Meet the Team
Craig Skeels, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®
I was born into a family that had a sense of adventure and a spirit of planning toward the future. At the age of 19, my father was flying P-38s from Italy over Germany during the last two years of World War II, and early Air Force F86 Sabre jets by the time I was born in a U.S. Army hospital in Germany. Our family transferred to Arizona, then Florida, and, later, Vandenberg Air Force Base, where my dad did engineering work for the space program while still maintaining his pilot roles.
When I was in second grade, after my father’s military retirement, my family settled down in Santa Monica, where my mother was born and raised. While flying may have been in my DNA, my need for speed always focused around cars. In high school, I saved up $800 from boxing groceries to purchase a used 1965 Mustang convertible, which I still own to this day. At that time, I also attained the rank of Eagle Scout in a very active troop, where I later helped as an assistant scoutmaster. This period helped foster my love of camping and travel, as well as my leadership skills.
After initially attending UCLA studying pre-medicine, I shifted majors and decided to get into business. I transferred to UCSB and graduated with a Business Economics degree at age 21. Later that year, I began training as a financial advisor, and, by my mid-20s, had attained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and managed a successful growing business advising primarily retirees and those close to retirement. I enjoy helping my clients succeed financially and seeing them achieve their goals.
I previously served on the board and as the President of the Ventura County Chapter of the Financial Planning Association as well as the Tri-Counties Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, the Ventura CPA/Law Forum, and the Estate Planning Council of Ventura County. I enjoy helping our profession to grow, as well as educating the public to make better financial decisions. I have appeared on CNBC as well as contributed to articles regarding finance in the Ventura County Star, the New York Times, Smart Money Magazine, Financial Advisor Magazine and Kiplinger's Retirement Report, among others.
As my business grew, so did my family. I married my wife, Sandy, and we raised my stepson, Andy, and our daughter, Jessy. I have always coached my clients not to spend everything today, and also not to save everything for tomorrow, but to lead a balanced financial life with my help and enjoy the journey.
I have endeavored to do that too, with hobbies ranging from camping and traveling with my family, to a long-standing winter skiing group with my buddies from around the country, to playing music (bass guitar and drums) and participating in vintage auto racing with my 1965 Mustang fast back.
I also believe in giving back to our community. In additional to serving on professional society boards and donating to numerous charitable organizations, I have volunteered in various non-profit organizations over the past years. I have served as Chairman of the Board for Food Share (Ventura County's Foodbank), as a referee and coach for AYSO (Youth Soccer League), on the board for the Ventura Music Festival, the Planned Giving Committee for the Ventura Botanical Gardens, the Vintage Drivers' Association Board and as a docent at the Woodland Automobile Collection.
I invite you on a financial journey with me and take advantage of a complimentary consultation at Skeels & Fox Wealth Management to determine if you too can benefit from my leadership and experience in planning toward your future financial success!
All the best. — Craig
Russell Fox, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®
I was raised in Santa Paula, California, in the ’70s and ’80s with two siblings and loving parents who owned a small local business. I was a latch-key kid that worked from an early age in the family business, performing various jobs from sweeping floors to washing heavy equipment and taking care of the security dogs. The money I earned afforded me the funds to purchase my first car—a bright yellow 1967 Chevy ll Nova Super Sport, with a V8 Chevy motor and 375 horsepower of pure pleasure.
The '80s era, in my opinion, was one of the best eras, especially for music. You know the band Journey, we couldn’t stop listening to their albums, and one of our favorite songs was “Don’t Stop Believin'.” After high school, I attended university, joined a fraternity, and became the Kitchen Steward, where I managed the kitchen for a house with 150 active members. This taught me a lot about people, management, and patience.
While I was obtaining my bachelor's in business administration, I worked part-time for Shearson Lehman Brothers. I found out rather quickly I did not want to become a stockbroker but rather a financial advisor, where I could focus on a client’s overall financial picture. Shortly after graduation in the early ’90s, my father passed away unexpectedly and left my mom financially in despair. My dad was my rock. He was always there for me and I knew that whatever I did in my life, if I fell, he would be there for me. After he passed, I realized that it was all up to me to support myself and my mom.
