Kevin McNamara

Director of Business Development

With more than 20 years experience in student finance, Kevin joined Ascent in 2019 to expand Ascent’s assistance to schools across the South and Southwest. Throughout his career, Kevin has been a passionate advocate for students and schools in need of unique solutions, with over 15 years spent focusing on the needs of graduate and professional schools as well as international students. Kevin maintains an office in Cleveland, Ohio, where he also volunteers as a higher education counselor for disadvantaged youth. Kevin received a BS in Marketing from John Carroll University in Ohio and an MBA from […] Read more

Rick Gallagher

Regional Director of Business Development

Rick has over 25 years’ experience in the student loan industry with 18 years at National Education as Senior Vice President of sales and marketing. He was instrumental in establishing a name brand in the student loan industry with National Education. He has created and led a national sales team along with implementing the client services division and operations. Rick attended West Chester University and his life passions are spending time with his wife, son and family, boating, surfing, golf, disabled ski racing and being with positive people.

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Brice Harrison

Senior Director of Business Development

Brice has over 25 years of experience and success developing, negotiating, signing and managing partnerships and new business pursuits.  The businesses he’s worked for include startups as well as Fortune 500 companies in the fintech and higher education industries.  He started his career in the industry in 1992 as a college intern at ACS (acquired by Xerox), one of the largest student loan servicers in the country at the time.  After graduation, he joined the company where he was part of their original school channel sales team. Over the years, he progressed within the organization, holding […] Read more

Matt Myers

Senior Vice President

Matt has more than 15 years of experience in consumer finance spanning credit risk, forecasting, analytics, ABS, debt financing, valuation, and operations. As Chief Operating Officer of GS2 and its subsidiary Turnstile Capital Management, Matt currently oversees Product Development, Information Technology, Business Intelligence, Borrower Services, and Private Loan Services. Private Loan Services manages more than $7 billion in private loans across 10 servicers and 15 collection agencies. The division optimizes collateral performance and cash flows for more than 50 clients, including hedge funds, traditional banks, investment banks, insurance companies, securitization trusts, colleges, and universities. Product Development oversees the […] Read more

Kim McNealy

Chief Marketing Officer

Kim has more than 25 years of management experience in marketing, innovation and leadership development. Prior to joining Ascent, Kim founded CMO Mojo, teaching lean marketing practices, enabling technology based start-ups to effectively scale their product and marketing impact. Prior to CMO Mojo, Kim was VP Marketing and User Experience (UX) at Global Analytics, tripling UK market share while creating marketing and UX capabilities in the US, UK and India. Kim was also previously the Marketing Director at Intuit, leading the Marketing Strategy Team for TurboTax, and previously created the innovative […] Read more

Steve Connolly

Steve joined the Ascent Team in February 2018 and currently leads Operations for GS2’s Ascent lending business, which includes underwriting-processing, customer service and school certification.   Steve has 25 years of leadership experience, 18 in financial services, leading teams in Marketing, Operations, Quality, Asset Management while also having had full P&L responsibility both domestically and globally.   Prior to Ascent, Steve held broad leadership roles at GE Capital culminating as President & CEO Capital Aviation Services-Asset Management business, he led the Outdoors business for The Active Network, and was the EVP of Operations for Corelogic’s […] Read more

Lauren Thayer

Director of Marketing

Lauren joined the Ascent team in April 2016 to launch Ascent Student Loans, elevate marketing strategies and spearhead consumer campaigns. Lauren possesses over a decade of expertise in integrated marketing and niche branding strategy within the sports, education, and self-development industries. Lauren’s passion for marketing education began while she attended college at San Diego State University and served as Marketing Lead Supervisor for the SDSU Aztec Recreation Center. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, she became the Online Marketing Manager for Road Runner Sports and then went one to […] Read more

Trixie Balestri

Client Relationship Manager

Trixie joined the team in 2010 bringing her vast experience in customer relationship management. Trixie’s broad experience includes managing existing relationships and assisting in the cultivating of new customer relationships. Additionally, Trixie has over 10 years of experience in the student loan industry. As an integral member of Ascent Student Loans team, she is responsible for creating and maintaining relationships with schools and service providers, as well as internal departments. Prior to joining Ascent, Trixie led school account manager teams as well as providing sales support functionality to national sales teams. She has experience in sales and marketing, […] Read more

Dennis Wentworth

Vice President of Business Development

Dennis has over 28 years of experience in the student loan industry, with the last 14 years heading up the National Sales Teams for Sallie Mae and Next Generation Insurance.  Dennis has been responsible for developing, implementing and leading the overall sales strategies, marketing, communications and development of numerous sales professionals, focusing on higher educational products/programs for colleges and universities.  He has expertise in sales, marketing, consumer lending, insurance, business banking, operations, customer service, and risk management.  Dennis received a BA Degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and a MS Degree from Southern Illinois University […] Read more

Michael Middleton

Vice President of Product Development

Michael is responsible for Product Development at GS2 which includes research and development of new products and services, as well as oversight of existing product and service line enhancements and improvements.  Michael has over 20 years of experience in consumer and commercial finance, with over 16 years in the student loan industry.  Before joining GS2, Michael built out the loan operations infrastructure that supported the first $3 billion in federal student loan originations for Goal Financial, and subsequently oversaw the successful launch of two credit based private student loan products as their Vice President of Product […] Read more