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Our Team

Every member of the PYA Waltman team seeks to serve as the catalyst for positive change in the life of each one of our clients. When you entrust our team with your personal or business finances, you will experience consistency, respect, dedication, and transparency.


J. William Waltman, Jr. Photo
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J. William Waltman, Jr.

President

J. William Waltman, Jr., CFP®, CPA

President

wwaltman@pyawaltman.com


Bill is the President of PYA Waltman and provides investment and financial planning counsel to high-net worth individuals and institutions. He received his B.S. in Accounting from Indiana University and is a Certified Public Accountant and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Bill is also a member of the Financial Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Bill loves coming to work every day, knowing his clients are receiving unparalleled and personalized service. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Sedes Sapientiae Foundation, Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Planned Giving Advisory Committee, and the University of Tennessee Economics and Finance Advisory Councils.

When he’s not in the office, Bill enjoys riding road and mountain bikes, hiking, reading and traveling with his wife, Kristine, and their five children.

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” – Henry David Thoreau


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Eric Foster

Director of Institutional Services

Eric Foster, CFP®, CPA

Director of Institutional Services

EFoster@pyawaltman.com


Eric is PYA Waltman’s Director of Institutional Services and Portfolio Manager. He joined the company in its early days and is honored to work with such a hardworking and disciplined clientele including institutions and individual clients. He received his B.S. in Business Administration and M.A. in Accounting from the University of Tennessee. Eric is a Certified Public Accountant, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional and is a member of the Financial Planning Association.

When he’s not in the office, Eric and his wife, Cara, enjoy snow skiing, camping and greatly enjoy watching their four kids participate in their numerous activities. Eric and his family also work with Safe Families for Children which provides emergency housing for at-risk children in the community.

“The stock market is a highly efficient mechanism for the transfer of wealth from the impatient to the patient.” – Warren Buffett



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Melissa Ballard

Director of Financial Planning Services

Melissa Ballard, CFP®

Director of Financial Planning Services

MBallard@pyawaltman.com


As the Director of Financial Planning Services, Melissa’s goal is to help our clients connect their money to their lives. She works with clients and their team of professionals to create a framework that aligns their financial plan with what’s most important to them. Melissa earned her Business Administration degree from Queens University of Charlotte and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM

When she’s not in the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Jim, their daughter, Audra, and their goofy “pony” dog, Norman. Melissa also loves to travel, to be outdoors and to volunteer her time at Harmony Family Center and at her church. 

"Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose." - C.S. Lewis



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Jessica Ott

Chief Compliance Officer & Director of Client Service

Jessica Ott

Chief Compliance Officer & Director of Client Service

jott@pyawaltman.com


As the Chief Compliance Officer at PYA Waltman, Jessica works with all aspects of the firm to maintain policies designed to comply with federal and state securities law. Jessica also serves as the Director of Client Service overseeing firm wide procedures focused on providing an excellent client experience.  She successfully completed the Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional (IACCP) program and is a member of the National Society of Compliance Professionals.

Originally from Knoxville, Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband, Tyler, and their two children searching for little known spots in the Great Smoky Mountains or taking in a movie on opening night.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Proverbs 3:5


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Doug Yoakley

Wealth Management Consultant

Doug Yoakley, CPA

Wealth Management Consultant

dyoakley@pyawaltman.com

Doug serves as a Wealth Management Consultant at PYA Waltman. Doug is a Certified Public Accountant and has provided tax and estate planning services to a wide variety of business organizations, individuals, and industries in over 40 years of public practice, complementing his involvement at PYA Waltman.

Doug graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in Accounting and is a member of  the Knoxville Estate Planning Council and serves on the boards of Knox Area Rescue Mission and The Change Center.  Doug was a co-founder of PYA, LLC before his retirement from the firm in 2014; he is also a director of Mountain Commerce Bank and the Knoxville Ice Bears professional hockey team.

When he's not in the office, Doug enjoys playing tennis and traveling. He and his wife, Sara, have three grown children and three grandchildren and attend Fellowship Church in Knoxville.

“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” -John Wooden


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Mary Alex Ballard

Portfolio Administrator

Mary Alex Ballard

Portfolio Administrator

maballard@pyawaltman.com


As a Portfolio Administrator, Mary Alex provides support for our financial plan analysis and scenarios.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Finance and minor in Marketing from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a Master of Arts degree in Public Leadership and Ethics from Johnson University. 

