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Our Strategic Alliance

An Unfair Advantage

Secure Future Advisors is a Member Firm of the Valmark Financial Group, a select group of independent wealth and insurance advisory firms. Valmark provides concierge level support to each Member Firm. As a Valmark Member Firm, we are able to leverage the knowledge and experience of these professionals to help us deliver innovative thinking and recommendations when helping our clients strategically plan for their futures.

As a collective group, Valmark Member Firms have over $50 billion of life insurance in force. The Valmark Portfolio Management Team directly oversees around $8 billion of assets through Valmark Wealth Solutions and outside managers, managing strategies for both institutions and individual investors. Secure Future Advisors has access to many of the nation’s top financial service providers, products, and services, enabling us to advocate on behalf of our clientswhile maintaining independence. Valmark Securities, Inc., our broker dealer, is a member of FINRA and the SIPC, and is licensed in all 50 states for securities and insurance. It has 100+ independently owned Member Firmsthroughout the United States. Valmark Advisers, Inc., our Registered Investment Advisory firm, is registered with the SEC.

Valmark’s staff are career professionals involved in investment analysis, portfolio management, life insurance and other protection products, medical underwriting, product due diligence and regulatory compliance. 

To learn more about Valmark, please visit their website at: https://www.valmarkfg.com/site/

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Larry Rybka, JD, CFP® Photo
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Larry Rybka, JD, CFP®

Chairman & CEO

Larry J. Rybka is the Chairman and CEO for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. Mr. Rybka’s 30+ year tenure at Valmark has been marked by working with independent Investment Advisors to create innovative solutions to better serve clients. He proactively anticipates difficult regulatory challenges which impact how those services are delivered. His thoughts on industry change have resulted in him being invited to address every major industry meeting from main platform, including Forum 400, MDRT, Top of the Table, and AALU. His industry advocacy is also evidenced by testimony before legislative bodies and lobbying on behalf of advisors with FINRA, SEC, and several state Insurance Commissioners. Mr. Rybka is also a noted speaker and author with published articles in numerous industry journals. Two of his articles were recognized with industry awards, including The Journal of the American Society of CLU & ChFC® Author Award and the CFP® Board Article Award. He earned a BSBA in Finance from The University of Akron, where he was a University Scholar, and his Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University. Along with Series 6, 24, 63 and 65 registrations, Mr. Rybka is a Registered Principal with FINRA, a member of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU) and a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional.

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Caleb Callahan, CFP®

President & COO

Caleb J. Callahan is a principal and the President for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. Mr. Callahan is also Chairman of Valmark’s Global Gift Fund™, which makes charitable contributions to non-profit organizations and ministries around the world. He is a frequent presenter at industry meetings such as the American Bar Association (ABA), the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). He has also provided expert testimony to the

United States Congress, Department of Labor (DOL) and National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Mr. Callahan holds BSBA in Finance and a Minor in Economics from the University of Akron, where he was Valedictorian and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Along with Series 7, 24 and 66 registrations and Life, Health and Variable Annuity Licenses, Mr. Callahan is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and a member of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU).

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Michael McClary, MBA

Chief Investment Officer

Michael McClary is the Chief Investment Officer of Valmark Advisers, Inc. and Valmark Financial Group, LLC. His primary responsibility is coordinating all investment management solutions for Valmark Advisers and Valmark Institutional, including TOPS®, TOPS® Strategic Allocation Portfolios, TOPS® Managed Risk ETF Portfolios and Valmark ACCESS™, and ACCESS™ Plus solutions. Mr. McClary was named by EFTReport as one of “10 Rising Stars” in 2012 and one of “10 All Stars” in 2014. He is nationally recognized as one of the first three memebrs of the IMN/Research Magazine “ETF Advisors Hall of Fame” in 2007 and is regularly published on ETF.com. In addition, he has collaborated with the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, Financial Advisor, and Research Magazine, to name a few, on ETF-related topics and has been a featured speaker for organizations such as the S&P and the Financial Planning Association. Mr. McClary holds FINRA series 7, 24 and 66 securities registrations, is a Member of the Cleveland Society of Chartered Financial Analysts®, and is a Registered Investment Advisor. He earned an MBA in Financial Management and a BBA in Finance in Financial Services, Magna Cum Laude, both from the University of Akron.

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Tyler Denholm, CFA®

Vice President, Investment Management & Research

Tyler Denholm is the Vice President of Investment Management and Research for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. His primary responsibility includes overseeing the investment management process and conducting research for TOPS®, TOPS® Strategic Allocation Portfolios and TOPS® Variable Insurance Trust. Specifically, he is responsible for portfolio design and portfolio management. Mr. Denholm regularly analyzes the TOPS® Portfolios and is heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of portfolio management. He also helps analyze our prospective portfolios, and we work directly with Tyler to determine which of the various Wealth Solutions would be the best fit for our clients. He earned his BSBA in Finance and Real Estate from the University of Akron, graduating Summa Cum Laude. In addition to his Series 7 and 24 registrations, Mr. Denholm is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®).

