The SmarterBank team celebrates the company's 5th Anniversary and five years of helping millions of students and their families afford college.
The SmarterBank Team
The people at SmarterBucks®, SmarterBank®, and SimpleTuition® are the essential ingredients that make all our services work. And isn't it great to know there are real people behind the curtains, and not just machines?
Kevin Walker, Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Prior to co-founding SimpleTuition, Kevin was Vice President at Cole Management, a Russia-focused venture fund, where he sought and evaluated investment opportunities in Russia's high-tech, consumer internet and financial services sectors. While at Cole Management, Kevin worked closely with the Chairman of Yandex (www.yandex.ru), Russia's leading search engine.
Previously, Kevin was an early employee of the First Marblehead Corporation (NYSE: FMD), where he held executive roles in the firm's product management, sales, and marketing areas over nine years and two tours of duty. Prior to the company's IPO, Kevin established and headed First Marblehead's marketing department, beginning the firm's testing of new media for direct-to-consumer marketing of private student loans.
Kevin also served as a Principal at the management consulting firm, the Parthenon Group (www.parthenon.com). At Parthenon, Kevin advised CEOs of global Fortune 500 manufacturing, publishing and financial services companies on general business strategy. At the start of his career, Kevin founded and sold the School of Russian Studies, a Russian language and cultural school, based in Russia. (www.sras.org).
Kevin serves on the Board of Trustees of the Tower School (www.towerschool.org). Kevin was a 2009 Finalist from New England for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Kevin holds a BA in Russian from Amherst and an MBA from Harvard.
Patrick Kandianis, Co-Founder, EVP & Chief Sales Officer
Patrick has worked in different sectors serving the higher education market for the past 21 years, including education finance, systems/software and travel. Most recently, as VP of Business Development for First Marblehead Corp, Patrick led the company's sales efforts in the Midwest and Western regions and helped formulate product strategy and development before and after the company's IPO. Previously, Patrick had a role as Director of Business Development for Jenzabar, a startup which became a leading systems provider for colleges and universities. Earlier on, Pat was one of the original principals of Student Travel Services and Suncoast Vacations, leading student tour companies where, as VP of Sales and Operations, he led business development, marketing and advertising efforts nationwide. Pat holds a BA from Cornell.
Doug Lowenstein, EVP Banking and Rewards
Doug brings 14 years of consumer financial services experience to SimpleTuition. He was most recently an SVP at Capital One Financial where he played a leadership role in building and managing the company's Corporate Strategy team. While at Capital One, Doug led the strategy development for many of Capital One's diversification moves beyond its core credit card business, including its entry into the traditional banking market. Doug also led the strategy development for several of Capital One's acquisitions and investments, including transactions in the banking, auto-finance, and home equity spaces. Through his role at Capital One, Doug also developed strong market expertise in the student loan space. Doug also has substantial experience working with start-ups, as while at Capital One, he spent two years working directly with North Hill Ventures, Capital One's venture capital division. Doug also spent three years working for Advent International, a leading private equity firm, where he assisted venture-capital backed technology companies find strategic equity investors. Doug has also participated on the Board at two different venture-backed financial services companies, including DealerTrack which went public in 2005. Prior to Capital One, Doug worked for Corporate Decisions, Inc. (now part of Oliver Wyman) where he worked on growth strategy projects in diverse industries such as financial services, technology, and chemicals. Doug has a BA from Brown University, and an MBA with distinction from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Rick Cimino, Vice President of SmarterBucks Operations/Information Security Officer
Rick brings over 20 years of operations and education loan and payment management experience to SimpleTuition. He was most recently a Vice President of Lending Operations at Key Bank / Key Education Services where he played a leadership role in building and managing the Key Bank student lending division. At Key Bank Rick's teams were responsible for processing over 1.8 billion dollars of Federal and Private student loan volume and payment plan operations revenue. He successfully led the team as the business owner for the redesign of all student lending and operations systems that drastically improved internal business efficiencies and the external loan application experience for the school and student channels. Prior to his role at Key Bank, he was part of the original team at First Marblehead where he was responsible for Client Service Operations. Rick managed operations, vendor management, bank, school, originator and loan servicer relationships, student loan product design, implementation and loan processing for the GATE Student Loan portfolio. Rick has spent many years in Operations and Client Management within the Education Lending and Financial Services industry holding executive positions and Bank Of America, Allmerica Financial Corporation and Hanover Insurance. Rick holds a BA from The Boston Conservatory of Music.
Richard T. St. Jacques, Vice President of Bank Operations
Dick joined SimpleTuition in April of 2011, after spending his last 23 years in retail banking. Starting his career at Old Stone Bank and Fleet Financial Group, he spent his last 14 years at Citizens Financial Group developing business systems for Citizens Mortgage Corporation, InStore Banking, ATM and Card Management, Business Banking, and most recently, CitizensBank and CharterOne.com.
Dick served as Director of .COM Operations at Citizens Bank, where he oversaw channel sales strategies, collaboration of the IT, marketing and operations teams to fulfill the eCommerce business strategy, and architecture/infrastructure requirements.
In addition to overseeing the development and implementation of a web-based sales and marketing channel for three high volume web properties (Citizensbank.com, CharterOne.com, and Citizens Business) he was responsible for all areas of operations to include sales tools, analytics, account opening applications, fulfillment processes, and audit compliance (both federal and internal corporate guidelines).
Dick graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Finance and an MBA in Accounting from Bryant University, formerly Bryant College.