When she is not in the office, Mary Alex loves trying new restaurants, hanging out with friends, and anything spontaneous. She also enjoys traveling and cheering on the Tennessee Volunteers. 

“Vision leads to venture, and history is on the side of venturesome faith. The person of vision takes fresh steps of faith across gullies and chasms, not “playing safe” but neither taking foolish risks.” - J. Oswald Sanders 


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Hunter Bunnell

Portfolio Administrator

Hunter Bunnell

Portfolio Administrator

hbunnell@pyawaltman.com


As a Portfolio Administrator, Hunter provides support for our financial plan analysis and scenarios. He also conducts required regulatory testing for our firm. He graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Financial Planning.  

When he is not in the office, Hunter enjoy hiking, traveling, binge-watching TV shows, and spending time with his wife, Jordyn, and their pets, Evie and Callie. 

Learn more about Hunter in our Employee Spotlight.

 "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too" -Voltaire

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Trevor Gunter

Financial Advisor

Trevor Gunter, CFP®

Financial Advisor

tgunter@pyawaltman.com


Trevor serves as a Financial Advisor based in Atlanta, GA.  He works with clients to provide analysis and detailed reviews that help our team to provide tailored and personal guidance. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Business and Economics with a minor in Christian Education from Wheaton College and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional 

Originally from Tyler, Texas, Trevor enjoys both following and participating in sports, traveling, and trying new restaurants with his wife, Rue. 

Learn more about Trevor in our Employee Spotlight

“Growth is driven by compounding, which always takes time. Destruction is driven by single points of failure, which can happen in seconds, and loss of confidence, which can happen in an instant.”  Morgan Housel, The Psychology of Money


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Lisa Higdon

Client Service Associate

Lisa Higdon

Client Service Associate

lhigdon@pyawaltman.com

Lisa serves as a Client Services Associate and is the initial point of contact when you visit our office.  In addition to welcoming visitors, Lisa is responsible for scheduling, invoicing, document management and maintaining our online marketing efforts.  Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Management from Florida Atlantic University, graduating Summa Cum Laude.  

When she is not in the office, Lisa enjoys spending time with her husband, Chris.  She also loves to frequent local coffeeshops,  travel and explore new cities, and spend time with family and friends.

“Cherish yesterday, Dream tomorrow, Live today.”  - Richard Bach


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Jake Hoheisel

Financial Planning Associate

Jake Hoheisel, CFP®

Financial Planning Associate

jhoheisel@pyawaltman.com


As a Financial Planning Associate, Jake develops financial plan analyses and scenarios. As part of his role, he oversees client engagements to ensure that our clients' financial plans stay on track and any necessary adjustments are implemented. Jake holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a double major in Finance and Financial Planning from Liberty University and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM

When he is not in the office, Jake enjoys playing golf, watching documentaries, finding new restaurants, and spending time with friends. 

Learn more about Jake in our Employee Spotlight.

"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett

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Claire Kluth

Financial Advisor

Claire Kluth, CFP®

Financial Advisor

ckluth@pyawaltman.com


As a Financial Advisor, Claire helps clients discover where they currently stand, envision where they aim to be and the experiences they desire en route, and explore the different paths to make that future a reality. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Liberty University in Finance, Financial Planning, and Economics and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM

When she is not in the office, Claire loves making new friends, exploring new places, and reading for hours, all fueled by chai oat milk lattes. She also enjoys annoying her husband, Evan, with her never ending desire for Rom-com movies and country music. 

Learn more about Claire in our Employee Spotlight.

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read” - Charlie “Tremendous” Jones


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Austin Koplan

Research Analyst & Portfolio Manager

Austin Koplan, CPA

Research Analyst & Portfolio Manager

akoplan@pyawaltman.com

Austin is a member of the PYAW Investment Committee assisting in investment research, trading, and analyses. Austin is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Science in Accountancy from Wake Forest University.

When he is not in the office, Austin enjoys exercising, playing games with family, and traveling. Austin enjoys traveling with friends and family to places like Sedona, Seattle, and New York City. Austin also enjoys venturing outdoors and going on hikes with his wife. Austin’s other interests include: his dogs, football, and attempting to bake. 

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou


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Aaron Nolan

Financial Advisor

Aaron Nolan, CFP®

Financial Advisor

anolan@pyawaltman.com


As a Financial Advisor, Aaron provides analysis and detailed reviews that help our team to provide tailored and personal guidance.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a double major in Economics and Financial Planning from Liberty University.  Aaron is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional and a member of our firm’s investment committee. 

