A financial investment firm founded in 2013 by five Northern Arizona University graduates stays connected with the university by giving back with their time, talent and wealth. Southwest Wealth Strategies, located in Scottsdale, was founded by John Arnold, a 1999 graduate; Mark Asher, 1996; Ray Dimuzio, 1999; Chris Lanier, 2007; and Ben Miles, 2003. Arnold, Asher, Dimuzio and Lanier were active in the Delta Chi Fraternity while attending NAU.
The firm recently hired another NAU alumnus as their newest associate, Jake Tavrytzky. Tavrytzky graduated Suma Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree of business administration, finance from NAU’s W. A. Franke College of Business in 2018.
“He also is a Delta Chi, and actually, his father was [a] founding father of the chapter at NAU. It is kind of funny how it all comes full circle,” said Asher, the director of new business development at Southwest Wealth Strategies. In 2017, Tavrytzky served as treasurer of NAU’s chapter of the Delta Chi Fraternity that was chartered by his father, Dan Tavrytzky, and 20 others in 1986.
“We actually have two really key items that keep us connected to the university: our scholarship fund and that John is on the finance advisory board,” said Lanier, director of business strategies.
Giving Back Time and Talent
Southwest Wealth Strategies CEO John Arnold sits on the W. A. Franke College of Business Finance Department Advisory Board in Flagstaff. “We meet two times per year to advise the Finance Department on how to best position students for careers after graduation,” said Arnold. “We graduated from NAU, and we go back and spend a lot of time in Flagstaff. We run a golf tournament at Flag Ranch, and a portion of the money goes to pay for part of the scholarship.”
“At that client appreciation tournament, there are a lot are NAU grads,” explained Asher. “A lot of Delta Chi brothers have gone on to be big-time businesspeople; we’re in contact, and some are clients of the firm. There are attorneys, doctors, restaurant owners and aviation company execs. We’re quite proud that so many NAU Delta Chis are so successful – it’s pretty unique, I think.”
Dimuzio, CFP, president of Southwest Wealth Strategies, added, “Between all of us, we spend a lot of time [in Flagstaff]. Every year we have a retreat in Parks, and the entire team comes out for planning, training and camaraderie for about two or three days.”
Reinvesting in NAU Students
Southwest Wealth Strategies established an annual scholarship to support the educational aspirations of NAU students pursuing careers in the field of finance. Eligible students must maintain a 3.0-grade point average or higher and be active in extracurricular university activities.
The firm also gave money to fund a flat-screen television and stream financial stock market coverage in the informal meeting space used by finance students in the W. A. Franke College building. “We asked NAU what they needed, and so we provided a giant TV for the study room for the College of Business,” Lanier said.
The founding partners agree that their experiences at NAU and Delta Chi Fraternity have shaped their lives today. “The NAU and Delta Chi connection was the centerpiece of us coming together and us working together now. That connection really brought us all together,” said Arnold. “I came from Minneapolis and knew only 10 people. It’s not usual for someone coming from Minnesota to go to NAU in Flagstaff. Since our business is a relationship business, the success I’ve had here [at Southwest Wealth Strategies] is 100 percent attributed to NAU and Delta Chi. I wouldn’t choose any other path.”
“We’re a full-service financial advising firm, and we work with business owners and individual families to help them prepare for their financial future,” explained Asher. “We are giving back to our roots.”
All five founding partners are still part of the firm that serves clients in Flagstaff and has grown with associates in five different states, including Arizona. The firm, headquartered in Scottsdale, has 75 years of combined industry experience and more than $250 million under management advertisement.
“Go Jacks!” exclaimed Lanier, who wore an NAU Lumberjacks shirt for the Flagstaff Business News interview. FBN
By Stacey Wittig, FBN