My Story:

Steve Simendinger wants to get something straight. He is a gigantic fan of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. Huge. Not just him, but his whole family. He and his family have had basketball season tickets for 47 years, starting with his dad, when Steve was 13. In that time, he has missed maybe a dozen home games.

He also is chief curator of a fully-festooned shrine to the Bearcats in the basement of his west side home. From 2008 to 2010, he was President of the UC Alumni Association. He went to Miami to watch the Bearcats play in the Orange Bowl in 2009, and to New Orleans to catch them in the Sugar Bowl the following year.

“We saw half the city of Cincinnati on those trips. It was a blast, with all the camaraderie and the esprit de corps. We lost both games, but so what? I took my son to Minneapolis in 1992, when UC was in the Final Four. Christopher was eight at the time. We flew up on a charter of 350 people.

“My son went down the aisle high-fiving everybody. The Bearcats got beat then, too. But we still had a great time. Christopher says it was the highlight of his childhood. For me, being Alumni President was like a second job. I was that busy and that engaged.”

As a student at UC, Steve often spent Friday nights in the library. While he sometimes wishes his undergraduate experience had been more colorful, he was the studious type. It was what it was, he says. One of his professors was the firm’s founder, Tim Johnson, whom Steve remembers as his best professor by a mile.

He was the third investment professional to join the firm, after Scott Muhlhauser. Steve hired on in 1986. “When I started, we had $290 million under management. Now we’re pushing seven billion. We’ve become the largest independent advisory firm in Ohio, and we’re one of the largest in the nation.”

The firm got there by going above and beyond, Steve says. You hear it again and again, and it rings true: “We care about our clients as people. It’s what sets us apart. Here’s an example. I once showed up for an appointment at a client’s home. The walk was snow covered, and I knew someone would break a neck. So I grabbed a shovel and cleared a path. Yeah, I was wearing a suit. But you know?”

Steve and his wife, Joycee, both have MBAs from UC. She runs the Action Auction for CET Public Television. Aside from Christopher, they have a daughter, Allison, and another son, William. In 2011, Steve bought a home on Lake Lakengren, near Eaton, Ohio. He can be there in an hour and 10 minutes. He truly enjoys bass fishing and can show you photographs of some of his most excellent catches. The kids love it, he says, because they can waterski until they drop.

“I genuinely like people. If you think of a family practitioner, the old-fashioned kind of doctor who made house calls, I consider myself a family practitioner of finance. I have the ability in my work to make a difference in peoples’ lives, making sure they’re financially healthy for their lifetimes. That’s the satisfaction for me.”