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Meet the Team

Dedicated to Walking You 

Through Every Season of Life

Ross Marino, CFP®, CeFT®, CPFA Photo
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Ross Marino, CFP®, CeFT®, CPFA

FOUNDER

Do you remember any gifts from your 15th birthday? I do. I received a copy of Money magazine, and it shaped my life. A subscription to Psychology Today soon followed. From an early age, I was fascinated with how people think and what they do with money. 

I grew up outside of Cleveland, OH, (love the Browns, hate the cold weather), then headed to Stetson University in Florida, where I wrestled. My career as a financial advisor began in 1988, and I have been helping people ever since.

The drive to understand people and money remains deeply embedded in me today. How can I help people make decisions? What’s the best way to think things through when there are multiple options? General financial advice wasn’t enough, so I decided to become a Certified Financial Planner practitioner. 

While studying for the CFP® exam, I learned how quickly life changes. One day, I’m anticipating the launch of a new financial planning career. The next day, I can’t get off the couch. An awkward bounce on a trampoline led to six years laid up with a severe back injury. 

Fast forward ten years. My health is somewhat improved. Jocelyne, my wife, and I adopted two amazing daughters, and my business is flourishing. Then, life happens again. I found myself as a parent of a special-needs child and caregiver for my wife. Seemingly overnight, there weren’t enough hours in the day; I had less time in the office and more disruptions throughout the day. 

The combination and timing of my challenges may be unique, but that doesn’t make me special. Life happens to everyone, regardless of how much planning we do. I’ve lived it and seen it firsthand in the people around me. Yes, change is hard. Do you know what’s even harder? Making life-altering financial decisions in the middle of those changes. My life experiences were the genesis for Transitus Wealth Partners. Eventually, I discovered the Financial Transitionist Institute and earned the CeFT® designation.

Outside of work, I enjoy being active with my family. We play tennis, pickleball, workout in the gym, and walk Lexi, our overly-protective and incredibly spoiled Blue Merle Pomeranian. I enjoy reading science fiction and listening to podcasts, like the Knowledge Project or Curious Minds. When relaxing, I need my sticks, as in chopsticks for sushi and drumsticks for my electric drum set. A perfect dinner is a Dragon Roll with a side of 80’s Rock.

Liz Troutman Photo
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Liz Troutman

Chief Operating Officer

After graduating from UNCW and working in Wilmington for a couple of years, I moved to Washington, D.C. There I worked in HR for a large international law firm. The big city and large company experiences were valuable, but as the years went on I realized I needed to return to southeastern North Carolina. 

I was ready for new challenges apart from a law firm and HR and joined the team at Transitus Wealth Partners as the Practice Manager. As the main point of contact for our clients, I am responsible for client services and oversee firm operations. Working with a group of high-achievers in a collegial culture is energizing. 

Our clients prefer a go-to person who knows them and their families. Building relationships and helping people navigate major life changes are my favorite aspects of serving our clients. Plans are disrupted when life happens suddenly. That’s when our clients need advice and call our office. I enjoy listening, learning what’s going on in their lives and being a part of the team that helps.

Whether I’m working or playing, I try to live life to the fullest. Staying active and being healthy are top priorities. I love working out in the gym, snowboarding, stand-up paddleboard and outrigger canoe racing. Sometimes I ride a bike for exercise. In the past, my bike was a Harley Sportster. It wasn’t much exercise, but I loved it. It’s hard to explain the feeling of cruising on a Harley on the open road. If you ride, you get it…

My weekends stay busy as I spend time with family and friends at home or sink my toes in the sand on Topsail Island. Music has always been a passion of mine, and my collection of vinyl records continues to grow. If I’m not listening to music, I’m probably listening to podcasts and drinking coffee, lots of coffee.


Mike Giblin, CFP®, CeFT® Photo
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Mike Giblin, CFP®, CeFT®

Senior Financial Planner

I became fascinated with the stock market at an early age while growing up in the shadows of Wall Street in central New Jersey. My love of finance grew during an internship while attending The College of William and Mary. After graduating, I worked on Wall Street as a trader for over a decade. My passion for learning led me back to school to earn a master’s degree in economics from NYU.

During this time, I realized that I would be most fulfilled working with people, not just investment portfolios. My focus shifted, and I began helping people achieve their personal and financial goals.

Bonnie, my wife, and I moved to Wilmington, NC. She continued working as a teacher, and I dove headfirst into personal financial planning. First, I earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designation. Then, I studied to become a Certified Financial Transitionist (CeFT®). After 25 years in the financial services industry, my transition from a trader to a financial planner is complete.

Wilmington has truly become home. I’ve enjoyed serving on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations, volunteering as a coach and serving as a mentor for business school students at UNCW. Our family attends St. Therese Church in Wrightsville Beach.

As the son of an educator and husband to a teacher, I’ve witnessed the impact of teaching. It’s no surprise I ended up at UNCW, teaching an Investments class as part of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification curriculum.

My wife and I are incredibly blessed to have two wonderful children. Our son Daniel loves athletics, especially playing ice hockey. He’s an enthusiastic student and a protector and advocate for his beautiful little sister, Maggie. She is an upbeat bundle of energy, a ravenous learner and an absolute sweetie pie. And yes, she's daddy's little girl. Watching them both grow and develop is an absolute delight.

Earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, serving as a mentor to students and teaching preparation classes for the CFP® certification examination helped shape me as a financial planner and a man. One of my core beliefs is that insight comes from being open-minded and continuously learning. That insight is the foundation for helping people make wise decisions.

Joan Cox, CFP®, CeFT®, CRPC® Photo
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Joan Cox, CFP®, CeFT®, CRPC®

Director of Advanced Planning

Life has a way of “bumping your table” and scattering your puzzle pieces. That's when life is most challenging, and making financial decisions matters more than ever. This is also where I enjoy helping people. As the head of advanced planning at Transitus Wealth Partners, I help our clients with complex needs who are often experiencing dramatic life changes.

I am part of a select number of advisors who earned the Certified Financial Transitionist® (CeFT®) designation. Have you noticed how sudden and irrevocable changes in life influence your thoughts and actions? For years, I’ve seen people struggle to make decisions when their lives were turned upside down. That’s what led me to the CeFT® program.

CeFT® training helps me understand the impact of human transitions or life events. The curriculum uses science-based tools and protocols designed specifically to merge the human and technical sides of financial planning during significant life changes.

I earned my B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1976. In 1987, I received the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designation and in 2001 the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation.

I’ve always been active in the community. In the past, I served on the board of the local chapter of the Financial Planning Association, was president of the Association of Employee Benefit Planners in New Orleans and a member of NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. I taught financial literacy in a local battered women’s shelter and schools through Junior Achievement. In 2014 and 2015, I received the Five Star Wealth Manager award and was featured in a New Orleans magazine. Also, I served on the Jewish Endowment Foundation board in New Orleans and the Investment Advisory Committee of Touro Synagogue Foundation.

I grew up in Louisiana and eventually returned to the state when I got married. I’ve lived on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain since 1987. Greg, my husband, and I have two adult children. We enjoy listening to jazz, big band, funk and 60’s music in our free time. Like any good native of Louisiana, I love live music and good food. During college, I won a contest telling Cajun jokes. Ever hear the one about Boudreaux and Thibodeaux???

Bryant Lester, C(k)P® Photo
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Bryant Lester, C(k)P®

Financial Planning Associate

I grew up in Greensboro, NC, and my interest in finance began at a young age. For that, I can thank my family. My grandfather is a successful entrepreneur and investor, and my father helped people save for retirement. Growing up, I learned to be frugal, pay down debts quickly and invest for the future. As an adult, I now understand how important those lessons are, and I’m grateful for my heritage. I’ve seen firsthand how actions have consequences. This fueled my curiosity about financial planning and motivated me to learn why some people make wise financial decisions while others don’t.

I attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where I earned a bachelor's degree in finance. Upon graduating, I joined Advisor2X, which trains and educates financial advisors. After completing my MBA at UNCW, I earned the C(k)P® designation, which focuses on 401(k) plans. Currently, I am studying to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and expect to take the exam in 2022.

In 2018, I married Lindsay, my amazing wife, and we have two large “doodles” named Harper and Gunner. Lindsay works as a child therapist and is passionate about loving and serving people. We attend Port City Community Church and enjoy being outdoors and on the water. 

I grew up playing travel soccer and played on the UNC-Wilmington Club Soccer team. Recently, I was introduced to pickleball. Have you played yet? It is so much fun! Lindsay and I are members of the Cape Fear Pickleball Club and play every weekend. We love playing and introducing the sport to new people. Ready to learn?

Trey Dowdy, PMP, C(k)P® Photo
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Trey Dowdy, PMP, C(k)P®

Chief Financial & Compliance Officer

As the Chief Financial & Compliance Officer, my responsibilities include looking after the firm's economic health and its adherence to the rules and regulations as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). Serving our clients and supporting our planners requires efficient processes and streamlined operations. That’s what I do, and I enjoy it.

I was drawn to Transitus Wealth Partners because of the leadership of its founder Ross Marino and its ethos about helping clients manage life’s transitions and changes. I believe in our philosophy that helping clients manage transitions in life is the key to making informed decisions. 

My background has always been in finance since college. I earned a B.S. in Finance from Florida State University, interned with Ross and Raymond James, and landed my first job with T. Rowe Price. My studies continued with an MBA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, plus a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified 401(k) Professional (C(k)P®) designations. I love to read and am committed to continuous learning and personal and professional development. Before joining Transitus Wealth Partners, I helped build Advisor2x, which has hosted more than 1,000 educational conferences and events for financial advisors.

In my free time, I enjoy working out, Krav Maga and playing pickleball. I’m an avid vinyl collector and am learning guitar. Giving back has always been important to me. Mentoring students at the UNCW Cameron Business School is fulfilling. Our family is also active in a local church, and I’ve been on several mission trips. 

Fun facts about me: I have been to all 30 baseball parks in North America (and I don’t even like baseball!). My baby sister Michelle was a Broadway star in Hairspray, my family hails from County Sligo in Ireland, home of the poet William Butler Yeats, and I’m great at keeping secrets but terrible at surprises.