Modern Woodmen of America is a fraternal financial services organization based in Rock Island, Illinois. Modern Woodmen has over $10 Billion in assets and more than 765,000 members nationwide, offering life insurance, annuity, investment and banking products, along with fraternal member benefits for families and their communities. Modern Woodmen Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Modern Woodmen.
Modern Woodmen of America members are joined by three common bonds:
- Financial security for families through life insurance, annuity, investment and banking products
- Quality family life through fraternal chapter and youth service club programs for good times and fraternal benefits for times of need
- Community impact through educational programs and volunteer service activities nationwide
Modern Woodmen of America was named in honor of the pioneering woodmen who cleared the forests to build homes and communities and provide security for their families. Its founder, Joseph Cullen Root, formed a society in 1883, harnessing the same spirit to clear away family financial difficulties. While its founding mission has remained unchanged, the financial products and fraternal services have changed to meet the needs of Modern Woodmen families. Today, Modern Woodmen is one of the country's largest fraternal financial services organizations. Ratings from A.M. Best verify its financial strength and security.
Modern Woodmen's directorate is the following individuals:
W. Kenny Massey
W. Kenny Massey is the president and CEO of Modern Woodmen of America and also serves on its Board of Directors. Massey is also chairman of the Board of Directors of Modern Woodmen Bank. He was appointed to Modern Woodmen Bank's Board of Directors in 2005.
Mr. Massey began his career with Modern Woodmen of America in 1982. Massey has served the society as a financial representative, managing partner, regional director and director of agencies before being appointed to the role as president and CEO in 2005. Massey has been a member of the Modern Woodmen of America Board of Directors since 2002.
He graduated in 1982 from Mississippi State University with a business degree, majoring in insurance. He has achieved numerous professional designations and achievements throughout his career including his LLIF from Babson College in Boston, Mass., and NASD Securities 6 & 26 licenses.
He served as a member of LL Global’s International Board of Directors and the LIMRA Executive Development Committee. He also served as past president and board member for the Fraternal Field Managers’ Association. He earned the National Security and Strategy Certificate of Leadership Development from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Kenny is currently serving on the Board of Directors for CASI (Center for Active Seniors), the Regional Opportunities Committee, and is past President of the Quad Cities Contributor’s Council. He is a member of the QC Air Service Committee and serves on the Deacon’s Board at his church.
Jerry J. Lyphout
Jerry J. Lyphout, East Moline, Illinois, is national secretary at Modern Woodmen of America. In this position he has direct responsibility for 12 operational departments and provides administrative support for all other departments at Modern Woodmen's home office. Jerry was appointed to Modern Woodmen's Board of Directors in March 2014.
Jerry joined Modern Woodmen in 1983 in the Issue Department and was promoted to systems supervisor in the department in 1985. He was named manger or the Qualified Plans Department (now Advanced Sales Department) in 1997. He became president of MWA Financial Services in 2013. In 2015, Jerry was named National Secretary.
Jerry holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in business administration from St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa. He has earned the following insurance industry designations: Fellow, Life Management Institute; Chartered Life Underwriter; Chartered Financial Consultant; and Fraternal Insurance Counsellor, Fellow. He also holds the Series 6, 7, 24, 26 and 63 licenses from the Financial Industry Regulator Association.
He is a member of the board of directors for Just Kids Childcare Inc., and has served on various Modern Woodmen Committees.
Lester L. Bohnert
Lester L. "Les" Bohnert, of East Moline, is the general counsel and a member of the Board of Directors for Modern Woodmen of America. He has served in both roles since April 2018.
Bohnert began his Modern Woodmen career as assistant counsel in 1988. He was promoted to counsel in 1997 and to assistant general counsel in 2006, managing the daily operations of the Legal Department. In 2017, he also assumed oversight responsibility of the organization's Compliance Department.
Bohnert earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, and graduated from John Marshall Law School. He has earned multiple life insurance industry designations, including LIMRA Leadership Institute Fellow, Associate Life and Health Claims, and Fellow, Life Management Institute.
