, have three fabulous fur-babies: Avalanche, Cody, and Molly. When not working, they travel, cook, and participate in anything that has to do with the Colorado Avalanche!

Carrie Davis

Annuity Assistant | Operations

Carrie comes to First Annuity with a strong background in small business ownership, office management and customer service. She holds a BA in Business and Marketing with a minor in Communication from Arizona State University. Carrie offers support to the annuity teams, ensuring efficient processing of business traveling through the office. Outside the office, Carrie remains busy chauffeuring her three children to various sports and activities while trying to eke time out to train for her love of triathlons, take in a great book, or putz in the garden.

Our Teams

Team Aspen

Jennifer Rowan

Aspen Team Lead & Contracting Specialist

Jen has been working in client services and support for more than ten years and is a great asset to First Annuity as Team Aspen’s Lead. Jen is a native Coloradan and currently lives in Broomfield with her husband and son. When Jen isn’t working, she enjoys reading, shopping, movies, cooking and spending time with her family.

 

Mike Dudley

Advisor Consultant | Team Aspen

Mike Dudley has been helping advisors succeed in the financial insurance industry since 2005. After studying finance and business management from Weber State University, Mike has focused on safe money options for retirement planning. Along with his extensive product knowledge and case design skills, Mike has helped advisors increase their annuity production with the many creative prospecting options that First Annuity offers. In his spare time, Mike enjoys all sports especially golf, and spending time in the beautiful outdoors of Colorado. Most importantly, Mike loves to spend time with his wife Tiffany and their four kids Maddie, Chloe, Sam, and Luke.

 

Dave Martinez

Advisor Consultant | Team Aspen

Since 1993, Dave has brought value to advisors by combining quality life and annuity products with excellent marketing solutions and personal sales coaching. He thrives on building long-lasting business relationships that bring measurable value and growth to advisors’ practices. On a daily basis, Dave is actively involved in promoting the business success of each of his valued advisors, serving as a true business partner who helps drive their profitability and business plans. Dave’s unique combination of field experience, business ownership, and wholesaling experience benefits field producers he works with throughout the United States, many of whom have become close friends. Dave participates actively in Project Rescue, working with adults and youth in Federal and local correctional facilities. He and his wife (and high-school sweetheart) Cheryl, have three wonderful children. He also loves all the outdoor activities that the beautiful state of Colorado has to offer.

Chad Kopser

Advisor Consultant | Team Aspen

Chad is dedicated to providing his advisors with the most comprehensive concierge service possible. Chad’s concierge service model has been developed through 16+ years of hard work, loyalty, and industry experiences, and is consistently applied as he naturally goes the “extra mile” for his advisors. Chad also prides himself on his ability to use his market knowledge to assist his advisors in becoming more successful with their business. As a University of Northern Colorado graduate with an emphasis in Finance, Chad has made valuable contributions within the industry as a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley, Portfolio Manager with the University of Northern Colorado, and as an independent bond and commodities trader. Working with Chad yields excellent product knowledge, and a deeper understanding as to how products will impact clients in different market environments. Having been an advisor himself, Chad has worked with a variety of clients and situations and is able to translate those experiences into great case design. Chad loves spending time with his wife Mindy and their two boys, Riley and Dresden. Any time he can spend with his family he takes full advantage of it, especially if it involves taking his boys golfing.

Grady Gorman

Advisor Consultant | Team Aspen

Grady Comes to First Annuity having been in personal production since 2008. Licensed in securities and insurance, Grady understands from personal experience the challenges in establishing and growing a client-centered financial practice. Moreover, he understands the importance in having a marketing organization that knows how to support an agency. Grady translates this experience and awareness to his work with advisors and is committed to service-centered relationships. Be it case design, product questions and updates, or how to market and employ powerful and memorable sales techniques, Grady is the go-to resource for advisor support. He takes great joy in the relationship aspect of business, and advisors who work with Grady feel confident in a business relationship that they can trust. Grady is a graduate of Northern Colorado where he played baseball and was first introduced to the insurance industry. In his free time, Grady enjoys athletics and traveling with his wife Bridget and their son Owen.

