Our Team

Edward K. Gerner Jr., J.D., CLU, CPCU – President
Edward K. Gerner Jr., Esquire, CLU, CPCU – Executive Chairman

Ed Gerner, Esquire, CLU, CPCU, Executive Chairman of R.K. Tongue Co., is a second generation principal active in the business since 1966. A graduate of Loyola College and the University of Maryland School of Law, a member of the Maryland Bar, and a former US Army Reserve Officer, he brings extensive experience, a culture of caring, and the perspectives of both an insurance professional and a lawyer to the business. He is also a licensed Life and Health Insurance Advisor.

Ed has served on various insurance company advisory boards, and formerly served on the Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland Dental School for nearly 20 years, and chairs the State Administrator Advisory Board of the Professional Protector Plan for Dentists. He has authored numerous articles in various insurance publications, and often speaks on risk management to various groups of healthcare professionals. He is an honorary member of the Baltimore City Dental Society and of the Alumni Association of the University of Maryland Dental School.

In 2009, Ed was honored by the Professional Protector Plan for Dentists with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

His business/customer service philosophy is to form and nurture trusting relationships with clients, never to betray that trust, and to service clients with persistence and determination.

E. Andrew Gerner, CFP – Vice President
E. Andrew Gerner, CFP® – President

E. Andrew Gerner, CFP® is President and an equity member of the insurance firm R. K. Tongue Co., Inc. He is also Principal and Founder of the R. K. Tongue-affiliated investment and financial services firm Tongue | GERNER Financial Services, LLC. Mr. Gerner is a property & casualty and life & health licensed independent insurance agent and broker, a series 7 and 66 Investment Adviser, and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. He specializes in risk management, asset protection, wealth management, retirement plans, and financial planning for members of the healthcare and professional services industries. He lectures regionally to healthcare, legal, and financial professionals on various risk management, financial, and insurance-related topics.

Andrew received undergraduate degrees in Economics and Public Policy from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, graduated Cum Laude, played Varsity Lacrosse, and received academic, NCAA and Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) honors including Honorable Mention All-American, Academic All-American, CAC All Conference, and CAC Silver Anniversary Team. Mr. Gerner continues to study professionally within the insurance and financial services industry at The College for Financial Planning.

Andrew is a member of the State Administrator Advisory Board of the Professional Protector Plan® for Dentists, one of the Nation’s largest, oldest, and most respected dentist-specific professional liability and business insurance programs. His professional accomplishments and awards include State Administrator of the Year for the Professional Protector Plan® for Dentists, and membership in Guardian Life Insurance Company’s Leader’s Club and Disability Insurance Inner Circle.

In his few spare moments, Andrew enjoys chasing around his wife and kids, fishing, surfing, golfing (badly), traveling, intently following the Baltimore Ravens, and watching college lacrosse.

Timothy A. Girard, CLU® – Vice President

Timothy A. Girard, CLU® – Executive Vice President

Tim Girard, CLU®, Executive Vice President of R.K. Tongue Co., Inc. has been active in the insurance business since 1998. Tim graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Loyola College in Maryland and was commissioned as an Army Officer, serving eight years in the Army Reserves. After college, Tim entered the banking industry working for NationsBank. After being exposed to the insurance industry, he joined R.K. Tongue Co. as a sales representative where he focused on working with professionals and small business owners helping them with their insurance needs.

Today, Tim is responsible for managing the sales and service of both the Maryland operations of the Professional Markets Group and Worksite Marketing Group. He is licensed in Property and Casualty and Life and Health and has lectured regionally on various risk-management and insurance related topics. His professional accomplishments include State Administrator of the Year for the Professional Protector Plan® for Dentists, and membership within the Guardian Life Insurance Company’s Disability Insurance Inner Circle.

Tim resides in Forest Hill, MD with his wife and his three sons. In his spare time, he enjoys playing soccer and golf.

Jasal Patel – Director of Administration
Jasal Patel – Director of Employee Benefits Sales & Consulting

Jasal Patel is the Director of Employee Benefits Sales & Consulting at R. K. Tongue Co., Inc. She possesses more than ten years of progressive Human Resources and Operations Management experience, with expertise in Employee Administration, Employee Relations, Compliance, Business and Leadership Coaching, Change Management, Performance Enhancement, Process Development, and Accounting. Prior to joining R. K. Tongue Co., Jasal worked at Catapult Learning as Director of Operations, and at Alternatives Unlimited Inc. as Vice President of HR and Business Services, where her operational responsibilities included overseeing multiple components of complex nationwide organizations that included the full scope of HR responsibilities, Facilities Management and Strategic Planning and Development.

Jasal is passionate about helping R.K. Tongue Co. make the most of its resources and talent and is committed to fostering positive business relationships.

She earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Business and Finance from the University of Salford, UK, is licensed in Property and Casualty, Life and Health and is an active member of the Society of Human Resources Management.

Sarah Goldbach – Director of Operations

Sarah Goldbach is the Director of Operations at R. K. Tongue Co., Inc.  Sarah’s career has focused on leadership roles within Client Services, Accounting & Accounts Receivables and Operations Management.  Prior to joining R.K. Tongue Co., Sarah worked for Grandizio, Wilkins, Little & Matthews, LLP as the Director of Operations overseeing IT, HR and Administration.  Prior to that, Sarah worked for All Risks, Ltd. where she managed the Accounts Receivable, Cash Application, Direct Insured Bill, and Client Services departments.  During those roles, Sarah’s expertise in process improvements and staff development helped organizations exceed their goals.

Sarah continues to be passionate about the insurance industry and driving results through employee engagement and development.   She is committed to helping R.K. Tongue continue to foster the relationships that will empower our employees to deliver exceptional outcomes for our clients.

Sarah has a Bachelors of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University.  She lives in York, PA with her husband and two girls.  In her spare time, her family enjoys traveling, camping, and autocross racing.

Cynthia Eckhardt – Account Manager

Cynthia Eckhardt, a licensed Life and Health insurance Agent, joined R.K. Tongue Co., Inc. in 2018 as an Employee Benefits Account Manager.   She brings with her 25 years of experience in the association space focusing on life, health, disability and long term care insurance solutions for members.  She brings vast experience and product knowledge to her customers and is passionate about finding solutions tailored to meet individual needs.

Cynthia has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University and a Masters of Association Management from George Washington University.  She lives in Crofton, MD with her husband and three children.  She is active in her community, parish and enjoys reading and tennis.

Sherrie Shaffer – Employee Benefits Account Executive

Sherrie Shaffer is the newest addition to the R.K. Tongue family, joining us in May of 2023 as an Employee Benefits Account Executive.  Sherrie will be responsible for for new accounts and growing the R.K. Tongue footprint throughout the MD, VA and DC area.

Sherrie may be new to the R.K. Tongue Co., but not new to the industry as the market crash of 2008 caused her to quickly pivot and find a new career path that landed her in the insurance industry.  Since then, Sherrie has helped her clients with life insurance, Medicare, long term care, annuities, executive benefits and ultimately finding her niche in the employee benefits world where she enjoys helping her clients navigate and find the best solutions specific to each employer’s needs.

When Sherrie is not “on the clock”, she and her hubby, Steve enjoy spending time with their 11 year old Shepherd / Lab mix Rex, seeing local, live music (including Steve’s band!), dining by the water when the weather permits and enjoying the quiet of their home now that their two boys are busy with college and careers.

F. Michael Fitzpatrick III – Account Executive

F. Michael Fitzpatrick III – Account Executive

Michael Fitzpatrick is an Account Executive at R. K. Tongue Co., Inc. with a focus in the Delaware, DC, and Virginia region. He is both Life & Health and Property & Casualty licensed independent insurance agent and broker. His specializations include risk management and insurance education for members of the healthcare industry and other white collar professionals.

He graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where he played on the Varsity Baseball team. He now lives in downtown Baltimore and enjoys spending time with friends and playing recreational sports.

Kathy Goeller Shahinian – Account Executive

For Kathy Goeller Shahinian, Account Executive, “Insurance is not just a job; insurance is my career”. Kathy is proud to be an agent with R. K. Tongue Co., Inc. She joined the firm in 1998 and has served in several capacities including Sales Manager, Training Manager and Agent.

Kathy, by far, best enjoys serving as an agent. As an agent, she is able to meet with city and state employees from all walks of life. R. K. Tongue’s portfolio of products permits her to assess an employee’s needs and tailor insurance programs that provide affordable financial protection.

Kathy holds a BA and MA from the College of Notre Dame as well as being certified as a Long Term Care Consultant. In June 2013, she was ordained to the deaconate by the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

Elizabeth Holmen - Account Executive
Elizabeth Holmen – Account Executive

Elizabeth Holmen joined R. K. Tongue Co., Inc.’s Professional Markets Group team in 2007 as an Account Executive serving the Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia areas. She is adept at, and enjoys, establishing and maintaining trusting relationships with her many clients in all areas of insurance, but especially in her areas of specialized expertise, which include Professional and General Liability, Commercial Property, Worker’s Comp., individual and group Disability Income insurance, and various forms of Life insurance.

A native of South Korea, she has lived most of her life in Maryland, where she earned a degree in international business at the University of Baltimore

Steve Marcus – Account Executive

Steve came to R.K. Tongue Co., Inc. in November of 2009 after a 15-month stint as an Associate at Aflac, where he was one of the top account openers in the Maryland/D.C. territory.

Licensed in Health and Life, his main focus is the Worksite Market where he provides Baltimore City and State of Maryland employees with disability and life insurance. Slightly obsessed with food, Steve will drive anywhere in the state for an appointment…as long as he can find a good place to eat.

Insurance sales is his second career, as Steve spent 27 years in the newspaper industry, working at six papers in four states. His final 15 years were at the Baltimore Sun where he was Deputy Sports Editor.

A graduate of Syracuse University, a native New Englander and a huge Patriots fan, Steve will gladly discuss the greatest quarterback ever at any time.

Diane Willey – Account Executive
Diane Willey – Account Executive

Diane is an experienced insurance professional who began her career with R.K. Tongue Co., Inc. in 1981. Initially, she served as a Customer Service Representative, but transitioned to the sales field in 1986, concentrating in the Worksite Marketing arena. Since then, she has successfully served the insurance needs of public employees of the City of Baltimore, State of Maryland, and ultimately Federal employees. She currently works closely with the Federal Employees Activities Association, fulfilling the insurance needs of Federal employees throughout the geographical region.

Diane’s background in customer service enhances her ability to serve her clientele.

Michael Urbanik – Account Executive

Michael Urbanik is an Account Executive with R.K Tongue Co., Inc. and is licensed in both Life & Health and Property & Casualty Insurance.  He has experience working with both large and middle market commercial clients.  He enjoys helping his clients understand the risks they face and develop cost effective plans to successfully mitigate and transfer these risks.

Michael graduated from Randolph-Macon College where he majored in International Studies and was captain of the varsity men’s soccer team.     He resides in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and Australian shepherd, Bear. Outside of the office he enjoys playing soccer, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with friends and family.

Joanne Woodcock – Account Executive

Joanne is a highly experienced insurance agent and has been with The R.K. Tongue Co., Inc. since 1988. During her tenure, she has devoted her efforts almost exclusively to the Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA), where she remains on the job daily to serve the needs of VSEA members. Well known for her concern for VSEA members, Joanne has made it her mission to understand the wants and needs of her clientele, and to form trusting relationships with both the members and their leadership at VSEA. She is tenacious in her pursuit of fulfilling the insurance wants and needs of both members and leadership.