1 How would you describe your approach to leadership?
Focused, thoughtful and impactful. We have a very talented team of stakeholders here. Everyone shares a common goal and commitment to exemplify "The Starkweather Difference." We push and pull, challenge one another daily for the development and benefit of the firm, our associates and our valued clients.
2 What do you want to accomplish at the helm of Starkweather & Shepley?
To pay it forward. S&S is an insuring institution, a 138-year-old Rhode Island-based firm that has been thoughtfully and fiscally positioned for the future by strong leadership. Our vision and 2020 objective is to reach $70 million in revenue. A combination of strong organic growth and prudent acquisition should enable us to achieve this goal.
3 How will you accomplish those goals?
By focusing on our two greatest assets: our associates and clients. We will continue to evolve, support and drive associate development by leveraging training, education and supporting industry best practices.
4 Should we expect continued growth through acquisitions?
Growth by acquisitions will always be a part of our business. S&S is unique, as it's an established firm placed in trust since 1935. We believe this ownership structure uniquely positions us relative to our competition. Our intentions and interests are not based on returns to shareholder stock. Instead, our trust structure ensures our existence and perpetuity for the benefit of our clients and our associates. Our profile acquisitions align more closely with agents and agencies of similar interest, culture and commitment to clients and associates.
5 What is the No. 1 challenge facing the insurance industry, and what's Starkweather doing about it?
In my opinion, of all the challenges every industry – including insurance – faces, it is the aging and retirement of top talent and one's ability to attract new, best-in-class talent to both replace and grow our business. Here at S&S, we are deeply dedicated to Rhode Island and to the mission of sourcing, developing and mentoring new associates so they become committed stakeholders for our 13 offices throughout New England, in addition to our new Ft. Myers, Fla., location. For Starkweather, we believe it's all about talent, culture, technology and change. •