Michael Ladd

Advisor Consultant | Team Aspen

Michael, joins First Annuity with more than 15 years of experience in the customer service industry. He attended Colorado State University with a focus of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Finance, and Marketing. He brings a fresh new customer service approach to supporting his advisors that is unmatched by others in the industry. Michael believes in building long-term relationships through his customer service model and is excited to assist you with your case design and putting your clients first. In his spare time, Michael enjoys watching sports and spending time with friends and family in the beautiful outdoors of Colorado.

Team Telluride

Rachel Root

Telluride Team Lead & Contracting Specialist

Rachel has been in customer service for over 15 years. Her drive and commitment are evident and she uses her vast skills and experience to help advisors’ new business to issue at a rapid pace. Rachel is a problem solver, no matter how big or small, and advisors of Team Telluride rely on her for many things, most of all her dedication to getting things done and the “back office” assistance they need to enable them to grow their business. When she’s not working, Rachel loves to spend time with her husband and two children, Kaydence and Ryland. They spend a lot of time going back and forth from football and softball games and simply being together when all of the activities of raising a family are through.

 

Josh Karasow

Advisor Consultant | Team Telluride

Josh has been helping people succeed for nearly 15 years. Being the longest tenured Advisor Consultant at First Annuity, he has learned from a number of industry experts and applies his extensive training to his daily routine. His concierge service is rivaled by no one, be it morning, noon or night, including weekends. With each case deisgn, Josh makes sure the clients’ needs come first, setting other agendas aside. His genuine care and concern for his advisors’ success and his unquestioned reliability are just a few of the reasons his relationships reach over a decade. He loves what he does and it shows. Outside of the office, Josh loves spending time with his wife Nicole and their four children: Alexander, Isabella, Jackson and Zachary. Together they enjoy a number of sports, as well as camping and going to the park.

 

Tom Bradley

Advisor Consultant | Team Telluride

Tom Bradley is considered one of the most successful, rising annuity professionals in the country. Everyday he works with his advisors with the goal of helping them hit their highest potential. Tom has a drive to achieve at the highest level. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious and his marketing skills and product knowledge are unmatched. Tom’s personal service includes walking advisors through the first appointment, helping with case design, running any illustration needed, helping advisors earn credibility, and assisting them through the closing process. Tom is reliable in every aspect. Tom Bradley’s knowledge of the industry and his desire to be the best are just a couple of the reasons why advisors all over the country choose to work with him. When Tom is not helping his advisors, he is running around with his kids. Tom has two children, a boy and a girl, with his wife Jessica. He is a sports enthusiast and enjoys anything that is a competition.

Team Vail

Brooke Watson

Vail Team Lead & Contracting Specialist

Since 1993, Brooke has called Arvada, Colorado, her home. Coming from a small suburb northwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, she moved her family to Arvada to pursue her degree in Nursing. After completing the coursework, and three years on the nursing school waiting list, she decided to change directions and worked with a large payroll company as a specialist in the health insurance benefits department. The tools and knowledge she gained there allowed her to come aboard with First Annuity in February of 2009. She enjoys helping agents and their clients complete the necessary tools that will enable them to enjoy a healthy retirement. Her five children are a wonderful, daily reminder to keep her on track toward her own retirement goals.

Steve Gibson

Advisor Consultant | Team Vail

As a Certified Annuity Specialist (CAS), Steve has focused on the annuity market for his entire career. After graduating with a BS degree in Finance from BYU-Idaho, he worked as an advisor concentrating on index annuity sales and competitive intelligence for a Registered Investment Advisory firm in Sacramento, CA. Having worked on the retail side of the business, Steve knows how challenging an advisor’s job really is. He has experience working directly with consumers, which brings more to the table than a typical wholesaler. With a desire to help advisors, he moved to Colorado as a variable annuity internal wholesaler for Jackson National for two and a half years working in the wirehouse division. In competitive situations, Steve increases advisors’ odds of winning the case. Not just a product specialist, Steve offers the proactive and all-inclusive support that today’s advisors need to be successful. When Steve is not working, he enjoys boating at the lake and hiking in the summer with his two Labradors, Sadie and Cali, and snowboarding on powder days in the winter.

