With over 35 years of experience in financial services, John Key has served in every capacity of the ever-changing banking landscape. Since joining Commonwealth Bank in September 2011, John has worn many hats and selflessly volunteered his time in the community. His involvement includes time with Greater Louisville “March for Babies” (Chairman), Boy Scouts of America, American Heart Association and Metro United Way. He previously served as Memorial Cancer Center’s annual campaign chair, served as a member of the University of Southern Indiana Athletic Advisory Board and was a charter member of the Terre Haute Business Development Association (IN). John also holds a board position with the Kentucky Bankers Association. He is a graduate of University of Indiana at Evansville; University of Wisconsin School of Banking; ABA Commercial Lending School; and the IBA Commercial Lending School, among many other professional certifications.
Meet the Team
We believe in building a team of experts who have your best interests at heart. With a wealth of financial knowledge and a passion to create success, we give you the same service and attention we would give to our own families. This page shows how we’ve structured our team to ensure you always receive the most efficient, personalized service.
Mark Kennedy has over 30 years of Trust and Investment industry experience developing high-performing wealth management teams and organizations. He began his career with Bank of Boston, where he was a member of the tax and estate settlement unit. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Mark worked for Liberty National/Bank One, where he was Regional Director for the Personal Trust Division, and managed a complex of ultra-high net worth relationships. Mark joined Commonwealth in 2002 and now specializes in organizational and business development, advising clients on generational wealth management issues and leading the Wealth Management Team.
Mr. Kennedy received his B.A. and his Law Degree from Ole Miss and his Masters of Law in Taxation from Boston University. He is a member of the Estate Planning Council, and the Massachusetts and Mississippi Bar Associations. Mark is involved with, as a board and/or committee member, for several civic and charitable organizations including the Louisville Zoo, Cabbage Patch Settlement House and the Louisville Christian Foundation.
Investment Management and Research
Darrell Wells is the Chairman & CEO of Commonwealth Bancshares, Inc., the holding company for Commonwealth Bank & Trust.
Darrell received his A.B. from Harvard University. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Printing House for the Blind and is Chairman of the Investment Committee. Darrell is also Chairman and Director of Citizens Financial Corporation; CEO, Chairman and Director of Citizens Security Life Insurance Company; and is the President of the Wells Foundation.
Rob Hawkins has more than 25 years of financial services and investment management experience. Before joining Commonwealth, Rob most recently served as a Vice President and Senior Analyst for Stifel Nicolaus (formerly Legg Mason Capital Markets) in Baltimore, MD, where he was named a Master Stock Picker in 2010 by The Wall Street Journal, a 4 or 5 Star Earnings Estimator (StarMine) in 2008-2010, and was regularly interviewed and quoted by national media outlets. In addition, Rob previously worked as an executive in finance, development and operations in the healthcare industry.
Rob received his Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, in Biology from Washington and Lee University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst® and is working toward becoming a Chartered Market Technician.
Brian Stivers has over 25 years of experience managing individual/institutional equity and fixed income portfolios. Mr. Stivers currently serves as an investment officer and Director of Research for Commonwealth Bank’s Wealth Management department. He has been a Bloomberg Professional service user for most of his career and is well versed in its research capabilities. Mr. Stivers specializes in tax-free as well as taxable municipals and has particular expertise in KY issuers. He serves as portfolio manager of Commonwealth’s maturing KY tax-free common trust funds and he has successfully matured four funds to date. As the fixed-income strategist for Commonwealth Bank, Mr. Stivers is knowledgeable in all areas of fixed income including corporate and mortgage-backed securities. He co-manages the $200 million bank portfolio and serves on the Asset/Liability and Deposit Pricing committees. In addition, Mr. Stivers is responsible for equity coverage of the Financial Sector within the Trust Department and runs a number of liquidity-based institutional portfolios. As administrator of our prior account/portfolio performance system, he understands managing portfolio risk/reward tradeoffs and key performance drivers.
