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Meet Our Team

With diverse industry experience, certifications and personal interests, our team is well equipped to serve all your financial needs. Unlike other firms where you are limited to the support of one representative, at HFA you’ll benefit from the personalized attention of your dedicated advisor as well as the value-added support and resources of our full advisor team.



Kenneth J. Burke, CPA/PFS CBEC® Photo
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Kenneth J. Burke, CPA/PFS CBEC®

Owner, CEO & President
Kenneth J. Burke

Kenneth J. Burke, CPA/PFS CBEC®

CEO & President

p: 585-935-8511

E: kburke@highfallsadvisors.com


Ken Burke is President and Chief Financial Officer at High Falls Advisors. His responsibilities include managing the firm’s finances, working with clients on implementing their financial plans, and developing exit plans for privately owned companies.

Ken joined HFA in 2014. He has more than thirty years of finance experience and previously served as Partner at a local CPA firm. He is the founder of FocalPoint Business Coaching of New York, a consulting firm specializing in business performance improvement and succession planning.

Ken graduated Cum Laude from Niagara University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. He holds AICPA PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) and CBEC® (Certified Business Exit Consultant) credentials, is a Certified Public Accountant and holds the Series 65 license.

A recipient of the 40 Under 40 Award from Rochester Business Journal, Ken is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. He serves on the Niagara University School of Business Advisory Board and previously served as Board Chair of the Arthritis Foundation Rochester Chapter, National Audit Committee Member Arthritis Foundation and Board Chair of the Society for Financial Service Professionals.

Ken resides in Fairport with his wife and their dog. They have four grown children and recently became grandparents.

Why Finance?

While in school, I asked my Dad for advice on choosing a college major. He said, “Study accounting/finance, it is the language of business.” Some 32 years later, I couldn’t agree more.

Personal Motto

Be equally concerned about the success of others as you are with your own success.

Jennifer E. Vogler, JD Photo
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Jennifer E. Vogler, JD

Owner, Chief Compliance Officer/Tax Department

Jennifer E. Vogler

Jennifer E. Vogler, JD

Owner, Chief Compliance Officer/Tax Department

p: 585-935-8509

e: jvogler@highfallsadvisors.com

Jennifer Vogler is the Chief Compliance Officer at High Falls Advisors. An attorney in private practice with a focus on estate planning, real estate and tax services, she provides the firm with compliance and strategic planning services. She also leads our Tax Department and provides clients with tax preparation and planning services.

Jennifer joined HFA in 2006. Previously, she served as a Legal Editor at a private publishing company.

Jennifer received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hamilton College and attended the SUNY at Buffalo School of Law. She holds a law license with New York State.

Jennifer serves on the Board of Directors for St. John’s Foundation. She is a former Board Member and Treasurer of Irondequoit Kiwanis and previously served as a Finance Consultant for the Irondequoit Girl Scouts.

A lifelong resident of Irondequoit, Jennifer lives with her husband and daughter, only fourteen houses from where she grew up. In her free time, she enjoys watching and reading British mysteries, travel and exercise.

Favorite Things About Rochester

The seasons (even winter)—our summer and fall are typically beautiful and I think the winter makes us truly appreciate these seasons.

The entertainment options—we have fantastic restaurants, theatre (GEVA and Auditorium), music (RPO), movies (The Little Theatre). We also have, in my opinion, the best cheeseburgers in the country (Don’s Original).

Bucket List

I want to travel more. Particularly, I’d love to go to France, Spain, Antarctica and on Safari. I’d also love to run a half marathon some day and learn to “love” running.

James T. Englert, CFP®, EA Photo
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James T. Englert, CFP®, EA

Founder

James T. Englert

James T. Englert, CFP®, EA

Founder

p: 585.935.8508

e: jenglert@highfallsadvisors.com


Jim Englert is a founder and Chief Executive Officer at High Falls Advisors. Pre- and post-retirement counseling services are the linchpins of his practice. His background as a benefits counselor at Eastman Kodak Company gave him the foundation for an independent planning business, which he operated for a number of years. At HFA, Jim provides clients with guidance focused on the broad topic of financial planning, including all the disciplines. He tends to begin a planning engagement by discussing the current issues that are top of mind to the client. Retirement planning and retirement income planning are some of the most common requests he receives. In addition, he always gets involved during income tax filing season as he believes that understanding the tax implications of any financial decision is critical.

