- About PS&F
- Industry Focus
- Client Tools
- Education & Events
February 22, 2019
I view my role here two ways; firstly as a support role. I think that our account managers and teams are really the service all-stars, and I support them. It’s my job to cultivate a team; there’s an old saying that, “The smartest person in the room is the person who brought the smartest person to the room.” I need to know where those strengths lie in order to bring the right people to the table at the right time.
Secondly is being a kind of caddie to the business owner or CFO. Not everyone “speaks insurance,” so a lot of clients are only aware of the challenges that they’re facing – but not the potential solutions. It’s my job to walk alongside the owner, CFO, or whoever else is in charge of their program, translate the jargon into layman’s terms, and keep their costs in the fairway.
When I was about 27, I had a serious health scare that turned out to be a false alarm, but it still got me asking some of the bigger questions in life. I started looking into different ways to help out with various non-profits, mostly working with at-risk youth. There was a common challenge of making the right mentors available to the kids who really needed them. I can’t remember exactly how, but one day I came across The First Tee and it all just clicked for me. Here was an organization that was providing the right kind of coaching and mentorship opportunities for kids from all walks of life using golf; the only problem was that there wasn’t a Tacoma branch.
Essentially, The First Tee is the PGA Tour’s youth development program. It started in 1997 as a way to bring the game of golf to youth and communities that wouldn’t otherwise have access. At the time in 2010, there was only a Seattle branch in the Puget Sound region. I already was working with numerous organizations in the area that served at-risk youth; it was just a matter of me bringing the right people together for the right purpose.
We raised the needed funds, assembled a board, I put together a business plan, and we were off. They asked if I would serve as Executive Director to spearhead everything, which I was honored to do, and it just exploded over the ensuing five years. We were even lucky enough to host the U.S. Open at one of our youth programming courses, Chambers Bay.
I learned a ton while working for them. Being a 30-year-old Executive Director with a 20-member board came with some challenges. I actually went back to school for my Master’s degree (with my father, no less!) to use my work at The First Tee as my thesis project and analyze our success through a business communications framework. It was a great experience.
From my vantage point, the way that technology is pushing forward right now is fascinating. Payroll vendors have started encroaching on our space a bit with adding broker, HR, and enrollment tools, but we as “consultants” are still very much needed to advise.
The market is flooded with new technology, but how do you best leverage it for the benefit of your employees? What makes one solution great for one particular organization, but a terrible offering for another? It comes down to us understanding our clients’ businesses and their demographics, and really listening to their needs. Once we have that full picture, we can help navigate the options available and prescribe the best choice. Designing an effective program still comes down to me listening, understanding, and learning, even with all of this new technology being rolled out.
I met my wife in college at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. She’s from Hawaii and dances Hula. I actually introduced her onstage as a part of our college Hawaii Club Luau the first time I saw her dance. She was in the journalism department and worked as an editor at the paper, where I was an opinion writer.
We ended up moving up the Washington and got married in 2006, two years after we graduated. We have two boys now: Pax, 8; and Kai, 6. We wanted to have unique names because I was always Matt #4 growing up (laughs).
But we live in Gig Harbor, close to my family, which is great. We do try to make a trip to Hawaii every year to see her family, as well.
I’m really just passionate about Tacoma and this community. I’m honored that I get to serve as a kind of ambassador for Parker, Smith & Feek’s really unique business model, and impact the overall client experience.
We have a bit of a chip on our shoulder in the South end, so I feel like I’m carrying a torch in a way.
I was voted best dancer in high school. If there’s a 90s/early 2000s hip hop playlist that comes on at a company party, then that might come out for everyone to see.
After my experience with The First Tee, I really enjoy playing golf. I always liked the game, but that really made me fall in love with it. We used it as a tool with which to mentor, so I learned a lot about how the game can be a form of understanding life, and help you mindfully handle emotions better.
I also help coach my sons’ basketball teams. My wife’s an excellent cook as well, and we like traveling and enjoying good food.
The commission structure of the industry; it’s just an inherent conflict of interest. I try to hold myself to a high level of ethics and come from a non-profit background, which is very transparent in terms of compensation. That transparency is crucial for this industry, both for what we do as brokers, and for the carriers and providers of healthcare.
As I mentioned earlier, technology is helping to drive a lot of that transparency. Nowadays you can compare how much a particular procedure will cost you at one hospital versus another. It’s still difficult within our industry because there are so many people in the middle of the consumer and the product, and we have a long ways to go. But, I’m excited to see where it goes.
Where are you from? Gig Harbor, Washington
Family? Wife, Nicole; son, Pax (8); son, Kai (6)
Favorite author? Dave Eggers
Tacoma favorites? Korean BBQ in South Tacoma, Wooden City cocktails, vinyl shops on 6th Ave, Proctor District, etc. etc…#cityofdestiny