Mr. Stivers received his B.S. in Finance, with honors, from the University of Louisville and is a graduate of the National Trust School at Northwestern.
John oversees Commonwealth’s allocations to alternative investments on behalf of trust and wealth management clients and serves as Portfolio Manager for Commonwealth Liquid Alpha Fund and Commonwealth Structured Alpha. He is a veteran of the hedge fund industry and has over 20 years of financial markets experience. Prior to founding the alternatives practice at Commonwealth, he worked for a private investment office from 2005 to 2015 as a Portfolio Manager, overseeing the investment management of various portfolios for both family members and institutional clients. From 2004 to 2005, he was a Research Analyst at Fox-Pitt, Kelton (FPK). Prior to joining FPK, he was a trader at North End Option Strategies on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange. He began his career at AIG, where he underwrote exotic risk management products in New York and London. He holds a BS in Business Administration with Special Attainments in Commerce from Washington & Lee University.
Steven Gray has more than 8 years of Investment Management experience. Before joining Commonwealth, Steven most recently served as a Senior Portfolio Manager for First Bankers Trust Company where he managed portfolios for high-net-worth clients along with co-managing the firm’s dividend growth equity strategy. He collaborated with a team of client service and estate planning professionals to design and construct prudent asset allocations and deliver an exceptional client experience.
Steven received his BS in Finance from Western Kentucky University and his MBA, from the University of Louisville. He also earned the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation in 2017. Steven is a member of the Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL) and CFA Society of Louisville.
Chris Beneke has twenty years of banking and investment research experience at Commonwealth Bank and Trust Company. He has been in the Trust department for fifteen years, and served as portfolio manager for the past seven years. Chris began in the trust department primarily as an analyst with a focus on large cap companies for our core equity strategy and quickly became the head equity trader for the department and proxy voter. During his tenure, Chris was instrumental in establishing a monitoring and review process for mutual funds that can be used for client and institutional accounts, as well as creating various disclosures for 401k retirement plans in accordance with DOL reporting regulations.
Along with providing general mutual fund and equity research, Chris focuses on and is responsible for equity coverage for the Discretion sectors. This research includes assessment of price actions in individual stocks on investment approved and monitored lists, and market trends for strategic and tactical allocation ideas. In addition to his research responsibilities, he has been a portfolio manager for the past seven years and is in charge of assuring his clients are in the most appropriate asset allocation and investment lineup given their risk tolerance level.
Chris holds a BA in Economics from Rollins College and a MBA from Bellarmine University. He is a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC®).
Pete Ward has more than 19 years of financial services and investment management experience. Before joining Commonwealth Bank & Trust, Pete most recently worked with the Hilliard Lyons Investment Banking Group where he provided research, analysis and advisory services for mergers and acquisitions transactions and business valuation assignments. Prior to his time with Hilliard Lyons, Pete served as an Investment Officer for the Presbyterian Church (USA) Foundation where he analyzed individual accounts as well as fund level investments, and implemented investment decisions, policies and directives for over $1 billion in assets under management. Pete was also previously a Partner and Research Analyst at Veredus Asset Management where he evaluated small cap US equities for potential investment. He formulated extensive financial models to forecast corporate earnings, researched industry trends, and covered numerous sectors including: Transportation, Gaming, Leisure, Specialty Finance, Basic Materials, Aerospace, Autos and Industrials.
In his role as investment officer and portfolio manager, Pete works with clients to establish a thoughtful and appropriate investment strategy and he is responsible for equity coverage of the Communications sector. Pete received his Bachelor of Arts in History from Washington and Lee University.
Spencer Joyce has over 10 years of financial services and investment management experience. Mr. Joyce published equity research for Hilliard Lyons before expanding his purview as a founding member of the firm’s Investment Strategy & Research group. His stock selections and earnings models in the Utility sector were recognized by Thomson Reuters (StarMine) 10 times, and Spencer has been interviewed and quoted by various industry and media outlets. Mr. Joyce focuses on the Real Estate and Utilities sectors here at Commonwealth, and contributes to broader initiates such as fund selection, tactical allocation, portfolio construction and client communications.
