Our Team

Benjamin R. PutmanBenjamin R. Putman, CFP®, CPA, CDFA®, PFS

Financial Advisor

As a Wealth Manager with over 30 years of experience, Ben has an exceptional level of financial diversity and expertise that complements his ability to analyze and solve complicated financial issues. He is versed in the areas of advanced tax, estate, retirement and succession planning. Ben’s expertise extends to investment strategies, ESOPs, CRTs, 401k/DB plans, 1031/ 1035 exchanges and other advance financial techniques. He earned his BS in Business from the University of Southern California and holds the following licenses: Life and Health insurance license (0C82676), Series 7, 63, 65. In his spare time, Ben enjoys golf, road and mountain biking, rock climbing, and pretty much any outdoor activity.

Janie StrasserJanie Strasser, CFP®, CPA, CDFA®, MBA

Financial Advisor

Janie comes to Empirical with over 20 years of experience in finance with an expertise in both financial and tax planning as the co-owner and managing partner of Ponderosa Wealth Management. Janie earned her Bachelor of Science and her MBA at Arizona State University. After becoming a Certified Public Accountant, she was employed with Arthur Andersen in their business consulting division. In 2002, Janie earned her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and takes pride in assisting her clients in making smart decisions with their money. She contributes time helping women living at the Spokane St. Margaret’s Women’s Shelter with financial budgeting. During her free time, Janie enjoys mountain biking, fishing and spending time her husband and four children.

Kenneth R. SmithKenneth R. Smith, CFP®, MS

Financial Advisor

Ken is the Chief Executive Officer of Empirical Wealth Management. He guides the firm’s long-term strategy and is a senior financial advisor. He holds a Master of Science in Financial Analysis and received his B.S. from the University of Arizona with a double major in finance and accounting. Ken is passionate about educating individuals on how to become smarter investors. He hosted an informative financial radio show titled “Empirical Investing Radio” on VoiceAmerica and has designed a proprietary program “Empirical Income Planner” to help individuals plan for retirement. Ken is writing a book on personal finance, “The Empirical Approach to Building Wealth,” intended to help individual investors make intelligent financial decisions.

Ethan BrogaEthan Broga, CFP®, MS

Financial Advisor

As a partner with Empirical Wealth Management, Ethan works to develop, implement and monitor sound financial strategies designed to grow and protect the wealth of individuals, families and non-profit organizations. Ethan is the head of the Financial Planning Committee which oversees the development and expertise of Empirical’s financial planning recommendations. Rather than just another “financial advisor,” Ethan describes his primary role as that of a trusted “Personal Financial Advocate” who weighs the impact of each financial decision within the unique context of each client’s overall financial plan. Ethan is a Northwest native who graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in finance. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with a Master’s Degree in Financial Planning and has been in the financial industry since 1998. Ethan lives in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle with his wife Corie and his two children Carsen and True.

Lorne EnquistLorne Enquist, CPA/PFS, MPAcc

Financial Advisor

As a partner with Empirical, Lorne manages portfolios and shares his tax consulting experience for strategic tax planning for Empirical clients. Lorne has a combined 15 years of experience advising his clients on their tax and financial affairs. Lorne is a member of the financial planning committee which develops innovative planning solutions for clients. Lorne works with clients to prepare customized financial plans based on their unique needs, resources and goals. He helps them implement the plan with practical strategies, in order to navigate the complexities of their financial lives, building on strengths and addressing weaknesses. He provides ongoing monitoring and revising to meet their goals as well as their lifestyle. Lorne is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He received a Personal Financial Specialist certification from the AICPA. Lorne graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with an Accounting emphasis. He continued his studies at UW to earn his Masters of Professional Accounting in Taxation (MPAcc). Lorne enjoys spending time with his wife Tyera, his daughter Maggie and son Jackson. In the summer, the Enquist family heads to the beach while in colder months they are often seen among the spectators at several local football games.

Michael KellyMichael Kelly, CFA®, CFP®, EA, MS

Financial Advisor

As the Chief Investment Officer, Michael leads Empirical’s investment committee and is responsible for guiding and monitoring Empirical’s investment strategies. Michael also works directly with clients by building personalized solutions to help them achieve their financial goals. Michael’s career includes serving as an Institutional Portfolio Specialist and as a Senior Equity Research Analyst. He has co-authored a book discussing the details and complexities of investing in Healthcare equities. Michael graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing and earned a Master’s degree in Finance from Saint Xavier University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and an IRS Enrolled Agent. Michael lives in Camas, Washington and enjoys spending time with his wife Megan and two sons, Quinn and Max. Michael also serves as a Board Member of the Portland Tax Forum and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the CFA Society of Portland.

