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Ameritas / About Us / Leadership

Ameritas Leadership Team

Ameritas has a strong leadership team dedicated to helping our customers, honoring our company values and driving business growth.

William W. “Bill” Lester

William W. “Bill” Lester

President and Chief Executive Officer, Ameritas

Bill Lester is a Nebraska native with a business degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Lester holds the CFA (Chartered Financial A...Read More

William W. “Bill” Lester

William W. “Bill” Lester

President and Chief Executive Officer, Ameritas

Bill Lester is a Nebraska native with a business degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Lester holds the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute) designations.

Lester began his career with Ameritas in 1983 as a securities analyst and has held key positions throughout the organization. He was elected president & chief executive officer of Ameritas in January 2020.

He serves on the board of directors of the Ameritas Mutual Holding Company and Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. Lester is a member of the Ameritas Executive and Ameritas Finance committees. Lester also serves on the board of directors for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI); Ameritas Investment Partners, LLC; and is chair of Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of New York board.

Among his many activities in the community, he is chair of the Bryan Health System board of trustees, a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation, serves on the board of advisors for the Nebraska Safety Council and is a board member serving on the executive committee for the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

Lester also serves on the board of directors of Universal Surety Company/Inland Insurance Company and the advisory board of U.S. Bank of Lincoln. He also is a member of the CFA Institute.

Leadership Team

Individual Division

Ryan C. Beasley

Ryan C. Beasley

Executive Vice President – Individual Division, Ameritas

Ryan Beasley was born in San Antonio, Texas, and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in business a...Read More

Ryan C. Beasley

Ryan C. Beasley

Executive Vice President – Individual Division, Ameritas

Ryan Beasley was born in San Antonio, Texas, and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in business administration management from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, and a Master of Science in financial services from the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Beasley holds the professional designations Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant, and LIMRA Leadership Institute Fellow, among other professional designations and licenses.

Beasley began his career with Ameritas in 2015 as senior vice president – shared distribution. He has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for over 20 years.

Beasley serves on the board of directors for Ameritas Advisory Services, LLC; Ameritas Investment Company, LLC; Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of New York; and is chair of Variable Contract Agency, LLC. He is a member of NAIFA and the Financial Planning Association.

Robert M. “Bob” Jurgensmeier

Robert M. “Bob” Jurgensmeier

Executive Vice President – Independent Distribution And Investments, Ameritas

Bob Jurgensmeier is a Hastings, Nebraska, native. He earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska...Read More

Robert M. “Bob” Jurgensmeier

Robert M. “Bob” Jurgensmeier

Executive Vice President – Independent Distribution And Investments, Ameritas

Bob Jurgensmeier is a Hastings, Nebraska, native. He earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Jurgensmeier holds the professional designation Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

He has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for over 25 years. He began his career with Ameritas in 2012 as senior vice president and chief actuary – individual division.

Jurgensmeier serves on the boards of CHI Health St. Elizabeth Hospital and CHI Nebraska Heart Hospital. He is also a member and past president of the Nebraska Actuaries Club.

Kurt J. Shallow

Kurt J. Shallow

Senior Vice President – Agency and Advisor Distribution, Ameritas, and President, Ameritas Investment Company, LLC / Ameritas Advisory Services, LLC

Kurt Shallow is a Boston, Massachusetts, native. He earned a Bachelor of Science in public communication and journalism from Boston Universi...Read More

Kurt J. Shallow

Kurt J. Shallow

Senior Vice President – Agency and Advisor Distribution, Ameritas, and President, Ameritas Investment Company, LLC / Ameritas Advisory Services, LLC

Kurt Shallow is a Boston, Massachusetts, native. He earned a Bachelor of Science in public communication and journalism from Boston University. Shallow holds the FINRA Series 7 and 24 securities licenses.

Shallow serves on the distribution committee of the American Council of Life Insurers and on the board of directors and the president’s advisory committee for the American College of Financial Services.

