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David Parker, The Standard
2019 Service Stars  | Individual

Dave Parker

His steady presence and the trust he has built with participants has helped the plan grow.
  • Recordkeeper Company
    The Standard
  • Client
    Shelburne Farms
  • Client Industry
    Nonprofit organization
  • Client Headquarters
    Shelburne, Vermont
  • Plan Assets/Participants
    401(k) $1mm – $5mm/90 full-time, plus 150 seasonal, employees

BIO: David Parker, a relationship manager for The Standard in Portland, Maine, has worked in the retirement industry for 35 years, the last 19 with employers that were merged into The Standard.

Shelburne Farms, a working farm, education center and inn on the banks of Lake Champlain in Vermont, switched recordkeeping providers in 2011 to The Standard. From the beginning, says Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Tom Nold, Relationship Manager Dave Parker’s steady presence and the trust he built with employees has increased both the number of employees who participate in the plan and the percent of earnings they defer.

“He has gone out of his way to understand the complexities of our nonprofit organization and is well-respected across our employee base,” Nold says. “Our participation rate has tripled, as has our asset level—all within the seven years Dave has been managing our account.”

Part of that trust stems from Parker’s ability to connect with the workforce. “Dave schedules his time at Shelburne Farms so all employees have an opportunity to meet with him regardless of their schedules, plus he is able to educate in a manner that meets all levels of understanding,” Nold says.

There is a diverse population of employees, from dairy farmers to educators to senior-level managers at Shelburne, and Parker can engage with all of them. Before he started working in the retirement industry, he was a carpenter for several years and a maintenance worker for the school district in Portland, Maine, his hometown. “I’ve done everything the employees have done, so I tell stories about my experiences,” Parker explains.

“People have grown up with phones and instant gratification,” he says. “They get a ‘like,’ and dopamine goes to their head. I tell them that saving for retirement is something that you don’t get immediate feedback on—the dopamine doesn’t come for a long time.”

Nold says, “Parker may be the only person who will advise participants to save their money and put off spending. If this was the Academy Awards, this would be more of a lifetime achievement award than a Best Actor of 2019. It’s been more about Dave being a continuous solid presence than any one singular event.” 

—Judy Faust Hartnett

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