Jim has played an important role in developing the professional aspects of financial planning in New York State. He is an Enrolled Agent with the IRS and has served on the Board of Directors of the Upstate New York Chapter of the Financial Planning Association and as the President of that organization. He was also President of the Western New York chapter of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners. In addition, he taught CFP® candidates through the Medaille College CFP® certification program and was on the adjunct faculty of the College of Financial Planning. Jim also serves on the Board of Directors of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jim lives in Irondequoit with his wife of over 50 years. He loves to read, and on occasion has been seen on the beach reading about investment strategies and markets; he calls it his pleasure reading. Jim is passionate about music, particularly classical and jazz. He has an extensive music collection that requires its own room and much to the amazement of his family, it is still growing. He loves the unique opportunities Rochester has for music and theatre lovers and you will often see Jim and his wife at the RPO and GEVA. When not at work, reading or at the theatre, he loves to travel with his wife and their teenage granddaughter.

Why Financial Planning?

I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with our clients. I get the greatest enjoyment in seeing that I have assisted a client in achieving their personal goals.

Most Embarrassing Moment

I had always avoided public speaking until my first assignment in human resources at Eastman Kodak Co. was to deliver the new employee orientation. While trying to learn the technology of a brand new training room (think slide projectors and movie projectors during the 1970s), I had everything set up and ready to go. With 30 new employees, I began the presentation. I started to get really engaged with the topic and while walking around the front of the room, I tripped over the cord that controlled everything in the room. The screen went up in the ceiling, the projectors started to roll. I then declared an early coffee break and survived the incident!

James H. McBride Photo
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James H. McBride

Founder

James H. McBride

James H. McBride

Founder

p: 585.935.8505

e: jmcbride@highfallsadvisors.com

Jim McBride is a founder of High Falls Advisors. He serves as an independent advisor to the firm.

Jim has spent more than fifty years in the financial industry and previously operated the investment advisory firm that would later become High Falls Advisors. Earlier in his career, he held various positions in commercial banking throughout Upstate New York.

Jim received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maine. He is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and holds the Series 66 license.

He is a member of Grantmakers Forum of New York. He has held various board positions at St. John’s Home, Including Board Chair. He also volunteers at various charitable organizations and is active in his church.

Jim resides in Hilton with his wife. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren, fishing, water sports and playing golf.

An Interesting Fact About Me

Years ago, I was in Las Vegas for a banking conference and a group of us decided to catch a show after dinner. I was sitting there minding my own business when Suzanne Somers pulled me up on stage for about 20 minutes. I had my fleeting moment of fame while walking back to the hotel when a limo pulled up next to me, the window rolled down and an elderly woman pointed to a jumbotron and said, “That’s you!” There up on the screen was the picture of Suzanne and I entertaining the crowd.”

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Robert Vay

Vice President, Operations

Robert Vay

Robert Vay

Vice President, Operations

p 585-935-8507

e rvay@highfallsadvisors.com

Bob Vay is Vice President of Operations at High Falls Advisors. He oversees all elements of operations for the firm, including trading, billing, benefits and human resources.

Bob joined HFA in 2006. He has more than thirty years of management experience and is a former owner of Vay-Schleich & Meeson Funeral Home.

He holds the Series 65 license. Bob is an Executive Board Member of the Rochester-Genesee Valley Funeral Directors Association, past President and former Board Member of the Rochester Eye and Tissue Bank, former Board Member of Nazareth Schools, past Chair of Nazareth Schools Development Committee and past Chair of the Dioceses of Rochester Parish Thanksgiving Appeal.

Bob lives in Irondequoit with his wife, their three children and two dogs.

Personal Motto:

A quote from Arthur Ash: “Start where you are – Use what you have – Do what you can."

12 Things I Believe

  1. If it was easy, everyone would do it
  2. All things in moderation – Strive for balance
  3. Good enough is neither
  4. Be part of the solution
  5. Keep a secret
  6. Share the credit
  7. It’s easier to keep up than catch up
  8. Don’t be afraid to say: “I don’t know,” “I need help,” “I’m sorry,” or “I made a mistake.”
  9. Do it right the first time
  10. Don’t worry who’s right, decide what’s right
  11. To get the right answer, you have to ask the right question
  12. Let children be children
Kevin J. McPherson, CPA Photo
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Kevin J. McPherson, CPA

Director of Tax
Kenneth J. Burke

Kevin J. McPherson, CPA

Director of Tax 

P 585-935-8514

kmchperson@highfallsadvisors.com


Kevin McPherson is the Director of Tax at High Falls Advisors. He leads our tax department, including integrating tax planning and compliance services into our comprehensive financial planning process.

Kevin joined HFA in 2021. He brings 23 years of client service experience as a principal in the tax department of a regional CPA firm. Kevin specializes in personal and corporate tax planning and compliance, as well as IRS and State Revenue Department audit representation. 

