The day-to-day management of MPERS is delegated to the executive director who is hired by the Board. The executive director acts as an advisor to the Board on all matters pertaining to the system and, with the approval of the Board, contracts for professional services and employs the remining staff needed to operate the system.
We are a staff of 18 employees, working in the five divisions and the two units described below. Please click on the picture of the person below to learn about them and their role at MPERS.
The Director’s Office staff provides administrative oversight and support in the areas of legislation, operations, benefits, and investments.
The Financial Services section is responsible for maintaining all the financial records of MPERS. The chief financial officer (accountant) interacts with the investment custodian, the auditors, the depository bank, Missouri’s Department of Revenue, and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, the accountant assists the chief investment officer in tracking and predicting target cash balances, participates in annual budget development, prepares monthly budget-to-actual reports, and calculates monthly premium payments to the long-term disability insurer. The accountant also processes MPERS’ semi-monthly office payrolls, reconciles monthly benefit payments and contributions/payrolls posted, and reconciles investment activity.
The Investments section staff works closely with the general investment consultant to oversee the investment portfolio and provide consulting services to the Board and the executive director. This includes, but is not limited to: (a) formulating investment policy and asset recommendations, (b) providing recommendations on the selection, (c) monitoring and evaluating external investment advisors, (d) measuring and reporting on investment performance, (e) conducting market research on political, financial, and economic developments that may affect the System, and (f) serving as a liaison to the investment community.
The Member Services section consists of two units devoted to serving member needs.
The Benefits Unit is responsible for contact with the membership regarding the benefit programs administered by MPERS, which include retirement and disability. The benefit staff is responsible for preparing and delivering the pre-retirement and benefit basics seminars in addition to assisting with the development of member communication material.
The Payroll Unit is responsible for establishing and maintaining all membership records including (a) maintaining member data on the pension administration system, (b) verifying retirement calculations, (c) balancing payroll deductions, (d) verifying SAM II data against exception reports, and (e) entering payroll, service, and leave data into the System’s computerized database.
Dawn Grothoff, Investment Analyst
Dawn Grothoff is an Investment Analyst for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). She reports directly to the Investment Manager. Dawn assists with the day-to-day operations of the investment portfolio including, but not limited to, performance management, monitoring investment managers, working with consultants and custodial banks, and the preparation of analytical reports.
Prior to coming to MPERS, Dawn was employed with the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) working as a junior investment analysis completing daily and monthly performance reporting and tracking management fees.
Dawn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Lincoln University.
Seth Kelly, Investment Manager
Seth Kelly is an Investment Manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). Seth reports directly to the Chief Investment Officer. Seth joined MPERS in 2021.
Before coming to MPERS, Seth was employed by Central Bank where he served in positions that included retail brokerage compliance and bond portfolio analysis. After he left Central Bank, he spent 16 years at the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) where he was primarily responsible for tactical asset allocation and eventually served as the Chief Investment Officer. Subsequent to MOSERS, Seth was the Chief Investment Officer for the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System.
Seth is a life-long resident of central Missouri. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and holds the Charters Financial Analyst designation.
Scott Simon, Executive Director
Scott Simon is the Executive Director for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS), where he provides sound and effective leadership, coordinates all MPERS operational and administrative functions, and administers the programs for which MPERS is responsible. He reports directly to the MPERS Board of Trustees. His key responsibilities include guiding the governing board regarding policy and strategic objectives; ensuring effective implementation of board governance, including the investment policy; representing the organization on behalf of all stakeholders; managing and overseeing MPERS’ staff and their various responsibilities; and reviewing and reporting administrative performance to the governing board. Since joining MPERS in 2012, Scott has worked diligently to continue the transformation of MPERS into a sophisticated pension plan, pursuing practical excellence through customer service and risk management, what he views as the system’s two most fundamental responsibilities.
Twenty-two years ago, Scott began his pension plan career as a Benefit Specialist for MOSERS, the state’s largest public pension plan, delivering quality service and helpful benefit information to plan members. He progressed through the ranks first as a Benefit Supervisor and then as the Manager of Benefit Services. During that time, he took advantage of educational opportunities to broaden his knowledge base of pension plan administration and management. That education covered a broad range of topics including leadership and strategy development, benefit administration, human resource development and workforce management, reporting and benchmarking, and defined contribution plan management. Prior to his pension plan work, Scott completed an executive development program for a major U.S. retailer where he became one of the youngest store managers in the history of the company. He has over 28 years of experience in customer service and risk management.