Shan Zubair
Shan Zubair, CFP®, MS

Financial Advisor
As a financial advisor, Shan works closely with clients to develop and manage a goals-based investment, tax and cash flow strategy. Having been with the firm since 2007, he has extensive knowledge in the implementation of the firm’s investment and financial planning solutions. Originally from Southern California, Shan has been in the Seattle area for the last 25 years where he graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and a Master of Science in Finance degree. Shan is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional, a Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC®) and holds a business development certification from the University of Washington. Shan is active in his community, and is a board member of Washington DECA and the KidsQuest Children’s Museum. When Shan is not busy helping clients achieve their goals, he enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife, kids, and friends.

Joe ConachyJoe Conachy, CFP®

Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor with over 15 years of experience, Joe values the relationships he has established with his clients. He is well versed in helping clients create tax-efficient strategies, diversify concentrated stock positions, and legacy planning. Joe is passionate about focusing on his clients’ goals and executing strategies that optimize wealth over multiple lifetimes. Joe graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. He lives in West Linn, Oregon and enjoys golf, the outdoors and spending time with his wife and two sons.

Elliott AppelElliott Appel, CFP®, CLU®

Financial Advisor

Elliott is a financial advisor with Empirical Wealth Management working with clients to explore, craft, and execute investment, tax, and cash flow planning strategies to meet their goals. Through the direction of the partners, Elliott has become well-versed in analyzing opportunities to maximize and protect wealth. He is passionate about behavioral finance and helping clients learn how they can make better financial decisions to improve their lives. Elliott is a CFP® professional and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Seattle University with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with a Finance Major. Outside of the office, Elliott enjoys playing tennis, hiking Washington trails, and cooking.

Jason SulkoskyJason Sulkosky, CFP®

Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor for over 15 years, Jason is committed to building close relationships with his clients. He values a pleasant wealth management experience that is built on a foundation of clear communication, trust and setting proper expectations. Having worked with both individual clients and 401k plan sponsors, Jason is well versed with formulating investment and planning strategies to successfully meet his client’s goals. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in business finance from University of Washington Foster School of business and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Jason enjoys spending time with his wife Arianna and playing a round of golf when Washington weather permits.

Donovan RitterDonovan Ritter, CLU®, ChFC®

Financial Advisor

Donovan is a financial advisor working with clients predominantly in the Orange and Los Angeles County metro area. He has worked with individual and employer sponsored retirement plan investors since 1996. Donovan takes time to get to know his clients personally, to better understand their financial needs and help them achieve their goals. He assists his clients in developing and implementing financial strategies to protect and grow their wealth. Donovan graduated from the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Marketing & Finance. He has received the CLU® Chartered Life Underwriter and ChFC ® Chartered Financial Consultant designations from The American College. In his spare time, Donovan enjoys southern California’s hiking, skiing and surfing and spending time with his family and friends. Donovan is a native of Orange County, where he lives with his wife, daughter and lab puppy.

Jeannie PedersenJeannie Pedersen, AAMS®

Financial Advisor

Jeannie is a financial advisor working with clients in the Portland area and throughout the Northwest. She has worked with individual investors since 1998. Jeannie enjoys getting to know each of her clients well and helping them to achieve their financial goals. Jeannie assists her clients in developing and implementing financial strategies to protect and grow their wealth. Jeannie graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Financial Economics and a minor in Business. In her spare time, Jeannie enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends. Jeannie is a native of Portland, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Denise S. LeeDenise S. Lee, CFP®

Financial Advisor

Denise assists in analyzing clients’ overall financial condition and developing customized recommendations. She helps integrate financial planning and investment management to tailor to clients’ needs. Denise’s goal is to help those she serves to have the clarity and confidence to focus on the things that matter most to them. Denise graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Prior to wealth management, Denise started her career in public accounting at the Big 4, specializing in ultra-high net worth individuals and their closely held entities. In her spare time, Denise enjoys staying active by hiking, running, and golfing. She has earned a black belt in Taekwondo and grew up horseback riding. During the weekends, Denise enjoys trying new restaurants and spending time with friends and family.

Brian ReedBrian Reed, MS

Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor at Empirical Wealth Management, Brian works to develop personalized financial planning strategies for our clients focusing on tax minimization, wealth management, and cash flow analysis. Brian is passionate about learning each client’s retirement goals and values to create a comprehensive financial plan while maximizing and protecting their wealth. With his prior experience as a portfolio manager, Brian is well versed in the relationship between financial planning and investment management and how to best implement each client specific strategy. Brian graduated from Seattle University with a Masters of Finance and also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Washington. In his free time Brian enjoys fly fishing and camping throughout the greater northwest.

Aaron WilkinsonAaron Wilkinson, MBA

Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor with Empirical Wealth Management, Aaron is dedicated to providing exceptional service to his Alaskan clients. Aaron is a third-generation Alaskan with strong ties to the Anchorage community, as well as having close family and business relationships throughout Alaska. With a background in banking and wealth management, Aaron is passionate about finding tailored solutions to assist clients in navigating the complexities of their financial lives. Working summers in Alaska’s construction industry helped support Aaron through his education at Western Washington University, where he received his BA in Economics and Political Science. He later earned his MBA from the University of Maryland. In his free time, Aaron enjoys exploring and photographing the great Alaskan outdoors while hiking, camping, and fishing with his wife and son.