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science degree from St Lawrence University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Syracuse University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and is pursuing the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

Kevin is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is a Monroe County Baseball Region (MCBR) coach and previously served on the board of directors for Water for South Sudan Inc. and Friends of Women’s Rights National Historical Park.

Kevin lives in Brighton with his wife, their three children and two dogs. In his spare time, he enjoys sailing, kayaking and hiking.

Personal Motto

A quote from Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Bucket List

To go hiking and whitewater rafting in Patagonia.

George D. Marron, JD, CFP® Photo
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George D. Marron, JD, CFP®

Director of Financial Planning & Advisory Services

George D. Marron

George D. Marron, JD, CFP®

Director of Financial planning & advisorY services

p 585-935-8532

e gmarron@highfallsadvisors.com


George Marron is Director of Financial Planning & Advisory Services at High Falls Advisors. He provides clients with customized wealth management solutions including investment management, tax planning, pre- and post-retirement planning, insurance review and estate planning.


George joined HFA in 2021. He is a Certified Financial Planner® Practitioner with over seven years of experience as a financial advisor. He previously served as Vice President of a local investment advisory firm. Additionally, he brings to the firm twenty-one years of experience as an attorney, with a focus on serving the needs of professionals, executives and business owners.


George received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross and holds a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, with a concentration in Finance Transactions and a Tax Certificate from the University at Buffalo School of Law. He previously served as a Finance Committee Member at Sacred Heart Cathedral and Board Member at Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach.


George resides in Penfield with his wife, their four children and dog. In his free time, he coaches youth hockey for the Rochester Jr. Americans, plays hockey with a group of friends he’s known for more than twenty years, and dabbles in playing the guitar and piano.


Why Finance?

I gravitated toward financial services because I enjoy solving problems and helping others. For many people, managing investments, taxes and a life plan can be daunting and complicated. Over the years, I’ve learned that good problem solving is more than just answering the question. It involves listening, seeing the possibilities and crafting elegant solutions. In my role at High Falls Advisors, I look to simplify the complex, make my clients’ financial life more manageable and give them confidence in their financial decisions.


What I Do When I Am Not Working

I love being outside. In the winter, I maintain a 40’x40’ ice rink in our backyard and enjoy walks with the dog. During the summer, we spend time in the Thousand Islands, at baseball fields and taking even longer walks with the dog.


Deborah D. Bastow, MBA Photo
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Deborah D. Bastow, MBA

Senior Financial Advisor

Deborah D. Bastow

Deborah D. Bastow, MBA

Senior Financial Advisor

p: 585-935-8504

e: dbastow@highfallsadvisors.com

Debbie Bastow is a Senior Financial Advisor at High Falls Advisors. She assists clients in the development of financial plans and investment strategies, and specializes in serving as a family's "business agent" to coordinate all financial activities.

Debbie has more than thirty years of experience in the financial industry. Previously, she served as a Vice President and Branch Manager for a national bank.

Debbie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the College of William & Mary and a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance and Accounting from the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester, where she graduated with honors. She holds Series 65 and Life, Accident and Health Insurance licenses.

Throughout her career, Debbie has been very active in civic and charitable organizations, and has served on the board of the Junior League of Rochester, Pittsford Chamber of Commerce, the Chatterbox Club, Gilda's Club and the Rochester Women's Network. She was a member of the finance committee of the YWCA and is currently a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization.

Debbie resides in Honeoye Falls with her husband and their dog, Annabelle. An antiques aficionado since college, she owned a consignment furniture store for more than 10 years as a “hobby”.

Favorite Food

Southern Fried Chicken, which I make (rarely, due to the calories!) exactly the same as previous generations of cooks in my family down south—with lots of mashed potatoes and gravy. We end the meal with iced tea (year round), and one of our favorite pies (pecan, chess or apple). It makes for a perfect Sunday with the family!

What I Do When I Am Not Working

My husband and I retreat to our cottage on Keuka Lake as often as possible. Spending time there has become a real attraction for our two children and three grandchildren, who all live in New Jersey. There is nothing better than seeing them engage in the water activities they have grown to love, like fishing, swimming, waterskiing, boating and picnicking, or just relaxing under the trees, playing games or reading. It is the best!!

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Randi Beach

Senior Financial Advisor

 Randi Beach

Randi Beach

Senior Financial Advisor

p 585-935-8515

e rbeach@highfallsadvisors.com

Randi Beach is a Financial Advisor at High Falls Advisors. She works with clients in the development of financial plans and investment strategies. She is also a member of the firm’s tax team, assisting with tax planning and preparation during tax season and throughout the year.

