ASC Newsletter #17-01-2

In this issue:

Diane Storm ASA, FCA, MAAA, EA, Retires after 34 Years of Service
Introducing ASC’s Newest Team Members
Meet Marsha Richardson, Support Team Member
DGEM 5500 2016 Government Forms: Webcast Scheduled for April

Diane Storm ASA, FCA, MAAA, EA, Retires after 34 Years of Service

Diane Storm ASA, FCA, MAAA, EA , a beloved ASC employee since June of 1982 and our Chief Actuary since 1986, retired on December 31st after over 34 years of service. Diane shepherded the DB software through multiple law changes and technology upgrades over the last three decades. Diane was truly a jack-of-all-DB-trades – not only training and supporting clients on the software, but also taking the lead on programming during the early years. She has been a tireless advocate for Defined Benefit plans throughout the industry, serving on the SOA’s RPEC (Retirement Plans Experience Committee) and the JBEA Exams Committee. She was also instrumental in the development of the Generational Mortality tables both as part of the SOA RPEC, but also for allowing ASC to be the first third party software provider to allow users to use the generational tables in their calculations.

Alan Gould and Diane Storm

Diane was honored by ASC at a dinner in Washington D.C. during the ASPPA conference last Fall. The President of ASC, Alan Gould, recalled special moments of her tenure.

“When massive program designs were required, ASC persevered through these challenging times thanks to Diane’s ability to translate the needed changes into program updates.”

“Additionally, unknown to many, the modern-day world has Diane and ASC to thank for the creation of the concept of a virtual office. Way back in 1986 we created a virtual office for Diane when she moved with her family from California to Michigan. Today it’s normal, back then it was unheard of.”

“So here we are tonight in tribute to Diane and a heartfelt thank-you for being our friend.”

While we miss Diane’s daily presence, she has agreed to lend us her expertise as a Consulting Actuary in 2017. Valerie Lopez, who joined ASC in the spring of 2012 as part of the transition plan to Diane’s retirement, has assumed the role of Chief Actuary. In addition, we’ve hired Kathy Schroeder to fill out the Actuarial team with Judy Stevens. Stay tuned to hear more about Kathy in a future newsletter.

Diane has done what we all hope to do – plan and save – and then retire to pursue personal interests and hobbies. She is already busy. You will find Diane later this Spring at Carnegie Hall in NYC singing in the Madrigal Chorale with her husband and youngest son, Tim. She is also spending more time with her grandchildren, going to the YMCA several times a week doing lap swimming, Tai Chi, and Yoga.

Diane, what have you liked most about being at ASC for over 34 years?

“The schedule flexibility was a real plus when my kids were small and I did enjoy the training and professional meeting trips. But, the best part of the job was helping ASC clients with support, training, system documentation and many other things. I feel like I helped, in some small way, prepare people for retirement.”

And what is your advice for success in retiring?

“Stay physically active and find things to do that help others. My husband, Mel and I are volunteering one day a week at a local non-profit food pantry and clothes closet.”

We wish Diane all the best in her retirement. Her leadership, expertise and overall work ethic coupled with her gracious personality will be sorely missed.

Introducing ASC’s Newest Team Members

ASC is growing! To ensure you continue receiving world-class Client Support we have added four highly qualified industry experts to the Support Team.

We are pleased to introduce you to these newest members of the ASC family: Jamie Bucholz, CRSP, CFP, Christina Hollingsworth, QKA, TGPC, Marsha Richardson and Kathy Schroeder, EA, MSPA.

Jamie Bucholz

Jamie Bucholz, CRSP, CFP – Jamie is focusing on our web-based DGEM Plan Document system because use of this system grew significantly in the past year. Jamie joins ASC with over eight years of experience in the banking retirement plan space, including leading the plan document restatement team using ASC’s DGEM Plan Document System.

Christina Hollingsworth

Christina Hollingsworth, QKA, TGPC – Christina is a Compliance Specialist, focusing on our institutional clients’ needs not only in Compliance testing, but also in our automation tool Single Step Processing (SSP). She has ten years of experience in the industry and using ASC’s Compliance Testing system.

Marsha Richardson

Marsha Richardson – Marsha comes to us with over 20 years of experience in the industry, having worked in several TPA roles over those years. She has broad ASC systems product knowledge, but will focus her support and development efforts on our web-based DGEM 5500 product.

Kathy Schroeder

Kathy Schroeder, EA, MSPA – Kathy joins ASC’s Actuarial Team in supporting ASC’s Defined Benefit system. Kathy brings over 30 years of experience in the industry. As an added benefit, Kathy is excellent at training, having started her career as a Math teacher.

We wish Jamie, Christina, Marsha, and Kathy much success!

