Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Today, Kevan Melchiorre, a wealth manager at Busey Bank and the host of WDWS 1400-AM's "Busey Money Talk," chats with staff writer Paul Wood. Melchiorre is on the Crisis Nursery board and is a superhero fan.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I lived in Vernon Hills until I was in middle school, and then we moved to Long Grove. My parents and my sister's family are all still up around that area, and since it's only a few hours away, we still get to seeeach other quite a bit throughout the year.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?
When I was really little, I wanted to be a veterinarian at first. I grew up in a household with many pets (at one point, we had two dogs, three cats, a bird, fish and even an iguana), so I naturally loved animals. That changed over time, and according to my late grandma, I started to say that I wanted to be a banker. I don't really remember saying that, but she was apparently prophetic and was pretty accurate to where I sit today.
What do you love most about our community, and how are you involved currently?
I love how compassionate and relationship-oriented we are in Urbana-Champaign. Everyone seems to have each other's backs and is willing to lend a helping hand when others are in need, no matter how big or small. In terms of involvement, I am currently on the board of directors at Crisis Nursery, which is truly an outstanding organization with a phenomenal mission. As a father myself, providing a safe place for children subject to abuse and other hardships is critical not just to their short-term happiness but also their long-term happiness and overall development. I feel very privileged and am proud to be involved with the nursery.
What drew you into your profession?
Growing up, math was my favorite subject in school. I really liked working with numbers and solving problems, and then as I grew older, the stock market was exciting to me. When I was in college at the University of Miami-Florida, I was in the business school and finance program, but I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do until I took internships both with a local financial services company and then a global financial organization in New York City. I was able to see the importance of strong relationships that advisers built at those companies and how you could utilize financial skillsets to benefit the lives of others. That to me is a perfect marriage. You can have such a direct impact on the financial success of those around you, and creating a game plan to guide clients toward their hopes and dreams and ultimate peace-of-mind is incredibly rewarding.
You host the "Busey Money Talk" radio show on WDWS 1400-AM.
"Busey Money Talk" has been around for many years, and so I think I am the third or fourth person to host the show. I took over for Curt Anderson in 2016, who is now the president of Busey Wealth Management. Curt was certainly a tough act to follow, but I learned a lot from him before taking over, and it has been a great experience. Besides discussing current financial market and economic conditions, we have a lot of fun and great conversation on the show about important financial planning topics, whether it be retirement planning, college savings, or Social Security and Medicare planning. We also have other community partners on the show as guests from time to time to discuss the many great financial resources our community has to offer.
Do you have any pets around the house?
We have one dog named Kooper. He's a goldendoodle and was our "first child" before we actually had kids. Poor guy is kind of last on the family totem-pole these days, with our three boys taking the majority of our time and efforts, but he's an awesome family dog who deserves some credit and a formal shoutout.
Do you have a guilty pleasure and what is it?
I am a big fan of all of the new comic book/superhero movies. I grew up reading some of the old comic books and watching some of the cartoons when I was a kid, so it's fun to see these on the big screen now. My wife won't watch any of these with me, but luckily I get to start enjoying these with my sons.
What's your favorite sports team?
I would say it's a tie between the Chicago Bulls, Cubs and Bears. I grew up a huge Bulls fan to start, especially when Michael Jordan was playing, which made me fall in love with the game of basketball and play myself. I then suffered through many horrible years afterward but still stick with them even though they are still pretty bad right now. I am glad to see the Bears on the upswing, and I'm still reveling over the Cubs 2016 World Series win (and will continue to do so for the next several years even if they don't win again soon ... we waited over 100 years after all, right?).
What's the happiest memory of your life?
Definitely a tie between the birth of all three of my kids. You don't know how much you can love someone or something until you are blessed with a child/children. We are now lucky to have three fun-loving, high-energy boys at home (Brody, Logan and Luke).
What is an interesting fact many people don't know about you?
When I was in college, my dad opened up a bar and grill called Kevan's Tavern up in the Chicago suburbs. I may have had my name on it, but my job when I worked there was flipping burgers behind the bar. It was a fun experience during the summer, but it definitely taught me that I didn't want to be in the restaurant industry long-term.
What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?
I didn't know it at the time, because it wasn't initially career-driven, but I would say the decision to move to the Champaign-Urbana area from Chicago in 2012. My wife, Geri, and I were looking to make a move to be closer to family as we wanted to start a family, but that led me to an opportunity to join Busey Wealth Management. I have had the opportunity to move into leadership, which has also been a lot of fun and very rewarding as our company has grown exponentially since I started seven years ago. I am very fortunate and appreciative to work for such an outstanding organization with an incredible group of professionals.
What is your definition of a perfect vacation?
Our perfect vacation is spending a week in San Diego. I had never been before meeting my wife, who used to travel there with her family when she was younger. I instantly loved it because of the relaxed vibe, friendly atmosphere, great food scene, and of course, the weather. Besides the beach, there is plenty to do out there with kids, for example Legoland is a short drive away, the San Diego Zoo is one of the best in the country, and then if you're willing to make a bit of a longer trek, Disneyland is only a couple of hours away.