Meet Our Team

Gib Surles, CLU®, ChFC®, CFP®, AEP®, MSFS
Principal and Founder

Welcome! I am the Principal and Founder of The Forrest Group, L.L.C., an estate management firm in Houston, Texas.  We specialize in wealth transfer and business succession planning by utilizing life insurance.  I work with family owned businesses and successful high net worth individuals in addressing problems common to the transfer of assets, lifestyles and financial security to future generations.

I graduated from Texas A & M University in 1985 with a B.B.A in Marketing and received his Masters of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) from The American College in 2001. I was awarded the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) in 1996, Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) in 1997, Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) in 1997, and the AEP® in 1999.

I joined the New York Life Insurance Company as an Agent in June 1985 and while maintaining my primary relationship with them, I formed The Forrest Group, L.L.C. in 1995. I am a life and qualifying member of The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and a Past President of The Houston Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP). I am a former board member with The Houston Estate and Financial Forum (HEFF), where I was elected President for the year 2012-2013 and a former board member of Life Happens (formerly The Life Foundation). 

I am the 2017 Past President of New York Life’s Agents Advisory Council (AAC), where I served as a voice and a leader for our field team of over 14,000 agents.  I have also been selected as a member of Nautilus Plus, a group of top performing agents within The Nautilus Group®, a service of the New York Life Insurance Co.  As an active member of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), I act as a voice for the industry and for the consumer while lobbying on the Hill of Washington, D.C. and meeting with Congress and leaders on the important issues that are faced with challenges everyday.  I had the distinct honor of serving as President of AALU from 2011-2012.  

I have received the Benjamin N. “Woody” Woodson Award for outstanding service to the community and insurance industry in 2011 and have also received the John N. Neighbor’s Award for my special dedication to NAIFA, the insurance industry, and the community in 2013.

I am married to my beautiful wife, Lauri, and am the proud father of my son, Forrest, and my twin daughter's, Autumn and Amy.


*(MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals, is recognized globally as the standard of excellence for life insurance sales performance in the insurance and financial services industry.


Melissa K. Dyches, LSA
Director of Operations & Policy Services Manager

Ms. Dyches started with The Forrest Group in June 2001, and serves as the Director of Operations and Policy Services Manager. She is a Licensed Service Assistant with the New York Life Insurance Company. Melissa works directly with Gib and assists him with the tracking and maintaining of all new and current client relationships. In addition to that, she reviews all incoming applications and assists the client, as well as the carriers, with the underwriting process, making it more efficient for everyone. She maintains direct contact with all clients after the underwriting process is completed, by tending to policy service needs and following up when needed.  Outside of the office, Melissa is "mom" to her four dogs and enjoys reading, cooking and volunteering for many causes close to her heart, specifically animal rescue and pediatric cancer.


Marilyn T. Daniel
Financial Officer

Mrs. Daniel joined The Forrest Group in 2008 and manages the day-to-day financial operations of the company. She brings 25 years of experience in the areas of human resources, benefits and payroll services. Marilyn is a 1980 graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Management and Quantitative Analysis.  Marilyn enjoys cooking and traveling with her husband, B.D., and is most proud of her two greatest accomplishments - her daughter Angela, who is an up and coming attorney here in Houston, and her son Bill, who is a bass player for a nationally recognized jazz funk bank, based in New Orleans, LA.


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