Spencer holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Kentucky. He earned the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation in 2013, and is currently the President of CFA Louisville.
William Husband has been with Commonwealth Bank & Trust since February of 2012. Will covers large capitalization equities in the industrials sector, coordinates communication and distribution of research products, and assists portfolio managers in client communication. He completed his B.A. in Economics and Business Administration from the W. Fielding Rubel School of Business, Bellarmine University, in May 2015 and is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honors society for economics.
Client Service and Administration
Chris Nunnelley has more than 35 years of experience in trust and estate administrative services, financial planning and banking. Chris joined Commonwealth Trust Company in 1999 and currently heads up the Trust Administrative Group, responsible for trust, estate, and account administration and related services. He is Chair of the Trust Administrative Committee and also serves on the Community Contributions Committee for the bank. Prior to joining Commonwealth Trust, he served as a Managing Director for The Sachs Company, a local investment firm and their affiliate, Louisville Trust Company.
Chris received his B.S. in Finance from the University of Notre Dame and his M.B.A. from University of Louisville. He attended Cannon Trust School and is a graduate of the American Bankers Association’s National Trust School. Chris has been a member of the Estate Planning Council of Louisville and on the Board of Directors of the Energy Conservation Associates/ Project Warm. He has also been on the Development Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors, Assumption High School and a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.
Beth Russell has more than 40 years of trust, estate and investment management experience. She began her career as a Portfolio Manager at National City Bank, where she was responsible for $100 million in trust assets. In 1996, Beth brought her strong expertise in customer relationship building to Commonwealth, where she currently serves as a Trust Administrative Officer and oversees all types of trust accounts while working closely with clients to determine and achieve their investment objectives.
Beth has attended both the Midwest Trust School and the Cannon Trust School. She is also an active community volunteer for many various organizations including Louisville Public Media and Friends of the Louisville Public Library.
Mary Beth Byron has over 20 years of trust and estate administrative experience. Prior to joining Commonwealth Bank & Trust, she was Vice President and Trust Officer at Bank of Louisville. Mary Beth is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She is a graduate of the ABA National Trust School and National Graduate Trust School.
Chad Turner has over 5 years of experience in administering trusts and estates and has joined Commonwealth as a Trust Officer and Vice President. Before recently joining Commonwealth, Chad worked with a regional trust company helping families and individuals work through their retirement, and was responsible for Trust, Estate, and account administration for the firm.
Chad received his B.A. and his Law Degree from the University of Louisville. He is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association. Chad serves on the board of a number of charitable organizations including the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army – Louisville Division as well as the Board of Trustees of the Pension Fund of the Christian Church. Chad is married with two young children.
Nancye Olt has more than 30 years of experience in the banking and trust industry. Prior to joining Commonwealth Bank & Trust, she worked for a local investment firm where she acquired a wealth of knowledge in trust administration and financial services, with a strong expertise in managing and developing client relationships.
Nancye holds an Associate Degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisville. She is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Louisville and serves on the Executive Board for the Ronald McDonald House Charities as well as the Finance Committee and McDazzle co-chair.
Robin has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Commonwealth Bank & Trust, Robin spent over 16 years as the Administrative Technician with a local SEC Registered Investment Advisor providing excellent client servicing, marketing and performance reporting. She also spent several years working with a local insurance company and non‐profit agency. Robin attended the University of Kentucky and enjoys spending time with her grandson.
Steve Zeitz joined Commonwealth Trust Company in 2013 and has more than 37 years of audit, treasury and investment operations experience in the financial services industry. He is responsible for all accounting, operations, client reporting and vendor management for the Trust Department. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Mr. Zeitz was Vice President of Operations for First Data Corporation responsible for all aspects of operations, settlement and accounting for its merchant services business. Prior to that, he served as Director of Investment Operations at Invesco/National Asset Management for 8 years. He was also Director of Treasury and Investment Operations for Providian Corporation for 16 years.
