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February 16, 2012
The year was 1937. Still in the throes of the Great Depression, unemployment ‘improved’ from 20% the previous year to 14.3%. The major leaders of the world were FDR, Chamberlain, Stalin, and of course Adolph Hitler.
The population of Seattle was 360,000. A new car cost $760, gas was 10 cents a gallon, and you could rent a house for $26 a month. And a young man picked this time to leave the General Insurance Company (later known as Safeco) and open a one-person insurance agency in the Daily Journal of Commerce Building. His name was Charles Parker and he was joined later that year by friend Graham Smith. In 1955 they added Ed Feek, a surety expert, and Parker Smith & Feek was incorporated in 1957.
How things have changed. Parker Smith & Feek has changed as well. We have grown with the Puget Sound economy, opened an Anchorage, Alaska office in 1986 and today have over 180 employees. Quite a journey from such humble beginnings. I don’t know that Chuck Parker could have ever envisioned the company that exists today.
What is perhaps most striking is how we have not changed – our fundamental approach to our business remains the same. Early on, the die was cast to perpetuate the firm internally, as a privately held; employee-owned company, for no other reason than the leaders felt that was the best structure to deliver professional services to our growing clientele. That has always been the hallmark of Parker, Smith & Feek: the consideration that what we are providing our clients is advice – intellectual capital -not insurance policies, and that approach to our business remains the driving force of the firm today.
We are proud to celebrate 75 years of working every day to meet the increasingly complex needs of our clients and to continue to do it with the values system established so long ago. While our founders could never have foreseen the world of today or the level of success or sophistication we would attain, I know they would recognize and appreciate that the values and vision they established remain intact.