Scott graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and received a Bachelor of Science in business logistics with a minor area of specialization in business management.
Greta Bassett-Seymour, Assistant Executive Director and General Counsel
Greta Bassett-Seymour is the Assistant Executive Director and General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). She joined MPERS in 2014 after 12 years in the private practice of law. Greta serves as the legal counsel to the MPERS Board of Trustees and to the Executive Director and provides advice, counsel and representation in all matters affecting the system.
Greta’s primary responsibilities include interpreting system laws and applicable federal laws affecting plan administration; advising the executive director and the board regarding public records law, governance and parliamentary procedures, and fiduciary duties; providing legal due diligence and support for the system’s investment function, including review of transaction documentation and investment structures; reviewing and drafting legislation affecting the system, as well as preparing and reviewing fiscal notes; testifying before legislative committees; supporting the system’s member services function; supporting the executive director and the board in policy and executive matters as requested, including strategic and business planning and risk management planning and execution; and serving as hearing officer for administrative hearings before the board including case preparation and discovery.
Prior to coming to MPERS, Greta owned her own law practice where she practiced social security disability law. Greta employed and managed five attorneys and 25 support and professional staff, maintained an active caseload of 120 clients and handled all facets of human resources duties as well as day-to-day business decisions. Before attending law school, Greta was an eighth grade English teacher.
Greta graduated with a Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Law, completed a Bachelor of Arts in German at DePauw University and, earned a teaching certificate in secondary education (in German and English) from Northern Illinois University. She is a member of the Missouri Bar, In Good Standing and a member of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys.
Lois Wankum, Senior Executive Assistant
Lois Wankum is the Senior Executive Assistant for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS) and reports directly to the Executive Director. She provides a variety of secretarial and administrative duties for the Executive Director’s office. She works with executive staff on special projects and reports and supervises the duties of the Senior Administrative Assistant. Lois also assists in greeting members and visitors to MPERS. Lois joined MPERS in 1998.
As the secretary to the MPERS Board of Trustees, Lois schedules and issues notices for all board and committee meetings, prepares agendas, assists with preparing meeting material for the trustees, prepares meeting minutes, maintains the board planning calendar, and retains records of the board. She also coordinates the board elections.
Lois serves as the de facto office manager, overseeing routine maintenance of the building and grounds, soliciting bids for various building and professional services, including insurance coverage. She assists with the preparation of the budget and monitors the budget throughout the year. She prepares payroll deductions and supporting forms for MPERS’ employees and assists in processing staff payroll.
Lois assists with MPERS’ human resources needs by scheduling interviews for potential new employees and ensures background checks are completed. She participates with orientating new employees and ensures existing staff is aware of any employee benefit changes.
Lois’s 33-year career in state government began in 1986, as a Clerk Typist in Office of Administration (OA), Division of Purchasing. Immediately prior to joining MPERS, Lois was employed at MoDOT and was promoted to numerous positions within the agency. She held positions in the Fiscal Services Division, the Risk Management Office and the Chief Counsel’s Office.
Barbara Graessle, Senior Administrative Assistant
Barbara Graessle is the Senior Administrative Assistant for the Executive Director’ office at the MoDOT and Patrol Employees’ Retirement System. Barbara acts as the office receptionist, greeting individuals both in person and over the phone. She handles incoming correspondence and ensures those items are distributed in a manner that supports timely resolution. Barbara’s general responsibilities include assisting accounts payable, ethics and fiscal notes reporting, posting board material, tracking member communications and supporting website management activities.
Barbara began her career in a hospital setting working in human resources, payroll and finance. She was also responsible for preparing board materials and attending meetings. Barbara then joined Scholastic where she had over 24 years as the Executive Assistant to the General Manager of Operations. Barbara has completed coursework in the area of administrative assistance at Missouri State University.
Jennifer Even, Chief Financial Officer
Jennifer Even is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). Jennifer is responsible for the financial operations of MPERS, including financial accounting and reporting, budget development and oversight, investment accounting and reporting, audit management, internal control policies development and implementation, tax reporting and filing, payroll administration, and various other accounting and financial functions.
Jennifer joined MPERS in 2006 as MPERS’ first accountant and during her tenure, Jennifer has implemented a new accounting system. She also actively participated in the development of a new pension administration system, specifically with the integration of data to the financial system, tax reporting for members, and required state and federal tax filings. Jennifer is responsible for producing the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report each fiscal year. This publication has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting every year since Jennifer has been at MPERS. Jennifer was also instrumental in producing MPERS’ first Popular Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2017 and it also has received the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting. Jennifer also heads the IT Security Committee.