Nate Murphree

Advisor Consultant | Team Vail

Nate Murphree shows his agents a path to success. His approach to making agents successful is simple… know your market, don’t be afraid to try new ideas and don’t get stuck being negative! Nate has spent the last 10+ years working in different facets of the financial industry. He has been a independent advisor, a bank representative and a wholesaler for a major variable annuity company. This type of experience is rare to find and has helped his current advisors better understand the marketplace. While maintaining integrity, he has managed to be a top producer at each stop in his journey. Nate currently holds a life and health license and keeps a small book of business from referrals. He has also held both Series 6 and 63 licenses in the past but let them go, as he was tired of seeing his clients lose money in the market. If you are looking to bring your business to the next level and are open to new and fresh ideas, you need to talk with Nate. He brings an advantage to his advisors that few others can, and his advisors truly benefit from his expertise. Whether it’s running structured income plans, analyzing competitors’ products, or conference calls with advisors and prospects, Nate will bring value to your book of business.

Adam Ellzey

Advisor Consultant | Team Vail

After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a major in Business Management and a minor in Marketing, Adam moved to Vail, Colorado, where he received his unofficial “masters” in small business management. While in Vail, Adam was able to cultivate a very high level of customer service skills as well as the ability to attract new business with his tactical marketing methods. Adam has a passion for helping people reach their goals and making their dreams become a reality. He also understands that in today’s market, knowledge is not enough. It takes a delicate balance of talent and personality, a unique and aggressive marketing plan, and a keen understanding of today’s top products, all wrapped up with outstanding customer service to succeed in our competitive marketplace. When Adam is not at his desk helping his valued agents, he enjoys getting up the mountain with his best friend and wife, Heather. If it is winter they are snowboarding, and if it is summer they are golfing or taking the dogs on a hike.

Hary Sastro

Advisor Consultant | Team Vail

Hary has created and built long-lasting relationships with numerous advisors by understanding and providing solutions to the issues they face on a daily basis. He is very adept at case design and has the ability to listen and ask the right questions which, in turn, gets to the heart of what is important to clients. Hary has spent the past 16 years as a financial advisor, relationship manager, and wholesaler for some of the leading financial services corporations. By being results-focused and having a wide range of expertise in marketing, retirement income planning, and sales techniques, he has enhanced advisors’ practices to a new level of success. Hary currently holds a life, variable, and health insurance license and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor – CRPC® designation. When he isn’t in the office, you can find him enjoying time with his wife Tiffany, and their two dogs. He and his wife enjoy traveling, eating at favorite restaurants, and going to the movies.

Business Development

Michele Schuh

Business Development Manager

For over 20 years, Michele has focused on marketing in the life insurance and annuity business. In partnership with her husband until his recent retirement, Michele focused on all aspects of marketing their practice, including seminars, internet marketing and First Annuity’s Radio program. She is a licensed insurance agent in the state of Florida.

Over the years in the industry she has learned, “One thing we know for sure is that change is certain.” Michele knows firsthand the importance of marketing your business and understands the challenges agents face in today’s market. Her goal is to introduce agents nationwide to the marketing programs available at First Annuity and partner them with one of First Annuity’s experienced Advisor Consultants that will help take their business to the next level. Her goal is to provide specific marketing ideas that advisors can apply today to increase existing business and become educated about how First Annuity’s agents across the country are taking their businesses to the next level.

Michele resides in the sunny state of Florida with her husband, two children and two beautiful grandsons who keep her life full of surprises!

Life Division

Paige Martinez

Case Manager | Life Division

Paige is First Annuity’s Life Insurance Case Manager and started as a contracting specialist two years ago with our team. She continues to expand her role and has extensive knowledge in our current carriers and products, including Indexed Universal Life, Guaranteed Universal Life, Term, Single Premium Whole Life, Simplified Issue and Guaranteed Issue products. Paige answers a myriad number of product questions as well as running illustrations, quotes and comparisons on all of First Annuity’s life products. She collaborates with underwriters daily to ensure that all cases processed through our office have a fair chance at the best approval rating possible. Paige takes tremendous pride in being able to help agents with all of their Life Insurance needs. A Colorado native, Paige currently lives in Wheat Ridge with her husband and two children. In her extra time, Paige enjoys being outdoors and exploring the beauty Colorado has to offer.