He also serves on the Variable Contract Agency, LLC board of directors and is chair of Ameritas Advisory Services, LLC and Ameritas Investment Company, LLC. He is a member of the Industry Association Alignment committee and LIMRA’s Distribution Leaders Roundtable.

Shallow joined Ameritas in 2019. He has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for over 30 years.

Steven J. “Steve” Valerius

Steven J. “Steve” Valerius

Senior Vice President – Individual Division, Ameritas

Steve Valerius is a Cincinnati, Ohio, native. He earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Cincinnati. ...Read More

Steven J. “Steve” Valerius

Steven J. “Steve” Valerius

Senior Vice President – Individual Division, Ameritas

Steve Valerius is a Cincinnati, Ohio, native. He earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Cincinnati. Valerius holds the FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute) designation.

Valerius began his career with Union Central in 1986 as an assistant controller and held positions throughout the organization, including president of The Union Central Life Insurance Company. Union Central merged with Ameritas in 2015.

Valerius serves on the president’s advisory council for The American College and is a University of Cincinnati College of Business advisory council member.

He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Ohio Society of CPAs, NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors), and LOMA (Life Office Management Association).

Retirement Plans Division

James M. “Jim” Kais

James M. “Jim” Kais

Senior Vice President – Retirement Plans Division, Ameritas

Jim Kais is a Miami Beach, Florida, native. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics and business administration from Ursinus College in Co...Read More

James M. “Jim” Kais

James M. “Jim” Kais

Senior Vice President – Retirement Plans Division, Ameritas

Jim Kais is a Miami Beach, Florida, native. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics and business administration from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Kais holds the FINRA Series 6, 63 and 26 securities licenses.

Kais began his career with Ameritas in 2018. He has worked in the insurance and financial services industry since 1995.

In 2016, he received an award for demonstrating exceptional leadership traits and achieving business results. He has testified before Congress as a policy and subject matter expert on pooled retirement plans, fiduciary regulations and state-run retirement plans.

Kais serves on the advisory board of the SPARK Institute and the retirement plans committee of the American Council of Life Insurers. He is a member of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO).

Group Division

Karen M. Gustin

Karen M. Gustin

Executive Vice President – Group Division, Ameritas

Karen Gustin is a Blair, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Gustin holds the ...Read More

Karen M. Gustin

Karen M. Gustin

Executive Vice President – Group Division, Ameritas

Karen Gustin is a Blair, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Gustin holds the LLIF (LIMRA Leadership Institute Fellow) designation.

Gustin began her career with Ameritas in 1983 as a claim examiner trainee and has held key positions throughout the organization. She was elected executive vice president of the group division in 2016.

She serves on the board of directors for Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of New York and Cause Collective and is chair of Dental Select, LLC. Gustin received the Gabriel Award from the National Association of Dental Plans in 2006.

Patrick D. “Drew” Fleming

Patrick D. “Drew” Fleming

Senior Vice President, Distribution and National Partners – Group Division, Ameritas

Drew Fleming is a Atlanta, Georgia, native with a Bachelor of Engineering in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University in Nashville,...Read More

Patrick D. “Drew” Fleming

Patrick D. “Drew” Fleming

Senior Vice President, Distribution and National Partners – Group Division, Ameritas

Drew Fleming is a Atlanta, Georgia, native with a Bachelor of Engineering in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Fleming has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for almost 30 years. He began his career with Ameritas in 1993 as a group representative.

He serves on the advisory committee for the Council of Insurance Company Executives. Fleming is also a mentor and fundraiser for both the Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School and Mustard Seed Communities.

Bruce E. Mieth

Bruce E. Mieth

Senior Vice President, Group Operations – Group Division, Ameritas

Bruce Mieth is a Hebron, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Arts in computer science from Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska, and a Mas...Read More

Bruce E. Mieth

Bruce E. Mieth

Senior Vice President, Group Operations – Group Division, Ameritas

Bruce Mieth is a Hebron, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Arts in computer science from Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska, and a Master of Business Administration and a doctorate in finance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Mieth began his career with Ameritas in 2000 as assistant vice president – group planning and business systems. He was elected senior vice president – group operations in 2009.

