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Chris Tarkowski
Board Member

Chris graduated from Mattawan High School as member of the class of 2000.  After beginning his collegiate career at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, he decided to join the Marine Corps Reserve as a combat engineer as a way to serve his country while continuing his college education.  He departed for boot camp in October 2001 and after completing his initial Marine training including boot camp, engineer school and combat training he was assigned to Bridge Company Alpha (BCA) in Battle Creek Michigan where he met and became good friends with both fellow board member Ronald Patti and with Corporal Christopher Kelly Willis.

After returning to school for just one semester while serving as a reservist in Battle Creek, Chris was called to active duty and deployed to Iraq in January 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the initial invasion.  After returning from the front lines in the summer of 2003 he was able to attend one more year of school before once again being re-deployed to Iraq in August of 2004 until the summer of 2005. Over the course of his two deployments Chris earned 9 medals and ribbons including the Combat Action Ribbon (CAR) and Presidential Unit Citation (PUC).  He was also promoted to the position of squad leader and the rank of Corporal during this time.

With the conclusion of his second deployment in summer 2005 Chris was able to refocus his efforts on his career and college education.  He pursued a career in the financial industry joining JP Morgan Chase in 2006 and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Davenport University in Grand Rapids Michigan in 2008.

With graduation came new opportunity and in the spring of 2008 Chris was recruited and accepted a position with a private equity firm located in Nashville TN.  In 2010 he accepted a job with a competing firm based in Dallas, TX which allowed him the flexibility to move back to the Kalamazoo area and work from his home office. 

With his freshly acquired MBA and desire to spend more time at home, Chris took a job with Kalamazoo based Greenleaf Trust as a Trust Relationship Officer in January of 2014.  After 2 years of with Greenleaf Trust Chris had the opportunity to go to work for Michigan's #1 Financial Advisor, Charles Zhang and Zhang Financial as a Senior Manager Client Services where he continues to work with high net worth individuals to meet their financial planning and management goals.

Along with his military experience, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Management, Chris also holds multiple professional financial industry licenses including his FINRA series 7, 24 and 63.  He has been involved with the Willis family and foundation since its inception and has been an active participant in recruiting support for the cause.  He was nominated to the foundation board in July 2013.