About Us

What We Do

Smola Consulting is a full service benefit and wellness consulting firm located in Rochester, NY. We offer review, analysis, and sound recommendations of current benefit programs, in addition to implementation lead or support for new programs.

As our client, Smola Consulting will review and recommend industry leading programs as well as assist your Human Resource team with day-to-day issues, including billing, claims, membership, education, open enrollment, and fostering a culture of well-being.

Our Mission

Our mission is to educate and consult with our clients to ensure that they are making the best benefit decisions possible. Smola Consulting strives to be an extension of the organizations we work with by becoming part of their corporate culture and personally knowledgeable of their insurance needs.

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Our Philosophy

Smola Consulting believes in a “Pay It Forward” philosophy.
The hope is that the recipient of the good deed will pay forward a good deed to others, and that this philosophy will spread.

Company founder, Steve Smola, believes that we as a company and each employee can support organizations and charities that contribute to human health, happiness and hope.

Who We Are

Smola Consulting is comprised of experienced healthcare professionals. Our team has over 200 years of combined experience in the insurance industry. Our experience ranges from medical plans, ancillary plans such as Life, and Disability, as well as wellness and health promotion. We have experience working with all major carriers, both local and national. We have lead projects such as, dependent audits, government opportunities for available funding (ERRP), and selecting a vendor for on-line enrollment.

We are industry leaders in developing and supporting ongoing consortium solutions.

Our extensive knowledge and experience enables us to coordinate and implement creative solutions for our clients. We care about the success of our clients and are also always available to assist with day-to-day issues, including billing, claims, membership, and education. We are trusted and accessible consultants complemented with a broad range of products and services.

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Our Team

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Stephen Smola



Steve has worked in the insurance industry for over twenty years. He started Smola Consulting in March 2006. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (Mathematics/Statistics) from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Steve completed his Master of Science degree in Management from Roberts Wesleyan College.

He worked for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Rochester for fifteen years, where he held the position of Director of Rating & Underwriting within Actuarial Services. Steve also held the position of Vice President of Underwriting & Analysis at a local consulting firm for two and half years before starting Smola Consulting.

Steve holds his New York State Life, Accident & Health license.

Steve is also NYS Exchange -SHOP Certified and Individual Marketplace Certified .

Steve is on the Board of Directors for the Italian American Coalition for Kids and 2015 Co-chair for the Mary Cariola Children’s Center Walking on Sunshine Event. He is also actively involved in fundraising for Goodwill of the Finger Lakes and Lollypop Farm.

Steve enjoys his 2 sons, family, two dogs, baseball and hockey. He enjoys coaching his two sons and going to the many sporting events his boys are involved in.  Steve also enjoys participating in many philanthropic opportunities in our community.

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Denise Colaruotolo



Denise has worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree (Business Administration) from Rochester Institute of Technology . She worked at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in various capacities, including Sales Director and Director of Integrated Delivery Systems, where she worked with two provider systems to develop their own HMO products. She was also Senior Director for Sales and Marketing for MedAmerica, a long-term care insurance company affiliated with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

She was also Senior Director of the North American Sales Team at ElementK – a leading IT technology training company.

Denise holds her New York State Life, Accident & Health license and a certificate from the National Management Development Institute from Northwestern University, JL Kellogg School of Management.

Denise is also NYS Exchange SHOP Certified.

Denise enjoys playing tennis, cooking, traveling and spending time with family.

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Sandy Smith



Sandy has worked in the insurance industry since 1997. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from Baldwin-Wallace College and her Master’s in Applied Statistics from Bowling Green State University.

Sandy’s work experience includes a longitudinal study at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she was a data manager. She spent two years at Financial Indemnity Company, a property/casualty insurance company, where she worked in the actuarial department. She was responsible for calculating rates, preparing rate/relativity comparisons, and developing rate filings which were submitted to various insurance departments. Sandy also worked for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in the Rating & Underwriting department, as well as in the actuarial services department for ten years. She developed rates for experience rated groups, produced New York State Insurance Department regulatory filings, estimated reserve levels, prepared rate submissions for various products, and analyzed drug data to determine drug trends.

Sandy has passed two Actuarial exams and holds her New York State Life, Accident & Health license.

Sandy enjoys playing the flute, walking her dog, biking and spending time with her family.

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Dan Justis

Wellness Consultant


Dan has been working as a wellness consultant since 2017. He has implemented worksite health initiatives, programs, and policies across a broad range of client groups. He prides himself on finding creative wellbeing solutions that support individual, worksite, and community health.

Dan earned a B.S. in Kinesiology from George Mason University and an Associates in Health Care Administration from The Community College of the Air Force.

Dan is a member of the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA). He is currently certified through the Chapman Institute as a Wellness Program Coordinator and through the American College of Sport Medicine as a Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist. Dan is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance and has 600hrs of education in yoga, mindfulness, and yoga therapy.

Prior to working for Smola Consulting, Dan was a Wellbeing Strategist at MVP Health Care. While at MVP he worked simultaneously with multiple accounts as the lead Wellbeing Strategist. Before MVP, Dan worked as a Health & Wellness Specialist at the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) where he developed and created wellness programs, events, and resources for veterans nationwide. Prior to WWP, Dan worked as an Exercise Specialist at Patriot Sports Medicine in Alexandria, VA, where he coached patients of all ages, abilities, and phases of life. Dan was active duty in the Air Force and worked primarily in the Aeromedical Evacuation pipeline, where he was responsible for the transportation and care of wounded servicemembers returning home from Iraq & Afghanistan. Throughout his work experience Dan has continued to teach yoga classes and workshops.

