Our Team

Howard Shandell
General Partner

Midwest Benefit Advisors, Inc.

Howard Shandell was born in New Jersey, the land of Springsteen. He grew up in Philadelphia where he was introduced to the insurance industry by his Father who was a broker for Mutual of Omaha. It was Mutual that brought Howard to the Midwest. He married an Omaha girl and started an insurance agency.
Howard has over three decades of experience providing insurance solutions for businesses and families in the Midwest. Together with Tim Longwell, Kelly Becerra and Donne Petersen, Midwest Benefit Advisors is a trusted and valued partner in the business community.

He is married to Diane and has two daughters – one at KU rooting on the Jayhawks and one living in the nation’s capital as an attorney for the Department of Justice. Hobbies include family, food, football and a good joke. Active in the community, Howard is proud to Chair the Omaha Charity Sports Banquet presented by B’nai B’rith raising money for families in Omaha and the surrounding communities.


  • Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences
  • Chartered Life Underwriter
  • Chartered Financial Consultant

Kelly Becerra, Senior Account Executive

Midwest Benefit Advisors, Inc.

Kelly Becerra was born and raised in Omaha Nebraska. Her insurance career started with Mutual of Omaha in 1986 as a claims auditor and customer service representative. Kelly’s drive for growth and a more challenging career led her to the broker side of the insurance industry in 1991. She has been selling and managing benefit plans ever since. Kelly has an extensive background with marketing, placement and implementation of benefit plans for groups of all sizes.

Her experience on both sides of the industry supports her understanding of employee and employer insurance options. Over the years she has built and continues to build positive client relationships. With her assertive and outgoing personality, she gets the job done. The variations and client interactions are the best part of her job. There is never a dull moment in the insurance industry. “You think you have heard it all and then you get that question or situation that has never been asked or occurred.”

“At this time the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is keeping everyone focused. What could be more exciting and challenging than working with the ACA?”

MBA was fortunate to have Kelly join the firm in 2004. Her decades of experience, is another valuable piece to the MBA organization. Raising 3 boys has kept her active in sports, church and Boy Scouts.
Kelly enjoys Life and Country Music! Her most enjoyable times are spent with family, friends and her dog traveling, camping, fishing, boating, and recently biking.

“It’s Time for Living!!!”


  • Associate’s Degree in Business and Insurance Management – Metropolitan Community College.

Tim Longwell
General Partner

Midwest Benefit Advisors, Inc.

Tim’s 30 years of experience in the insurance industry specializes in Group Health and Welfare plans while helping his clients stay in compliance (DOL/IRS) with the ACA and ERISA laws. In 2004 Tim, and his current partner, Howard Shandell opened Midwest Benefit Advisors, Inc. (MBA).

MBA is an Independent Consulting firm specializing in fully insured, self-funded plans, patient advocacy center programs, and captive options. At MBA we set the bar high with our excellent customer service and doing what is right for our clients!

Tim recognizes that many small, mid-size, and large companies were not receiving unbiased and transparent advice with regards to their benefit decisions. MBAs foundation is built on independence, experience, transparency, and doing what’s right for our clients.

Tim has demonstrated his expertise in optimizing fully insured, self-funded, alternative funding and managed care driving innovative solutions with large to small groups throughout his 30 years. In Tim’s free time he participates in many foundation and charitable events. Tim has been there many times for family, and friends/clients when there’s a need. Tim is an avid Husker and Packer fan for life. Tim also played college football at UNO.

Professional Certifications

  • NAHU Self-Funded Certified


  • University of Nebraska at Omaha – Marketing and Management

Donne Petersen
Senior Account Executive

Midwest Benefit Advisors, Inc.

Donne delivers high quality and thorough account administration with large group clients, clientele with multiple lines of coverage and individual policy holders. Originally from the Gulf Coast, Donne’s southern charm and hospitality are an asset in providing impeccable customer service. Her expertise in Clinical Counseling, background in Management and vast knowledge of software programs elevates MBA’s level of service to their customers.

Outside the office, in addition to road trips, watching feel-good football movies and trying new things, Donne enjoys spending time with her family, including her new granddaughter Peyton Jean (not to imply her age, she’s just a young Grandma!).

“May you live every day of your life.” Jonathan Swift


  • Master of Science ǀ Clinical Mental Health Counseling, University of Nebraska ǀ Omaha, NE
  • Bachelor of Science ǀ Major: Secondary Education ǀ Minors: Mathematics and Sociology, University of Nebraska ǀ Omaha, NE

Contact MBA to learn about our performance based strategies. It is time for your company to pay for results, not activities. Arrange a 20 minute risk-free consultation to learn more.