Meet our Industry Experts

Bill Addiss


As the principal of international training firm Amherst Financial Training, Mr. Addiss develops and facilitates educational programs for major financial institutions and governments.

Prior to establishing Amherst Financial Training in 1994, Bill had a 23-year career on Wall Street in which he worked as an interest rate futures analyst, retail stockbroker, national sales manager and ultimately managing director in the Capital Markets division of a major brokerage. He also served as president of a division of a regional savings bank where he developed initiatives to integrate broker/dealers with the parent institution.

Bill now also applies his encyclopedic experience in the financial industry to assist individual investors in more directly taking control of their financial health. He is the author of multiple financial guides as well as Boycott This Book, an upcoming study of how consumer boycotts have shaped U.S. history.

Butch Zemar


Butch Zemar is a scuba diving extraordinaire, Healthcare Reform Specialist and a 2014 Benefits Selling's Broker of the Year Finalist.  Butch also has published an e-book on Healthcare Reform to help small to mid-size companies stay ahead of their industry trends amid the changes in healthcare law.  After serving as a 4-year Navy veteran achieving an E5 (AW) class, working in Naval Aviation Electronics, Zemar left the military and began a career in Scuba diving.  As a deep shipwreck explorer and instructor, he began training divers in the Virginia Beach, VA area in 2001.

After being involved in small business retail sales, Zemar was drawn to the insurance and financial arena.  In 2004, Zemar established an independent insurance agency near Chicago, offering a full spectrum of health insurance and asset protection products.  The agency now offers all lines of insurance to their business clients. He has established a reputation as a "health care reform specilaist" with a deep understanding of the industry and provides businesses with comprehensive benefit solutions throughout persistent healthcare reform.

Zemar is actively developing informative resources such as articles and videos, that deliver vital information on healthcare reform and employer options.

Cathie Morrison


Cathie Morrison has inspired at every level as a public school teacher, college instructor, technology trainer and owner of a test preparation company as well as an Online Trading Academy instructor. She has also hiked glaciers, crewed long-range sailboats and traveled to 20 countries and all 50 U.S. states.

Cathie has traded stocks, Forex and futures, and particularly likes options as a way toward income and wealth. A lifelong learner herself, she has completed virtually every course in OTA’s curriculum. As an instructor and author, she strives to help others find their way to their financial goals.

David Warner


David Warner grew up a stone’s throw from New York’s financial district, and knew from an early age he wanted to become a trader. He started trading in 2004 and joined a stock trading club in college, leading to what he calls a “healthy obsession” with the financial markets.

David developed a focused and disciplined attitude in the Air Force, where he was not only the most awarded Airman on his base but also a trainer and educator. After leaving the service he became a broker at our partner FXCM, where he managed relationships with top-level clients and institutions. As an instructor at Online Trading Academy, he swiftly distinguished himself for his ability to match students’ needs with their learning opportunities.

He believes that wealth is a mindset that can be taught, along with the skills to think and trade like a bank and financial institution.

Diana Hill

Author, Presenter

Diana Hill has launched countless real estate investing careers over her eight years as an OTA Real Estate Instructor. Her philosophy is that real estate investing creates long term wealth and security, and that anyone can own real estate as an investment if they are willing to develop a plan and take the time and effort to see that plan through.

She has high expectations of her students and hopes they have high expectations of her. She brings extensive experience as an investor who made her first purchase in college and has controlled millions in properties over a 30-year career. She currently holds 7 properties, from single-family rentals to Multi-Family Properties, located near her southern California home as well as across the U.S.

Dr. Jeff Barke


Dr. Barke is a family physician in private practice in Newport Beach, CA. He attended undergraduate college at U.S.C. and Medical School at U.C. Irvine completing his Family Medicine Residency at U.C. Irvine Medical Center. He is an elected School Board Member for the Los Alamitos Unified School District currently serving his third term. Dr. Barke also serves as a tactical physician for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team as a reserve deputy. Dr. Barke worked for Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson as the volunteer coordinator for Orange County, CA and then as a healthcare surrogate for the Donald J. Trump campaign. Dr. Barke has published several articles in The Hill on ObamaCare and has appeared on Fox News Special Report with Brett Baier. He appears monthly on CCN (Crown City Network) discussing the intersection between medicine and politics. He is a native of southern California. Dr. Barke is married to his high school sweetheart and they have two children, one attending Hillsdale College in Michigan and the other a graduate of DePaul University and lives in Chicago.

Dr. M. Woodruff "Woody" Johnson

Author and Clinical Psychologist

His goal is to guide traders and investors to create consistency in preparing, processing, analyzing and executing appropriately, as they manage errant emotions in order to develop capacity for emotional strength and endurance in the trade. He is dedicated to showing the tools, techniques and concepts to take their investing to the next level; in other words, “Investors lose most of their money not because they don’t know what to do, but because negative emotions prevent them from keeping their commitments."

Gary Tole


Gary Tole has a successful career investing in and managing a wide variety of businesses and has been a real estate investor since 1996, with hundreds of deals under his belt. He has been a licensed Realtor since 2004 and leader of the “Tole Team” at Keller Williams in Dallas, TX since 2012 with the Certified Negotiation Expert designation.

John O'Donnell

OTA Research Director

John O’Donnell’s background in both education and financial services gives him a unique ability to teach complex financial theories and trading skills to beginner investors and seasoned traders alike. As Director of Research, John has been an instrumental player in making Online Trading Academy one of the premier trading educators in the world.

Mr. O’Donnell earned a BS in Science from Southwest Baptist University and has personally been involved in the stock market since 1968. In 1975, he founded the Economic Monetary Investment Research Society, Atlanta. He began his career as a public school teacher, which he later transitioned to public corporations, working as an investment banker.

Mr. O’Donnell has over 30 years of successful leadership experience. He was the Founder and CEO of Precious Metals Exchange. His next venture was as CEO with Penn Pacific Financial Corp, a public company with $50 million market cap and the 11th most actively traded stock on NASDAQ in 1979. He then founded and became the CEO of Republic Resources, Inc, which was the world’s largest publicly traded grower of jojoba oil with a $75 million market cap. Prior to joining Online Trading Academy Mr. O’Donnell was Co-founder and CEO of Double Win Capital, Inc, a boutique investment banker. Mr. O’Donnell’s leadership and vision has not gone unnoticed, as he was a Finalist in the “Entrepreneur of the Year” contest by Ernst & Young Inc magazine two consecutive years in Orange County, California.

Mr. O’Donnell came to Online Trading Academy in 1998. As one of the first employees and pioneers in the education division he helped transition the company from a floor based model to one of the largest DMA franchise trading schools that are currently operated today. Mr. O’Donnell is instrumental in Online Trading Academy’s business development initiatives with strategic partners and industry leaders. He has been a featured speaker at many major trader and investor expos in New York, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Miami, and Dallas. He has been interviewed on and featured in a variety of financial media such as CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business,, Equities Magazine and Traders Journal.

Justin Cook


After graduating from Cal State Fullerton in 2004, Justin Cook went to work for CBS Radio Los Angeles, writing promotional copy and producing station events including large-scale real estate investment workshops and financial planning seminars. This experience brought him to Veritone, a full-service advertising agency, where he drafted endorsement copy for the likes of Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey. As Senior Copywriter, he developed direct response creative for Wilshire Finance Partners, Rush Card, and Money Mutual, before ultimately rising to the rank of Creative Director and leading efforts for Credit Karma, Optima Tax Relief, and NerdWallet.

As Author and Content Editor at, Justin composes scripts and articles for the Content Development Department. He believes his radio experience, writing 30- and 60-second scripts, gives him the ability to quickly zero in on the key points of any topic. His background in long form communications helps him key in on a message and keep the reader or viewer’s attention until they have mastered the subject matter. Justin particularly enjoys the research aspect of his job, and has contributed background information and gathered statistics for other departments.

Justin met many LA Dodgers players in his radio job, where he was responsible for arranging player appearances, and remains a die-hard Dodgers fan. He resides in Irvine, CA with his wife, son and three cats.

