Broker Check

The Team Behind Us

To gain the precise expertise we need to effectively oversee all aspects of our clients’ financial affairs, we work with a network of carefully selected professional advisors.

These individuals are experts in their fields and are available to assist us in addressing some of the more advanced areas of wealth management, insurance and estate planning. They are "The Team Behind Our Team."

Mark E. Criner III, J.D.

Vice President Trust Strategist

Mark is a Vice President and Trust Strategist for Baird Trust serving from the Scottsdale, Arizona office. He works with Baird Financial Advisors and their clients offering complex trust and estate planning guidance. He has over 20 years of experience in trust and estate administration.

Prior to joining Baird Trust, Mark spent over ten years with Northern Trust as a Senior Estate Administrator and counsel for the Gila River Indian Community. Before that, Mark spent over eight years as an attorney with Wagner, Falconer & Judd. Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Pre-Law, with an emphasis on Communications and Political Science from Washburn University. He also earned a J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law with an emphasis on Estate Planning and Intellectual Property. Mark is a member of the Arizona and Minnesota Bar Associations. He also serves as a Board Member for Connections to Independence, an advocacy group for foster care. Mark joined our firm in 2022.

Timothy M. Steffen, CPA/PFS, CFP®, CPWA®

Director of Tax Planning

As Director of Tax Planning for Baird, Tim is responsible for researching, writing and speaking on important tax issues that impact the clients of Baird. This includes topics related to retirement planning, executive compensation, business owners, legislative changes, and overall best practices.

Tim originally joined Baird in 1999 serving in a variety of planning oriented roles, most recently as the Director of Advanced Planning. He left Baird in 2019 to join the Advisor Education team at PIMCO, before returning to Baird in 2021. Prior to 1999, Tim worked in Arthur Andersen’s Private Client Services group in Milwaukee where he specialized in tax and financial planning. His clients included corporate executives, business owners and families.

Tim earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois in 1991. He is a Certified Public Accountant/Personal Financial Specialist, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional, a Certified Private Wealth AdvisorSM professional and a member of the American and Wisconsin Institutes of CPAs, Investments & Wealth Institute (IWI) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA).

Commentary from Tim on a wide range of financial planning topics has been featured in national, regional and trade media such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Kiplinger’s, U.S. News & World Report, Morningstar,, and InvestmentNews. In addition, he speaks to numerous client and professional groups about tax and financial planning topics and has taught financial planning classes for IWI and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tim also regularly shares his perspectives via Twitter (@TimSteffenCPA) and other social media outlets.

Melanie Schmieding, CTFA

Director of Family Wealth

As Director of Baird Family Wealth, Melanie is responsible for the development of HNW and UHNW solutions and resources within Baird Private Wealth Management supporting advisors and their clients. She is passionate about developing long-range strategies critical to sustaining wealth and values over generations.

Prior to joining Baird, Melanie was a Managing Director at Abbot Downing where she led a team that focused on large family offices and multi-generational wealth. She has spent the last 25 years working with HNW and UHNW families.

Melanie is a member of the Family Office Exchange (FOX) and the Purposeful Planning Institute (PPI). A published author and thought leader on the topic of family wealth, she is focused on the development of the qualitative aspects of a family’s wealth. Melanie earned her Master in Business Administration from Boston University and is a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor.

Michael S. Oehler, JD, LLM

Senior Vice President

Michael Oehler is a Wealth Strategist supporting clients and advisors in Baird’s Western market. He has over 20 years of experience advising clients on their estate, tax, financial and wealth planning needs.

Prior to joining Baird, Michael was a Senior Wealth Planning Strategist and Trust Fiduciary Advisor for 16 years at Wells Fargo Private Bank and five years at US Bank Private Wealth Management. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University, a Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of Washington School of Law and a Juris Doctor from the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of California and the Utah State Bar, not currently practicing. He is also a member of the Sacramento Estate Planning Council where he served as a Board Member from 2014 through 2020.

Working with your Financial Advisor, Michael’s planning expertise will help you develop and implement customized wealth planning solutions based on a thorough understanding of your personal values, asset growth, wealth transfer goals and vision for your legacy.

Kathy Blake Carey, CFA

Director of PWM Research

As  Director  of  Research  &  Planning  for  Baird’s  Private  Wealth  Management  group,  Kathy  Carey  oversees  the  Asset  Manager  Research, Equity Research, and Fixed Income Research teams as well as the Financial & Estate Planning group. She is a co-portfolio manager for the ALIGN Strategic Portfolios where she is involved with investment, asset allocation and rebalancing decisions, as well as  due  diligence  of  the  portfolios.  She  co-manages  the  Baird  Recommended Portfolio and Baird Rising Dividend Portfolio.  

Prior to rejoining Baird in 2013, Kathy spent nine years as an equity analyst and sector portfolio manager with Mason Street Advisors, the  public  investment  subsidiary  of  Northwestern  Mutual.  Before  that,  she  was  a  senior  associate  in  Baird’s  Equity  Research  department,  covering  Utilities  and  Financial  Technology  for  four  years. 

Kathy received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and an  MBA  from  the  University  of  Colorado–Colorado  Springs.  She  has earned the CFA charter and is a member of the CFA Society of Milwaukee. She holds Series 7 and 24 licenses.


A Baird Company

Strategas is the market strategy arm of Baird, an employee-owned global financial services firm with a demonstrated commitment to institutional equities. Since 2018, we have operated as an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of Baird and remain an independent broker- dealer.

Their macro research offering is complemented by Baird’s award-winning equity research platform, which covers more than 700 stocks.

Priscilla Blanco

Client Assistant

Priscilla is joining Baird as a Client Specialist for The Duffy Group in May 2024. Priscilla brings with her 12 years of experience in the finance industry.

Prior to Baird, Priscilla was at Charles Schwab where she earned her Series 63, 7, 9 and 10. Priscilla has a wide range of knowledge from retirement accounts, trusts and estates as well as data and trend management.

In her free time Priscilla is working on her degree in psychology at ASU. Priscilla is an Arizona native living in Scottsdale with her husband and daughter. When she’s not working or studying she enjoys spending quality time with her family, exercising and painting.