Dan is resolute in his commitment to worksite and community health. He believes in a holistic, integrated and strategic approach to wellness: That by integrating the many variables of wellness in thoughtful small doses, the little things we do each day can have a profound impact on our quality of life. Along with his passion and dedication to the field of workplace health enhancement, Dan has an ability to connect with people while thinking strategically, often resulting in lifechanging health benefits.


Jen Nguyen

Wellness Consultant


Jen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has over a decade of combined experience in food, nutrition, fitness, health, and wellness. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Food Administration and Dietetics with an option in Nutrition and Dietetics and minored in Hospitality Management. She completed her dietetic internship at Cornell University.

Jen’s philosophy around nutrition is to focus on more plants while finding enjoyment and balance with food. She empowers her clients by educating them on nutrition's core foundations to offer sustainable results and refrain from total restriction to help prevent nutrition-related diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. In the fitness world, Jen teaches strength-based classes at 3TC several times a week for adults looking to increase their lean muscle mass, prevent injury, and stay athletic throughout early and late adulthood.

Prior to joining the Smola Consulting team, Jen was a school dietitian at Victor Central School District, fitness coach and dietitian at Midtown Athletic Club, and a founding member of Sweet Pea Plant-Based Kitchen’s Nutrition Coaching Services.

Outside of wellness consulting, Jen enjoys writing, presenting, mentoring, and volunteering in leadership positions for the regional, state, and national dietetic associations.

In her spare time, Jen and her husband, Rob, and boxer dog, Kiwi enjoy spending time outdoors, trail running, playing pickleball, cooking, and striving to complete the 46 ADK High Peaks. 

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Joseph Hamway



Joe has worked in the insurance industry since 2003. He earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Rochester. He holds a Master of Applied Finance degree from the Newcastle Graduate School of Business in Newcastle, Australia, where he later earned his Doctor of Business Administration degree. Joe was a member of the Rating & Underwriting team at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield during 2003 and 2004.

He holds his New York State Life, Accident & Health license.

He is also NYS Exchange SHOP Certified and Individual Marketplace Certified.

Joe has enjoyed his many years in Rochester in various student, volunteer, and work roles, including a year serving the Rochester community through the Rochester AmeriCorps National Community Service Program.

Joe enjoys spending time with his wife, playing with his children, and watching them discover new things every day.

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Shelly Avery



Shelly has been working in the insurance industry for over 10 years. She earned her Bachelors of Business Administration with a dual major in Risk Management & Insurance and Human Resources from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.

While in college Shelly interned in the HR department of a Property & Casualty insurance company, PMA Insurance Group in Blue Bell, PA. Post-graduation, she began working at ACE USA in Philadelphia, PA. During her time on the underwriting team, she underwrote for a multitude of products including AD&D, Business Travel, Study Abroad Insurance, Defense Base Act Insurance, and War Risk Insurance. In 2007 she moved to Rochester taking a position with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. In her first three years she worked for the Rating and Underwriting team and spent her last 5 years as an Information Consultant (IC) in the Finance Department. In her IC roll Shelly presented to her clients utilization patterns, market and health care trends, and health management and wellness initiatives.

Shelly holds her New York State Life, Accident & Health license and has passed two Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) exams.

Shelly participates in various events for national charities including Bright Pink, American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. She has also served as a committee member of the inaugural Roc City Roller Derby (RCRD) while also participating as one of the founding skaters.

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Rick Amundson

Wellness Consultant


Rick joined the Smola Consulting Team in December 2016 after working for Excellus BCBS for nearly 5 years as a Health and Wellness Consultant. Rick holds BS, MS and CAS degrees from the College at Brockport in Physical Education and Administration. He is also an adjunct professor in the department of Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education

Rick worked in public education for 34 years most recently serving as the Superintendent of Schools in Lyons. Previous to that, he was the Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics for the Webster School District.

Health and Wellness is a passion for Rick. He holds professional health and wellness certifications from the Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research, the American College of Sports Medicine and Rochester Institute of Technology. Also, he is a Past President of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Rick and his wife Diane enjoy spending time with their 4 grandchildren at their Keuka Lake home. He also enjoys kayaking, biking and experimenting with whole food plant based recipes.

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Jennifer Noce



Jennifer started at Smola Consulting in June, 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (Psychology/Elementary Education) and a Master of Science in Special Education from St. John Fisher College.

Jennifer’s work experience includes 18 years for the Diocese of Rochester at St. Lawrence School, teaching children grades 3-6 for 18 years.  She holds an NYS license in Special Education, birth through age 21, as well as Elementary pre-k through 6th grade.

Jennifer volunteers her time within the community working with children who need extra support as well as enjoying the outdoors with her family and friends.

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Joyce Ellis

Operations Manager


Joyce joined Smola Consulting in January, 2021, after working for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for over 20 years. Her roles there included Manager of Enterprise PMO Operations, Project Manager in the areas of Information Technology, Quality, and Medical Services, and Regional Manager of Broker Programs and Sales Performance. She most recently worked as a Special Projects Manager in Business Efficiency.

Joyce earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from Rochester Institute of
Technology. She holds her New York State Life, Accident & Health license, and a Project Management Professional certification (PMP).

Being active in the community, Joyce has volunteered for various charities, such as Willow Domestic Violence Center, formerly Alternatives for Battered Women (ABW), and Bivona Child Advocacy Center. She also served on the Board of ABW and was twice the Event Chair for their annual fundraiser.

Joyce enjoys travel and spending time with her husband and family, especially their four young grandchildren.

Let our team handle all of your insurance and health promotion needs

About Us

Smola Consulting is a full service benefit
and wellness consulting firm

Our mission

Our mission is to educate and consult with our clients to ensure that they are making the best benefit decisions possible

Contact Us



260 East Main Street, Suite 2400 Rochester, NY 14604