He serves on the Dental Select, LLC board of directors.

Kelly J. Wieseler

Kelly J. Wieseler

Senior Vice President, Group Chief Actuary and Underwriting – Group Division, Ameritas

Kelly Wieseler is a St. Helena, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Science in actuarial science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wi...Read More

Kelly J. Wieseler

Kelly J. Wieseler

Senior Vice President, Group Chief Actuary and Underwriting – Group Division, Ameritas

Kelly Wieseler is a St. Helena, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Science in actuarial science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wieseler holds the FSA (Fellow of the Society of Actuaries), MAAA (Member, American Academy of Actuaries) and LLIF (LIMRA Leader Institute Fellow) designations.

He began his career with Ameritas in 1997 as an actuarial associate and has held key positions in the organization. He was elected senior vice president – group chief actuary and underwriting for Ameritas in 2014.

Wieseler serves on the board of directors and the executive and finance committees and is treasurer of the Lincoln YMCA. He is also a management committee member for the Fallbrook YMCA.

He is a member of the Nebraska Actuaries Club and a member of the Society of Actuaries health committee.

Ameritas Investment Partners

James “Jim” Mikus

James “Jim” Mikus

Senior Vice President – Chief Investment Officer, Ameritas, and Ameritas Investment Partners President and Chief Executive Officer

Jim Mikus is a Reading, Pennsylvania, native who earned a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He holds t...Read More

James “Jim” Mikus

James “Jim” Mikus

Senior Vice President – Chief Investment Officer, Ameritas, and Ameritas Investment Partners President and Chief Executive Officer

Jim Mikus is a Reading, Pennsylvania, native who earned a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He holds the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute) designations.

Mikus began his career with Ameritas in 1986 as a research assistant and has held key positions in the organization. He was elected president and chief executive officer of Ameritas Investment Partners in 2014.

Mikus serves on the board of directors for Griffin Realty, LLC and is chair of Ameritas Investment Partners, Inc.

He is a past president and member of the CFA Society of Nebraska.

Enterprise Services

Susan K. “Sue” Wilkinson

Susan K. “Sue” Wilkinson

Executive Vice President – Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Ameritas

Sue Wilkinson is a Petersburg, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincol...Read More

Susan K. “Sue” Wilkinson

Susan K. “Sue” Wilkinson

Executive Vice President – Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Ameritas

Sue Wilkinson is a Petersburg, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Wilkinson began her career with Ameritas in 1995 as a corporate accountant and has held key leadership roles throughout the organization. She was elected executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer in 2018.

She serves on the board of directors for Bryan College of Health Sciences, Lincoln Chamber Economic Development Corp., Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Foundation and each Ameritas subsidiary.

Wilkinson is an audit committee member of the Diocese of Lincoln and University of Nebraska Foundation and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business. She is also a member of the Nebraska Society of CPAs and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Wilkinson was awarded the 2020 Outstanding CPA in Business & Industry from the Nebraska Society of CPAs. She was inducted into the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Accountancy Hall of Fame in 2017 and was a recipient of the Young Alumni Achievement Award from the Nebraska Alumni Association in 2008. Wilkinson was also awarded the “40 Under 40 Award” from the Lincoln Business Journal in 2006.

Laura A. Fender

Laura A. Fender

Senior Vice President – Controller, Ameritas

Laura Fender is an Iowa native with a Bachelor of Science in business administration accountancy from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebrask...Read More

Laura A. Fender

Laura A. Fender

Senior Vice President – Controller, Ameritas

Laura Fender is an Iowa native with a Bachelor of Science in business administration accountancy from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Fender has worked in the insurance and finance industry for over 30 years. She began her career with Ameritas in 2020 as senior vice president, controller.

