About Us

Years Designing Retirement Plans

Advanced Plan Designs, LLC is an employee benefits consulting firm in business over 20 years providing innovative solutions for retirement plans for companies large and small across the United States. We are focused on delivering custom plan design, 3(16) Fiduciary Services and on-going administration for qualified retirement plans.

Our plans are tailor-made to accomplish your goals. While the right plan design will save you thousands of dollars each year, the wrong plan design can cost even more.  It is our belief that your role is to run your business and our role is to run your retirement plan. In that role, we are constantly working to assure that all rules are being complied with, all legislative requirements are being met, the plan document is being followed and the plan is being maintained in operational compliance.

Our team will assist you from implementation to termination of your qualified plan.  By offering plan administration and custom document design as our ONLY services, we are able to sharply focus our talents and attention on the details of managing your plan. Using our firm creates a simple but effective “check and balance” system.  This offers you a greater degree of protection and oversight.  Let our “experience” work for you.

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Years Designing Retirement Plans

Susan Marler-Humbard

ERPA, QKA, APR - Principal

Susan L. Humbard founded Advanced Plan Designs in 2011 after selling her interest in another TPA firm she founded and owned since 1998. She has over 27 years of experience working with retirement plans. She meets with business owners and custom designs plans that meet their company objectives.

For over 20 years, she has been primarily responsible for the firms’ sales and marketing efforts, which entails calling on a variety of networks and developing relationships with investment advisors, investment companies, wire houses, banks, and independent broker-dealers.

Susan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Missouri State University, with a major in Accounting. She is a past board member of the Queen City Sertoma Club, Past Club Treasurer and board member of the Springfield Metro Rotary, Past Board Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Past President of American Society of Women Accountants and past board member of the Springfield Ballet.

She frequently speaks at seminars and other events with business owners, attorneys, accountants, financial advisors and other business groups on advanced retirement plan topics and other related business topics.

Susan is married to her husband Greg. Collectively they have 6 children and 6 grandchildren and two very spoiled fur babies, Oliver and Marley. They enjoy spending time together as a family at the lake.

Tara N. Calton, QKA

Operations Manager

Tara’s responsibilities include assisting clients with ongoing administration and compliance of their retirement plans. Her clients range from small businesses to large corporations with thousands of plan participants.  As operations manager, Tara leads the plan consultants, oversees the daily workflow and monitors the various deadlines.  Tara has also assisted in the sales and marketing efforts by issuing proposals, attending enrollment meetings and assisting with hosted seminar and event management. 

Tara graduated from Missouri State University in 2003 and she continues to be an active alumni. She is currently on the Alumni Board of Directors for MSU and serves as the Chairperson for the Board. In 2020, Tara became a member of Leadership Springfield (Class 40 – The best one!) Prior to joining Advanced Plan Designs she worked 6 years for a third party administration firm and has experience in accounts payable and home mortgage industry. She also has a school aged daughter that keeps her active with the PTA board and loves to travel as often as possible.

Kelly Buescher, CPA

Senior Compliance Officer

Kelly assists business owners in reaching their business’ retirement plan objectives by ensuring their qualified retirement plans remain in operational and legal compliance.  Kelly’s responsibilities include researching complex operational and regulatory compliance issues, determining implications and implementing corrections that include IRS filings, DOL submissions and assisting clients with the various correction programs available.  She is kept very busy keeping current on new IRS and DOL regulations and reviewing all associates’ work.

Kelly, a CPA, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting in 2000 and Masters of Business Administration in 2001 from University of Central Missouri.  She joined Advanced Plan Designs in 2011 with 10 years experience in public accounting, 9 of which she worked auditing 401(k) plans and in the plan administration division.  She is married with three children, Luke, and twins, Willow and Wes and one unruly bulldog, Sugar.

Whitney Griffin, CPA

Senior Plan Consultant

Whitney Griffin is a Senior Plan Consultant for Advanced Plan Designs.  She has been in the industry since January 2010.

Whitney graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in December 2008 and a Master of Accountancy in December 2009.  Whitney is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) through the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries.  She joined Advanced Plan Designs in 2014.  Whitney also spent a year as an auditor with a local public accounting firm.

Whitney and her husband recently welcomed their first child.  In her free time, Whitney enjoys volunteering at her church, attending fitness classes and going to the movies!

Angela Bortowski

Senior Plan Consultant

Angela joined APD as a senior plan consultant in 2020. She has 15 years of experience assisting plan sponsors with their qualified retirement plans. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Accounting. She is married to Michael and they have two children, Jonathan and Benjamin. When not working, she loves spending time with her family. They enjoy hiking, swimming, and puzzles. She also loves watching movies, painting, and going to her weekly Pound fitness class!

Brenda Wagner

Distribution Coordinator

Brenda joined Advanced Plan Designs in 2019 and will work with our plan sponsors and participants processing all distributions and loan requests from their retirement plans. She will collect the necessary information to determine eligibility for distribution, vesting information and process the required documentation necessary for withdrawals. She will also be responsible for calculating and distributing RMD’S and the preparation of required tax filings for plan distributions.

Brenda has an Associate’s Degree in Business Management. She has one son and enjoys music, sports, reading and traveling.

Stephanie Mead

Senior Plan Consultant

​​Stephanie joined APD as a senior plan consultant in 2021.  She has over 24 years of experience working closely with plan sponsors and their advisors to maintain their qualified retirement plan.  She previously worked as a manager overseeing 9 administrators and support staff. In that capacity she was instrumental in creating and presenting 401(k) training seminars for Plan Sponsors to help them understand their roles and responsibilities.  She has received two Certificates from ASPPA.

For fun, she loves to race cars and even made #7 in Little Rock’s Street Racer List, where she met her husband, Matt.  She also enjoys trail riding and rock climbing in their side-by-side.  She loves numbers… a lot and says, “ I’m a total nerd”.  She is always looking for the silver lining and loves to laugh.  Stephanie also has two children and three grandchildren, from a previous marriage to her late husband, James Stearns, Jr. She and Matt have a lovely country home, where they enjoy watching the deer in the front yard and raising their fur-babies, 2 Chihuahua’s, a Great Dane, and an English Mastiff.  Her favorite quote is “Everything will be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”  – John Lennon

Jordan Worley

Sales and Marketing Consultant

Jordan’s been a vital part of APD’s growth since joining our team in 2013. From data entry to distributions, and now designing retirement plans. Jordan’s key responsibilities are to ensure a streamlined approach of bringing a prospective plan through the sold case process and finally through the conversion. He also creates and maintains APD’S relationships with advisors and clients, supports the director of sales & marketing and assists in creating a proactive marketing approach that is in line with APD’S mission and vision.

Jordan spends most of his time with his beautiful wife and 5 kids. They love to travel every chance they get and spend time on the water, whether that is the river, lake or ocean. Jordan is an avid snowboarder and trout fisherman. When it comes to family time, they would rather be outside doing what they love, Jordan’s motto is just this, “A family that enjoys outdoor activities enjoys the small things in life and are happier for doing so.”

Jessica Hamit

Distribution Assistant

Jessica (Jess) joined APD in 2021.  She works with plan sponsors and participants processing all distributions and loan requests from their retirement plans.  Jess comes to APD with prior experience working as a customer service representative of a very large retirement plan consulting/investment firm.  She maintained strong company product and service knowledge to better assist customers with concerns, questions and general education regarding their retirement plan. 

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family.  She and her fiancé have 3 boys.  When she is not chasing the boys, she likes photography, reading and baking.

She is originally from central Kansas and loves to go home often to see her family and friends. 

She is also a diehard Alabama Crimson Tide football fan.  ROLL TIDE!!

Julie L. Blevins

Office Manager

Julie is responsible for billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, budget preparation and tax deposits. In addition, Julie is an effective coordinator and helps to manage the firm. Julie also is responsible for preparation of all in house retirement plan documents. Julie is a graduate of Missouri State University. She has over 17 years in office management experience. She loves traveling, decorating, movies and spending time with her wonderful husband Dave and 2 children Lexi and Zac.

​“Shortly after I bought my business in 2015, we set up a 401k plan in partnership with Advanced Plan Designs. The assets in our plan have grown to nearly $2M in the last 5+ years. We have great participation from our team members and this plan has helped many of them save for retirement for the first time. It’s gratifying knowing that we’re helping our team members prepare for their future! We appreciate the guidance that APD gave us not only while setting up the plan, but also ensuring ongoing compliance with regulations each year.”

– ​Mike Farquhar
Owner of Pella Products of Arkansas & Missouri

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