Kenneth Chavis IVKenneth Chavis IV

Associate Financial Advisor

As an Associate Financial Advisor, Kenneth works diligently with Empirical’s financial advisors to execute the various aspects of clients’ financial plans and investment strategies. Kenneth also assists in identifying opportunities related to financial planning, tax minimization, and provides clients with exceptional service. Kenneth graduated summa cum laude from Hawaii Pacific University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics. Kenneth is studying to become a Certified Financial Planner™ and plans to sit for the exam in 2018. When he is not in the office, Kenneth enjoys hiking, basketball and listening to live music.

Michael RandallMichael Randall

Associate Financial Advisor

As an Associate Financial Advisor, Michael provides direct support to our financial advisors and their clients. Michael assists with identifying opportunities relating to tax minimization, financial planning, and investment management. Additionally, he helps prepare client reviews and provides proactive support to help clients in reaching their goals. Michael graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Economics. He enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with his dogs, kayaking, and watching sports in his free time.

Jim JonesJames A. Jones II, JD, CPA, MPAcc

Chief Compliance Officer | Director of Tax and Wealth Transfer

As Chief Compliance Officer, Jim oversees the development and execution of company policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. Jim also serves as Director of Tax and Wealth Transfer, applying his tax and legal expertise to guide the firm’s tax planning and wealth transfer strategies. He provides proactive tax planning solutions to high net worth individuals, families, and their businesses. Jim works with clients to develop estate plans and applies advanced estate and gift tax planning techniques in accordance with each client’s needs. Jim also provides his expertise as a member of the Financial Planning Committee, which develops innovative planning solutions for clients. Jim received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting, as well as a Masters of Professional Accounting from the University of Washington. Jim later continued his studies at the University of Washington School of Law, earning his law degree. Jim is a licensed CPA and a member of the Washington State Bar. Outside of the office, Jim is a member of the Issaquah Little League Board of Directors, serving as the Player Agent for the Competitive Divisions and loves spending time with his wife, Katie, and their two sons, James and Liam.

Paul OhainlePaul Ohainle, JD, LL.M

Director of Estate Planning

As Director of Estate Planning, Paul applies his estate planning experience from California and Washington to guide the firm’s wealth transfer strategies in relation to estate tax and gift tax planning. Paul received a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Economics from the University California, Berkeley, while also studying history and law at Trinity College Dublin and economics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Paul obtained his juris doctorate (JD) from the University of California, Davis and his Masters of Laws (LL.M) in Taxation from the University of Washington. Paul is a member of the California State Bar and the Washington State Bar. Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, Molly, daughter, Alice, twin sons, Dash and Lydon, and Bernese Mountain Dog, Joe. In the winter, the Ohainles enjoy skiing in the Pacific Northwest and a near annual trip to Arizona for Spring Training. In the summers, the Ohainles enjoy hiking, camping, and fishing.

Lorne EnquistLorne Enquist, CPA/PFS, MPAcc

Chief Financial Officer | Principal | Financial Advisor

As a partner with Empirical, Lorne manages portfolios and shares his tax consulting experience for strategic tax planning for Empirical clients. Lorne has a combined 15 years of experience advising his clients on their tax and financial affairs. Lorne is a member of the financial planning committee which develops innovative planning solutions for clients. Lorne works with clients to prepare customized financial plans based on their unique needs, resources and goals. He helps them implement the plan with practical strategies, in order to navigate the complexities of their financial lives, building on strengths and addressing weaknesses. He provides ongoing monitoring and revising to meet their goals as well as their lifestyle. Lorne is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He received a Personal Financial Specialist certification from the AICPA. Lorne graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with an Accounting emphasis. He continued his studies at UW to earn his Masters of Professional Accounting in Taxation (MPAcc). Lorne enjoys spending time with his wife Tyera, his daughter Maggie and son Jackson. In the summer, the Enquist family heads to the beach while in colder months they are often seen among the spectators at several local football games.

Brian MillerBrian Miller, CPA, CMA®, MST, MBA

Tax Manager

As a tax manager on Empirical’s Tax Management Team, Brian formulates and implements tax strategies to reduce the tax burden experienced by individuals and private companies. With a background in tax preparation and strategic capital planning, Brian brings a depth of tax knowledge that can be coordinated with clients’ cash flow and retirement planning. Brian is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant. He received his BA in Accounting and Business from Western Washington University, a MS in Taxation from Golden Gate University, and a MBA from the University of Washington. In his free time, Brian serves on the Bellingham Economic Development Committee and is on the board of Terry Home, a non-profit boarding home, and also enjoys fishing, hiking, and snowboarding.

