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PYSK: Wendy C. Swetz

President, Gateway Mortgage Group L.C.

AGE: 30

JOB DESCRIPTION: Gateway Mortgage Group L.C. is a locally owned and operated residential mortgage loan brokerage firm. I help an array of clients through the entire process of homeownership. From the initial application until the property closes, I am there every step of the way. I find the absolute proper loan product for the individual and work with the client hand in hand until the closing. I also manage and train other loan officers.

YEARS LIVED IN COLUMBIA: My mom, two sisters and I moved to Columbia in 1989.

ORIGINAL HOMETOWN: Hermann, Mo. I grew up in the country on the outskirts of this amazing German town. We lived on five acres in a log cabin that my parents built from the wood of 13 torn-down 18th century log homes. My childhood consisted of four-wheeling, fishing, playing in a creek, catching frogs and being really carefree. I am really lucky to have had that growing up. I owe so much love and thanks to my mom and dad.

EDUCATION: I graduated from Hickman High School in 1995. I went straight to Columbia College and received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree. I graduated with honors in both.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: I am a sponsor and committee member of the Boys and Girls Town of Missouri, specifically the Diamond Night committee. I am also a local sponsor of the Voluntary Action Committee, Pascale’s Pals, American Cancer Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association and R.A.I.N. I am a fund-raiser volunteer for Daniel Boone Little League. I am a member of the Missouri Association of Mortgage Brokers and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: I have worked for Gateway Mortgage Group for almost three years. I originally started as a loan originator and then bought the company in October with Landon Albertson and Holly King. Prior to Gateway Mortgage Group, I worked as a mortgage processor. I also worked as the Atrium bar manager for the Holiday Inn Select for four years to help pay my way through college.

A COLUMBIA BUSINESSPERSON I ADMIRE: Landon J. Albertson. He is a local pioneer of the mortgage business, and without his help and guidance, I would not be where I am today. I also admire his struggles. Landon has overcome so many obstacles in business due to developing cancer at a very young age and fighting through his illness to start a mortgage business out of his hospital bed. That type of focus and perseverance are hard to come by. I have learned so much from him.

WHY I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT MY JOB: I absolutely love what I do. I love helping my customers with one of the most important transactions in their lives. I love the look on my clients’ faces when we are sitting in our closing and they get the keys to their first home or an experienced investor buys a really great property for his or her portfolio. I am passionate about my job because I am really good at putting the right person with the right loan product. With my experience, I make the loan process easy, smooth and enjoyable.

IF I WEREN’T DOING THIS FOR A LIVING I WOULD: When I was growing up, I liked to argue. (Those of you who know me know I don’t take “no” for an answer, or at least I try not to.) Therefore, I always thought I would be an attorney. I still have that as a life goal.

BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME: I think I am still overcoming it. I believe the greatest obstacle that I have overcome is going from a self-employed loan originator to an owner. It is completely different. I have much more respect for the past owner of Gateway Mortgage Group, Clay Bethune. However, it is an obstacle that I am proud to have achieved. I would say that owning a business is not for everyone, but if you do, you know the rewards are endless.

A FAVORITE RECENT PROJECT: My sister, Elly, and I are fixing up the cabin that we grew up in. We are so excited and proud to be the new owners. We recently had a clean-up party and invited our close family and friends, and we were thrilled with the turnout and the support of everyone who helped.

WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PROFESSION: The mortgage business is ever changing; therefore, we have to be constantly educating ourselves about the new products, guidelines and changes within it. It is definitely a business that you do take home with you. I eat, sleep and breathe my profession, and I think in order to be successful at anything, you have to do that. It takes long hours and a lot of perseverance at times to make transactions go smoothly.

WHAT I DO FOR FUN: I love to watch my son play baseball. I love to relax at a spa with my friends to unwind. I also love to spend time with my boyfriend, Landon, and my family at any opportunity I get.

FAMILY: I have a 12-year-old son, Todd Hague, who currently attends Gentry Middle School. He is the love of my life and the greatest kid in the world. My mom and stepdad, Connie and Todd Ridder, live in Columbia and work at Ameren Union Electric’s nuclear plant. My little sister, Elly, moved back to Columbia from San Francisco a year ago, and I could not be happier to have her home. She owns Elly’s Couture downtown. One of my biggest supporters on earth is my 83-year-old Granny Swetz; she is an inspiration to me. She just is so young at heart and independent, and I really admire that. Elly and I lost our father, Keith R. Swetz, in 2005. I would not be the person I am today without his loving support and encouragement. Even though he is gone, he is the reason that I get up and go many, many days, and his spirit will always be with me.

FAVORITE PLACE IN COLUMBIA: At one of our wonderful local title companies closing a loan! Something other than work? Getting a facial and a massage at a local spa. Dining at one of our many fantastic restaurants: Sophia’s, Chris McD’s or Murry’s. I have many favorite places.

ACCOMPLISHMENT I AM MOST PROUD OF: I was very young when I found out I was expecting my son, Todd. I was faced with many financial obstacles and hard decisions that have molded my life. I certainly did not do this alone. Ultimately, I beat the odds with my education, business profession and the relationship that Todd’s dad and his wife, Julie Hague, and I have. We know we have a job to do — to raise a man. I am most proud of the son I am raising.

MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT: I am a big teddy bear at heart. I would give anything I had to help a friend in need. I think my heart is my very best quality.

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