In his free time, Aaron loves spending time with his wife, Hannah. Together they enjoy going on long walks, involvement in church, planning their next trip to Disney, or re-watching “When Harry Met Sally” for the hundredth time. Aaron also enjoys attending live theater, going to the movie theater, and volunteering his time with Random Acts of Flowers.

Learn more about Aaron in our Employee Spotlight.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond” – Lou Holtz


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Aaron Sams

Senior Research Analyst & Portfolio Manager

Aaron Sams, CFA

Senior Research Analyst & Portfolio Manager

ASams@pyawaltman.com

Aaron is the Senior Research Analyst and Portfolio Manager and member of the firm’s investment committee.  Aaron is responsible for overseeing investment research and managing the firm’s model portfolios.

He earned his Chartered Financial Analyst ® designation and is a member of the local CFA society.

Outside the office, Aaron enjoys spending time with his wife, Bethany and their four children, reading, traveling and working outdoors on his property.

“Investing is most intelligent when it is most businesslike.” Benjamin Graham


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Amber Sayle

Financial Planning Support Specialist

Amber Sayle

Financial Planning Support Specialist

asayle@pyawaltman.com


As a Financial Planning Support Specialist, Amber assists in developing financial plan analyses and scenarios. As part of her role, she monitors, tracks, and addresses action items to ensure that our clients' financial plans stay on track and any necessary adjustments are implemented. Amber earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from The University of Memphis.  

Originally from Memphis, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing mahjong, reading, and watching her two boys on the lacrosse field. 

Learn more about Amber in our Employee Spotlight.

Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."


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April Smith

Relationship Manager

April Smith, FPQP

Relationship Manager

ASmith@pyawaltman.com

Excellent client service is the heart of PYA Waltman. As a Relationship Manager, April works to ensure no stone is left unturned. From client onboarding to asset movement, April ensures all client questions are answered. April holds the Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional (FPQP) designation. 

Outside the office, April enjoys spending time with her husband, Bryan on their small farm gardening and raising chickens and goats. She also delights in spoiling her grandchildren and serving her church community.

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and forgiving heart, one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”  - Marvin J. Ashton




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Payton VeStrand

Financial Advisor


Payton VeStrand, CFP®

Financial Advisor

pvestrand@pyawaltman.com

 

             

As a Financial Advisor, Payton provides analysis and detailed reviews that help our team to provide tailored and personal guidance.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Financial Planning from Liberty University.  Payton is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional and a member of our firm’s investment committee. 

When he is not in the office, Payton enjoys spending time with his wife, Ashton, reading a good book, and following college football.  

Learn more about Payton in our Employee Spotlight.

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” – Zig Ziglar


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Sage Clement

Financial Planning Intern

Sage Clement

Financial Planning Intern

sclement@pyawaltman.com


Sage serves as a Financial Planning Intern. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Data Analytics in Financial Planning from Liberty University with an anticipated graduation date of December 2025. In her role as an intern, Sage researches, organizes, and prepares presentation material for client meetings as part of our financial planning engagements. She also works within the firm’s financial planning software applications and assists with individual projects to support client service.

Originally from Mexico, New York. She enjoys weightlifting, traveling, the ocean, Sunday afternoons, and baking. 

Learn more about Sage in our Employee Spotlight

“Our heart is restless until it rests in You” 


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Zoe Egly

Marketing Intern

Zoe Egly

Marketing Intern

zegly@pyawaltman.com


As a Marketing Intern, Zoe will work to build awareness around the PYAW brand, using various marketing initiatives, tactics, and strategies. She recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Marketing Analytics, Communications, and Strategic Marketing Management from Liberty University.

Originally from rural Indiana, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, running, working out, reading, cooking, politics, laying out in the sun, researching different conspiracy theories, and grounding. 

Learn more about Zoe in our Employee Spotlight

Ephesians 4:1 “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”


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Maddie Gainey

Financial Planning Intern

Maddie Gainey

Financial Planning Intern

mgainey@pyawaltman.com


Maddie serves as a Financial Planning Intern. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting as well as Personal Financial Management at Charleston Southern University with an anticipated graduation date of May 2025. 

When she is not on campus, Maddie enjoys exploring Charleston, working at Boot Barn, serving the kids in her church, watching Braves baseball, going to country music concerts, and playing the guitar.

Learn more about Maddie in our Employee Spotlight

Favorite Quote: "Tetelestai: It is Finished." - Jesus (John 19:30)