Our Team of Experts

Our consultants are experts in their fields.  All of our retirement trainers/counselors are retired federal retirement and benefits specialists and/or managers.  Our career transition trainers/consultants are either retired feds with experience in career transition, or they have been thoroughly briefed in federal employment matters.


John Grobe, President of Federal Career Experts, is an expert in the area of federal employee retirement and benefits.  This experience comes from his 26 year federal career in which he managed the retirement program in a 3,500-employee office of a large federal agency.  After retiring in 1997 and establishing his own company, he has provided assistance in retirement and other areas to federal agencies, individuals and private sector clients. John has delivered hundreds of federal retirement seminars.

John is also an expert in career development and transition.  He managed a professional development center for a large bureau of the Department of the Treasury and worked as a career management consultant (on a project basis) for Right Management, one of the three largest outplacement firms.  He has designed classes in career management for both employees and members of management.
John has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Illinois (Chicago) and a Masters Degree in Industrial Relations from Loyola University of Chicago.  He is a former officer of both the Association of Career Professionals, International and ASTD.


Syrena West has more than 20 years of experience with retirement and benefits programs.  She retired from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as Chief, Retirement and Benefits.  Her career spanned working for the Air Force District of Washington, the Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense Field Advisory Services and FAA.  Since retiring in 2003, she has been an independent consultant, teaching retirement planning to government employees.

Syrena’s knowledge and teaching ability result in her being name-requested by agencies for whom she has delivered previous classes.


Bob Barcus is a seasoned and energetic trainer who knows the ins and outs of federal retirement.  In Bob’s federal career, he designed retirement courses for OPM and managed two OPM training centers.  Bob is our most seasoned instructor, having provided pre-retirement classes since 1995.

Bob is an expert is special category retirement and, like the rest of FCE’s cadre of instructors, routinely received high evaluations from students.  He holds the attention of class participants with entertaining and relevant examples and stories.



Debbie Vensel is a recent OPM retiree, having spent her career at the Retirement Operations Center in Boyers, PA.  During her career she was a lead specialist, training others both in the classroom and on the job. Debbie has a way with words and is able to communicate complex rules and regulations to audiences in a clear and understandable manner.



Ehren Clovis Ehren Clovis retired from federal service after more than 31 years as a Benefits Specialist.  As a staff member of a “shared service provider,” she dealt with the employees of several different federal agencies, and acquired broad knowledge and experience with federal benefits, including the special retirement provisions for federal Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs).
Since her retirement, Ehren has been presenting pre-retirement and benefits training for Federal Career Experts and others.


Bill Walinow Bill Walinow is a retired civil servant with over 40 years of administrative and human resources experience with USDA.  Since his retirement he has been delivering pre-retirement seminars and counseling sessions for Federal Career Experts and others.  Bill’s experience extends to dealing with RIFs, VERAs, VSIPs and transfers of function.

Bill has taken an active role in federal employee concerns for both retirees and active federal employees serving as past President and Vice-President for the Athens, GA Chapter for National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) during the past four years.

Bill’s affable and approachable style makes him a favorite with participants in his seminars and makes himself available for follow-up questions long after seminars have been completed.