Janie StrasserJanie Strasser, CFP®, CPA, CDFA®, MBA

Financial Advisor

Janie comes to Empirical with over 20 years of experience in finance with an expertise in both financial and tax planning as the co-owner and managing partner of Ponderosa Wealth Management. Janie earned her Bachelor of Science and her MBA at Arizona State University. After becoming a Certified Public Accountant, she was employed with Arthur Andersen in their business consulting division. In 2002, Janie earned her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and takes pride in assisting her clients in making smart decisions with their money. She contributes time helping women living at the Spokane St. Margaret’s Women’s Shelter with financial budgeting. During her free time, Janie enjoys mountain biking, fishing and spending time her husband and four children.

Robert ThomasRobert Thomas, CPA

Tax Manager

As a tax manager at Empirical, Robert provides tax planning and compliance for high net worth individuals, their families, and their businesses. With an extensive background in tax preparation, Robert brings a wealth of tax knowledge to optimize each individual client’s specific tax situation. Robert is a Certified Public Accountant. He received his BA in Accounting from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. During his free time, Robert enjoys skiing, sailing, golf and tennis.

Benjamin R. PutmanBenjamin R. Putman, CFP®, CPA, CDFA®, PFS

Financial Advisor

As a Wealth Manager with over 30 years of experience, Ben has an exceptional level of financial diversity and expertise that complements his ability to analyze and solve complicated financial issues. He is versed in the areas of advanced tax, estate, retirement and succession planning. Ben’s expertise extends to investment strategies, ESOPs, CRTs, 401k/DB plans, 1031/ 1035 exchanges and other advance financial techniques. He earned his BS in Business from the University of Southern California and holds the following licenses: Life and Health insurance license (0C82676), Series 7, 63, 65. In his spare time, Ben enjoys golf, road and mountain biking, rock climbing, and pretty much any outdoor activity.

Kenneth R. SmithKenneth R. Smith, CFP®, MS

Chief Executive Officer | Principal

Ken is the Chief Executive Officer of Empirical Wealth Management. He guides the firm’s long-term strategy and is a senior financial advisor. He holds a Master of Science in Financial Analysis and received his B.S. from the University of Arizona with a double major in finance and accounting. Ken is passionate about educating individuals on how to become smarter investors. He hosted an informative financial radio show titled “Empirical Investing Radio” on VoiceAmerica and has designed a proprietary program “Empirical Income Planner” to help individuals plan for retirement. Ken is writing a book on personal finance, “The Empirical Approach to Building Wealth,” intended to help individual investors make intelligent financial decisions.

Hwa ParkHwa Park, MBA

Chief Operating Officer | Principal

As Chief Operating Officer, Hwa manages the firm’s daily business operations while planning and strategically executing long-term objectives. She possesses a strong commitment to creating an environment that facilitates the best possible experience for our clients, business partners and employees. Hwa has held a variety of positions in finance, marketing, business development, and fund/capital-raising, working in both public and private sectors. Her career in finance includes working in investment banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co., capital markets at Deutsche Bank, and venture capital with SSM and Verity Ventures. Outside of the office, Hwa devotes most of her time to non-profit organizations including Lakeside School, Hopelink and KidsQuest Children’s Museum and is also on the Board of Trustees at the Seattle Art Museum. Hwa holds a BA from Smith College and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

Lorne EnquistLorne Enquist, CPA/PFS, MPAcc
Chief Financial Officer | Principal

As a partner with Empirical, Lorne manages portfolios and shares his tax consulting experience for strategic tax planning for Empirical clients. Lorne has a combined 15 years of experience advising his clients on their tax and financial affairs. Lorne is a member of the financial planning committee which develops innovative planning solutions for clients. Lorne works with clients to prepare customized financial plans based on their unique needs, resources and goals. He helps them implement the plan with practical strategies, in order to navigate the complexities of their financial lives, building on strengths and addressing weaknesses. He provides ongoing monitoring and revising to meet their goals as well as their lifestyle. Lorne is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He received a Personal Financial Specialist certification from the AICPA. Lorne graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with an Accounting emphasis. He continued his studies at UW to earn his Masters of Professional Accounting in Taxation (MPAcc). Lorne enjoys spending time with his wife Tyera, his daughter Maggie and son Jackson. In the summer, the Enquist family heads to the beach while in colder months they are often seen among the spectators at several local football games.

Michael KellyMichael Kelly, CFA®, CFP®, EA, MS

Chief Investment Officer | Principal

As the Chief Investment Officer, Michael leads Empirical’s investment committee and is responsible for guiding and monitoring Empirical’s investment strategies. Michael also works directly with clients by building personalized solutions to help them achieve their financial goals. Michael’s career includes serving as an Institutional Portfolio Specialist and as a Senior Equity Research Analyst. He has co-authored a book discussing the details and complexities of investing in Healthcare equities. Michael graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing and earned a Master’s degree in Finance from Saint Xavier University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and an IRS Enrolled Agent. Michael lives in Camas, Washington and enjoys spending time with his wife Megan and two sons, Quinn and Max. Michael also serves as a Board Member of the Portland Tax Forum and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the CFA Society of Portland.

