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Meet the Executive Team

Rao Garuda, ChFC, CLU

Rao Garuda, ChFC, CLU


Rao is the President of Associated Concepts Agency Inc., founded in 1978. He came from India with $7 and a scholarship to the University of Colorado to pursue his Master’s degree in engineering. Rao is also a graduate of American College from Bryn Mawr, PA. Rao has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is also a principal of First Financial Resources with over 120 partners located in all 50 states and co-founded The American Tax Planning Institute.

Rao is frequently invited to conduct seminars on financial planning techniques, asset protection, how to significantly reduce taxes, retirement income planning, charitable giving and estate planning. His expertise also includes being a Chartered Financial consultant and Chartered Life Underwriter. Rao’s main passion in life is making a difference using charitable planning ideas and he is a life and qualifying member of MDRT for the past 30 years. He has consecutively qualified for Top of the Table for 21 years and is also a member of the International Forum and Director of the Forum 400.

Rao has authored three books: ‘Meaning of Money’, ‘America’s Savings Challenge’ and ‘Ten Most Common Tax Mistakes.’ He takes 3 months each year to attend seminars and educate himself and another 3 months for charitable activities and travel.

Rao is married to a physician (retired), who also values and promotes philanthropy; they have donated over one million dollars to various charitable causes and Rao has dedicated his life to assisting successful individuals with making a transition from success to significance, as outlined in his book ‘Meaning of Money.’ Rao and his wife have two sons who are highly accomplished in their own fields. One son is a physician who is married to another physician and the other son is managing director for a major financial services firm. Rao has been a resident of Shaker Heights, Ohio, since 1965.

Bradley B. Etheridge

Bradley B. Etheridge

Director of Operations

Bradley Etheridge brings over three decades of notable industry performance to his role as Director of Operations for the American Tax Planning Institute. After three years as a leading producer, and while still in his twenties, he went on to build that company’s leading agency. Then, at age 32 he became the youngest Vice President of Sales in the company’s history.

In recent years, Brad has focused on his career passion; developing sales talent. In 2005 he partnered with Distribution Solutions, a leading sales consulting firm in training and developing sales professionals. It was here that Brad found his “unique capability”; coaching established advisors on reaching their potential through proven practice development strategies. His philosophy of sound practice development is based upon the mastery of two fundamentals; getting in front of enough of the right kind of prospect and, once there, uncovering what it is they really want and showing them how we can deliver it. He calls these two cornerstones of his advisor training programs Main Event Marketing® and High Impact Discovery®.

Brad’s role at ATPI as a coach, case strategist, point of sale expert and much more, has proven an invaluable asset to our members and their clients alike.

Gary Schulte, CLU

Gary Schulte, CLU

Executive Director

For four decades Gary Schulte has played a leading role in the financial services industry. Starting as an MDRT agent, he later built his companies leading agency. As Chief Marketing Officer at Protective Life, he built one of the industry’s most respected distribution systems. Later, as Chief Marketing Officer at Executive Life, he oversaw the most innovative distribution system and disruptive product portfolio our industry has seen before or since.

During the 1990’s Gary authored three successful books; The Fall of First Executive (Harper Business), Successful Life Insurance Selling and Building a Successful Financial Services Practice (Dearborn Publishing). This led to international recognition on the marketing and the distributing of financial products. Clients of his consulting firm, Distribution Solutions, included; Pac Life, Merrill Lynch, Citibank, Mass Mutual, Chase and many regional financial institutions.

Along with Top of the Table sales people he personally recruited and trained, Gary has developed a legendary network among “the best of the best” in most categories having to do with training, education and producer development.

As Executive Director of the American Tax Planning Institute, Gary brings assets that are an ideal complement to the leadership and value proposition our founders, Rao Garuda and Simon Singer.