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Zach Hurst, CFP®

Director, Financial Planning

Zach Hurst is a Director of Financial Planning for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. In his role, he is responsible for aspects of design, marketing and implementation of Valmark’s unique financial planning processes. He oversees a team that assists member offices with accumulation, income distribution, and legacy planning through various processes designed to best meet the unique needs of each of our clients. Mr. Hurst earned a BSBA in Financial Services from the University of Akron, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, and holds Series 7, 24 and 66 registrations. In addition, he is licensed for Ohio Life, Health, Accident and Variable Life Insurance and is a Chartered Life Underwriter®. He has been recognized for Outstanding Work and Accomplishment in the Field of Financial Planning from the University of Akron’s Finance Advisory Board (2014) and has presented on financial planning topics at Valmark’s Member Summit (formerly School of Life) as well as at various College of Business courses and panels with the University of Akron.

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Doug Wilburn

Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel

In his role as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for our partner, Valmark Financial Group, Doug Wilburn is responsible for all aspects of Valmark’s legal affairs as well as regulatory compliance for Valmark’s broker-dealer and SEC-registered investment advisers. Doug’s extensive experience includes serving as Securities Commissioner for the State of Missouri; Managing Director of Wachovia Securities; Chief Compliance Officer for J.P. Morgan Chase Investment Services, WaMu Investments and Wachovia Securities Financial Network respectively; and Financial Analyst and Investment Advisor at A.G. Edwards & Sons. Doug earned a Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University School of Law and a BA in Political Science from the University of Missouri. He is also a graduate of the Securities Industry Institute® sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Chris Finefrock, MBA, CFP®

Senior Vice President - Investments and Financial Planning

Chris Finefrock is the Senior Vice President of Financial Planning and Investments for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. In his role, he oversees and is a resource for the team responsible for all aspects of design and implementation of various brokerage, insurance and advisory solutions intended to assist investors with risk management and reaching their accumulation and/or distribution goals. He also oversees the practice management and financial technology area which assesses third-party vendor technology and assists Member Firms in the selection and implementation of processes within their practice. Lastly, he oversees the investment operations division including data processing, books and records retention, principal review and custodial platform relationships. In addition to his Series 7, 24 and 66 registrations and his Ohio Life, Health and Variable licenses, Mr. Finefrock holds a BSBA in Financial Services and an MBA in Finance from the University of Akron. He is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional.

Judson Forner, CFP®, CRPC® Photo
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Judson Forner, CFP®, CRPC®

Vice President, Investment Operations

Judson Forner is the Vice President of Investment Operations for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. In his role, he leads the teams directly responsible for processing all investment-related business submitted through Valmark. This includes the handling of paperwork and electronic submissions, principal review and vendor services. In addition, he oversees the trading team, manages relations with Valmark’s custodial platforms, and participates on Valmark’s Product committee. Mr. Forner has presented on topics such as Money Management, Financial Planning and Annuities at Valmark Member Summit and Member Staff Summit conferences, as well as higher education institutions, such as Ursuline College and The Ohio State University. He has also been quoted in industry publications, including Barron’s, Bloomberg, CNBC, Financial Advisor Magazine, and Investment News. In addition to his Series 6, 7, 24, 53 and 66 registrations and his Ohio Life, Health and Variable licenses, Mr. Forner earned a BSBA in Finance from The Ohio State University. He is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional and a Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM (CRPC®).

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Michael Michlitsch, MBA, CRPC®

Vice President, In Force Insurance Solutions

As Vice President of In Force Insurance Solutions for our partner, Valmark Financial Group, Michael leads the Valmark Policy Management Company (PMC) and Life Settlement teams. Michael is responsible for integrating strategies and solutions to maximize in force insurance business to best serve our clients. Previously, he was Manager of Practice Management at Securian Financial Services, Inc., a Senior Training Manager for Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., and Sales Manager for Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Mr. Michlitsch earned his MBA from the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas and his BA in Management and Marketing from Bethany Lutheran College. He is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ (CRPC®) and carries the following Financial Services Designations: CFS, CIS, CFF, CES, CAS and CTS. In addition, he holds Series 7, 24 and 66 registrations as well as Life, Health, and Variable Life and Annuity licenses.

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Chris Bottaro

Senior Vice President, Insurance

Chris Bottaro is the Senior Vice President of Insurance Services for our partner, ValMark Financial Group. He is responsible for the vision, strategy and execution of life insurance underwriting and new business initiatives. In his role, he prides himself in partnering with financial professionals, and insurance carriers to help make life insurance simpler, more efficient, and more effective for clients. Chris has a technical risk assessment background and spent the first 12 years of his career in various underwriting production and leadership positions at Lincoln Financial Group in Hartford before relocating to the Twin Cities to join Valmark in February of 2015. He has an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts and holds FINRA Series 6 and 26 securities registrations.

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Caleb Nitz, CFP®

Vice President - Business Development

Caleb Nitz is the Vice President of Business Development for our partner, Valmark Financial Group. His primary responsibility is working with existing and potential Member Firms to integrate Valmark’s unique tools, resources and people to help them grow. Previously, Mr. Nitz led Valmark’s Insurance Marketing team, enhancing Member Firm services and delivering on key insurance offerings such as Life Assurance 360™. In addition to his FINRA series 7, 24 and 66 securities registrations, Mr. Nitz is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and carries Ohio Life, Health and Variable Insurance licenses. He earned his BBA in Finance and Financial Planning from the University of Akron, Magna Cum Laude, with a Minor in Business Entrepreneurship. Mr. Nitz is a graduate of the Focus Leadership Institute [2008] and is a member of the Association of Advances Life Underwriting. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, bicycling and volunteering with his wife, Hannah.