He is a member of the Association of Fraternal Benefit Counsel, International Claim Association, American Fraternal Alliance, having held leadership positions with each. Bohnert also belongs to the Defense Research Institute, Illinois Bar Association and Rock Island County Bar Association.
Additionally, Bohnert is a member of the Rock Island Kiwanis and has volunteered as a Junior Achievement instructor, officer with Modern Woodmen Chapter 26, and with the Seton Catholic Church dad's club. He has served on various Modern Woodmen committees, including the Executive Steering Committee.
David B. Emrick
David B. Emrick was appointed to Modern Woodmen Bank's Board of Directors in 2012.
Mr. Emrick, Davenport, Iowa, is a retired office managing partner for Deloitte and Touche Accounting. He graduated from Ball State University and earned his Certified Public Accountant certificate in 1973.
Emrick has served on the boards of the Putnam Museum and Genesis Health Services Foundation. He is the past president of the Illinois Society of Certified Public Accountants, Western Chapter. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Lori A. Newberg
Lori A. Newberg, Lenexa, Kansas, is principal, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Miller & Newberg, Inc., an actuarial consulting firm based in Overland Park, Kansas. She joined Modern Woodmen of America's Board of Directors in June 2015.
Newberg is a graduate of the University of Kansas and past president of the Kansas City Actuaries Club.
A member of the Society of Actuaries and American Academy of Actuaries, Newberg brings more than 30 years of actuarial experience and knowledge of the life insurance industry to her position on the board. She has worked with numerous fraternal life insurance societies, gaining understanding of this segment of the industry.
Joseph A. Sztapka
Joseph A. Sztapka, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, began his career with Modern Woodmen of America in 1985 as a field representative in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In February 1991, he became a managing partner and built a successful team of representatives. He was named regional director in eastern South Dakota in March 2003 and was appointed to the Modern Woodmen Board of Directors in January 2017.
Joe has earned his Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Leadership Fellow, Chartered Financial Consultant, Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow, Fraternal Insurance Counsellor Fellow and Retirement Income Certified Professional designations. He has also earned numerous career awards, including Managing Partner Inner Circle and Regional Director Inner Circle membership.
Joe is an active member of Holy Spirit Parish in Sioux Falls, where he has served as chairman of the men’s group. He is also a member of the Children’s Home Foundation board, the NDSU business school board, and the STI business school advisory board.
Additionally, he is a member of numerous professional organizations in the industry, including GAMA International, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, the National Association of Fraternal Insurance Counsellors, the Society of Financial Services Professionals and the Sioux Falls Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Joe has served on the boards of many of these groups.
James E. Temperley
James E. “Jim” Temperley, Bonita Springs, Florida, joined Modern Woodmen of America’s board of directors in February 2017.
Jim retired from Deere & Company in 2016 as vice president and comptroller. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, in 1977.
During his 40-year career at Deere & Company, Jim served in numerous financial leadership roles. His many responsibilities included external and internal financial reporting, management reporting and technical accounting. He also took part in many of Deere’s international operations.
Jim has contributed to the United Way, Red Cross and YMCA. He has also participated in the United Way Day of Caring and other volunteer events for people in need.
Brett M. Van
Brett M. Van of Coal Valley, Illinois, is Chief Investment Officer & Treasurer at Modern Woodmen of America and was appointed to the Board of Directors in October 2018.
Van joined Modern Woodmen in 1993 in its Agency Department. He transferred to the Investment Department in 1994, serving as a securities analyst and portfolio manager, public bonds, before being promoted to manager of fixed income in November 2011. He was named Treasurer & Investment Manager in 2015 and was appointed Chief Investment Officer & Treasurer in 2017.
Van earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, and a master's degree from the University of Iowa. He earned LOMA/LIMRA's Leadership Institute Fellow designation in 2014, and he also holds designations of Chartered Financial Analyst; Fraternal Insurance Counsellor; and Fellow, Life Management Institute.
A member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of Chicago, Van also serves on boards for Bethany for Children and Families in Moline, Illinois, and the Moline Soccer Club.