TriStar was formed in 1999 as twenty-something Shannon Edwards set out to start her own business. The story began as it does for most entrepreneurs; Shannon recognized a growing need in an overlooked market; retirement plan administration. Shannon was working for Gibson & Company at the time, a certified public accounting firm. Her department at Gibson & Company grew from 10 clients to 150 under her management. After 7 years, She went on to purchase this department from Gibson & Company. By purchasing her department from Gibson & Company, she was able to launch her own business, although it was no easy feat.
“It was scary in the beginning,” Shannon recalls times when she doubted the decision of leaving behind a steady paycheck. “I had a lot of experience in accounting and retirement plans but I didn’t know anything about managing employees.” Somehow, Shannon figured it out and hired employees to help administer plans- growing those initial 150 plans to over 230. Today TriStar currently serves over 4600 plan participants. Shannon attributes the company’s growth to the excellent customer service her team provides along with the ability to adapt with technology.
“We actually kept more employees staffed then than we currently do because of the way administration was handled. We’ve become much more efficient, mainly due to technology.” Today, virtually everything is done electronically which has improved efficiency and security for TriStar and its clients. Shannon said, “In the beginning, everything was saved on diskettes and mailed out.” (Wow! Do you remember diskettes?) It is these advances in technology that have enabled TriStar to reach a larger audience,informing them about the benefits of saving for retirement.
“Having TriStar has given me the opportunity to educate young people about the importance of saving for a dignified retirement.” Shannon believes in her company along with the services it offers. Her favorite part is, “helping small businesses provide meaningful benefits to their employees, and helping those employees save for retirement”. TriStar hopes to continue to provide retirement plan services for another 15 years. “I am very grateful for each of my clients, it is because of them we still exist!”