Remember the song “Don’t Stop Believin'”? I never did stop believing, and I never will stop believing for my family and my clients. So that’s when I decided to pursue a full-time career in financial services to help ensure that other families have a more certain financial future. I hired my mom more than 25 years ago to perform administrative tasks, which she still happily does today in her mid-80s. Becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and specializing in retirement planning and widows has been very fulfilling for me and our firm and is my passion.
However, my first joy is my family. I met my wife, Alissa, at Pierpont Racquet Club, a local tennis club in Ventura. We hit it off great, got married, and have two wonderful children, Andrew and Ella, both of whom are teenagers . . . we are “the 4 Musketeers.” We travel and play together. Oh how I wish time would slow down; I am really treasuring them. When I’m not spending time with family, I enjoy tennis, skiing, and motorcycle riding.
I am a past officer of the Ventura CPA/Law Forum and a past board member for Oxnard College. I have been involved with or supported Care Givers, Goodwill, Food Share, The Boys & Girls Club of Ventura, Ventura Missionary Church, Santa Paula Animal Rescue (SPARC), and City Center. I have also served as head coach for The Santa Paula Youth Softball League, Saticoy Little League, and The Pierpont Racquet Club Youth Tennis Team.
This is a little bit about me. If you decide to work with Skeels & Fox Wealth Management, I look forward to learning more about you, your family, and your interests. Remember, “Don’t Stop Believin'” in your dreams and goals!
Vice President of Operations
Pam Grenier is our Vice President of Operations at Skeels & Fox Wealth Management. She uses her strong leadership skills, organizational capabilities and ability to communicate with clients to ensure that they receive the highest quality of service. Pam oversees the day-to-day operations of our home office, all with a focus on client service. Pam has more than 45 years of administrative experience, with the last 15+ years in the financial services industry with Skeels & Fox Wealth Management.
I started roller skating when I was 9 years old on the sidewalk and fell in love with it. So much so that I got a pair of used skates and my parents took me to the local roller skating rink for lessons. That soon became my second home.
I met my husband Sonny when I was 16 years old. We lived 90 miles apart and we both needed a dance skating partner. We tried out together and decided we were a good match and became Roller Dance competitive skaters. We went on to place in hundreds of competitions, including winning our Regional and USA National Champion multiple times.
After our skating career, we got married and live in Ventura County. We have been married for over 40 years and have two sons: Chad and Cameron who are 9 years apart. Chad is married to his wife Sarah and they have two beautiful girls: Alyx and Raeleigh. You bet Grandma loves to spoil them since I raised two boys. I am fortunate enough that I get to have them over for long weekends. Cameron and his significant other Kayleen of 10 years live in Ventura.
When I am not in the office you will find me at Skating Plus where I have been teaching roller skating since 1978. I am either teaching skating or working with my competitive skaters; one who is at a World Class level. It is the best thing in the world teaching someone and watching them grow as a person. I always say I have two families: One is my family and the other is my skating family; I enjoy making life-long relationships.
At the age of 11, I started volunteering for charity work. My first fund raiser was the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I raised over $3,000 for the event. All the local roller skating rinks skated to Los Angeles to present our checks from our respective clubs on television to Jerry Lewis. It was a day I will never forget. From then on, I continued to do work to give back to others.
For over 20 years my husband and I have been involved with Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families located in Camarillo. This charity offers services for children of abuse and neglect, substance abuse, homelessness and other behavioral and mental health issues. We volunteered to help with the Wine, Food & Brew Festival, and when we started, around 200 people came. We took over the Chairmanship of the Committee, and with the help of many volunteers, attendance has grown to more than 5000 people! We have quadrupled the amount of money raised, and it is now voted Best Charity Event in Ventura County.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with friends and family or sewing for my granddaughters or knitting that special gift for someone.
Barbara is our receptionist and ensures that our clients receive the best possible service. She schedules appointments and is the first person you should call if you have any questions about your financial planning process. She ensures that the appropriate member of our team responds to your queries.
Client Relationship Manager
Jayne Mansfield is a Client Relationship Manager at Skeels & Fox Wealth Management who works closely with the managing partners to make sure the clients' needs and goals are met on a very personalized level. Jayne has her FINRA series 7, 63, & 65 licenses, she is also insurance licensed (CA insurance Lic #: 0D42917).
