Photo by David Colburn
Attendees celebrate the ribbon cutting for Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. on Thursday, Nov. 12. (From left) Sherrie Briemer, Tom Cholevik, Eduardo Alguelles, Skylar Cholevik, Joe Colyer, Rosemarie Brown, Victoria Arguelles and Lamark Kirkwood.
GRANITE CITY — Shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12, Tom Cholevik cut the ceremonial red ribbon in front of the brightly lit Transamerica sign at his new office location.
“For 20 years, I never thought it was the building that made the business, but I finally realized I needed more space,” Cholevik, who served as ambassador of the Southwestern Madison County Chamber of Commerce for two years, said.
Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. celebrated its relocation from 4900 Maryville Road to 3823 Pontoon Road in Granite City.
“We’re expanding from 450 square feet to 1,100 square feet,” Cholevik said. “It’s quite a change. I recognize the importance of giving new and established businesses in the community full support. That’s what events like this ribbon cutting are about; it’s vital for business people to support each other and work together.”
Cholevik, 64, began his career working for U.S. Steel in Granite City at the age of 15. When he reached the age of 45, he realized he was being drawn to something else.
“God led me to this industry,” Cholevik said. “My goal was to retire from Granite City Steel at age 60, and I was able to do so 10 years early.”
He describes the transition from steelworker to financial adviser as a difficult but crucial one.
“I’ve had complete satisfaction as a financial adviser,” he said. “I consider it an honor to help people onto a good financial path, talk to them spiritually, and help them take care of themselves.
“My goal is to let people know what separates me from other financial advisers. I’ll cover anything with income, lack thereof, debt, life insurance, programs to eliminate credit card debt — the whole gamut.”
Although Transamerica has grown to become the 20th-largest insurance company in the world, it remains independent.
“I’ve been a coach and a teacher all of my life,” Cholevik said. “This is how I’ve spent my retirement, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one.”
Senior associate Sherrie Briemer also expressed her excitement for the expansion of space in the new building.
“It’s a much better setup for group meetings, financial presentations and other events,” she said.
Briemer first met Cholevik in 2002, and she says she has considered him a mentor ever since.
“By the end of this year, she’ll follow in my footsteps and become the branch manager,” Cholevik said. “She’s been my wing-person and she’s going to have a great career here.”
The grand opening attracted a number of clients, business people, friends, and family with a feast of grilled bratwurst, hamburgers, chips, salsa, pastries and beverage choices that included soda, wine and beer.
The new office was packed with jubilant casual conversation and laughter. After the ribbon-cutting, the ribbon was laid out on a table to be signed by attendees and Cholevik awarded his granddaughter Skylar a purple Transamerica shirt for being his “number one helper.”
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