Ethan BrogaEthan Broga, CFP®, MS

Director of Financial Planning | Principal

As a partner with Empirical Wealth Management, Ethan works to develop, implement and monitor sound financial strategies designed to grow and protect the wealth of individuals, families and non-profit organizations. Ethan is the head of the Financial Planning Committee which oversees the development and expertise of Empirical’s financial planning recommendations. Rather than just another “financial advisor,” Ethan describes his primary role as that of a t rusted “Personal Financial Advocate” who weighs the impact of each financial decision within the unique context of each client’s overall financial plan. Ethan is a Northwest native who graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in finance. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with a Master’s Degree in Financial Planning and has been in the financial industry since 1998. Ethan lives in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle with his wife Corie and his two children Carsen and True.

Jim JonesJames A. Jones II, JD, CPA, MPAcc

Chief Compliance Officer | Director of Tax and Wealth Transfer

As Chief Compliance Officer, Jim oversees the development and execution of company policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. Jim also serves as Director of Tax and Wealth Transfer, applying his tax and legal expertise to guide the firm’s tax planning and wealth transfer strategies. He provides proactive tax planning solutions to high net worth individuals, families, and their businesses. Jim works with clients to develop estate plans and applies advanced estate and gift tax planning techniques in accordance with each client’s needs. Jim also provides his expertise as a member of the Financial Planning Committee, which develops innovative planning solutions for clients. Jim received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting, as well as a Masters of Professional Accounting from the University of Washington. Jim later continued his studies at the University of Washington School of Law, earning his law degree. Jim is a licensed CPA and a member of the Washington State Bar. Outside of the office, Jim is a member of the Issaquah Little League Board of Directors, serving as the Player Agent for the Competitive Divisions and loves spending time with his wife, Katie, and their two sons, James and Liam.

Paul OhainlePaul Ohainle, JD, LL.M

Director of Estate Planning

As Director of Estate Planning, Paul applies his estate planning experience from California and Washington to guide the firm’s wealth transfer strategies in relation to estate tax and gift tax planning. Paul received a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Economics from the University California, Berkeley, while also studying history and law at Trinity College Dublin and economics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Paul obtained his juris doctorate (JD) from the University of California, Davis and his Masters of Laws (LL.M) in Taxation from the University of Washington. Paul is a member of the California State Bar and the Washington State Bar. Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, Molly, daughter, Alice, twin sons, Dash and Lydon, and Bernese Mountain Dog, Joe. In the winter, the Ohainles enjoy skiing in the Pacific Northwest and a near annual trip to Arizona for Spring Training. In the summers, the Ohainles enjoy hiking, camping, and fishing.

Erik LehrErik Lehr, CFA®, CAIA®, MS, MA

Director of Research

As Director of Research, Erik manages the firm’s research and trading strategies and works with clients to develop and manage their investment portfolios. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor in Economics and Mathematics. Erik’s background includes a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Oregon and a Master of Science in Computational Finance and Risk Management from the University of Washington. Erik is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) charterholder and holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA®) designation.

Simon LiuSimon Liu, PMP®, CMFC®

Chief Marketing Technology Officer

As Chief Marketing Technology Officer, Simon manages the technology and marketing needs for Empirical. He works to maintain and develop efficiencies with the tools our advisors use and ensures that our clients’ personal data is kept private and secure. With a keen eye for design, Simon works closely with the partners to develop and improve the Empirical brand. Through the use of technology, they work to enhance each client’s experience with his or her advisor, building trust and clarity. With a background in portfolio management and as an associate advisor, Simon has a clear understanding of what is required to stay at the forefront of our clients’ needs. Simon received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and is a Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC®).

Elliott AppelElliott Appel, CFP®, CLU®

Financial Advisor

Elliott is a financial advisor with Empirical Wealth Management working with clients to explore, craft, and execute investment, tax, and cash flow planning strategies to meet their goals. Through the direction of the partners, Elliott has become well-versed in analyzing opportunities to maximize and protect wealth. He is passionate about behavioral finance and helping clients learn how they can make better financial decisions to improve their lives. Elliott is a CFP® professional and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Seattle University with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with a Finance Major. Outside of the office, Elliott enjoys playing tennis, hiking Washington trails, and cooking.

Ethan BrogaEthan Broga, CFP®, MS

Director of Financial Planning | Principal | Financial Advisor

As a partner with Empirical Wealth Management, Ethan works to develop, implement and monitor sound financial strategies designed to grow and protect the wealth of individuals, families and non-profit organizations. Ethan is the head of the Financial Planning Committee which oversees the development and expertise of Empirical’s financial planning recommendations. Rather than just another “financial advisor,” Ethan describes his primary role as that of a trusted “Personal Financial Advocate” who weighs the impact of each financial decision within the unique context of each client’s overall financial plan. Ethan is a Northwest native who graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in finance. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with a Master’s Degree in Financial Planning and has been in the financial industry since 1998. Ethan lives in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle with his wife Corie and his two children Carsen and True.