I moved to Ventura/Oxnard beach area in 1977 where I began my career here in Real Estate and then my pursuits led me to the Financial services sector. Ventura county was a fresh feeling after growing up in Los Angeles. Jayne’s long tenure in the financial services industry began at EF Hutton in 1982.
In January that year, I gave birth to my only child, a son who has now graced me with five beautiful grandchildren. I am lucky to have them all very close and treasure my time with them! I have been blessed to have traveled the world and have been so fortunate to experience many other cultures through my lifetime.
I was born and raised in sunny Ventura, California where the beaches are always bright and the community is always close. My mother and father raised my sister Hailey and I to always respect hard work and to treat others as you would like to be treated. My mother was always there when I came home from school growing up and my father was always there to make sure I had plenty of adrenaline adventures. While my sister taught me maybe more of what NOT TO DO than what TO DO. Hey, I guess that’s what older siblings are for! Do not let it fool you though because my sister and I have a bond today like no other!
I was blessed to attend an elementary school in a small town from Kindergarten through 8th grade that made me value the true meaning of lifelong friends. I keep in touch with a many of them who walked those steps with me and will forever be grateful! Playing sports was my forte growing up whether it was basketball, baseball, track, motorcycles you name it I played it growing up. My education was very important to me and playing under the lights on Friday night kept my head on straight to make sure I excelled not only on the field but in the classroom. I had obtained very high honors in the sport state and county wide and was on my way to Boise State with a full ride Division 1 scholarship until I was injured the second to last game of the season.
Resilience led me to focus on my education and pursue a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in business management in the College of Business and Economics at California State University Northridge. I enjoyed my college experience; however, I did not focus on your typical fraternities or club groups. I was introduced to a company that helped propel college students to understand sales, business and management. Learning real world sales and marketing tactics outside of the classroom made the optics of business even more appealing to me. If I was not working, you would find me with my then girlfriend Ruby exploring new cities and trying to find the best “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” restaurants. During my senior year summer in college I opened my own branch office in Simi Valley, CA which really helped me understand what all of my professors had been trying to teach me over the last 3 years. Wow, was that an experience as a 22-23-year-old!
Upon graduating from college, I entered into the workforce as a general manager working with my father in the family service business in Santa Paula, CA. We enjoyed working together and I helped him in any and every way that I could from management to sales to logistics. We always worked well as a team.
Now onto the reason why I raise my eyelids every single day….Remember earlier I mentioned my then girlfriend Ruby? She is now the most amazing wife and mother to our two boys Jack and Luke. Our family unit is one that I cherish more than life itself. There is something to say about the family we grow up with, but nothing compares to the family we create. Jack is 4 going on 10 and Luke is 6 months old learning the world through innocent eyes! I look forward to the amazing times we have ahead and strive to be the best role model for my two boys!
Outside of work and family you will find me out on the golf course always trying to improve on a game that seems to have no finish line. The perfect round of golf is the one that takes you away and lets you get lost in chasing that perfect shot! Also, If I am not at the beach or on the trails chasing Spartan race medals then I am on two wheels racing through turns and jumping my dirt bike any which way I can. I love to work hard and most definitely play hard!
Why did I get into the business of financial planning? I understood that my degree in business management was very broad and needed to focus in on a passion. My passion is helping people and Skeels & Fox showed me a way that I can accomplish just that. My time at Skeels & Fox has been built around client appreciation and helping make a difference in people’s lives any way we can. I am truly grateful to be in the business of wealth management and financial planning.
Helping people is a way that I get gratification and happiness so I make sure to volunteer in many different ways. I lost my aunt to a brain tumor many years ago and it showed me at a young age that nothing is guaranteed in life. So, I partnered with the American Cancer Society program “Road to Recovery” which enables me provide transportation to cancer patients who do not have the means to attend their appointments. I also Volunteer at a local church as Paparazzi. Did you say Paparazzi? Oh yes, I did, my family and I once a year dress up and go cheer on individuals with special needs who are walking into a prom they may never had been able to attend in High School. It’s AMAZING to see the spectacle that is put on for the event!
So that’s a little bit about me and what makes me who I am today. Here at Skeels & Fox we put passion into helping our clients and value the true relationships we create. I look forward to meeting you and your family.