Randi joined HFA in 2006. She has twenty years of financial industry experience and previously served as a Client Service Specialist for a national financial planning firm in Rochester.

Randi received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance from SUNY Fredonia. She holds Series 6, 7, 63, 65 and Life, Accident and Health Insurance licenses.

She resides in Ontario with her husband, their two children and dog. In her free time, Randi enjoys camping, boating, traveling and being a cheer mom.

An Interesting Fact About Me

My high school graduation present from my dad was a tandem skydive. I hated every minute of it.

Favorite Food

I love homemade pizza from our wood-fired pizza oven, enjoyed with my family by the pool.

Deborah B. King, CRPC® Photo
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Deborah B. King, CRPC®

Senior Financial Advisor, Broker & Investment Advisor

Deborah B. King

Deborah B. King, CRPC®

Senior Financial Advisor, Broker & Investment Advisor

p 585-935-8513

e dking@highfallsadvisors.com

Debbie King is a Financial Advisor, Broker and Investment Advisor at High Falls Advisors. She develops customized planning strategies to assist her clients with their short- and long-term goals. Debbie is committed to understanding her clients’ specific situations and helping them make informed financial decisions as they plan for their future.

Debbie joined HFA in 2011. She has seventeen years of industry experience and previously served as Director of Operations and Practice Management Specialist for a local financial planning firm. She earned the Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM designation from the College for Financial Planning in 2015.

Debbie holds Series 7, 66 and Life, Accident and Health Insurance licenses.

She resides in Hilton with her husband and their three dogs. In her free time, Debbie enjoys kayaking, hiking and experiencing new adventures.

Favorite Thing About Rochester

My favorite thing about Rochester, and New York in general, is the biodiversity of our environment. There are wetlands, waterfalls, parks, hiking trails, forests and mountains in our state, which are home to a variety of flora and fauna. Being an animal and nature lover, I am never bored. I just take a walk or a drive to soak it all in. It’s never the same experience twice.

What I Do When I’m Not Working

I’m currently involved in training my Icelandic Sheepdog, Cayden, to become a Canine Good Citizen. He will work his way up to earn a certificate as an AKC Therapy dog, so he can one day provide comfort to those in need.

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Russell J. Mandrino

Financial Advisor

Russell J. Mandrino

Russell J. Mandrino

Financial Advisor

p 585-935-8522

e rmandrino@highfallsadvisors.com

Russ Mandrino is a Financial Advisor at High Falls Advisors. He develops relationships with individuals and families, and provides concentrated expertise in the management of stock portfolios.

Russ joined HFA in 2007. He has fifteen years of portfolio management experience and a long career in banking and trust administration. He currently serves on the High Falls Advisors Investment Committee. Previously, he served as an Investment Advisor for a wealth management firm in Rochester. He is a past President of the Rochester Estate Planning Council.

Russ received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Rochester. He holds Series 7, 63 and 65 licenses.

Russ resides in Pittsford with his wife. In his spare time, he enjoys travelling, listening to music and watching sports.

Most Memorable Moment of My Career

Once, while attending a social engagement with an employer in New York City, I met former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.

Personal Motto

As Mother will say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

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John W. Littwitz

Benefits/Healthcare Specialist

John W. Littwitz

John W. Littwitz

Benefits/Healthcare Specialist

p 585-935-8521

e jlittwitz@highfallsadvisors.com

John Littwitz is a Benefits/Healthcare Specialist at High Falls Advisors. He advises the firm’s clients on healthcare needs.

John joined HFA in 2013. He previously worked in Human Resources and Benefits positions at Eastman Kodak and as a Supervisor at MVP Health Care.

John received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Finance.

He previously served on the school board in West Irondequoit. In his spare time, John enjoys running and serving as an official for boys’ lacrosse and volleyball.

Proudest/Most Memorable Moment

The first time I completed a full marathon (26.2 miles). Since then, I have completed more than 30 marathons including Boston, New York City, Vancouver, Marine Corps (Washington, DC), St. George (Utah), and Grandma’s (Duluth, MN).

What I Do When I’m Not Working

I enjoy traveling to watch major league baseball games and have been to fifteen major league parks.

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Timothy M. Verna

Tax & Client Services Specialist

Timothy M. Verna

Timothy M. Verna

Tax & Client Services Specialist

p 585-935-8530

e tverna@highfallsadvisors.com

Tim Verna is a Tax Specialist and also provides client service support at High Falls Advisors. His responsibilities include tax preparation, client service and internal data gathering.

Tim joined HFA in 2011. He has nineteen years of tax preparation and client service experience and previously served as a Machinist and Line Supervisor.