Kenneth Chavis IVKenneth Chavis IV

Associate Financial Advisor

As an Associate Financial Advisor, Kenneth works diligently with Empirical’s financial advisors to execute the various aspects of clients’ financial plans and investment strategies. Kenneth also assists in identifying opportunities related to financial planning, tax minimization, and provides clients with exceptional service. Kenneth graduated summa cum laude from Hawaii Pacific University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics. Kenneth is studying to become a Certified Financial Planner™ and plans to sit for the exam in 2018. When he is not in the office, Kenneth enjoys hiking, basketball and listening to live music.

Joe ConachyJoe Conachy, CFP®

Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor with over 15 years of experience, Joe values the relationships he has established with his clients. He is well versed in helping clients create tax-efficient strategies, diversify concentrated stock positions, and legacy planning. Joe is passionate about focusing on his clients’ goals and executing strategies that optimize wealth over multiple lifetimes. Joe graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. He lives in West Linn, Oregon and enjoys golf, the outdoors and spending time with his wife and two sons.


Karina DahiligKarina Dahilig

Associate Portfolio Manager

As an Associate Portfolio Manager, Karina works with the investment team to conduct research and perform daily trading processes on client portfolios. Aside from these activities, she audits client portfolios to ensure Empirical’s investment returns follow industry-wide, ethical standards. She is a 2017 Level II Candidate in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) program. Karina graduated Magna Cum Laude from Seattle University with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with a Finance and Business Economics double major. Karina is originally from Hawaii and enjoys spending time with family and friends. In addition, she enjoys the quiet pastimes of reading and baking.

Lorne EnquistLorne Enquist, CPA/PFS, MPAcc

Chief Financial Officer | Principal | Financial Advisor

As a partner with Empirical, Lorne manages portfolios and shares his tax consulting experience for strategic tax planning for Empirical clients. Lorne has a combined 15 years of experience advising his clients on their tax and financial affairs. Lorne is a member of the financial planning committee which develops innovative planning solutions for clients. Lorne works with clients to prepare customized financial plans based on their unique needs, resources and goals. He helps them implement the plan with practical strategies, in order to navigate the complexities of their financial lives, building on strengths and addressing weaknesses. He provides ongoing monitoring and revising to meet their goals as well as their lifestyle. Lorne is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He received a Personal Financial Specialist certification from the AICPA. Lorne graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with an Accounting emphasis. He continued his studies at UW to earn his Masters of Professional Accounting in Taxation (MPAcc). Lorne enjoys spending time with his wife Tyera, his daughter Maggie and son Jackson. In the summer, the Enquist family heads to the beach while in colder months they are often seen among the spectators at several local football games.

Jim JonesJames A. Jones II, JD, CPA, MPAcc

Chief Compliance Officer | Director of Tax and Wealth Transfer

As Chief Compliance Officer, Jim oversees the development and execution of company policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. Jim also serves as Director of Tax and Wealth Transfer, applying his tax and legal expertise to guide the firm’s tax planning and wealth transfer strategies. He provides proactive tax planning solutions to high net worth individuals, families, and their businesses. Jim works with clients to develop estate plans and applies advanced estate and gift tax planning techniques in accordance with each client’s needs. Jim also provides his expertise as a member of the Financial Planning Committee, which develops innovative planning solutions for clients. Jim received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting, as well as a Masters of Professional Accounting from the University of Washington. Jim later continued his studies at the University of Washington School of Law, earning his law degree. Jim is a licensed CPA and a member of the Washington State Bar. Outside of the office, Jim is a member of the Issaquah Little League Board of Directors, serving as the Player Agent for the Competitive Divisions and loves spending time with his wife, Katie, and their two sons, James and Liam.

Michael KellyMichael Kelly, CFA®, CFP®, EA, MS

Chief Investment Officer | Principal | Financial Advisor

As the Chief Investment Officer, Michael leads Empirical’s investment committee and is responsible for guiding and monitoring Empirical’s investment strategies. Michael also works directly with clients by building personalized solutions to help them achieve their financial goals. Michael’s career includes serving as an Institutional Portfolio Specialist and as a Senior Equity Research Analyst. He has co-authored a book discussing the details and complexities of investing in Healthcare equities. Michael graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing and earned a Master’s degree in Finance from Saint Xavier University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and an IRS Enrolled Agent. Michael lives in Camas, Washington and enjoys spending time with his wife Megan and two sons, Quinn and Max. Michael also serves as a Board Member of the Portland Tax Forum and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the CFA Society of Portland.

