Our leaders guide the direction of our firm. These individuals have extensive technical backgrounds, are frequent speakers and teachers for other professionals, and are involved in local and national organizations with some of the most respected wealth management firms in the nation.
ROSS LEVIN, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, is Founding Principal and President of Accredited Investors Inc. He is a renowned expert and first recipient of the Financial Planning Association's Heart of Financial Planning Award and the inaugural recipient of Financial Planning Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award. Long an industry leader, Mr. Levin has served as Chairman of the International Association for Financial Planning. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and daughters.
Ross Levin’s Personal Bio
Don’t let money become a bigger piece of your life
than the things that truly matter more,
such as your friends and family
and your ability to make an impact
on the people you meet.
I have faced many hurdles, but putting myself through college at the University of Minnesota was probably the most significant. I lived in student housing where most of the kids had much more financially than I had. I was able to get jobs where I got paid for doing things that I loved; other jobs I took solely for the money. This helped frame my desire to work on things that I love.
I think that the death of my sister when I was a freshman helped me develop two guiding concepts: 1) impermanence – things never stay as they are; and 2) the preciousness of life. I also believe it’s often the small moments that bring meaning and joy to life.
I entered the wealth management field when both the business and I were young. When I was elected to the National Board of the International Association for Financial Planning at age 28, the President of the association wrote me a handwritten note telling me that he expected great things from me. I kept that note on my desk throughout my board tenure—including when I became chair. I’ll never forget how much that little gesture mattered.
Another example of a meaningful, memorable moment took place on a family trip to Ireland when our daughters were five. My wife and I hid a small table, chairs, and picnic basket in a field, and the girls discovered a magical leprechaun picnic. Using our resources and creativity to make lasting memories and rich experiences has been central to my philosophy of wealth management.
These are the things that matter to me: family, experiences, imagination, and finding the treasure in the seemingly mundane.
Ross Levin’s Certifications and Credentials
BSB from the University of Minnesota
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Former Chairman of the International Association for Financial Planning, which is now the FPA
Former member of the Board of Governors for the CFP® Board of Standards
WIL HEUPEL is the Founding and Managing Principal of Accredited Investors Inc. His primary focus is on building and preserving wealth. Mr. Heupel is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ who holds numerous other certifications. He has appeared as an expert source in many publications. He is married with two daughters and enjoys family, friends, cooking, golf, and tennis. Wil and his family live in Minneapolis, but like to getaway to their Naples home.
Wil Heupel’s Personal Bio
My life as a farm boy taught me to never quit.
The job of putting up hay for the winter or picking rocks
was difficult and could not be stopped until completed.
I believe anything is possible if you are willing to persevere.
You reap what you sow.
I grew up on a farm with two siblings, my parents, and my grandparents all pitching in—no one was above a given job! We worked, played, and ate together as a family. And we wasted nothing. Old machinery was torn down and parts reused. At butchering time or meal preparation, we used every single bit.
My parents and grandparents really taught me to appreciate teamwork, never quitting, and the satisfaction of completing a task through hard work and dedication. My mother especially inspired me. She accomplished things many times her weight of 110 pounds. No job was beneath her, and she never complained about the work she did. On the farm, she did everything the guys could do and more.
My wife and father-in-law influenced my work ethic, too. They taught me that anything was possible, to believe in myself, and to have the confidence to go after my dreams.
All of these qualities were crucial when I changed careers at the age of 30. Leaving professional banking and helping to build Accredited Investors Inc. called for all of my perseverance, budgeting skills, and belief in my dreams.
What attracted me to this field is the ability to help people set and accomplish goals they never thought possible. My very best days are the ones in which my interaction and connection with clients result in a success or improvement in their life’s journey.
Wil Heupel’s Certifications and Credentials
MBA in Finance from the University of Minnesota
Master of Science in Humanities and Social Sciences from North Dakota State University
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
Member of PACE – the Professional Achievement in Continuing Education
KATHLEEN LONGO is a Senior Principal with Accredited Investors Inc. Her specialties include management of personal net worth, estate planning, and philanthropy, and she has received many awards for her work in these areas. Ms. Longo is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ who joined the firm in 2001. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children.
Kathleen Longo's Personal Bio
Think about what needs to get done TODAY,
then do it at a level that exceeds expectations.