Jennifer has 27 years of financial and accounting experience with more than 25 years in state government. She previously worked as an Accounting Manager at the Missouri Department of Revenue, at MoDOT as the Retirement System Accountant, and as an Accountant at McDonnell Douglas Corp.
Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on finance and banking, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has professional designations as a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Government Financial Manager.
Lindsey Harris-Funk, Assistant Chief Financial Officer
Lindsey L. Harris-Funk is the Assistant Chief Financial Officer for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). She assists the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with the financial operations of MPERS, including financial accounting and reporting, budget development and oversight, investment accounting and reporting, audit management, internal control policies development and implementation, tax reporting and filing, payroll administration, and various other accounting and financial functions. Lindsey joined the MPERS’ Financial Services section in April 2020.
Lindsey has over ten years of public- and private-sector financial reporting and accounting experience. She previously worked at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), where she served as the financial reporting manager.
Lindsey attended Westminster College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Finance and Bachelor of Arts in Business Entrepreneurship with a minor in economics. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Columbia College.
In 2017, Lindsey attained the professional designation of Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) and is currently working to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Larry Krummen, Chief Investment Officer
Larry Krummen is the Chief Investment Officer for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS), where he is responsible for the management and oversight of the system’s $2.3 billion investment portfolio. Since joining MPERS in 2003, he has restructured the portfolio into a diversified and sophisticated investment program with investments across global equities, fixed income, hedge funds, private equity, and real assets. During his tenure, he has transformed MPERS’ investment portfolio from a historically under performing fund to one that consistently ranks among the top performing funds in the peer universe. Through the efficient use of alternative investment strategies, Larry has also reduced MPERS’ overall risk profile. The combination of improved returns and reduced risk has helped MPERS’ portfolio generate a risk-adjusted return (Sharpe Ratio) that ranks among the top 6% of the peer universe over the ten year period ending in 2018. In 2016, Larry’s efforts to improve the system’s performance were recognized by CIO Magazine, awarding MPERS the “CIO Industry Innovation Award” for public funds under $15 billion in assets.
In addition to his accomplishments at MPERS, Larry has a unique set of educational accomplishments and prior work experience. Prior to joining MPERS, he was the Director of Investments for the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office, managing a $3.0 billion fixed income portfolio. His passion to improve performance was evident with the Treasurer’s Office as well, where he was instrumental in passing legislation to enhance the portfolio’s securities lending program. Prior to his work for the State of Missouri, he worked as an Investment Officer at Central Bank, a budget analyst at the Missouri Senate, and lobbied for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
Larry earned his Bachelor of Science in business administration with a dual major in finance and real estate from the University of Missouri, graduating magna cum laude with a cumulative GPA of 3.87. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder designation.
Jennifer Johnson, Investment Manager
Jennifer Johnson is the Investment Manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). Jennifer reports directly to the Chief Investment Officer. She is responsible for the sourcing of new relationships and opportunities across her respective areas of coverage and has successfully developed each program, simultaneously enhancing diversification across managers and strategies. She regularly evaluates new investment opportunities across numerous industries and investment types, in addition to monitoring and managing current relationships. Since joining MPERS in 2007, Jennifer has worked diligently to provide top-tier investment returns for the system’s investment portfolio.
Before coming to MPERS, Jennifer traded fixed income securities for Central Bank where she was responsible for maintaining an inventory of fixed income products for retail brokers. She educated and trained brokers on fixed income products. She increased retail fixed-income revenue and trading profits year over year.
Jennifer acquired several years of customer service, marketing, and project management experience while working at General American Life Insurance Company. She was responsible for marketing a newly developed variable life insurance product for high net worth individuals to general agents and managing the product’s administration department. She also managed implementation and led training for new client products.
She is the Ex-Officio President of MAPERS (Missouri Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems). MAPERS is dedicated to the education of Missouri pension plan staff and trustees. She has been a board member since 2009 and has served two-year terms as Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President and President.
Jennifer obtained her Master of Finance degree from St. Louis University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science with a minor in business from Valparaiso University. She holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation. The CAIA designation certifies an education standard of expertise in the area of alternatives. In addition, Jennifer has earned the National Association of Securities Dealers Series 6, Series 7 and Series 63 licenses, currently inactive; the Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI); and Associate, Insurance Regulatory Compliance (AIRC) designations.