She serves on the board for Completely Kids, Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska and Financial Executives International Omaha.

Fender is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Nebraska Society of CPAs.

Brent F. Korte

Brent F. Korte

Senior Vice President – Chief Marketing Officer, Ameritas

Brent Korte is a Wisconsin native with a bachelor’s degree in global studies and a Master of Business Administration from the University o...Read More

Brent F. Korte

Brent F. Korte

Senior Vice President – Chief Marketing Officer, Ameritas

Brent Korte is a Wisconsin native with a bachelor’s degree in global studies and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Washington Foster School of Business in Seattle, Washington.

Korte has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for over 25 years. He was elected senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Ameritas in 2015.

He serves on the board of directors for Ameritas Investment Company, LLC; Ameritas Advisory Services, LLC; Variable Contract Agency, LLC; Lied Center for Performing Arts; and Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He also serves on the advisory board for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Business marketing department.

Korte is a member of the American Marketing Association and the Global Growth CMO Council of the Association of National Advertisers.

Korte has received multiple awards in the industry in advertising and marketing communications.

Christine M. “Christy” Neighbors

Christine M. “Christy” Neighbors

Senior Vice President – General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Ameritas

Christy Neighbors is a Nebraska native with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lin...Read More

Christine M. “Christy” Neighbors

Christine M. “Christy” Neighbors

Senior Vice President – General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Ameritas

Christy Neighbors is a Nebraska native with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law.

Neighbors has practiced law for over 25 years. She began he career with Ameritas in 2017 as senior vice president and assistant secretary of Ameritas Mutual Holding Company, and senior vice president and general counsel of Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. and Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of New York. She has held several key positions throughout the company She was elected senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Ameritas Mutual Holding Company in 2020.

She serves as the ACLI Legal Section chair and is secretary and board member of the Nebraska Insurance Federation.

Neighbors is a recipient of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners – Dineen Award. She holds the ALMI (Associate, Life Management Institute) professional designation. Neighbors also holds the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners professional insurance regulator designation.

April L. Rimpley

April L. Rimpley

Senior Vice President – Human Resources, Ameritas

April Rimpley is a Nebraska native with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. She also earned a Mast...Read More

April L. Rimpley

April L. Rimpley

Senior Vice President – Human Resources, Ameritas

April Rimpley is a Nebraska native with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. She also earned a Master of Arts in management with an emphasis in leadership from Doane University in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Rimpley began her career with Ameritas in 1998 as a client service representative and has held several key positions throughout the organization. She was elected senior vice president of human resources in 2017.

She serves on the board of directors for Continuum EAP, the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County and is chairperson of the Capital Humane Society board.

Rimpley received the Benjamin D. Ward Award for Excellence in Dental EDI in 2015. She also received the Ameritas Senior Sales Council Award in 2005.

She holds the following professional designations: LLIF (LIMRA Leadership Institute Fellow), FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute), ACS (LOMA Associate in Customer Service), Modern CHRO (Cornell University ILR School), Korn Ferry 360 Feedback Facilitation and Coaching, and Korn Ferry Leadership Architect.

David A. “Dave” Voelker

David A. “Dave” Voelker

Senior Vice President, Transformation Office, Ameritas

Dave Voelker is a Kentucky native with a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

...Read More

David A. “Dave” Voelker

David A. “Dave” Voelker

Senior Vice President, Transformation Office, Ameritas

Dave Voelker is a Kentucky native with a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

Voelker began his career with Ameritas in 2013 as vice president of information technology. He has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for over 25 years.

He is a member of FTPA (FinTech Professionals Association), ITA (Insurance Technology Association) and the Novarica Research Council.

