Content provided by Robyn Murray, Freelance Writer

Jon Trbovich is a middle child. Growing up, that mostly meant he was “the ignored one.” But being in the middle also gave Trbovich another role, and it’s one he’s assumed for life.

The problem solver.

“Yep. They always put the problems on me,” Trbovich said with a laugh. “And I always had to fix them.”

Trbovich and his two brothers grew up in Littleton, Colorado, a suburb just outside of Denver. He was active — an avid skier who spent hours outside enjoying Denver’s mountainous surrounds. His mother stayed at home raising her boys, and his father worked as an aerospace engineer, traveling frequently to Washington D.C.

“Dad grew up a very hardworking person,” Trbovich said. “He built good values for us to just get out and work.” He also instilled a lesson that stuck with Trbovich: life isn’t always fair. “He used to say all the time — I don’t treat you fair, I get you what you need,” he said. “I think that’s very relevant to life in general. Life isn’t fair, but you get what you need . . . and you make your life from that.”

Trbovich has absorbed those lessons and today approaches his life and work from a very pragmatic place. He doesn’t worry about what isn’t fair or what he can’t control. He just tries to solve the problems of what he can.

A Replaceable Commodity

In college, Trbovich majored in actuarial science. Math always came easy to him, and he jokes that he picked a degree he knew he couldn’t flunk out of, no matter how many classes he skipped. Soon, however, he decided a life behind a desk wasn’t a good fit. “I realized the financial industry worked a whole lot better for me,” he said. “I could be around clients but still work with numbers.”

Trbovich got a job at Merrill Lynch working with 401(k) plans. Later, he moved over to Charles Schwab, and in the early 2000s started working with a small company that was managing money within 401(k)s. The company took off and in 2003 was purchased by CLS. Trbovich worked hard to move up the ranks at CLS, and he focused particularly on solving problems. “Advisors would call me to get a problem solved,” he said, “and if I solved it within 24 hours, they’d become my biggest advocate.”

As Trbovich sees it, problems are opportunities to prove his worth. “Without problems, we all are just a commodity that’s replaceable,” he said. “An advisor doesn’t know how important a service rep is, or a firm is, or anything else, until there’s a problem and until we’re willing to fix the problem. Then they know how important you are.”

Trbovich is now Senior Vice President of Regional Sales at CLS. He’s based in Greenville, South Carolina and, just like his father, he’s on the road a lot. He travels the region working with financial advisors to find out what’s working for them and what’s not, and helping to solve whatever problems they have.

He still likes to be active and enjoy the outdoors, particularly with his wife and 6-year-old son, but there are no mountains to ski in South Carolina. Not one to dwell on a problem, Trbovich has taken up a new hobby: boating.

“Sometimes it’s about enjoying what you got,” he said, “not worrying about stuff you can’t control.”