Tim attended the Dale Carnegie School of Management and studied electronics at DeVry Institute. He holds a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) for tax prep.

He resides in Chili with his wife and their dog. They have two grown daughters and two grandchildren. A member of the Parish of the Holy Family Men’s Club, Tim enjoys gardening, biking, watching baseball, taking day trips and reading.

Bucket List Items

I would love to take a trip to Italy to see Rome (Vatican City), Florence, Venice and perhaps a side trip to my father’s hometown of Fara San Martino in the Abruzzo region. Then I’d go on to Greece and visit my mother’s hometown of Flampouro in the Florina region and the various ruins and coastal regions. All the time, I’d be sightseeing and enjoying the food and culture of my ancestors.

Favorite Quote

“We can't do much about the length of our lives, but we can do plenty about its width and depth.”― Evan Esar

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Dariya Tes

Financial Advisor Assistant

Dariya Tes

Dariya Tes

Financial Advisor Assistant

p 585-935-8512

e dtes@highfallsadvisors.com

Dariya Tes is a Financial Advisor at High Falls Advisors. She is responsible for operations and client relationship management.

Dariya joined HFA in 2016. She has seven years of financial planning experience and previously served as a Financial Associate for a local financial services firm.

Dariya received a Bachelor degree in Financial Planning from Alfred State College and is working towards the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification.

She resides in Hilton with her significant other and their two cats. In her free time,

Dariya enjoys traveling, wine and beer tasting around the Finger Lakes region, trying new restaurants and bars, cooking, crafts, and spending time with family and friends.

What I Do When I’m Not Working

- I do a lot of home renovations!

Bucket List Items

- Travel to all 50 states, I’ve been to 29 so far

- Become a better baker

- Learn to ski

- Visit Cambodia, where my family is from

Kosal Gelser Photo
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Kosal Gelser

Client Service Associate

Kosal Gelser

Kosal Gelser

Client Service Associate

p: 585.935.8526

e: kgelser@highfallsadvisors.com

Kosal Gelser is a Client Service Associate at High Falls Advisors. He prepares and processes account paperwork, provides administrative support to the firm’s financial advisors and serves as a secondary point of contact for clients.

Kosal joined HFA in 2018. He has ten years of client service experience and previously served as the Service Manager at a local community-owned bank.

Kosal studied Business Administration at Corning Community College.

He resides in Churchville with his husband and their two cats. In his free time, Kosal enjoys wine tours, gardening, hosting dinner parties, hiking, playing kickball and exercising.

Proudest Moment

- Completing the Philadelphia Marathon

Bucket List Items

- Skydiving

- Bungee jumping

- Traveling back to my home country of Cambodia

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Elizabeth Ann Turner

Client Service Associate

 Elizabeth Ann Turner

Elizabeth Ann Turner

Client Service Associate

p: 585.935.8519

e: bturner@highfallsadvisors.com

Elizabeth Turner is a Client Service Associate at High Falls Advisors. She prepares and processes account paperwork, provides administrative support to the firm’s financial advisors and serves as a secondary point of contact for clients.

Elizabeth joined HFA in 2018. She has twenty-five years of client service experience and previously served as a Customer Service Representative at a global manufacturing company.

Elizabeth holds an Associate degree in Business Management from Bryant & Stratton College.

She volunteers at local charitable organizations including the Open Door Mission and is active in her church.

Elizabeth resides in Greece with her husband, daughter, stepdaughter and two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, working out, shopping and cooking.

Why Finance?

I enjoy helping others. It’s the reason I chose to work in customer service. When I was younger, I didn’t feel the need to save for my future and I truly understand the importance of that now. The finance industry has shown me a whole different perspective on this subject.

Proudest/Most Memorable Moment

I have two. The moment my daughter Kelsey was born (I felt a love I had never experienced before), and the day I married my best friend, Steven.

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Deborah Ferris

Receptionist

Deborah Ferris

Deborah Ferris

Receptionist

p: 585-935-5300 Ext. 100

E: dferris@highfallsadvisors.com

Debbie Ferris is the Receptionist at High Falls Advisors. She is responsible for greeting clients, answering phones and scheduling appointments.

Debbie joined HFA in 2012. She previously served as a Receptionist at a local marketing firm.

She resides in Greece with her husband and two pets. They have six grandsons and spend every weekend at the family’s summer camp in Brennan Beach.

Favorite Place in Rochester

I love Letchworth State Park, especially hiking and viewing the beautiful scenery in the fall.

Skills or Talents

I enjoy making quilts for the new babies born into our family.