Insurance was never something I was even aware of until I was in college working towards my accounting degree and took a summer job helping an insurance agency design and implement an accounting system. By the end of the summer I had decided to drop out of college and become an insurance agent. It freaked out my parents but that was 30 years ago, and I wouldn’t go back and do it any differently.
What was your first job?
My first job was an agency owner with Farmers Insurance and that lasted 27 years. A series of events opened my eyes to the IA opportunity and in 2013 I partnered up with my good friend Andrew Cowan (also a Farmers agent at the time) and we launched FirstMark Insurance Group with offices in Seattle and Phoenix.
Do you have children that you hope will follow in your insurance footsteps someday?
I had hopes but unfortunately, I don’t think any of my 3 kids will make this a career choice. My youngest son gave it a shot for a year, before deciding it wasn’t for him.
What is your favorite thing about insurance?
I love being self-employed. I love residual income. I love the opportunity to build a business that provides for so many employees and their families.
How do you spend your free time outside of work?
Favorite places to go or things to do? My two passions outside of work are golfing and biking. Ideally I mix travel with those two things – biking in Croatia and France as well as golfing in Ireland and Scotland.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from someone in the industry that you constantly refer back to?
The first thing that comes to mind was when an agent handed me Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth Revisited. That changed the way I viewed and ran my agency and was the catalyst for me.
What is your favorite 90’s Jam?
Hmmm… probably Metallica and Enter Sandman
What pushed you to join a network and why PIIB specifically?
Andrew and I knew it would be difficult to garner appointments as a couple of captive agents looking to make the IA move with no IA experience. We also knew we were going to need help getting on our feet. We met the PIIB team at a conference and it was a great fit from the start.
Tell us a little more about your agency. Do you write all lines? Have a niche? Future growth goals?
We run at roughly a 75/25 split between personal and commercial lines. Our main office is in a small suburb of Seattle called Edmonds and that is where most of our team works from. We have grown to over 30 employees and are very excited about the future.
We finish the interview and you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that gets you $10M, what do you do?
I would spend at least 3 seconds feeling sorry for the poor soul that lost the ticket….. 😊 I actually feel extremely blessed and truly “need” nothing. So, I hope I would find all kinds of wonderful things to do with that money that would help and bless others. Now, if you forced me to spend some of it on myself, it would involve golf and biking in exotic locations and I would probably hire a full time chef for my wife so she never has to set foot in the kitchen again!!! #happywife