Denise S. LeeDenise S. Lee, CFP®

Financial Advisor

Denise assists in analyzing clients’ overall financial condition and developing customized recommendations. She helps integrate financial planning and investment management to tailor to clients’ needs. Denise’s goal is to help those she serves to have the clarity and confidence to focus on the things that matter most to them. Denise graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Prior to wealth management, Denise started her career in public accounting at the Big 4, specializing in ultra-high net worth individuals and their closely held entities. In her spare time, Denise enjoys staying active by hiking, running, and golfing. She has earned a black belt in Taekwondo and grew up horseback riding. During the weekends, Denise enjoys trying new restaurants and spending time with friends and family.

Erik LehrErik Lehr, CFA®, CAIA®, MS, MA

Director of Research

As Director of Research, Erik manages the firm’s research and trading strategies and works with clients to develop and manage their investment portfolios. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor in Economics and Mathematics. Erik’s background includes a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Oregon and a Master of Science in Computational Finance and Risk Management from the University of Washington. Erik is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) charterholder and holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA®) designation.

Simon LiuSimon Liu, PMP®, CMFC®

Chief Marketing Technology Officer

As Chief Marketing Technology Officer, Simon manages the technology and marketing needs for Empirical. He works to maintain and develop efficiencies with the tools our advisors use and ensures that our clients’ personal data is kept private and secure. With a keen eye for design, Simon works closely with the partners to develop and improve the Empirical brand. Through the use of technology, they work to enhance each client’s experience with his or her advisor, building trust and clarity. With a background in portfolio management and as an associate advisor, Simon has a clear understanding of what is required to stay at the forefront of our clients’ needs. Simon received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and is a Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC®).

Brian MillerBrian Miller, CPA, CMA®, MST, MBA

Tax Manager

As a tax manager on Empirical’s Tax Management Team, Brian formulates and implements tax strategies to reduce the tax burden experienced by individuals and private companies. With a background in tax preparation and strategic capital planning, Brian brings a depth of tax knowledge that can be coordinated with clients’ cash flow and retirement planning. Brian is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant. He received his BA in Accounting and Business from Western Washington University, a MS in Taxation from Golden Gate University, and a MBA from the University of Washington. In his free time, Brian serves on the Bellingham Economic Development Committee and is on the board of Terry Home, a non-profit boarding home, and also enjoys fishing, hiking, and snowboarding.


Paul OhainlePaul Ohainle, JD, LL.M

Director of Estate Planning

As Director of Estate Planning, Paul applies his estate planning experience from California and Washington to guide the firm’s wealth transfer strategies in relation to estate tax and gift tax planning. Paul received a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Economics from the University California, Berkeley, while also studying history and law at Trinity College Dublin and economics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Paul obtained his juris doctorate (JD) from the University of California, Davis and his Masters of Laws (LL.M) in Taxation from the University of Washington. Paul is a member of the California State Bar and the Washington State Bar. Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, Molly, daughter, Alice, twin sons, Dash and Lydon, and Bernese Mountain Dog, Joe. In the winter, the Ohainles enjoy skiing in the Pacific Northwest and a near annual trip to Arizona for Spring Training. In the summers, the Ohainles enjoy hiking, camping, and fishing.

Hwa ParkHwa Park, MBA

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer, Hwa manages the firm’s daily business operations while planning and strategically executing long-term objectives. She possesses a strong commitment to creating an environment that facilitates the best possible experience for our clients, business partners and employees. Hwa has held a variety of positions in finance, marketing, business development, and fund/capital-raising, working in both public and private sectors. Her career in finance includes working in investment banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co., capital markets at Deutsche Bank, and venture capital with SSM and Verity Ventures. Outside of the office, Hwa devotes most of her time to non-profit organizations including Lakeside School, Hopelink and KidsQuest Children’s Museum and is also on the Board of Trustees at the Seattle Art Museum. Hwa holds a BA from Smith College and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jeannie PedersenJeannie Pedersen, AAMS®

Manager of Portfolio Operations | Financial Advisor

Jeannie is a financial advisor working with clients in the Portland area and throughout the Northwest. She has worked with individual investors since 1998. Jeannie enjoys getting to know each of her clients well and helping them to achieve their financial goals. Jeannie assists her clients in developing and implementing financial strategies to protect and grow their wealth. Jeannie graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Financial Economics and a minor in Business. In her spare time, Jeannie enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends. Jeannie is a native of Portland, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Benjamin R. PutmanBenjamin R. Putman, CFP®, CPA, CDFA®, PFS

Financial Advisor

As a Wealth Manager with over 30 years of experience, Ben has an exceptional level of financial diversity and expertise that complements his ability to analyze and solve complicated financial issues. He is versed in the areas of advanced tax, estate, retirement and succession planning. Ben’s expertise extends to investment strategies, ESOPs, CRTs, 401k/DB plans, 1031/ 1035 exchanges and other advance financial techniques. He earned his BS in Business from the University of Southern California and holds the following licenses: Life and Health insurance license (0C82676), Series 7, 63, 65. In his spare time, Ben enjoys golf, road and mountain biking, rock climbing, and pretty much any outdoor activity.

