Your PPC Team

Preferred Planning Concepts was founded by principals Ken Lydecker and Dave Nicholson, veteran financial professionals who share core philosophies regarding service, education, and financial planning. They knew that together they could offer clients creative and diverse solutions, increased accessibility, and enhanced personal attention. Rounding out your PPC team are Todd Gilchrist, Financial Advisor; Therese Talarico, Director of Operations; and Maja Culafic, Insurance Director.

Ken Lydecker | PPC Co-Founder and CEO

Ken LydeckerKen Lydecker has been in the financial services field since graduating from DePaul University in 1972 -- 2014 marks his 42nd year in the industry. Ken is co-owner and co-founder of PPC with Dave Nicholson. Ken and Dave have worked together as business partners for 20 years, starting in 1994. Ken functions as the CEO of the company while Dave oversees the technological advancements of the firm. Ken and Dave equally share the duties of interacting with clients and prospects, and overseeing their investments and insurance programs. Ken is licensed for insurance and securities in numerous states around the country, and maintains a Series 7 securities license. His Series 24 designation also allows him to act as the local compliance supervisor for PPC within the oversight structure of their broker-dealer, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.

Ken has consistently shown leadership in his profession. In 2005, Ken and Dave co-founded the “To the Troops with Love Foundation,” which has sent “thank you” care packages to soldiers overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan annually ever since. Ken was honored in 2006 by being named to the athletic and service “Wall of Fame” at St. Gregory High School, where in 1967 he helped the school capture the league championship. Ken received a basketball scholarship to DePaul University, where he played under legendary Coach Ray Meyer. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Gregory High School.  

Ken has been featured on WGN-TV and FOX NEWS for his annual Christmas Village displays, which he has not only built at his home, but also at local libraries and community centers near his hometown of Park Ridge, IL. In addition to loving the work he does with clients, Ken also enjoys sports, reading, woodworking, movies, live theatre and concerts, and spending time with friends. Ken’s primary passion is his family. Ken and his wife Jo have five children and nine wonderful grandchildren, for whom he is regularly building some type of furniture or play set. Ken believes the balance he maintains between business and family has been an integral part of the good health he enjoys, and the zest he has for life. He is still eagerly looking to the future, and reaching the 50-year mark as a financial advisor.

Email Ken Lydecker:

Dave Nicholson | CLU, ChFC and PPC Co-Founder

Dave NicholsonDave Nicholson has been in the financial services industry for 25 years. He graduated from Upsala College in 1984 with a B.A. in Business Administration and Marketing, and a Minor in Sociology. After graduation, he sold motorcycles and managed Avis Rent A Car stations in Manhattan, NY, until 1986, when he began his career as a financial advisor.

Since that time, he has served in a variety of positions within the industry, the most rewarding of which has been his 19-year stint as co-founder and partner with Ken and the rest of the Preferred Planning Concepts, LLC team. Dave is licensed for insurance and securities in numerous states around the country, and is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) as well as a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).

Dave is known for his analytical approach. He is passionate about the numbers side of financial management and is responsible for providing the analytical components of the PPC Financial Plans.

Dave has been married to his beautiful bride Deann since 1987 with whom he is raising and homeschooling their four children, ages 7 to 18. The family is active in their church and is kept busy with activities ranging from camping to reading to bocce ball to trampolining in the back yard.

Email Dave Nicholson:

Todd Gilchrist | Financial Advisor & Investment Representative

Todd GilchristAs a former Naval Aviator and squadron Commander, Todd understands the importance of trust and confidence. Just as others placed their lives in his hands as a pilot, they now place their personal finances in his hands. Todd willingly accepts this great responsibility, acting solely and confidentially in their best interests.

Todd's fascination with financial planning started early. He opened his first brokerage account when he was 16 years old. As a teenager, Todd watched his parents tackle numerous financial challenges while running a farm in Arkansas. Their resilience, commitment to living below their means, and hard work serve as cornerstones in his personal and professional life. Additionally, the Navy's core values -- Honor through Integrity, Courage to put Duty before Self, and Commitment to Excellence -- continue to serve as his ethical compass as they did through 22 years of naval service.

Todd constantly strives to strengthen his financial knowledge. He earned his post-baccalaureate certificate in accounting at Northwestern University and completed the Certified Financial Planner (CFP)® Certification Professional Education Program through the College for Financial Planning (CFFP). Additionally, Todd has successfully passed the Certified Financial Planner (CFP)® Examination.

Todd volunteers his time with Ladder Up, which provides free tax return preparation, college financial aid application assistance, and practical money management workshops. He also shares his expertise through the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, giving back to the Navy and Marine Corps community.

Todd has been dating his beautiful wife, Stacey, for more than 20 years.

Email Todd Gilchrist:

Therese Talarico | Director of Operations; Office Manager

Therese Talarico joined PPC in 2000. She has over 25 years of experience in the securities and financial services industry, and holds a Series 7 license. As Director of Operations, she oversees the processing of new business and client trades, as well as a multitude of additional services that help facilitate the client/advisor relationship. As our office manager, Therese oversees the day-to-day operations of the office. She ensures our office is efficient and client friendly at all times. Therese, her husband Joe, and son Brian reside in Norridge, IL.

Email Therese Talarico:

Maja Culafic | Insurance Director

Maja Culafic joined PPC in 2000. Maja has studied in the U.S. and abroad, and holds a BA in education and languages. Maja is our Insurance Director. She holds a Series 6 securities license along with a life and health insurance license. Maja’s main responsibilities include the initial preparation of the Retirement Cash Flow Analysis, as well as preparing all of our new and renewal health proposals. Maja has developed a great rapport with our clients over the years and continues to facilitate the outstanding relationships they come to expect. Maja, her husband Dusko, son Dusan and daughter Asja reside in Park Ridge, IL.

Email Maja Culafic: