Galen Bargerstock is the President of GCES, a financial services company he founded with the company’s CEO, Clint Smith. He spends his workdays as the head of a company that helps people get their retirement finances in order. Whether they need personalized retirement planning or want to choose annuities, people can count on Galen and his team to help shore up their defenses against financial troubles in old age.


The President of the Indiana, Pennsylvania-based company is not your regular financial advisor, just like GCES is not a typical business. It’s a veteran-owned business, and Galen’s road to starting plays a massive part in making the company successful today.

After dropping out of flight school and settling on pursuing higher education in New York City, Galen felt the calling to enlist on the worst day in recent American history.

“I attended the Institute of Audio Research in New York City. It was during my time there that the September 11 attacks occurred. As a result, I decided to join the military,” he gives the short version. The longer version includes him being in the World Trade Center that morning.

During his time in the military, Galen was involved in two incidents involving explosions. His conduct during those events awarded him the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. After he completed his service, he was fortunate to secure a job at a Medicare call center, gaining his first exposure to the insurance industry.

The problems started coming in soon, however. For one, the paperwork necessary for the military to cover Galen’s student loans wasn’t processed correctly. That mistake turned into a three-year battle, which Galen eventually won, having endured harassing calls from Sallie Mae.

Also, finding steady employment was tough. The insurance industry proved to be the wrong place to look for long-term work, leading to a stint of short engagements. But after one such stint, Galen and Clint got the idea to go into business together.

“We stumbled upon another job ad on Craigslist, this time for a position with a company called Federal Benefits Reviews. I worked there for approximately three months until the company went bankrupt,” Galen recalls. “At this point, the marketers from that company approached us with an idea. Clint and I decided to collaborate and began working together.”

The start was far from glamorous. The company started in their kitchen with nothing more than a computer. However, the secret ingredient Galen brought to the table made all the difference. His experiences working with insurance companies and the time he spent untangling the mess around his student loan paperwork made him aware of how frustrating dealing with these things can be — and how crucial it can be for people’s financial well-being.

GCES started as a company that helped civil, state, and federal employees secure their benefits and retirement. With time, however, Galen pursued education and got the certificates that allowed him to work with people from all walks of life. With GCES, he found the perfect vessel that allowed him to help others, which he finds the most fulfilling.

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