Michele Hubbard

Case Assistant | Life Division

Michele began her career in the insurance industry underwriting Life and Health for State Farm after earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Colorado State University and a paralegal certificate from the Denver Paralegal Institute. She went on to work for the Wyoming office of Medicaid as a Customer Services Coordinator, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) as a Jr. Pension Administrator, and TIAA-CREF as a National Financial Consultant. She has spent two decades helping folks understand their insurance and/or annuity benefits and how to get the most out of their plans. Michele is excited to have joined the Life Division Team here at First Annuity and looks forward to assisting our agent’s with their contracting needs. As a Colorado native, Michele loves not only the beauty of the Colorado outdoors, but also the diverse cultural offerings of the greater Denver metro area. She currently lives in Westminster with her two best friends, her husband and their dog.

Marketing Division

Lisa McLaughlin

Marketing Director

Lisa began her career in the marketing industry upon completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Journalism with a minor in English from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, in 1989. Her experience spans more than two decades and includes positions as copy editor and freelance writer with Gannett newspapers and military publishers, owning two successful marketing and web design companies across multiple states, building a clientele and managing a full-cycle desk as a professional recruiter, and servicing clients together with her husband and financial advisor under a national broker-dealer and then within his independent RIA firm. Lisa and her husband and two daughters live in Lakewood, Colorado, and enjoy all kinds of seasonal activities every chance they get.

Denise Cavalli

Marketing Coordinator

Denise comes to First Annuity with more than a combined 8 years of experience in customer service and administrative support. She attended University of Northern Colorado where she studied psychology and criminal justice. She previously worked at a psychiatrist office where she decided to change paths to marketing instead. Denise is a Colorado native, born in Broomfield and currently living in Denver. When Denise isn’t working, she enjoys traveling and being outdoors and spending time with her family, and friends.

Tevun Sellers

Marketing Assistant

Tevun came to First Annuity in operations and data entry and has expanded her role and skills to provide support in all facets of First Annuity’s Marketing Division. Her care for others and attention to details are qualities that help her build relationships with agents and advisors all across the country who work with First Annuity. Tevun’s experience includes home care for the elderly and being a caregiver at a memory care facility. Although she was raised in Colorado, she was accepted to Northern Michigan University on a soccer scholarship and lived there for just under three years before coming back to Colorado and pursuing her passion for nursing at Metropolitan State University of Denver. When she has spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, and the company of family and friends.

Administrative Support

Ingrid Alpenfels

HR & Accounting

Ingrid was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, and graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Colorado. After obtaining her CPA license from the State of Colorado, Ingrid worked in the field of oil and gas accounting for five years, then with a Denver CPA firm for eight years, specializing in SEC audits of publicly-held firms. Her experience working with businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries allowed Ingrid to form her own accounting consulting business. She also maintains a committed yoga practice which helps her stay fit and focused. Ingrid is blessed with a son and a “ridiculous number of pets” to keep her busy.

Michelle Aragon

Client Services Manager for Chad Kopser

Michelle has more than 20 years of experience working in the mortgage and banking industry as a processor, administrator, and most recently as a home loan underwriter. She holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and speaks fluent Spanish. She brings a broad knowledge of the financial industry, enjoys developing relationships, creating smiles, making a difference and strives to provide a memorable client experience on a daily basis. Michelle has lived in Colorado for 14 years. She lives in Arvada with her daughter and enjoys yoga, baking, reading and visiting museums.

Karla Cutshaw

Front Desk Administrator

Karla has been in the customer service industry for the past five years, working with the elderly. She also has her certificate in culinary arts and is planning on continuing her education to become a Medical Technician. She joins First Annuity with a heart for service to others and is passionate in everything she does. Karla grew up in the Philippines and moved to Colorado in 2012, which she now calls home. When she’s not working, she likes to spend time outdoors and with family and friends.

Talk with your Advisor Consultant today! 888.758.7305