Brian ReedBrian Reed, MS

Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor at Empirical Wealth Management, Brian works to develop personalized financial planning strategies for our clients focusing on tax minimization, wealth management, and cash flow analysis. Brian is passionate about learning each client’s retirement goals and values to create a comprehensive financial plan while maximizing and protecting their wealth. With his prior experience as a portfolio manager, Brian is well versed in the relationship between financial planning and investment management and how to best implement each client specific strategy. Brian graduated from Seattle University with a Masters of Finance and also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Washington. In his free time Brian enjoys fly fishing and camping throughout the greater northwest.

Donovan RitterDonovan Ritter, CLU®, ChFC®

Financial Advisor

Donovan is a financial advisor working with clients predominantly in the Orange and Los Angeles County metro area. He has worked with individual and employer sponsored retirement plan investors since 1996. Donovan takes time to get to know his clients personally, to better understand their financial needs and help them achieve their goals. He assists his clients in developing and implementing financial strategies to protect and grow their wealth. Donovan graduated from the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Marketing & Finance. He has received the CLU® Chartered Life Underwriter and ChFC ® Chartered Financial Consultant designations from The American College. In his spare time, Donovan enjoys southern California’s hiking, skiing and surfing and spending time with his family and friends. Donovan is a native of Orange County, where he lives with his wife, daughter and lab puppy.

Kenneth R. SmithKenneth R. Smith, CFP®, MS

Chief Executive Officer | Principal

Ken is the Chief Executive Officer of Empirical Wealth Management. He guides the firm’s long-term strategy and is a senior financial advisor. He holds a Master of Science in Financial Analysis and received his B.S. from the University of Arizona with a double major in finance and accounting. Ken is passionate about educating individuals on how to become smarter investors. He hosted an informative financial radio show titled “Empirical Investing Radio” on VoiceAmerica and has designed a proprietary program “Empirical Income Planner” to help individuals plan for retirement. Ken is writing a book on personal finance, “The Empirical Approach to Building Wealth,” intended to help individual investors make intelligent financial decisions.

Janie StrasserJanie Strasser, CFP®, CPA, CDFA®, MBA

Financial Advisor

Janie comes to Empirical with over 20 years of experience in finance with an expertise in both financial and tax planning as the co-owner and managing partner of Ponderosa Wealth Management. Janie earned her Bachelor of Science and her MBA at Arizona State University. After becoming a Certified Public Accountant, she was employed with Arthur Andersen in their business consulting division. In 2002, Janie earned her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and takes pride in assisting her clients in making smart decisions with their money. She contributes time helping women living at the Spokane St. Margaret’s Women’s Shelter with financial budgeting. During her free time, Janie enjoys mountain biking, fishing and spending time her husband and four children.

Jason SulkoskyJason Sulkosky, CFP®

Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor for over 15 years, Jason is committed to building close relationships with his clients. He values a pleasant wealth management experience that is built on a foundation of clear communication, trust and setting proper expectations. Having worked with both individual clients and 401k plan sponsors, Jason is well versed with formulating investment and planning strategies to successfully meet his client’s goals. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in business finance from University of Washington Foster School of business and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Jason enjoys spending time with his wife Arianna and playing a round of golf when Washington weather permits.

Robert ThomasRobert Thomas, CPA

Tax Manager

As a tax manager at Empirical, Robert provides tax planning and compliance for high net worth individuals, their families, and their businesses. With an extensive background in tax preparation, Robert brings a wealth of tax knowledge to optimize each individual client’s specific tax situation. Robert is a Certified Public Accountant. He received his BA in Accounting from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. During his free time, Robert enjoys skiing, sailing, golf and tennis.

Aaron WilkinsonAaron Wilkinson, MBA

Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor with Empirical Wealth Management, Aaron is dedicated to providing exceptional service to his Alaskan clients. Aaron is a third-generation Alaskan with strong ties to the Anchorage community, as well as having close family and business relationships throughout Alaska. With a background in banking and wealth management, Aaron is passionate about finding tailored solutions to assist clients in navigating the complexities of their financial lives. Working summers in Alaska’s construction industry helped support Aaron through his education at Western Washington University, where he received his BA in Economics and Political Science. He later earned his MBA from the University of Maryland. In his free time, Aaron enjoys exploring and photographing the great Alaskan outdoors while hiking, camping, and fishing with his wife and son.

Shan Zubair
Shan Zubair, CFP®, MS

Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor, Shan works closely with clients to develop and manage a goals-based investment, tax and cash flow strategy. Having been with the firm since 2007, he has extensive knowledge in the implementation of the firm’s investment and financial planning solutions. Originally from Southern California, Shan has been in the Seattle area for the last 25 years where he graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and a Master of Science in Finance degree. Shan is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional, a Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC®) and holds a business development certification from the University of Washington. Shan is active in his community, and is a board member of Washington DECA and the KidsQuest Children’s Museum. When Shan is not busy helping clients achieve their goals, he enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife, kids, and friends.