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Timothy Cusick: Hands Across the Border

Firm: Wells Fargo Advisors

City: San Diego, Calif.

Age: 53

Years as a rep: 31

Years with current firm: 18 (joined Prudential Securities 1994)

Production: $800,000

AUM: $200 million

Product mix: Stocks, 25%; insurance, 5%; bonds, 25%; managed accounts, 45%

Designations, licenses: Series 5, 7, 8, 31, 63, insurance

Timothy Cusick's passport has gotten a lot of use over the years. A broker with Wells Fargo Advisors in the San Diego, Calif. area, Cusick has volunteered for work that has taken him to various places in neighboring Mexico. For several years he led a teen group with his local church to Tijuana to help build housing for the poor, although two years ago he had to suspend these trips when violence in the region made it an unsuitable risk for young volunteers. Cusick continued his work in the country, however, overseeing local projects financed by the Coronado Rotary, where he served as president from the summer of 2010 to the summer of 2011.

Three times in the past 12 months, Cusick has journeyed to Ensenada to work with Limbs of Freedom, a Rotary-funded clinic that builds prosthetic limbs for local paraplegics. Diabetes resulting from poor nutrition in Mexico can impair blood circulation and cost people the use of their legs. Cusick drives to Ensenada three or four weekends a year with supplies for the construction of the artificial limbs, which are produced by local craftsmen.

“It's life-changing stuff, and it's kind of a great feeling. Sometimes you give money to cancer or other great research, and who knows if you made a difference,” Cusick says. “Here you see someone hobbling in in the morning and walking out that afternoon with a better gait and a smile on their face.”

Cusick also spends time driving Mexicans to a special plastic surgery clinic in the San Diego area that repairs cleft palates and other deformities. The clinic, called Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, occupies Cusick's attention in another fashion. He chairs its endowment board, which received an $18 million bequest several years ago. Cusick, who also serves on two other endowment boards in the San Diego area, said the business of working with asset managers and other service providers gives him a fresh perspective he wishes he had gotten earlier in his advisory career.

“You would think it's obvious, but it's not. It's a completely different feeling,” he says. “To sit and be the client, the customer on that side of the table, is great. You understand what a customer really wants. I am the customer.”

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