We have assembled a senior-level professional group with deep industry experience to provide you with thoughtful investment management and client service determined to excel.  Family is important to us; your family as well as our own.  We are accessible for questions about your portfolio and welcome conversations to help you develop or update your personal goals and objectives. 

Alan Cole, CFA, CIC
President and Chief Investment Officer

Building on over 20 years of professional investment experience, Alan established Parkside Investments, LLC in 2017 – an investment advisory firm he leads as Owner, President, and Chief Investment Officer. Before founding Parkside, Alan was vital in growing and managing Cedar Hill Associates, LLC and, for the final segment of his Cedar Hill tenure, he steered the firm in tandem roles as President and Chief Investment Officer.

Alan received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University and his MBA in Finance and Accounting from Indiana University. Upon graduation from Indiana, Alan worked for Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Credit Company in Dearborn Michigan, performing profitability and competitive analysis. Seeking to return to the Chicagoland area, Alan subsequently worked for U.S. Bancorp where he was responsible for profit and acquisition analysis. Alan’s professional credentials include CFA® charterholder, member of CFA Society of Chicago, and Chartered Investment Counselor.

In his spare time, Alan values shared activities and vacations with his wife and three adult (and two dogs)!

Chris Engelman, CFA, CIC
Managing Director

Chris has over two decades of experience providing a differentiated and tailored approach to wealth management with a goal of aligning investment objectives with the challenges, values and risk parameters unique to each family. Chris focuses on building multi-generational relationships by identifying financial and non-financial goals, understanding unique frustrations and concerns, and providing insight and guidance for maintaining a family’s legacy.

As Managing Director and Co-Owner of Parkside Investments, Chris has an extensive background with portfolio management and design, including publicly traded stocks and bonds, and private equity, real asset and hedge fund investments. He is especially adept at assessing investment risk and how this may affect retirement planning, cash flow planning, trust/estate issues, and charitable giving.

Prior to joining advisory firm Cedar Hill Associates in 2003, Chris worked at Asset Consulting Group, assisting family offices in developing asset allocation strategies and evaluating traditional and alternative investment managers. Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College and his MBA in Finance from Washington University in St. Louis. Chris is a CFA® charterholder, Chartered Investment Counselor and a member of the CFA Society of Chicago.

Chris has generational ties to the north shore where he resides surrounded by females: his wife, teen daughters and Bailey, the bernadoodle.

John Kearney, CFA
Portfolio Manager/Principal

John’s critical responsibilities at Parkside include identifying new investment opportunities, analyzing those companies’ operating fundamentals and return potential, and monitoring the outlook of existing portfolio holdings. He compiles detailed research reports on current and prospective investments and assists in trading at Parkside. Well-versed in economic and market dynamics, John develops Parkside’s quarterly letters and other investor communications.

John received his Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In advance of joining Parkside, John was Senior Research Analyst at Cedar Hill Associates, LLC and his preceding position was Senior Equity Analyst at Morningstar, Inc. He is a CFA® charterholder and a member of the CFA Society of Chicago.

Raising two young children with his wife in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, John has an intense appreciation for considerations of long-term financial planning and intergenerational wealth creation/preservation.

Debbi Frenzel
Vice President/Client Service

Debbi began her life in the investment industry over 45 years ago. During the course of her career, she has specialized in back office operations and client service. At Parkside, she oversees the firm’s portfolio management system and acts as liaison to service providers. Debbi focuses much of her attention on her favorite aspect of the business and that is working with clients and their families. Prior to joining the Parkside team, she was Operations Manager at Cedar Hill Associates for 20 years and earlier supervised the Portfolio Management department at Gofen and Glossberg for 15 years.

Debbi enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with family, most especially her grandchildren.

Dawn Keach
Principal/Chief Compliance Officer

As Chief Compliance Officer, Dawn reviews and evaluates all Parkside activities for conformity with regulatory requirements and state and federal law. She coordinates clients’ alternative investments, including Parkside proprietary funds. For two decades, Dawn was wholly-rooted at Cedar Hill Associates, acting in various capacities over time including coordinating alternative investments and as Chief Compliance Officer. Previously, she was the administrative partner of a graphic design firm and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Gatherings of four family generations from ages 1 to 97 are treasured times for Dawn and her husband. And, there is truly nothing like being “Grandma.”

Todd Needlman
Vice President/Equity Derivatives Specialist

Todd’s key Parkside duties are trade execution and preparing risk analytics for specific investment strategies.  His lengthy industry experience includes 20+ years of equity derivatives trading in positions including senior portfolio manager with Goldman Sachs, proprietary strategy trader for Peak6 Investments, a Chicago based Hedge Fund, and Interactive Brokers Key Accounts Division. Todd received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Todd is the embodiment of someone who prioritizes family matters.  The extended Needlman family are long-time inhabitants of the north shore where Todd lives with his wife and kids.

Robert Kula
Portfolio Administrator

Robert is a valued member of our group, administering client service intricacies of documentation, wiring, and account maintenance with great aplomb, a role similar to his recent position at Cedar Hill Associates, which he held for seven years.  Preceding Cedar Hill, Robert was a Portfolio Administrator and Trader for Wintrust Wealth Management, where he provided client and system support to the portfolio management team and the trading desk. Robert’s career began at Talon Asset Management as a Portfolio Associate and Assistant Trader. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Loyola University with a focus on Finance and Operational Management, but Robert really began his business education from the ground up, working as a teen with his dad in the family business.

Robert, his wife, son and daughter joyously celebrate their extensive, extended family with frequent gatherings of four generations – and even an annual beach trip for 20+ at year end.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation is an international professional certification offered by the CFA Institute (formerly AIMR) to financial analysts who complete a series of three examinations. To become a CFA charterholder candidates must pass each of three six-hour exams, possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (or have equivalent education or work experience) and have 48 months of qualified, professional work experience. CFA charterholders are also obligated to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards governing their professional conduct.

Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC) is a professional designation for CFAs who work as investment advisers. In order to qualify as a CIC, one must first become a chartered financial analyst, have at least five years of work experience as an investment adviser or a similar field, and work at a member firm of the Investment Adviser Association.