Luke Fortson, Investment Analyst
Luke Fortson is an Investment Analyst for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). He reports directly to the Investment Manager. Luke assists with the day-to-day operations of the investment portfolio including, but not limited to, performance management, monitoring investment managers, working with consultants and custodial banks, and the preparation of analytical reports.
Luke has 10 years of financial and accounting experience in state government. He previously worked at the Missouri Gaming Commission where he was a financial analyst. As an analyst for Gaming, he completed in-depth audit reviews of financial records for individuals and corporations applying for a license to participate in gaming activities. He also examined various financial and other reporting documents to assess financial stability and suitability for managing a gaming operation in Missouri.
Luke earned his Master’s Degree of Business Administration with concentration in Accounting in addition to a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a degree in Accounting from the University of Central Missouri. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and has completed Level II of the Chartered Financial Analyst Program.
Mary Jordan, Senior Benefit Specialist
Mary Jordan is a Senior Benefit Specialist for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). Mary reports directly to the Assistant Executive Director. The primary duties of a benefit specialist are to provide members of MPERS with the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding their retirement benefits. This includes talking with prospective or new employees about the retirement and disability benefit provided by MPERS. Mary also helps educate employees regarding the value of all of the benefits they receive as state employees. As a benefit specialist, she helps develop and conduct seminars for members nearing retirement, new employees as well as mid-career informational seminars and assists in the production of webinars on various retirement-related topics.
Mary has worked for MPERS in several capacities since joining the system in October 1997. She began her career in retirement as a senior secretary and shortly after she transitioned to the payroll section of MPERS. This gave her extensive knowledge in how prior service credit is granted, how retirement benefits are calculated, how payroll information is received from the employers and how that information translates into the monthly benefits that members receive after retirement. She has worked with software providers to implement the legislative changes for the Year 2000 Plan and the 2011 Tier. In between the plan changes, MPERS began the multiyear, multi-phase process of implementing a new pension administration system. She was a member of the selection committee that ultimately selected PensionGold. The new pension system was able to combine the data from the previous mainframe system as well as several Microsoft Access databases into one functional system. This provided one depository for all pension-related data and a simplified method of retrieving data. Maintenance of this system is an ongoing project with changes in pension laws and periodic maintenance.
Benefit specialists are many times the first faces and voices of MPERS with the members. All of the knowledge Mary has obtained through her long tenure with MPERS allows her to successfully interact with members.
Mary holds a Certificate of Achievement in Public Plan Policy Employee Pension issued by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from William Woods University in May 2020.
Gabrielle Lewis, Benefit Specialist
Gabrielle Lewis is a Benefit Specialist, for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). She reports directly to the Assistant Executive Director. The primary duties of a benefit specialist, are to provide members of MPERS with the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding their retirement benefits. This includes talking with prospective or new employees about the retirement and disability benefit provided by MPERS. Gabrielle also helps educate employees regarding the value of all of the benefits they receive as state employees. As a benefit specialist, she helps develop and conduct seminars for members nearing retirement, new employees as well as mid-career informational seminars, and assists in the production of webinars on various retirement-related topics.
Gabrielle transitioned to MPERS from the State of Missouri Deferred Compensation Plan. She began her career in the retirement sector in December of 2008 as a Participant Service Representative. Her duties included building relationships and meeting with active and retired members of MOSERS and MPERS, to inform them of the benefits within the program, encourage and educate long-term thinking, and how best to maximize their plan benefit.
Benefit specialists are many times the first faces and voices of MPERS with the members. All of the knowledge Gabrielle has obtained through her career allows her to successfully interact with members.
Gabrielle received her Bachelor of Science in communication from Kaplan University in 2017 and her Master’s Certificate in industrial organizational psychology from Purdue Global University in 2021.
Julie West, Communications Specialist
Julie West is the Communications Specialist for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). She reports directly to the Assistant Executive Director and is responsible for the development and implementation of digital media including, but not limited to, MPERS’ website, social media platforms, publications, and multimedia educational content. Additionally, she serves as a backup Benefit Specialist as needed.
Julie has nine years of experience with State of Missouri employee benefits, which began with the Missouri Department of Corrections. In 2018, she came to MPERS from Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan (MCHCP) where she was a Member Education Specialist for the western region of the state. During her time at MCHCP, she earned her Missouri Life and Health Insurance Producers License.
Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts from Hannibal-LaGrange University and a Masters of Arts in speech communication from the University of Central Missouri.