Meet Marsha Richardson, Support Team Member

About five months ago, Marsha Richardson joined the ASC Support Team as the lead on the 5500 System and to help clients with most other ASC systems as well. In the words of ASC’s Vice President of Support, Sheryl Stucky, “Marsha is really a wonderful addition to ASC. We’re fortunate to have her join our team. She has experience with our DC/401(k) Valuation and Compliance testing systems, our DGEM Plan Documents and 5500s, plus DVDirect and our Gemini Plan Sponsor and Participant web portals. Our clients love her already!”

Marsha Richardson

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Glendale Arizona with my dog, Kadi (German Shorthaired Pointer) and two cats Emma and Olivia. I moved to Arizona from Illinois in 1987, 30 years this coming July. I love Arizona and don’t miss the cold or the snow.

What was your first impression of ASC?

Actually, I do not recall a first impression of ASC. I feel that ASC has been part of my career from the start! During my 22 years of employment in the Retirement Industry I have worked with companies that used ASC systems for their plan work. When ASC was updated for EGTRRA law changes, I leaned on Sheryl Stucky, ASC’s Vice President of Support to learn the system changes. When I worked on Daily plans, I leaned on Tom Lusby, ASC’s DVDirect and Gemini support team lead. ASC employees were always so helpful and courteous! When I became an actual ASC employee in October, 2016, I received numerous welcome emails from co-workers. ASC feels like family!

What’s your focus at ASC?

I work in the Support Department of ASC. I am currently the Lead 5500 Support Person and work with users to set them up and ensure that our system is working well for them. In addition, I handle regular support calls and ensure that our clients have all their support questions answered.

What skills/abilities do you have to use on a daily basis in your job?

Currently, I am using my knowledge of cross testing and ADP testing, as we are knee deep in Compliance Season. That will change soon and I will focus more on 5500’s.

I am a positive person. I look at the glass half full and not half empty. This serves me very well when responding to support queries. If a client tells me that they messed up something, I try to put a brighter spin on things and explain how it is not their fault and together, we can fix it. In order to be a good Support Rep, you need good skills and perseverance. I believe that has served me very well in my career.

What’s the number one skill or practice at work that contributes to your success?

Working together as a team. If I cannot solve something on my own, I lean on my teammates. I ask for their opinions. Many times, we learn so much more when we are confident enough to ask for help. TPA’s might not always give enough information and it helps to confer with my teammates to gain another perspective.

Marsha’s office helpers!
Cat sleeping on desk

dog and cat resting on carpet

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I like to four-wheel drive. People are surprised when I tell them that! I also volunteer for the Arizona GSP (German Shorthaired Pointer) Rescue. I help send out adoption applications and conduct home visits to make sure potential adopting homes meet the rescue guidelines. I have also done a few transports. It is very rewarding to see these dogs find good homes.

How do you handle stress and pressure?

I actually do pretty well 🙂 Since it is easy to overlook things when under more stress, I slow down and take a deep breath before I dive into my workload. Sometimes, I take a break and look at my work later in the day with fresh eyes.

What do you enjoy most about your job so far?

Variety. Every day is different. Every support question and situation is different. There can be two TPA’s working on similar things but one is working on a plan for 10,000 people and the other for 5. There is a newness to every day that I love.

What do you like to do in your spare time / hobbies?

I enjoy home improvement projects – remodeling a room, repainting and yardwork. I have a pool in my backyard, and I love swimming. I also enjoy boating, walking my dog, hiking and spending time with friends and family.

Anything exciting coming up in the near future?

Yes! I am going to be spending a week on a houseboat with friends in the Fall. We have done this in the past and it is a great way to vacation. I play cards, swim, water ski, kayak and we even have a mini “book club” on the boat! The best part is that we unplug and recharge as we usually do not have cell phone service.

What do you enjoy most about working for ASC?

I enjoy being part of the team. My co-workers are so friendly and knowledgeable. And we all work together to ensure the best for our clients.

We wish Marsha continued success in her new position.

DGEM 5500 2016 Government Forms: Webcast Scheduled for April and Your Topic Suggestions Requested

Our next 5500 Support webcast is scheduled for April 25th, 2017. We are planning to discuss the latest enhancements added to DGEM 5500 program. To suggest 5500 topics we should cover during the webcast email us at

The IRS and DOL have announced that the IRS Compliance questions SHOULD NOT be answered on the 2016 Form 5500; Schedules H, I and R; Form 5500SF; and Form 5500EZ. The checklists have been modified removing those IRS Compliance questions. The IRS also expects that the IRS Compliance questions will not be included in the 2017 Form 5500-EZ.

We have enhanced the 5500 program for assigning the Account Rep to 5500 forms and it is now available on DGEM. This will allow the invite signer and acknowledgement emails and/or questions to have the account rep name and email address assigned to the FROM and REPLY emails. Please see Chapter 5 (5-3) in the Form 5500 User Guide for complete instructions on using this new feature.

Our next 5500 Support webcast will be scheduled for April 25th, 2017. We are planning to discuss the latest enhancements added to DGEM 5500 program. Feel free to make suggestions for 5500 topics that you would like us to discuss during the webcast. Email us at