Windward Capital Investment Services

Investment Professionals

Robert Nichols, Ph.D. – Chief Executive Officer – Portfolio Manager

Robert_ChairMr. Nichols is the founder of Windward Capital Management Co.  For twenty-one years (1971 to 1992) prior to founding Windward, he was President of the Roley, Nichols Capital Group, Inc., in Los Angeles, California. While at the firm, he was President of RNC Capital Management managing more than $1.25 billion in portfolios of taxable, municipal, corporate and multi-employer retirement plans and foundation clients.

In addition to his corporate responsibilities, he was a senior member of the Investment Policy Committee and Research Committee. In 1990, he and his partners sold the firm to an Austrian bank.

His academic degrees include a Ph.D. in Management from the Claremont Graduate School’s Drucker School of Business. Mr. Nichols’ past management responsibilities include managing accounts for Centinela Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Health South, the State of Washington, Catalina Island Conservancy, GTE Pension Fund, Rapid Transit District of Los Angeles, Territory of Guam airport authority, American Institute of Architects, Southwest Electrical Worker’s Union, City of Warren Michigan, Little Rock Police and Fire (LOPFI), and People’s Bank & Trust.

He has served as a Trustee of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College Foundation, and public appointed member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Pension Fund, as well as a member of the Board of Counselors for the School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California (USC).


Donald Bessler CPA – Chief Investment Officer – Portfolio Manager

Don_ChairMr. Bessler came to Windward Capital Management Co. from First American Capital Management where he was a Senior Portfolio Manager/Senior Vice President.

Prior to First American Capital Management, he was a Principal and the Director of Research at Roxbury Capital Management LLC, a $14 billion asset management firm in Los Angeles. As Director of Research and voting member of the Investment Committee, he supervised a team of six Equity Research Analysts in addition to personally managing more than $1 billion in client assets. He was also responsible for managing the Roxbury Special Situations Portfolio and the Special Situations Hedge Fund.

Mr. Bessler began his career as a Certified Public Accountant and attained the level of Audit Manager with the accounting firm Price Waterhouse. During the six years he worked in New York, he was responsible for the corporate audits of such firms as Chase Manhattan Bank, Eastman Kodak, and Oppenheimer & Co.

Mr. Bessler graduated summa cum laude from Lehigh University with a BS in Finance, a BS in Accounting, and a BA in Psychology. Mr. Bessler has managed accounts for Catholic Healthcare West in San Francisco, Eli Lilly Co., Guidant Corp., Texas A&M University, and the University of South Florida.


Stephan Pene Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Compliance Officer

Mr. Pene has worked as a financial officer in the investment advisory and brokerage field for more than twenty-five years. He is a member of the Board of Directors at Windward Capital Management Co.   Prior to joining The Windward Capital Group Inc, he was Controller at Curian Capital, LLC, a subsidiary of Jackson National Life Insurance Company. Before his association with Curian Capital, Mr. Pene was Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer at Wells Fargo Van Kasper, an investment banking, broker/dealer and fixed income securities primary dealer. Earlier in his career he was, for seven years, the Chief Financial Officer of the securities division of Home Savings of America.  His academic degrees include a BS in Finance from California State University, Northridge and an MBA from Pepperdine University where he graduated magna cum laude.

Kenneth Kilpo AIF® – Managing Director, Advisory Services

Mr. Kilpo has over thirteen years of experience in the financial services industry consulting with high net worth individuals and small- to mid-size corporations. He is a member of the Board of Directors at Windward Capital Management Co.  Prior to joining Windward Capital Group Inc., he was a Financial Consultant at Merrill Lynch.  Mr. Kilpo has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California at San Diego.

Joseph Robillard – Director, Institutional Sales

Mr. Robillard brings to Windward extensive experience in finance, managing, banking relationships of high-net worth individuals, as well as private and public corporations. Prior to joining Windward Capital Group Inc., he was a Relationship Manager at Wells Fargo’s Commercial Bank.  Mr. Robillard has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law & Society from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Joseph serves on the Board of Trustees for the Craft and Folk Art Museum.

Milkah LoScalzo – Vice President, Investment Research

Ms. LoScalzo has over twenty-three years of experience in the financial services industry working with large institutional clients and high net worth individuals and small- to mid-size corporations. She is a Vice President reporting directly to Mr. Nichols and handles research, trading and operational issues for Windward. Before joining Windward, Ms. LoScalzo was the Executive Assistant to the Chairman of The Seidler Companies where she serviced institutional clients, such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University. Prior to that, Ms. LoScalzo worked for the Boston Group, L.P. handling all aspects of the broker-dealer/investment management firm.  Ms. LoScalzo received her B.A. and LL.B from the University of the Philippines.