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  • Public/Non-Profit
  • Corporate 401(k)
  • Bank Services Group
  • GWRS Plan Numbers
    472500-01 - 473999-01
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Key Leadership

Miles R. Edwards

Senior Vice President, Operations

Miles Edwards is responsible for all of Empower Retirement' defined contribution plan administration and operations functions. He has served in this capacity for 14 years. Within Edwards' responsibilities are the participant call center, plan sponsor account managers, transaction processing, plan implementation, plan compliance, financial control and institutional relationship management. Edwards also oversees Empower Retirement' operations in Milwaukee and Regina, Canada, and its defined benefit operations in Boston. He's responsible for Orchard Trust Company's operations as well. Prior to joining the organization, Edwards was with Deloitte & Touche for 12 years. He is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and Vanderbilt University.

William S. Harmon

Senior Vice President, Corporate 401(k) Market

Bill Harmon oversees the field distribution of the 401(k) product. Harmon joined Great-West in June 1988 and in those 20+ years has been in field sales, field sales management, and in 401(k) sales management since 2002. He received his bachelor's of business administration degree with an emphasis in marketing from Loyola Marymount University. He also holds Series 6, 26 and 63 securities registrations. Harmon serves on the board of directors for Adam's Camp, a nonprofit organization that provides intensive therapy for children with special needs. Harmon and his family are also very involved in the Mile High Down Syndrome Association, Special Olympics and Junior Achievement.

Ron J. Laeyendecker, FSA, CLU®

Senior Vice President, Executive Benefits Markets

Ron Laeyendecker's primary responsibilities include business line management in the Executive Benefits Markets for Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company. Laeyendecker graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1986 and joined Great-West as an actuarial assistant. He has over 20 years of experience in the life insurance markets, 17 of those directly working with the Executive Benefits Markets. He is a fellow in the Society of Actuaries (FSA), a registered principal and a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).

Brent Neese

Vice President, Government Markets

Mr. Neese is the senior officer dedicated to meeting the needs of Empower Retirement's government clients. Mr. Neese has been active in the retirement plan industry, specializing in retirement plans for public employers, since 1995. He joined Empower Retirement in January 2007. Mr. Neese leads a specialized team who are committed exclusively to Empower Retirement's public sector clients. He is directly responsible for sales, renewals, market strategy, field operations, and plan management functions. Mr. Neese holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Jacksonville University (Florida) and a Certified Fund Specialist (CFS) designation from the Institute of Business and Finance. He maintains FINRA Series 6, 26, and 63 securities registrations, as well as state insurance licenses. Mr. Neese serves on the Industry Committee for the National Association of Governmental Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA), and is a member and frequent contributor to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA), and The Government Finance Officers Association of America (GFOA). Mr. Neese is the co-author of Focus on 457, a leading technical newsletter for governmental defined contribution plans that has been published since 1987.

Stephanie A. Bendrick, A.P.A.

Vice President of Client Relations

Ms. Bendrick joined our organization in 1998 and has been in the 401(k) industry since 1993. She leads the regionally based field service teams for our 401(k), Healthcare, and Education blocks of business. Ms. Bendrick received a financial services degree from Wright State University and also received her Accredited Pension Administrator designation from the National Institute of Pension Administrators (A.P.A.). Ms. Bendrick maintains FINRA Series 6, 63, and 26 securities registrations.

John P. Fellin

Vice President, FASCore Administration

John Fellin has more than 20 years of experience in the retirement services industry. Since joining FASCore in 2004, he has been responsible for the institutional relationship management team as well as the mass conversion group. The institutional team manages key relationships with financial institutions and banks to provide private label recordkeeping services. Recently, his responsibilities expanded to include the government service team. Fellin attended La Salle University and has a degree in accounting. He also holds Series 6 and 26 securities registrations.

David G. McLeod

Senior Vice President, Product Management

Mr. McLeod leads Empower Retirement's product management efforts and has been the Managing Director of Empower Retirement's subsidiary Advised Assets Group, LLC, a registered investment advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also serves as Managing Director for subsidiaries Great-West Funds Inc. and Great-West Capital Management, LLC. He joined Empower Retirement in 1985 and has held a number of leadership positions within the company including Vice President, investment operations and Controller/Treasurer of Great-West Funds Inc. Mr. McLeod is a graduate of the University of Manitoba, Canada and is a Certified Management Accountant.

Mark J. Branish, CIMA®

Mutual Fund Wholesaler

Mark Branish joined Empower Retirement in 2009 and brings with him more than 14 years of experience in the financial services industry, specializing in the asset management field. He serves as the mutual fund wholesaler for Empower Retirement, driving communications and sales efforts for the organization's mutual fund product offerings. Branish is a graduate of the University of Denver where he received his bachelor's degree in business management. He holds Series 7 and 63 securities registrations. He also is a Certified Investment Management Analyst and is actively involved in the Investment Management Consultants Association.

Marilyn R. Collister

Senior Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs

Marilyn Collister is an employee benefits attorney specializing in employer-sponsored defined contribution plans. Her areas of expertise include the unique rules applicable to governmental and church plans, and tax-sheltered annuities. Collister is a contributing author of the 401(k) Answer Book published by Aspen Publishers, a division of Wolters Kluwer Law and Business, and co-editor of Focus on 457, a leading technical newsletter for governmental defined contribution plans that has been published since 1987. She is a member of and serves on the Legislative Committee for the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, Inc. (NAGDCA). Collister has also served as a member of the Government Relations Committee and as chairwoman of the 403(b) Task Force of the Society of Professional Asset Managers and Recordkeepers (SPARK). Collister received the degrees of juris doctor and master of laws in taxation from the University of Denver College of Law.

Joan C. McDonagh

Senior Director, National Regulatory Policy

Joan McDonagh is a senior regulatory specialist focusing on 401(k) plan operational and fiduciary issues. She joined EMJAY Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, in 1988. McDonagh received her law degree from American University, Washington College of Law, in 1985. She is a member of the Society of Professional Asset Managers and Recordkeepers' (SPARK) Government Relations Committee and of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Managements' (DCIIA) Public Policy and Legal Committee. She is a co-author of the 401(k) Answer Book published by Aspen Publishers. She also authors the newsletters 401(k)omminique and Focus on 401(k) to help Great-West's 401(k) customers keep abreast of legal and regulatory developments affecting 401(k) plans.

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