Mr. Zeitz is a graduate of the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and a Masters of Business Administration. Mr. Zeitz served 4 years as Board member of the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation, including one term as Chairman. He is the past president of the Kentucky Treasury Management Association and served on the board for Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky for 4 years.
Jack Combs has more than 31 years of experience in trust, estate administration and investment management. Jack began his career with Louisville Trust Company in 1975 as a Trust Officer. Prior to joining Commonwealth Bank & Trust, he served as Managing Director of the Trust and Investment group at Bank of Louisville. Here at Commonwealth Bank & Trust, Jack focuses his attention on Management and Business Development.
Jack received his B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Kentucky and his Law Degree from Duke University. He is a member of the Louisville Bar Association and the Kentucky Estate Planning Council. Jack also serves on the Board of Trustees and is the Treasurer for the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Family Office, Financial Planning and Private Banking
Toby has worked in the financial services business since 1982 and as a Financial Advisor since 1992. Before joining Commonwealth Bank & Trust in 2006, Toby was with JC Bradford and Co, Paine Webber, then UBS after the two acquisitions. Prior to his time in the investment business, Toby was a VP with First National Bank of Louisville/National City Bank where he served as a commercial lender and private banker. Currently, he heads up Commonwealth Brokerage Services through LPL Financial. Toby received his B.B.A. from Ole Miss.
Brian Cohoon is responsible for leading business development efforts for Commonwealth’s Trust and Wealth Management Group. He works with prospective clients to listen to their unique goals and objectives and provides customized solutions utilizing our talented team of investment professionals, estate attorneys, insurance specialists, tax and retirement specialists and financial planners. Brian has over 27 years of financial, investment and estate planning experience, most recently with several regional trust companies. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC), Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF), and a Fellow of Charitable Estate Planning from the Charitable Estate Planning Institute.
Sam has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry in Louisville. He started his career in 1979 with Hilliard Lyons, where he held a variety of management positions in both debt and equity underwriting disciplines. Prior to joining Commonwealth Bank & Trust, Sam was a Wealth Management Consultant with US Bank, specializing in Business Development and Financial Planning. Sam joined Commonwealth Bank & Trust in 2011 and will be concentrating on Business Development and Relationship Management.
Sam received his B.B.A. from Stetson University. He has previously held FINRA series 7, 24, 53 and 63 licenses and is currently working toward his CFP designation.
Christine Gandara has over 18 years of experience with Commonwealth Bank and Trust Company. Christine currently serves as Financial Planner with a focus on assisting clients with all aspects of financial planning as well as account aggregation, utilizing our Wealth Management Solution software.
Christine received her Bachelors from University of Louisville. She recently completed her Certified Financial Planner educational requirements from Boston University and is currently seeking her CFP certification. Christine serves on the committees for the Cedar Lake Foundation Golf Tournament.
Mike Ackerson has over 40 years of experience in the financial services industry. His responsibilities have included auditing personal and corporate trust accounts, managing and administering complex trusts and overseeing compliance with trust regulations and risk evaluation. Prior to joining Commonwealth Bank, Mike spent 17 years with First Star/US Bank, eight years with Bank of Louisville, and 13 years with First National/National City Bank as a Trust Auditor and Trust Administrative Officer. In addition to managing a book of personal trust accounts, Mike was also responsible for legal review, estates and compliance for the local office.
Mike graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wabash College, continuing his education at the University of Louisville School of Law, where he received his JD, Magna Cum Laude. Mike is an active participant in the community and has served on the Board of Directors for several charitable institutions including Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic and the Learning Disability Association of Kentuckiana. He is currently serving on the board of Dayspring. Mike, along with his family, are longtime supporters of the University of Louisville Law Clinic.