Strategic Alliances

mikeMichael Binger

 Gradient Investments, LLC

Mr. Binger is the President of Gradient Investments. He has been with Gradient Investments since 2012 and has more than 30 years of total investment management experience. Mr. Binger’s prior roles include managing multi-billion dollar investment products for a large institutional asset manager. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and is a CFA® charterholder. We believe that he brings a depth of market experience that is rare within the industry and has been a featured contributor with several media outlets including CNBC, Fox Business, Barron’s, and The Wall Street Journal.


Mariann Montagne, CFA®

Portfolio Manager Gradient Investments, LLC

Ms. Montagne is a Portfolio Manager for Gradient Investments. She has been with Gradient Investments since 2014 and has more than 25 years of total investment management experience. Ms. Montagne’s prior roles include equity analysis for institutional fund managers as well as a senior investment analyst position for a $500M registered investment advisor. She is a frequent contributor to media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg, and Barron’s. Ms. Montagne graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit and is a CFA® charterholder.


James B. Lee, CPA

James considers himself a Colorado “transplant-native” having been born in Colorado but growing up primarily in Iowa. James attended the University of Iowa, where he received a Bachelors in Finance and a Masters of Accountancy.

James began working in the public accounting field for Deloitte LLP in 2011 and has been a CPA since 2012. He also worked for KeyBanc Capital Markets as an investment banking analyst. After some family health issues arose, James moved on and began working for the family business, Lee Wealth Management, and concurrently launched his own tax and accounting practice, which became JBL & Co., CPAs.

James specializes in a variety of solutions including tax planning, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and consulting. In his spare time, James likes to spend time with his wife and pets, explore and enjoy the variety of outdoor activities Colorado offers, travel, and volunteer with several organizations.


Stephen J. Orzynski


Steve is a trust and estate attorney who has prepared over 500 trusts and probated or settled scores of estates. After 15 years as a Professional Engineer managing multi-million dollar civil and environmental engineering projects, Steve commenced his law career in 1992 as an environmental lawyer. In the mid-1990’s he had several clients who were bequested contaminated properties with liabilities often exceeding or nearing appraised values. His efforts in ameliorating these situations led to him developing expertise in the probate and estate arenas.

Over the past 10 years, Steve has drafted and funded revocable living trusts, specialty trusts, complex wills, Powers of Attorney, living wills, litigated probate contests, commenced and administered conservator and guardianship proceedings, and settled probate and trust estates. As ·an adjunct to this estate practice, Steve has formed numerous Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), Corporations and Limited Partnerships to provide liability/asset protection and reduce taxes. He has successfully advocated cases involving denial of medical and disability pensions, wrongful discharge and EEO discrimination as well as condemnation, annexation, tax protests, and zoning issues with cities and counties. Steve prides himself on communicating with his clients and developing estate plans that meet what they want in order to minimize estate taxes and accomplish family planning goals.


  • Cornell University, B.S. Civil Engineering
  • Rutgers University, M.S. Environmental Engineering
  • University of Denver, J.D.

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado
  • Wyoming

Professional Affiliations

  • Colorado Bar Association
    -Trust and Estate Section
    -Elder Law Section
  • Denver Bar Assocciation
  • Wyoming Bar Association
    -Trust and Estate Section

This endorsement of Gradient Investments, LLC is provided by an investment advisor who refers clients to Gradient Investments, LLC.  A conflict of interest exists because this investment advisor receives a portion of the annual management fee charged by Gradient Investments, LLC, based on the assets under management of this investment advisor’s clients. This endorsement could assist in the investment advisor increasing the assets placed with Gradient Investments, LLC, and therefore their compensation. These investment advisors are not affiliated with or supervised by Gradient Investments, LLC.