Staff Bios
The Sacks Group provides more than a century of combined experience in personal and small-business finance and consulting.
"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist fears this is true."
James Canbell

Richard J. Sacks

Richard J. Sacks Richard J. Sacks is president of The Sacks Group Inc., a St. Charles-area consulting firm devoted to the development of small business. Prior to founding the firm, Richard worked 20 years in the public accounting and private industry. He was employed by three New York Stock Exchange listed companies, holding positions ranging from internal auditor to chief financial officer.

Richard grew up in Jackson Heights, New York, where he graduated from City University with a degree in public accountancy.

He began as an internal auditor with a Fortune 500 company and left the company six years later as corporate accounting manager. During that time, he learned computer systems design and helped design and implement a new accounting system for the company. He has designed and been responsible for the implementation of several integrated accounting and management information systems for national companies.

Richard started The Sacks Group in 1985 based on the belief that honesty, accountability and practicality should be the foundation of all business operations. Today, his company helps entrepreneurs in the small-business environment to reach their growth objectives through sound business planning and proven methods of financial management.

His community involvement includes:

  • Advisory Board member to Lindenwood University School of Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Chair of the Economic Development Center of St. Charles County
  • Chair of the Incubator Advisory Committee of the St. Charles Synergy Center
  • Executive Committee member of Partners for Progress
  • Member of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association's Arts, Business and Culture Committee and St. Charles Advisory Committee
  • Board member of the St. Charles County Workforce Development Board
  • Graduate of the Leadership St. Louis program
  • Chair of Economic Development Task Force for St. Charles County Master Plan
  • Treasurer and director of MOSaics Art Festival
  • Founder, treasurer and director of the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles
  • Principal percussionist with the St. Charles County Symphony Orchestra
  • Allocation Committee member for the United Way
  • Board of directors president for Bridgeway Counseling Services Inc.
  • Board of directors member for Willows Way Inc.
  • Executive Board member for Centennial Bank
  • Chief financial officer and trustee for Crossroads School
  • Advisory board of directors for Newberry Group Inc.
  • St. Charles County representative of Regional Exchange Point Committee
  • Budget Committee member for St. Charles Chamber of Commerce
  • Advisory Board member to the "St. Charles County Business Record" newspaper
  • Advisory Board member for St. Charles School District
  • Strategic Planning Advisory Committee member for the St. Louis Zoo

Richard's literary and broadcasting accomplishments include:

  • Regular newspaper columnist for "St. Louis' Small Business Monthly" magazine
  • Contributing editor to the "Business St. Charles" magazine
  • Author of the "Twelve Commandments for Small Business," a comprehensive guide to operating a successful small business
  • Host of "Getting Down to Business" and "Friendly Fire" on St. Peters' Channel 7
  • Host of "Mind Your Business" on St. Charles' Channel 20

Mark A. Hollander

Mark Hollander Mark A. Hollander is a partner and vice president of communications for The Sacks Group. In this capacity, he provides financial counseling to small businesses and individuals. He provides personal budget counseling to individuals in the form of budget preparation and debt elimination. He provides education and training to entrepreneurs through seminar presentation and schools. He is a certified instructor for Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University.”

Prior to The Sacks Group, Mark spent over 27 years in the banking industry. His accomplishments in this capacity included a three-year stint as a vice president-district branch sales manager at Heartland Bank where he was responsible for the motivational and sales direction of 13 banking locations. He was fully responsible for all branch sales goals, including deposit growth, loan growth, increase fee income and administration of sales contests. During his time at Heartland Bank, he helped increase deposit balances by more than $100 million and increased loan balances by 22%.

Prior to Heartland, Mark worked 15 years as vice president-business banking officer for US Bank. There he was responsible for increasing the small-business loan portfolio for nine different branch locations and building customer relationships through other bank products. He was fully responsible and accountable for all branch sales, compliance and operational goals. During his time there, he was chosen as a National Pinnacle Award recipient for two years.

Prior to US Bank, he worked as a retirement planning specialist at First State Bank of St. Charles where he established working guidelines and proper Internal Revenue Reporting procedures. And he served as branch manager and head of business development at Community Federal Savings & Loan Association.

He received his Banking Operations Specialist Certificate from The Institute of Financial Education.

His community involvement includes:

  • National instructor for Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University”
  • St. Charles Chamber of Commerce member
  • Community Living Inc. board chair
  • Church Deacon board member
  • Toastmasters International
  • Rotary Club International
  • The Institute of Financial Education board of directors
  • The Institute of Financial Education instructor

Melissa A. Hollander

Melissa A. Hollander is a partner and vice president of operations at The Sacks Group. In this capacity, she provides bookkeeping/accounting services for small-business clients as well as personal financial assistance for personal budgeting and debt elimination. Melissa provides education to individuals through seminar presentation and schools. And she is a certified personal finance counselor for Dave Ramsey’s Lampo Group.

Melissa spent over 22 years in the financial and banking industry, working her way up through the ranks from a teller for US Bank to a branch manager for Allegiant Bank (now PNC).

During her time as a banker, Melissa became familiar with the bookkeeping and accounting troubles that plague many small businesses. She watched as small-business owners struggled to maintain their financial records, which in some cases caused their demise. She knew there was a great need for affordable accounting and bookkeeping services for small businesses.

In 2004, Melissa left the banking industry and started Hollander & Associates L.L.C. to offer bookkeeping/accounting services to the small businesses she served as a banker.

A year later, after being asked to help a family at her church who was struggling with their finances and debt, Melissa expanded the services of Hollander & Associates to include personal budget counseling.

Realizing the goals to help small businesses and individuals reach financial freedom matched those of The Sacks Group, Hollander & Associates merged with The Sacks Group in 2009 in order to offer a variety of expanded small-business and personal services.

Her community involvement includes:

  • President of the Portageville Chamber of Commerce
  • Accounting Committee member for American Cancer Society events
  • Community leadership roles at Faith Chapel
  • Co-chair of Community Living fundraiser

Jim Furgason

Jim Furgason

Jim Furgason holds a BBA in Accounting from University of Iowa, 1965 and has held Various Accounting/Financial positions with Control Data/Ceridian from 1969-2001. Jim retired from Control Data/Ceridian in Minneapolis in 2001 as Controller.

Jim's community involvement includes:

  • Member, Fridley, Minnesota School Board: 1984-2000
  • Senior Warden/Assistant Treasurer at Transfiguration Episcopal Church: 2005-Present
  • Member, St Charles County Symphony Orchestra: 2002-Present
  • Member, Finance Committee, Homeowners Association: 2008-Present

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