Larry Jacobson

Author, Presenter

Larry Jacobson was first introduced to trading in 1995 through an article he read in Bottom Line Personal. In 1998, he became fascinated with Warren Buffett and was inspired to begin trading stocks. In 2010, he found his way to Online Trading Academy where he honed his skills as a stock, options, Forex, and futures trader, as well as becoming a long-term wealth creator and proactive investor, though his trading preference is options and equities.

Larry is passionate about imparting to his students the very knowledge and tools that he enjoyed learning throughout his own Online Trading Academy educational experiences. He lives by his philosophy: "Invest in yourself, not stuff - because throughout your life, education appreciates, possessions depreciate."

Larry's additional role as Director of Student Services and Instructor Development is a great fit for him, as Online Trading Academy's passion and dedication toward educating its students to think and trade like professional traders is what inspired Larry join the company as an Instructor. He says that he also appreciates the way they have created a like-minded community of students and instructors that get to interact with each other, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Marc Katz


Marc Katz is a former managing director of Lehman Brothers’ and Bank of America’s debt capital markets risk solutions groups. He has extensive daily experience in the management of complex financing arrangements as well as fixed income trading. Marc also has an inside knowledge of the debt transactions for some of America’s leading companies; including taxable and tax exempt investment, leasing, private placements and hybrid securities.

May Go-Tran


May has been a tax accountant for over 10 years. She is experienced in Individual, Business, and Estate & Trust returns. She has been an Enrolled Agent since 2008 and has been representing clients before the IRS and State tax agencies. She worked at H&R Block as a Master Tax Advisor. She has a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting and has more than 20 years of experience in general accounting and financial management. She earned her certified public accountant credentials in the Philippines. She enjoys practicing Archery with her husband.

Merlin Rothfeld

Author, Presenter

Merlin Rothfeld has been actively involved in the financial markets since 1996. After receiving his degree in Business Finance, Merlin worked for a large financial planning firm in California where he applied traditional, long term investment strategies. In 1998 he began day trading his own money using a variety of DAT trading platforms.

Merlin's experiences with trading strategies, ranging from long term investing to short term, high volume trading, offer students a well-diversified perspective of the trading life. The fact that Merlin trades daily using his own unique trading strategy enhances his abilities as an Instructor. He is also the host of Power Trading Radio and is a key contributor to many financial topics from how to manage your credit to investing in Real Estate.

Michael Atias


Michael Atias been a tax consultant since 2001, specializing in small business, real estate and trading and investing tax strategies. Today he is Director of OTA Tax Pros, the division of Online Trading Academy which helps traders and investors with tax planning strategies designed to reduce tax liability. He has a BA in Economics and Business Management from Haifa University and an MBA from Washington University, St. Louis.

Michael is a regular contributor to Lessons from the Pros and other media outlets where he writes on trader tax issues, real estate, individual tax preparation and compliance. He has appeared on Fox Business Channel, Newsmax Media, Tasty Trade Radio and iHeart Radio, among others.

Mike Mc Mahon

Author and Content Editor

Mike McMahon has been a teacher throughout his life—high school, Army, SCUBA certification, constitutional law, first responders and 13 years as Education Director at Online Trading Academy where he was a co-founder in 1997 as well as a top-rated instructor as well as a frequent Power Trading Radio guest. He has addressed the London School of Economics, participated in the Salon de l’Analyse in France and taught floor traders in Moscow.

Mike formally “retired” in 2009 but has continued to remain active in the OTA community with a goal of providing knowledge to help students work toward their financial goals. His “why” is simply to be a resource for all.

Nick Mango


Nick Mango is a freelance writer and editor whose work in the investing, trading, and financial communities spans more than 12 years. He’s co-author of the book, Traders at Work (Apress, 2013), and has consistently published content across major media outlets and the Web’s most well-known and respected financial portals, including

A strong proponent of investor education and consumer empowerment, Nick has produced thousands of articles and resources, among them everything from growth, income, and alternative investing strategies, to technical analysis and trading principles, how consumers can harness the power of the Internet and technology, and the modern application of digital marketing techniques and best practices.