Bev Wilson, Benefit Audit Specialist
Bev Wilson is the Benefit Audit Specialist for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). She reports directly to the Assistant Executive Director. Bev interprets complex state statutes for the administration of benefits and audits all new benefit claims for accuracy in the calculation of eligibility, service credit, and benefit amounts. She annually compiles and verifies data required for active employee benefit statements, the actuarial valuation, the external financial audit, and the comprehensive annual financial report. Bev is responsible for supplying a variety of information required for various requests such as tracking benefit trends, assisting in determining the effects of proposed legislation, and identifying deceased members/beneficiaries who are no longer eligible to receive a benefit. Since joining MPERS in 2003 as an account technician in payroll, Bev has persistently worked to discover discrepancies or inaccuracies in data and has developed tools to streamline job functions while minimizing the possibility for error. Bev also supervises three payroll account technicians as well as temporary help utilized for special projects.
Before coming to MPERS, Bev worked for over 11 years at the Linn Distribution Center where she rose through the ranks starting off as a secretary and finishing as the Human Resource Supervisor, providing her with a broad knowledge base in personnel issues, payroll, and employee benefits. Early on in her professional career, Bev was a high school math teacher.
Bev obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education in mathematics and graduated magna cum laude from the Central Missouri State University. She earned The Human Resource Certificate from the Management Development Institute at Southwest Missouri State University and the Certificate of Achievement in Public Plan Policy (CAPPP) from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.
Angel Backes, Senior Account Technician
Angel Backes is a Senior Account Technician for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS), where she works in the payroll unit of the benefits section. Angel reports directly to the Benefit Audit Specialist. With almost 20 years of experience, her key responsibilities include processing the monthly retirement payroll and performing detailed audit-related work examining state pay records and employment documents to determine eligibility for benefits.
Angel began her career at MPERS as a Senior Secretary in the fall of 1999. Over many of the past 20 years, she has been tasked with progressively challenging duties and assignments that prepared her for her current position. Angel is also responsible for generating a monthly newsletter for human resources and payroll personnel of MoDOT and the Highway Patrol, as well as assisting the Communications Specialist in maintaining a variety of MPERS’ publications and graphics.
Prior to working at MPERS, Angel worked part-time for the Department of Public Safety as a Personal Assistant, where she learned invaluable administrative and computer skills that helped prepare her for her long-term career with MPERS.
Tammy Kroll, Senior Account Technician
Tammy Kroll is a Senior Account Technician on the payroll team for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employee’s Retirement System (MPERS). Tammy is responsible for establishing and maintaining all active membership records for benefit-eligible employees from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP), and MPERS and the processing of the retirement payrolls. Her key responsibilities include ensuring accuracy of the member records by auditing the new hire and termination notices; auditing the bi-monthly pay records; auditing and applying interest for the members in the contributory plan; verifying reciprocal transfers of service between MPERS and Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS); ensuring accuracy of the retirement payroll by auditing deduction withholdings, direct deposit requests, and application of cost-of-living adjustments; and verifying that all auditing is complete before the retirement payroll is issued. Tammy is also involved in keeping MPERS’ disaster recovery plan up to date and is a member of the IT Security Team and the Enterprise Risk Management for Operations Team.
Tammy began her state employment in 2006 as an Office Support Assistant with the Missouri State Water Patrol (MSWP). During her time with Water Patrol, she was promoted to an Executive I in human resources. She handled personnel issues, processed the employee payroll, managed leave balances, and supervised employees in the front desk clerical position. She joined MPERS after the merger of the MSWP and the MSHP in 2010.
Tammy graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she received a Bachelor of Science in business administration.
Leigh Love, Senior Account Technician
Leigh Love is a senior account technician for the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS). Leigh joined MPERS in 2008 as an office assistant and has been promoted several times over the past 10 years, landing her in her current position. Starting out, her main duties included data entry, typing, filing, and answering phones. Leigh quickly demonstrated the ability to perform a more sophisticated role and her duties were expanded to include accounts payable, reviewing retirement paperwork prior to processing and assisting with basic tax functions. Currently, Leigh performs a wide variety of duties including preparing staff payroll, assisting with retiree payroll, verifying service for members, coordinating pre-retirement seminars, reviewing and processing paperwork, answering questions from members and providing reports to MoDOT and the Highway Patrol.
Leigh previously worked for eight years as an administrative account associate in the accounting department at the Conservation Federation of Missouri and as a fiscal services technician for ten years at the Private Industry Council. Leigh is a valuable piece of the complex puzzle that makes up benefit operations at MPERS.