For a full third of a century, since its founding in 1981, Impact Technologies Group, Inc. (Impact®) has been ahead of its time when it comes to making insurance agents, financial advisors – and, most important, their clients – financially successful at every key stage in their lives. The key to Impact’s results is reflected in our management – seasoned experts from the financial services, legal and insurance industries, in government compliance, and in software technology, attested to by the multiple patents issued to us by the United States Patent and Trademark Office; as well as in our clients – who include many of the world’s leading financial services firms; and countless independent agents and advisors who trust the endorsements of these industry giants.
Today, as financial advisors move out from behind their desktops and their desks and into the field armed with iPads and smartphones, and as advisors’ clients become more independently educated – and skeptical, too – Impact delivers through its software tools and applications Technology For Wealth™ – the most advanced mobile applications and analytics to increase advisors’ closing rates while helping to maximize their clients’ wealth. At Impact, Technology and Wealth go hand-in-hand, but neither exists solely for its own sake.
We always update our software analytics to support the latest compliance requirements and regulations, but our 360˚ software solutions go well beyond that, touching every point of the product provider-financial advisor-client value chain. Our presentations and reports are recognized for being tunable by target audience: easy-to-understand, direct and actionable. This means that whether advisors have clients unfamiliar with financial planning lingo or skilled in using it themselves, our customers can generate a report that speaks directly to that precise level of sophistication, all with just a few mouse clicks or screen touches. Impact’s state-of-the-art software solutions, as exemplified by our iPad application for Social Security Explorer, embody modern sales psychology without sacrificing the rigor of compliance.
Howard L. Keziah
An entrepreneurial visionary who is both a technology and an adrenaline enthusiast, Howard not only founded Impact in 1981 (his 16th business and 2nd technology company), but he has driven innovation throughout the entire financial services industry during his 36-year tenure at Impact. He was the first to advocate adding graphics to present life policy illustrations as well as the first to introduce the hand-held computer to the insurance industry as a whole.
Howard has dedicated his personal drive and passion to inventing and deploying positively disruptive technologies. This is why every single Impact product has been ahead of its time and why today, the company is pioneering financial advisors’ needs for true 360˚ software solutions that enable advisors to address their clients’ needs at every life stage.
Heather Vaartjes, MCP, MCPS
President, Chief Operations Officer
How does Impact deliver 360˚ software solutions while competitors with more employees offer only point solutions? In a word – or, more properly, a name: Heather Vaartjes. Heather is Impact’s internal knowledge and business process wizard. It is safe to say that no one knows as much about the internal organizational workings and processes of Impact than Heather, who defines the term self-starter. Heather began her career in Direct Sales, and along the way, she held positions of Manager of Direct Sales and Technical Support, Corporate Sales Consultant, President of Maxcess Policy Illustration Division, Marketing Director, and Enterprise Project Manager. The combined wisdom and acquired hard-knocks experience led to her being named Impact’s Chief Operating Officer.
Whether the subject is software, internal IT, management or business process reengineering, Heather is at the forefront, ensuring that the organization runs smoothly and profitably to enable the swiftest, most innovative product development and releases. Heather is a Microsoft Certified Professional and Microsoft CRM certified. She received a Certificate for Managing Technical Professionals & Organizations from MIT’s prestigious Sloan School of Business and, attesting to her dedication to quality, she also earned a Six Sigma Green Belt.
Gretchen K. Smith, CLU, ChFC
Vice President, Financial Engineering
When you make complex software for financial advisors and their clients as well as for some of the biggest financial services companies in the world, innovation, product design, smooth operations and compliance are not enough. You also need a bonafide financial and mathematical whiz – which is why Gretchen was the first employee Howard ever hired. The chief architect and lead for all of Impact’s calculation engines, Gretchen has been the algorithmic and programming backbone of Impact since its inception. But her expertise only begins with mathematics: it continues into financial planning, where she holds both ChFC and CLU certificates.
Unsurprisingly, Gretchen has been the Chief Software Architect for Impact’s entire Wealth Planning Suite product line, as well the designer of Impact’s Estate Tax Analysis calculation engine for both DOS and Windows®. She was Team Leader of the Maxcess® Illustration System Development, Impact Needs, Classic Concepts and SalesLor sales tools. Most recently, she has been instrumental to the development and release of Impact’s premier platform: PlanLab®. Prior to working for Impact, Gretchen was a Research Assistant to the Vice President of Finance and Institutional Research at Francis Marion University in South Carolina. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Winthrop University.
When it comes to the literal meaning of Technology For Wealth, no one embodies that spirit better and more fully than Gretchen, who is another one of Impact’s many United States Patent holders. Gretchen is also an avid competitive bridge player. She eagerly awaits acceptance of her standing invitations to Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.
Senior Vice President
Ken’s career spans more than 29 years with an extensive background in distribution technology and back office systems. He previously worked for Genworth Financial, Mutual of Omaha and VP of Operations at Diversified Underwriters Services, Inc. As COO of Integrated Insurance Technologies, Ken had built the largest life insurance data exchange hub in the industry processing over 1 million policies a year and 30 billion dollars of annuities. Innovation in Quoting & Illustration tools, CRMs, Agency Management Systems, eApp platforms, and ePolicy Delivery are some key initiatives implemented by Ken during his career.
Chief Technology Officer
In today’s technology-driven world and technology-driven companies, it is impossible to succeed without a world-class CTO and resident networking geek. Fortunately, in Derek Sanderson, that is precisely what Impact has. Derek, who has wired his home to operate like a remote-controlled spaceship, has done no less with Impact’s network. Among his accomplishments: virtualizing Impact’s network of 100 physical servers to utilize cloud technologies, thereby cutting the number of physical servers to fewer than 10, all while improving performance, reliability and maintainability; migrating over 50 database-driven web applications to the private cloud to dramatically improve support, security and reliability to levels of over 99.99% uptime; and establishing partnerships with network consulting vendors and datacenters to optimize Impact’s IT operations and performance.
Prior to Impact, Derek created mobile iOS (Apple), Android, and web-based “Competition Dining” apps for professional chefs; was the Grand Prize winner in a national competition for Microsoft SharePoint and Office product development; created and deployed a Skype-driven messaging system that commanded Arduino devices for household purposes; and was the lead SharePoint developer on a school system-wide, 2-year-long, Business Intelligence project.