Be true to yourself, and always look inside for answers.
Disco will never die.
The largest issue in my life is the legacy of adoption. I have addressed adoption in two important ways.
My first big adoption-related decision was to meet my biological parents. I decided to tackle this while in college. My parents had always indicated they would share whatever information they had, which wasn’t very much. I used my detective skills to determine that my birth mother had attended the same high school that I had, and I tracked her down in Colorado. I dialed several times before I could say anything. When we finally talked, those were some of the most intensely personal moments of my life. I have been very fortunate to build a relationship with my birth mother that involves both of our families.
My second adoption-related decision was to adopt, with my husband, two children from Guatemala. I always knew adoption was an option, but it was still a difficult choice. I struggled with the first-hand knowledge that being adopted would create questions for our children that they would confront for the rest of their lives, but I also felt confident that our family would provide the support structure and love that our children needed to thrive. We absolutely made the right choice!
My adoption experiences impact my wealth management philosophy, too. I love that my clients are happier knowing that people they like and trust are working with them to ensure the best life possible. The ability to create a flexible financial plan to handle everything that life throws at you is an amazing security blanket, and we all need some security and caretaking in our lives.
Kathleen Longo’s Certifications and Credentials
BS in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®
Serves on the Executive Board of Directors for Common Hope
Serves on the Board of Directors for MinnPost
Serves on the Professional Advisor Committee for the Minneapolis Foundation
Formerly served on the Board of the National Financial Planning Association
Formerly served as President of the Minnesota Financial Planning Association
Formerly served on an advisory council with Purdue University
LEW ZEIDNER is the Chief Operating Officer for Accredited Investors Inc. He has over 30 years of executive leadership experience in large, mid-size, and emerging organizations. Most recently Mr. Zeidner has consulted for successful entrepreneurial businesses that were striving to scale their operations to support rapid growth. Previously Mr. Zeidner was the President and CEO of two regional companies that he founded and grew. Prior to those ventures he was President of various divisions of Fortune 100 companies. Mr. Zeidner started his career in the hospital world where he led several acute and specialty health systems through acquisitions and market driven changes to core operating processes. He lives in Plymouth with his wife and daughter.
Lew Zeidner’s Personal Bio
In business, execution skills trump intelligence and a customer centric value proposition beats a large sales budget when predicting success.
Through the last 30 years I have been honored to hold leadership roles in multiple large and small organizations. Probably the one that was most rewarding for me was a retail pharmacy roll-up in which we bought successful independent retail pharmacies from their long-term owners as they prepared to retire. As we conducted due diligence we quickly learned that owners who were proudest of their customer relationships and staff skills had typically built much more sustainable businesses than those who had polished balance sheets and had the greatest EBITDA to sales percentages. It highlighted a lesson I have repeatedly learned; people skills drive business success.
A second core lesson has come as I have watched my 89 year old dad struggle with dementia. Life is neither predictable nor permanent. This renewed insight has led me to prioritize spending my time with people I respect, enjoy and am happy to be around. It was a strong driver for my joining the Accredited Investors team and continues to enrich my marriage of 22 years and my relationship with my 17 year old daughter.
My most enjoyable moments as a leader are when I see a colleague or report develop insight about solving a business problem or creating greater value for a customer as a partial result of my guidance or support. It is reminiscent of my early career as a psychologist. The greatest therapeutic progress occurs when a patient gains insight about improving their life; not when the therapist develops a treatment plan.
Lew Zeidner’s Certifications and Credentials
BA in Physiological Psychology from Franklin and Marshall College
MA in Developmental Psychobiology from University of Connecticut
BECKY KRIEGER is a Shareholder and the Senior Director for Wealth Management Teams at Accredited Investors. In her role, she ensures each client receives an exemplary experience from a talented team combining all disciplines of financial planning within a customized, comprehensive plan. Becky is a Certified Public Accountant and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ who joined the firm in 2005 after spending five years in Private Client Service tax department within Arthur Andersen and Deloitte & Touche. She lives in Shakopee with her husband and two children.
