Press Release

May 8, 2018

Employee Spotlight: Kevin Smith



At Janney, the highest internal award that a Financial Advisor can receive is the Firm’s FA of the Year, which is given at the Elite Conference and is followed up with a personalized gift that reflects the recipient’s interests.

Kevin Smith, Executive Vice President / Wealth Management of the Smith, Mayer and Liddle wealth advisory group in York, PA, was the 2017 recipient of this prestigious honor and recently received his gift – a new guitar! Since Kevin is an avid guitar player and lives within a few hours from the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, PA, it seemed like a natural fit for a visit.

Kevin and his wife, Anne, visited the Martin Guitar factory on March 9 to pick up his new guitar, an OMC-16E cutaway acoustic/electric, and to tour the factory to see how the company’s guitars are made. “Before our tour, I received my guitar and a Martin’s employee gave me a brief overview of its features and craftsmanship and allowed me to try it out,” said Kevin. “It was amazing to see such talented individuals at work throughout all stages of the guitar making process, and to observe firsthand the quality, precision, and craftsmanship involved.”

Kevin’s guitar is one of Martin’s newer models that features a spruce top paired with cherry back and sides, a modified low oval neck with high performance taper, simple dovetail neck joint, silver binding and heel cap, bone nut and tusk saddle, ebony bridge, and a silver bound ebony fingerboard with diamonds and squares inlaid in mother-of-pearl. He said, “It’s a beautiful, great sounding guitar! I researched guitars on Martin’s website and was impressed with the style and quality of this model. I also really like the rich, dense, clean and articulate tone of the instrument. This is arguably the coolest gift that I’ve ever received.”

Anne bought Kevin an electric guitar nearly 20 years ago and he briefly took lessons to develop his skills and coordination. Soon after, he began his career as a financial advisor. With minimal time to practice, he stopped playing altogether. Years later in 2016, Anne got his guitar restrung as a gift for Christmas which revived his passion and enthusiasm. He started taking lessons again and has been determined to advance his skills. He practices almost every day – sometimes for hours at a time. “I really love to play and am encouraged by my progress. I’ve come a long way, and have improved exponentially in a relatively short period of time,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to become a good guitar player, and it’s a great diversion from the normal preoccupation with my practice and financial markets.”

Kevin has varied musical inspiration. He enjoys rock from the 1980s and 1990s, modern country, and contemporary Christian music. “Some bands that are my personal favorites are Foreigner, The Cars, Van Halen, AC/DC, Rascal Flatts, and MercyMe. The first song I learned to play cleanly from start to finish was GreenDay’s “Time of Your Life”, which is a terrific song with a meaningful message,” said Kevin.

He expressed gratitude for receiving his guitar and said, “It’s a very meaningful gift in so many ways. It’s somewhat of a tradition to name one’s guitars, so I’ve decided to name my Martin “Janie”. Whenever I play it, it will be a permanent reminder of Janney and the incredible honor of being named Advisor of the Year. Receiving such an honor was the highlight of my career and one of the great moments of my life. My wife and I will never forget our experience at the Elite Conference and the evening of the awards dinner. The beautiful sound from this guitar will bring back those wonderful memories every time a note is played or a chord is strummed.”

After their tour of the Martin factory, Kevin and his wife explored downtown Bethlehem, sampled craft beers at a few local breweries, and stayed at the historic Hotel Bethlehem.

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