Carrie C. Weber

Carrie C. Weber

Senior Vice President – Chief Compliance and Risk Officer, Ameritas

Carrie Weber is a Clatonia, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Li...Read More

Carrie C. Weber

Carrie C. Weber

Senior Vice President – Chief Compliance and Risk Officer, Ameritas

Carrie Weber is a Clatonia, Nebraska, native with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Weber has worked in the insurance and financial service industry nearly 25 years. She began her career with Ameritas in 2013 as vice president – internal audit.

She serves as the vice chair of Make-A-Wish Nebraska’s board of directors and is chair of the Arbor Bank board’s audit committee. Weber also serves on the Sargasso board of directors and is chair of the audit & finance committee and a member of the executive committee.

Weber is a member of the Nebraska Society of CPAs, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and The Institute of Internal Auditors. She holds the professional designations CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and ALMI (Associate, Life Management Institute).

Linda A. Whitmire

Linda A. Whitmire

Senior Vice President, Chief Actuary – Corporate, Ameritas

Linda Whitmire is an Omaha native with a Bachelor of Science in actuarial science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Whitmire began...Read More

Linda A. Whitmire

Linda A. Whitmire

Senior Vice President, Chief Actuary – Corporate, Ameritas

Linda Whitmire is an Omaha native with a Bachelor of Science in actuarial science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Whitmire began her career with Ameritas in 1986 while still an actuarial student and began working full-time as an actuarial trainee in 1988. She was elected senior vice president, chief actuary for Ameritas in 2013.

She serves as vice chair of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Actuarial Science Advisory Board and is a Nebraska Actuaries Club past president. Whitmire is a Leadership Lincoln Class XXI graduate and holds the FSA (Fellow of the Society of Actuaries) and MAAA (Member of the American Academy of Actuaries) professional designations.

Richard A. “Rich” Wiedenbeck

Richard A. “Rich” Wiedenbeck

Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Ameritas

Rich Wiedenbeck was born in California and lived in 26 states and countries before settling in Nebraska. He graduated with an associate degr...Read More

Richard A. “Rich” Wiedenbeck

Richard A. “Rich” Wiedenbeck

Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Ameritas

Rich Wiedenbeck was born in California and lived in 26 states and countries before settling in Nebraska. He graduated with an associate degree in information systems from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Alameda University in Boise, Idaho. He also obtained a master’s degree in project management from Stratford University in Falls Church, Virginia.

Wiedenbeck has worked in information technology for over 30 years with experiences in the defense, manufacturing, consulting and software industries. He began his career with Ameritas in 2010 as vice president of information technology. Wiedenbeck was elected senior vice president and chief information officer in 2013.

Wiedenbeck serves on the Forrester Client Advisory Board, Novarica Technology Research Council, the VC/PE Advisory Council for Insurtech and the board of directors for Dental Select, LLC. He is also a member of the American Management Association and Society of American Magicians.

He was inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame in 2020.

Board of Directors

James P. “Jim” Abel

James P. “Jim” Abel

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NEBCO, Inc.

Jim Abel earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. He began his career at NEBCO...Read More

James P. “Jim” Abel

James P. “Jim” Abel

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NEBCO, Inc.

Jim Abel earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. He began his career at NEBCO during his high school years, working summers in the company’s concrete pipe plant. Abel continued working in different areas of the company until his responsibilities grew into management. He succeeded his father as President of NEBCO in 1985. In 1998, Abel was named CEO and Chairman of the Board of NEBCO.

He serves as chair of the board of directors for the Ameritas Mutual Holding Company and Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. Abel is also chair of the Ameritas Executive and Ameritas Nominating & Corporate Governance committees. He is a member of the Ameritas Compensation Committee.

Abel also serves on the Nelnet board of directors and is the president and chairman of the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation.

In 2008, Abel was elected to the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame. The University of Nebraska Foundation selected Abel for its Perry Branch Award for Distinguished Service, and he was named the 2011 Outstanding Philanthropist by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Nebraska Chapter. Abel was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law from Nebraska Wesleyan University.

John S. “Sid” Dinsdale