Amanda Piper
Amanda Piper38

Partner and financial adviser,
Wagener-Lee

Fast Facts

  • Wanted to be a marine biologist when she was growing up
  • Guilty pleasure: "Reality TV, lots of reality TV."
  • Favorite place: the beach town of Millsboro, Del.

Even though Amanda Piper had a satisfying first career in engineering, it seemed preordained that she would join her dad Richard Wagener in the practice eventually.

Her father had dissuaded her from working for him right out of college, she said, so she followed in her sister's footsteps to Virginia Tech. Ms. Piper tried engineering and liked it enough to pursue a bachelor's degree in industrial and systems engineering. A job with Northrop Grumman followed, where she worked as an industrial engineer and then a design engineer for stealth radar systems.

After almost eight years with Northrop, Ms. Piper felt it was time to switch to financial advising. What motivated the change?

"I wanted to have my own business and I wanted to help people," she said. "And I didn't want to wait too long. I've never regretted it."

Using her engineering and corporate experience, Ms. Piper is challenging the thinking at her small company, introducing ideas such as sophisticated presentations and increased efficiency through articulated processes and procedures.

A CFA Charterholder, Ms. Piper has been very active with the Financial Planning Association of Maryland, founding the NexGen study group for those who work with their parents or other relatives in family-run practices. The group examines issues such as formalizing succession planning, perceived preferential treatment and family dynamics.

Always unafraid to try new things and take on challenges, Ms. Piper explained simply, "It's what you do."

Deborah Nason

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