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John Garrard, President

John Garrard


John Garrard was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta.  He attended Mississippi State, graduating with a B.B.A. in Banking and Finance.  John worked for a bank in the Jackson, Ms., market, before enrolling at Millsaps College, where he earned his M.B.A..  John then entered the Investment business, starting with A.G. Edwards in 1990.  He has been in the Investment Advisory business since, working with Legg, Mason, Wood, Walker, and subsequently its purchaser, Smith, Barney.  John left Smith, Barney to join Optimum Financial Services in 2007.  John is in his 26th year in the Investment Advisory business.

John is married to the former Susan Easom of Sebastopol, Ms.  He has been active in the community, acting as President of Young Jacksonians for the Symphony, President of the Gavel Society, Board Member of North Jackson Youth Baseball, Catechesis leader at his church.  Susan is Executive Director of The Mississippi Children’s Museum.  They have 2 children, Jack, 24, who recently graduated from Mississippi State, and lives and works in Jackson.  William, 17, is a Junior at Jackson Preparatory School.

Billy Garrard, Investment Advisor Representative

Billy Garrard

Investment Advisor Representative

Billy Garrard was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta.  He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1972 with a degree in Banking and Finance. His banking career began in 1972 with the Bank of Anguilla. While there, he attended the Mississippi Bankers Association School of Banking at the University of Mississippi graduating in 1976 and the School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University graduating in 1980.  After leaving the Bank of Anguilla, he worked with Mississippi Southern Bank, Citizens Bank & Trust Company and Planters Bank & Trust Company.  He held various positions including Cashier, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and President and Chief Executive Officer.  During his banking career he has managed bank bond portfolios and has also been an equity investor for himself.

Billy is married to Penny Hawkins of Isola. Penny is an instructor at Mississippi Delta Community College. They have three children Marty of Olive Branch, MS, Amy of Lyons, CO and Nick of Jackson, MS and seven grandchildren.

Billy is a Deacon in his church. He has been involved on various college foundation boards, civic clubs and is a Rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow.

A.J. “Sonny” Stone, Investment Advisor Representative

A.J. “Sonny” Stone

Investment Advisor Representative

August J. Stone “Sonny” was raised in Natchez, MS, where he graduated from Cathedral High School.  Thereafter he attended Louisiana State University and obtained a degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting. He went on to get his Masters degree in Accounting from LSU as well.  After graduation he worked with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG) as a CPA in auditing and consulting.  In 1971 he became the Treasurer and Senior Vice President of Unifirst Bank for Savings.  After this Sonny worked for MS Diversified Holding Co. until 1990, where he became Chief Financial Officer and Vice President.  Sonny also was President of First Jackson Savings Bank from 1983 until 1990.  Soon after, Sonny founded Optimum Financial Services, Inc. and served as President from 1990 until 2015.

Sonny is married to Carolyn Matthews of Shreveport, LA.  They have two children Terry of Denver, CO and Whitney of Nashville, TN.  Among community service Sonny is very active in St. Richard Catholic Church activities, Catholic Foundation Board member and is Chairman of the board for St. Catherine’s Village.

Fowlkes Barbour, Investment Advisor Representative

Fowlkes Barbour

Investment Advisor Representative

Fowlkes Barbour is Investment Advisor Representative at Optimum Financial Services, LLC.  He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi.  At Ole Miss Fowlkes served as Rush chairman and Social chairman for the Sigma Chi Fraternity.  With Optimum Financial Services, LLC Fowlkes manages tactical investment portfolios composed mostly of equities from a range of sectors and industry groups.  He has a focused grasp on the growth style of equities ranging in market capitalization size. Prior to coming to Optimum Financial Services, LLC he was with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

Dena Lundberg, Account Assistant

Dena Lundberg

Account Assistant

Dena Lundberg, assistant at Optimum Financial Services, was born and raised in the Jackson area. After graduating from the University of Alabama, she moved to Atlanta and pursued a career in Human Resources. Working in the printing industry, Dena advanced from plant HR manager to Vice President of Human Resources. She returned to Mississippi in 2005 and currently lives in Clinton with her husband, Chris, and sons, Owen and Nolan. Upon returning to Mississippi, Dena initially stayed home with her boys. She has since worked as a bookkeeper and is a very active volunteer in the community. She is past president of the Junior Civic League of Clinton and was the Clinton Public School District Parent of the Year in 2015. She is a member of First United Methodist Church of Clinton. During college and immediately after, Dena worked for a financial investment firm in Tuscaloosa. She has immensely enjoyed her return to the investment industry.