Karen Smith 401(k) PlansKaren Smith

F.S.A., E.A., M.A.A.A., M.S.P.A., F.C.A., J.D.
President and Shareholder
At the helm of Nova 401(k) Associates is president, Karen Smith (formerly Nowiejski). She has been practicing in the retirement area for more than 22 years. In addition to being the visionary of the firm, Karen is a technical resource for the Nova 401(k) staff on defined benefit and cash balance issues, particularly legal, actuarial and complicated nondiscrimination testing issues. She assists clients with plan design and implementation, defined contribution plan and defined benefit plan administration, completion of IRS required nondiscrimination testing, special projects such as mergers and acquisitions and plan terminations, and plan drafting and interpretation. [Read more…]


Russell Hooker NovaRussell J. Hooker

Executive Vice President and Shareholder
(713) 881-9313 office
(713) 855-2382 cell

Russell Hooker is the Executive Vice President of Nova 401(k) Associates where he oversees sales and marketing for the firm, and works with financial advisors and their clients to design qualified plans that meet the objectives of the business owner. He personally handles Houston area marketing and sales for Nova 401(k) Associates and acts as a resource for our other marketing directors. With over 12 years of experience in the retirement plan industry, Russ fully understands the ins and outs of defined contribution plans, from design to implementation and administration. Russ is also extremely well-versed on defined benefit and cash balance plans. [Read more…]


Vest,StevenSteve Vest

Vice President and Shareholder
Phone: (713) 881-9311

Steve Vest joined Nova 401(k) Associates in 2006 as a Vice President with over 17 years experience in the retirement plan industry. Steve’s responsibilities include managing Nova’s largest and most complex plans, training and mentoring staff, assisting with daily technical questions, and assisting with marketing meetings as needed. Steve specializes in defined contribution plan administration, including plan design and implementation for 401(k) and profit sharing plans, annual compliance testing, including complex controlled group and 410(b) cross-testing, annual trust accounting and Form 5500 preparation, existing plan conversions, compliance software systems development and valuation and record-keeping for balance forward plans. [Read more…]



Arasely Valdez

Practice Manager and Shareholder
Phone: (713) 881-9315

Possessing over 14 years experience in the retirement plan industry, Arasely Valdez  is the Practice Manager for Nova 401(k) Associates. She develops, implements, and monitors processes, procedures, and controls to ensure that Nova 401(k) Associates’ stated service standards are met and new service initiatives are implemented. In addition, she regularly assists Account Managers with day-to-day technical issues and escalated client relationship issues. [Read more…]


Nathan Cooley

Marketing Director and Shareholder

Office: (469) 726-3314
Cell: (214) 683-4031

Nathan is the Marketing Director for Nova 401(k) Associates in the North Texas Area. He has spent the last three years gaining experience in the retirement plan industry, and his background includes implementation and administration of defined contribution plans. His responsibilities include the establishment and maintenance of relationships with Nova’s many different partners in the retirement plan community, assisting financial advisors and plan sponsors with retirement plan design options, and navigating a broad variety of retirement plan providers. [Read more…]