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About Us

 
Michael Byers

Michael Jon Byers

President

Michael Jon Byers is President & Founder of LoneStar Wealth Management & Texas Alliance Financial Services PLLC. Michael is co-author of the book, “Planning a Secure Retirement”, & hosted a radio talk-show for seven years called “The Money Talk”, providing financial planning tips and instructions. He has additionally aired on Fox News on numerous occasions as a financial analyst. Coupled with over 22 years of experience, Michael excels at translating complex financial matters into understood dialect for readers & audiences around the country. It is Michael’s mission to educate & equip everyone for the financial life of their dreams, while avoiding the volatility of the greater economy. As the proud son of an Army Veteran, Michael grew up in Korea, Okinawa Japan, Germany & the United States. While growing his financial practice, he is also an involved parent alongside his wife Sarah, raising seven wonderful children; Kimberlee, Ethan, Caden, Bri, Sky, Seth, & baby Jon.

Mark Groom

Mark Groom

Co-owner

Mark Groom is an Investment Advisor Representative, assisting clients with retirement planning, wealth management services, & estate planning. He has been featured as a financial expert on local radio & television talk shows, offering his insight, opinions, & financial analysis. He is also Co-Author of the book, “Planning a Secure Retirement”. Mark understands the complexity of federal employee benefits & having studied under the Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant (ChFEBC) program for several years. While he is attentive to his client’s needs, that does not keep Mark from being a loving husband, father & his favorite role, a grandfather!


 

Office Staff



Maria Richburg

Maria Richburg

Operations Manager

Maria Richburg is our Operations Manager. Having joined the firm in 2011, Maria quickly became the strong foundation needed to allow this company to flourish. She developed an organized workflow that allowed for additional personnel as the business grew. Today, she oversees account processing and maintenance for both new and existing clients. Maria’s background includes a B.S. in Education and Interdisciplinary Studies, along with a vast experience in office management.

Lee Fortenberry

Lee Fortenberry

Marketing Director

Lee Fortenberry is our Marketing Director. Since 2019, Lee has helped bring our office into the modern age! Lee brings with him a B.A. in Advertising from Texas Tech University, prior work experience in both advertising/marketing and business retail management, plus five years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard. While he loves what he does here at LoneStar Wealth Management, his true passion will always be (as it should) a supportive and loving husband and father! He understands the importance of family, which is one of LoneStar’s core values.

Gabriela Contreras

Gabriela Alvarado

Wealth Management Associate

Gabriela Alvarado is our Wealth Management Associate and a licensed insurance agent. In 2013, Gabby moved to Lubbock to become a first-generation college student. Gabby Graduated from Texas Tech in 2017 with a B.A. in Marketing and Management, and in 2019 obtained a M.S. in Personal Financial Planning. Gabby’s role involves attending client meetings and overseeing new business accounts for our financial advisors. When not serving our clients, Gabby can be found spending time with her husband, Bryan, and their Bernadoodle, Remi!

Kimberlee Byers

Kimberlee Byers

Client Relations

Kimberlee Byers is our Client Relations specialist and a licensed insurance agent. Kimberlee graduated Utah Valley University in 2019 with a B.S. in Behavioral Science, with an emphasis in Family Studies, and a minor in Psychology. Kimberlee moved back to Lubbock shortly after graduation and joined the firm. LoneStar is thankful to experience her enthusiasm, passion, and terrific problem-solving skills!

Ben A. Mercado, AFC®

Ben A. Mercado, AFC®

Family Financial Planner



Ben Mercado is our Family Financial Planner. Ben joined the Lonestar Wealth Management team in 2013 and loves helping people achieve their investment and financial planning goals. He is an ACCREDITED FINANCIAL COUNSELOR® and is an AFCPE® Member. Ben received his Bachelor of Science in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University. He understands the importance of family financial planning and how financial literacy will impact legacies for many generations. As a financial literacy and benefits instructor across the country, Ben’s focus is on helping others easily understand financial planning concepts. Ben serves his local, Lubbock community, and is a proud father and little league coach to his son Lincoln.

Mandi Melville

Mandi Melville

New Accounts Coordinator

Mandi Melville is our New Accounts Coordinator. Mandi graduated from Wayland Baptist University in 2018 with a Bachelors in Business Administration and a minor in Management. Since early 2021, Mandi has provided a background in Customer Service as well as a thorough attention to detail. She believes in our customer comes first attitude, while at the same time knows we support her personal life as a caring mother and wife!

