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July 20, 2018
My role is to provide on-the-ground claims support for our clients and staff here in Alaska, and in the lower 48 as needed. I’m mainly focused on the workers’ compensation realm, having just moved over from a position with the State Division of Workers’ Compensation. Alaska being a non-monopolistic workers’ comp state gives us as the broker more opportunity than in Washington to manage claims, because we can directly work with the adjusters overseeing claims rather than giving up all control to the state.
For me, it was seeing the culture of the firm…or, rather, experiencing the culture. I was working for an outside vendor at Parker, Smith & Feek’s Anchorage office holiday party, which is usually a closed event to non-employees. It was a helpful peek through the curtains to meet my future coworkers in a casual setting. That gave me a great insight into the real culture of the place.
Then through research, asking around town, and the course of the actual interviews, I realized that the insurance industry was ripe for young professionals and Parker, Smith & Feek’s sterling reputation made it a prime firm to join. However, what really drew me was the fact that it’s a collaborative company with great character. It’s a place where you really want to come in and work.
It all started when I first moved up to Alaska. I didn’t have any jobs lined up ahead of time; I moved here because I was looking for more snow than LA had to offer. Once here, I found a position with the State of Alaska in their Division of Workers’ Compensation. Through that position, I became intimately familiar with workers’ comp law and how it is applied. Later, I was able to leverage that expertise into my current position here at Parker, Smith & Feek.
If you’re going to do something, do it right; that’s always been my guiding compass. That means not cutting corners, but rather giving your best effort every time.
I do! I volunteer as a bartender in the winter as part of the community run Arctic Valley Ski Area in Anchorage. It’s run by the Anchorage Ski Club, which is a non-profit. The Army first developed the ski area as a recreation site for soldiers in WWII. It’s a great way to satiate my downhill skiing craving while helping keep a fun and historic piece of the skiing world up and running.
My father. He was the best and most visible example of what I thought a businessman should be. He worked for Chrysler for the vast majority of his career, and had an incredible work ethic while also being very active at home. Seeing his dedication to his work while also being a present and involved father with the family was inspiring. That’s a huge part of what drives me.
I like to be able to help people, and that’s exactly what we get to do in insurance. We provide our clients a piece of mind with an insurance policy. Then, from a claims perspective, if they ever have to use the policy, we are there to advocate on their behalf to mitigate any damage.
I’d love to find a way to make insurance inherently a topic that grabbed people’s attention. From my claims perspective, the opportunity to find solutions and outcomes that will positively affect a business in its time of need is inspiring. Sure, people may understand the importance of insurance, especially when a large loss or other event occurs, but sometimes the subject matter can definitely leave the most well intentioned people disinterested or half-asleep.
I hold a Brazilian passport. Every year I have to apply for my exemption from mandatory Brazilian military service, and if I ever travel there, I don’t have to pay for visa fees. This also usually gives me a fun team to root for in the World Cup (darn Belgium).
I was born there, but we did a lot of moving around. That goes back to my dad working for Chrysler. He got on the international track first by helping with the opening of Chrysler Mexico, where my sister was born. Then it took us to Brazil, then to Detroit, then out to Austria, before we moved back to Detroit.
I have this one specific memory of falling in love with calamari while sitting next to a canal in Venice when I was eight. That early exposure to cuisine and culture kicked off an excitement for both that I still maintain today.
Anything active and outdoors! Skiing is my big one. I got the bug when we lived in Austria in the early 90s because skiing is such a huge part of the culture there. We’d go on school trips for P.E. class up to the Alps, and it was pretty easy to fall in love with.
I spend summertime mountain biking, hiking, and camping. Anything to get into the mountains.
I’ve got two brothers and a sister. One brother lives here in Anchorage with his wife. My sister is down in Dallas, Texas, and is getting married this fall. My other brother is a bit farther away – he’s about to move back from Japan. He’s getting married too in August, then moving to LA. My dad passed away, but my mom still lives in Detroit. We’re all close and make a point of getting together for a big vacation once a year. It never matters where – what’s important is that we spend time together regularly.
My enjoyment of the sport came primarily from playing it, which I loved. Nowadays I will catch some scores here and there, and then head outside for some fun of my own.
Luckily, nothing too crazy. One of the things I learned while getting my certification was that you don’t want backcountry skiing to get too exhilarating. It is much like what I learned early while working in private security – if you do have to deal with something exciting, then you’ve done a few things wrong along the way. Backcountry skiing is very safe…as long as you’re constantly evaluating risk.
That being said, I did kick off a small avalanche a couple years ago in Valdez. Seeing a whole mountain of snow turn into basically liquid was pretty shocking, and something I’m not going to forget any time soon. Luckily, nobody was caught in the slide and we learned some valuable lessons.