In an era when businesses and institutions have often failed to protect the best interests of investors and consumers, Nick believes that knowledge is the best protection, and he continues to focus his efforts on educating, empowering, and assisting self-directed individuals in their pursuit of financial, business, and personal success. 

Rich Magnone


Rich obtained his Law Degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1996 and a B.S. in Accounting, magna cum laude, from Marquette University in 1993.  A regular speaker and lecturer, Richard has presented on topics ranging from law office technology to estate planning and landlord tenant law.  He practices in the areas of landlord tenant law, probate, real estate, corporations, and estate planning.  Richard Magnone is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association. He is a continuing legal education speaker on technology issues for attorneys, estate planning and probate practice in the digital age, and probate aspects of personal injury law settlements. He also speaks regularly to attorneys, landlords, and real estate agents on issues related to landlord-tenant matters, including speaking engagements for IICLE, Chicago Title, @Properties, Dreamtown, Jameson Sothebys, and ReMax.

Ron Fields

Instructor & Author

Ron Fields began investing in real estate when he got out of the service in 1971, and never looked back. He has been a licensed real estate agent and a general business contractor and has taught real estate related subjects at local Boards of Realtors and local community colleges as well as EPA lead courses for contractors.

As a member of Online Trading Academy’s Mastermind Community, Ron has developed an understanding of supply and demand which guides his selection of properties and buy/sell decisions. He looks at real estate as a vehicle to help investors achieve their financial dreams, and believes the real estate industry will continue to offer enormous opportunities.

Sarah Spangler


Sarah graduated cum laude from Nova Southeastern University, School of Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She then attended the University of Miami focusing her studies on the specific areas of tax and estate planning. She obtained an LL.M. in Estate Planning from the University of Miami in 2009. She is licensed in both Texas and Florida, advising clients in a variety of areas including Business and Estate Planning, Real Estate, and Probate.

Suzy Patz


Suzy Patz is steeped in the culture of Online Trading Academy, having worked in a variety of roles starting in 2012. She started as Operations Coordinator, then rose to Corporate Travel Manager and then Education Resource Manager which involved coordinating the activities of OTA instructors to maximize their contribution. Through this experience she developed an appreciation for the real-world skills which these traders and investors bring to their roles as educators. Today, she performs the same role herself as a presenter of online content.

Suzy has traded Forex in her own accounts, and values the opportunity that a financial education can bring in giving people the skills to change their lives and achieve their goals. Her why is to create, on a global level, the ability for people to find self-confidence, peace and empowerment. Her belief in life, as well as trading, is to wake up with intentionality in each day, think about the long-term goal of what you want to accomplish and figure out what actions you will take in that day to get you there.

Tillie Allison

Author, Trading Instructor

Tillie Allison made the connection between knowledge and success at an early age, when she was a Social Security recipient living month-to-month. She began to study the financial markets, with the philosophy that those with the desire to know the truth deserve to learn the truth.

Tillie went on to develop a broad knowledge base through an Associate’s degree in real estate, a BA in Administrative Management, a Certified Financial Planner program, working the trading desk at a futures firm and ultimately a position as an Online Trading Academy instructor. She is a member of the Market Technicians Association and the Financial Planning Board of Standards. Her passion is helping others work toward financial freedom through education.

Tim Pesut


Tim Pesut started out as a client of a brokerage firm and began investing stocks and Options in 1990. About a year later he became a stock broker to see how the system really worked and moved his way up from there. In 2005, he started trading FOREX and in 2007, he added index futures to his portfolio.

Tim's experience as an investor, broker, branch manager, and trader allows him to bring an understanding of the unique challenges of trading to the classroom. As an Instructor, he strives to give each student individual attention because as an Online Trading Academy graduate, Tim says that is what benefited him most. His overall goal is to positively impact the student by giving them a proven approach that they can see working before their eyes, boosting their confidence and having fun enjoying the process. He tries to ensure the students learn and understand the material, but more importantly, are able to apply the various aspects of trading in a real world environment so the student is well on the path to becoming successful in their trading endeavors. He wants each student to feel that they are part of a family that is dedicated to their success.


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