Dave Smith – Chief Executive Officer & Founder of the SAFE Steps™

Education has always been a priority to my family and me. It became even more important on December 21, 2001 when I made a promise to my mother who was battling cancer at that time. I committed to ensuring that all of her grandchildren would have the opportunity to graduate from college without the burden of student debt.

That was the start of my journey to find the formula to benefit not only my family, but many families. Since then I have successfully worked with over 1,400 families to obtain a college education in a timely manner with zero or minimal debt. To help even more families benefit from these techniques, I wrote the book College Without Student Loans.

My mission now is to make the proven SAFE Steps™ process available and affordable to families nationwide to help students obtain a college education cost effectively and launch into a satisfying career.

Mark Charlet - Chief Orchestrating Officer

I’ve been working with Dave and the SAFE Steps™ since 2013 – first with the book, College Without Student Loans, and then assisting with the website. Having seen the positive impact the SAFE Steps™ has had on so many families and I so believe in Dave’s mission to help students and parents on their journey to college and beyond that I’m now devoting 100% of my time to help make this a reality.

I have 30+ years working primarily in the sales & marketing arena in corporate America. Within that timeframe I have been intimately involved in software and hardware development, product launches, content creation, project management, and training.

Education is an important key to not only individual lives but to the future of America. I am excited to play a part in bringing the SAFE Steps™ process to families nationwide in order to help students achieve an affordable college education and create the possibility of a great life.

Anton Tabar - Chief Technology Officer

Education has always been very important to me. I worked in the high tech industry as an engineer for over 30 years and hold a BS in Electrical Engineering and a BS in Computer Science from the University of California Irvine.  Education was very important to my parents and through their encouragement and support, I was able to attend college.  Since then, the cost of an education has far outpaced the increases in salaries and has made it difficult for students to obtain a good education without a heavy financial burden either on their families or themselves.

When it was time for my two children to attend college, I engaged the SAFE Steps™ for assistance. Leveraging the proven processes, my children were able to identify careers that they were interested in, colleges that they wanted to attend, and to do this affordably.  It was then that I decided that I wanted to help as many families with the same success by making the tools and processes available to them.

Margaret Wilson - Director of Client Services

I am the proud mother of 3 children, and after having worked with Dave Smith with my two oldest daughters, I am truly excited to be part of The SAFE Steps™ executive team. I joined the team in April 2016, passionate about educating and guiding families through the college and career development phase of high school. Based on my own personal experiences, I am eager to expand the reach of the invaluable tools and services The SAFE Steps™ delivers to overwhelmed students and their families.

I hold a BS in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University and earned an MBA degree with an emphasis in Marketing from California State University, Long Beach. Prior to joining The SAFE Steps™ team, I have held management positions in both financial and business development departments in the software, consumer services and retail industries. With over 20 years of experience in a variety of industries and disciplines, I feel privileged to be working with The SAFE Steps™ team and honored to serve our client families!

Courtney Lampshire - Director of Social Media

I was born and raised in San Diego, California, graduated Scripps Ranch High School in 2011 and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and Management from University of Redlands in 2015. Och Tamale! I have always been interested in education because I have always been around it, my mother is a primary school teacher and her two sisters who live in San Diego are educators as well. 

Having used this service while I was in high school (my sister utilized it as well), I am passionate about The SAFE Steps™! I graduated from a spectacular school in 4 years without any loans or debt. I also got to study abroad for 6 months at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. Dave was so helpful and he has created an amazing system to assist with the college application process. I look forward to helping as many students as I can!

Mark Pintar - Director of Video Communication

Education has always been extremely important to my family. My parents worked hard to put all 7 of their children through college, and I think we have all made them proud. Working with The SAFE Steps™ team allows me to combine my talents, experience, and passion for communication, technology, and education to help students get a head start on creating their ideal life after high school. I certainly wish I had The SAFE Steps™ when I was in high school.

With 20 years' experience in television and video production, I’ve produced, directed, and edited corporate communications for The Coca-Cola Company and The Home Depot, created award winning educational programs for Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Education department, and produced, directed, and edited programming for networks including ABC, PBS, The History Channel, HGTV, TLC, and E! Entertainment. 

Additionally, I studied B.A.N.K. Coding™, which is a personality-based communication system that ensures I craft messages that appeal to audience values.

Kathleen Rich-New - Director of Human Resources

Thank you, Mr. Otterpohl, for taking one hour of eleventh grade civics class to expose a bunch of Kansas teenagers to Peterson’s College Guide. I had always thought that education was the only path that could take me to the future that I wanted, but it seemed an impossible dream for me. There were three children and we got by on Dad’s pay after he was disabled and Mom’s hourly wages, but there was certainly no extra money for college. Suddenly, as Mr. Otterpohl read to us about the various financial aid and work-study programs, I began to see possibilities. It was all new to me, the different colleges...financial assistance... and how to apply. I took action and became the very first in my family to go to college. There was no money or counseling and so I did the best I could with Peterson’s guide as my only resource. When first heard Dave Smith describe his vision, I flashed back to my individual struggle and thought, “Wow! If I had only been able to get some of the guidance and mentoring he is offering, how much easier and better my college experience could have been.” It took me 5 years to get my business undergraduate degree because I did not have the guidance or support that I needed. Now, in addition to my business bachelor's degree, I also have an MBA in Marketing and Master of Management in International Human Resources…I eventually figured it out but it could have been so much easier.

As a player on Dave’s team, I bring over 20 years of "in the trenches" experience in corporate human resources. I managed various HR functions for Apple Computer, Silicon Graphics (SGI) and Brocade Communications as they ramped-up and down-sized according to the whims of the economy. In 2001, I got down-sized, so I started my own HR consulting business. My clients include executives at Ford Motor Company, NASA – Kennedy Space Center, Marriott, Harris Corporation, Port Canaveral Port Authority, as well as several not-for-profits and numerous individuals in career transition. My primary mission is helping companies hire the right person the first time, and that means I know what students need to become the top candidate in the company of their choice..