Kimberlee Byers

Christian Caraveo

Investment Advisor Representative

Christian assists clients with retirement planning, wealth management services, & estate planning. While he is originally from Alhambra, CA, he now resides in Castle Rock, CO and serves as a licensed advisor for both states. Christian believes that educating individuals is the key to helping them receive clear insight into our process and achieve their goals and obtain financial security. Christian received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Azusa Pacific University in California, where he played Division II football as a full-time student-athlete. Christian and his wife Emily met while at Azusa Pacific University and are expecting their first child in 2023!

Kimberlee Byers

Matt Bullen

Business Relations Coordinator

Matt obtained his B.S. in University Studies with an emphasis in Sociology and Communications from the University of New Mexico in 2003. In 2009, he moved with his family to Lubbock and has since served his church as a board member. Matt joined our LoneStar team in early 2022 and has enjoyed assisting local business owners in facilitating their retirement options. He is excited to be a part of LoneStar because of the passion we have for helping people connect with their aspirations. Matt shares that unique passion while assisting people achieve their dreams. However, his greatest desire is to be a loving a husband to Amanda and father to Kade and Tayley, continuously supporting them in all they do.

Kimberlee Byers

Lori Lesly

New Accounts Coordinator

Lori joined the LoneStar team in early 2022, bringing with her a heart for serving others. She believes in building a rapport with our clients and establishing trustworthy relationships. Lori has experience in Operations Management, as well as Customer Service. In her free time, Lori enjoys spending time with her family and serving in ministry opportunities, such as prison outreach programs.

Kimberlee Byers

Jeremy Brown

Life and Health Specialist

Jeremy joined our firm in mid 2022. He brings a wealth of entrepreneurial experience as the co-owner of a masonry business for over 20 years with his father. Jeremy is also a Veteran, proudly having served twelve years in the U.S. Air Force. As part of our team, Jeremy builds new relationships with a client-first approach as he ensures to provide the best fit for life and health insurance needs. Most importantly, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his lovely wife Kellie, and their five wonderful children: Ashley, Rebecca, Victoria, Jason and Jesse.

Kimberlee Byers

Susanna Bender

Campaign Coordinator

Susanna obtained her M.A. in American Literature in 2019 from Texas Tech University and comes to us having spent almost a decade in the classroom as a high school English teacher. She brings a detail-oriented and creative perspective to our Federal Benefits Institute team and has been dubbed the “Campaign Wizard” for external email marketing efforts. Susanna uses her time outside the office to volunteer with her golden retriever, Lucy, who is a trained and certified therapy dog for the Lubbock Independent School District and the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

Kimberlee Byers

Brady Escobar

Wealth Management Associate

Brady is a proud Texas Tech Graduate with a Bachelor’s in Personal Financial Planning. He joined the LoneStar team in early 2022 and is committed to making a career out of providing the highest level of service to his team and LoneStar’s clients. Brady is a CFP Candidate and licensed insurance agent. As a Wealth Management Associate, he assists in client meetings and arranges follow-up meetings, providing amazing support for our Advisors. Brady is also responsible for Estate Planning within the firm. When Brady is out of the office, he enjoys attending Texas Tech Athletics events, playing guitar and bass, and vacationing with his friends and family.


 

Affiliated Specialists through LoneStar Financial Services



Reed Hitch

Reed Hitch

Medicare Specialist

Reed graduated from Texas Tech with a B.S. in Engineering Technology in 1985. A few years later he found his true calling in helping seniors. For the past 17 years, Reed has been helping people with their insurance needs, providing insight, trainings, and has guest appeared on radio talk shows. Even though Reed makes an effort to be there for his clients, he still ensures his family is his top priority! Happily married for over 34 years, he and his wife have five wonderful children and one “spoiled” grandchild.

Lee Fortenberry

Justin Phillips

Life Specialist

Having mentored under the late Jerry Hernandez, Justin stepped up to take on the task of helping educate and enroll clients into suitable life insurance plans. Justin graduated from Delta State University with a M.S. in Finance. Married in 2011, he and his wife have since had four beautiful children. Justin brings to the team an eager mentality of serving his community and demonstrates this not only at work, but also as a high school sports coach!