Becky Krieger’s Personal Bio
Celebrate today as tomorrow is not guaranteed
Laughter truly is the best medicine; smiles are priceless
Accentuate the positives
I was born into a family as the youngest of seven children and was a pleasant midlife "surprise" to my parents. While my siblings teased me about being the spoiled baby, I personally considered my arrival to be the proverbial icing on the cake. I learned the importance of a strong work ethic and self sufficiency at a young age. I spent every summer working in my mother’s enormous garden, planting, nurturing and harvesting vegetables. The dinner table was full of the freshest seasonal food gathered in our backyard. While my parents worked hard to provide for a large family, they introduced the importance of generosity as we would gather and deliver fruits and vegetables to relatives, friends, and neighbors. Anyone who visited our family farm was welcome to join us for the upcoming meal; somehow there was always enough to go around. My parents enjoyed celebrating and hosting parties and holidays at our home and influenced my desire to entertain and host special events for friends and family. We placed a premium on pausing long enough to celebrate life’s special moments; I always seemed to find something to commemorate in hopes it would translate into a special trip to the local ice cream shop!
Because I had siblings much older than me, and nieces and nephews very similar in age, key communication skills were necessary for survival in a setting that was typically quite loud and became increasingly crowded as the family expanded and evolved over time. Navigating the various personalities within a family of forty members instilled the importance of respect, support and privacy at an early age. We all were challenged with wanting our own space and having individual time with our parents. Thankfully, I was raised in an environment in which we were all treated fairly and felt like we were the only child in our parent’s lives. This experience translates into the many relationships fostered within Accredited. Every client has a unique story and I am grateful for their willingness to share their personal situation. The relationships we have with outside advisors and others within our community are essential to providing the level of expertise we deliver. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to commemorate numerous achievements with our clients; it is equally rewarding to walk beside clients through struggles and challenges as we explore alternate options. I am proud to be part of a generous firm that cares about our staff and community and urges us to pay it forward to a cause that speaks to the individual. We spend concentrated time each month celebrating employee accomplishments and client successes. Even though our Accredited family is constantly evolving and expanding, we have created a special environment in which clients receive individual attention and know their best interests are always top of mind.
Becky Krieger’s Certifications and Credentials
BS in Accounting from St. Cloud State University
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Certified Public Accountant
Formerly served as President of the Minnesota Financial Planning Association
JACOB WOLKOWITZ is an Investment Manager with Accredited Investors Inc. His expertise includes investment analysis, equity research, and market strategy. Mr. Wolkowitz has served as an informational source and appeared in publications including The Wall Street Journal, as well as on television programs with CNBC and KSTP. He is married and lives in Minneapolis.
Jacob Wolkowitz’s Personal Bio
If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let ‘em go, because man, they’re gone.
My family taught me a number of important characteristics that inform my outlook as an investor. The first is to not be afraid to challenge authority or conventional wisdom. My grandfather was number two on Nixon’s Enemies list. On being informed of this, he stated, “Damn it, I should have been number one.” As the events of the last decade illustrate, not enough questions were asked and not enough wisdom challenged. We would all have been better off if more people were trying to look out for the best interests of the small investor. I gladly became a partner at Accredited Investors because I think, in our limited capacity, we do just that.
The second piece of advice is that there are always people who have been there before and I would be foolish to ignore their advice and guidance. The four most famous (last) words in investing are, “This time is different.” Some of the most cited investment books were written in 1923, 1934, 1949 and 1978. By placing events in historical context, I can more easily ignore the noise that frequently tempts people to imprudently change course. The path to investments success is surprisingly well worn as are the pitfalls. By trusting in the wisdom of others who have come before, I can more confidently guide those who come after.
The final piece of advice is you do not need to be serious to be taken seriously. The more difficult or stressful times get, the harder we need to laugh. As Joan Rivers once said to a heckler, “Comedy is to make everybody laugh at everything and deal with things, you idiot.” I try to remember that the most important person to laugh at is yourself and that helps me deal with things…you idiot.
Jacob Wolkowitz’s Certifications and Credentials
BA in Economics from Carleton College
Chartered Financial Analyst®
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.
CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.
Would you like to hear more of what our principals have to say? We invite you to visit our Publications
page to learn about the books and articles written by Accredited Investors' staff. At In the News
, you will find a listing of mainstream media publications that quote or refer to our firm’s members.
You can read brief bios of our entire team by visiting the Our Team