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April 30, 2020
Employee benefits and employer needs are always shifting. I see my role as serving as an advocate for the employer, to help navigate something that’s complex, and distill it into something palatable. There’s a really high need for that.
One thing that I find super compelling is the advance of telemedicine. The level of care that you can receive is constantly growing; you can get prescriptions filled and video conference with doctors, often with minimal or no copay. More and more carriers are providing that, but there’s also even standalone plans that can be enabled to complement tradition medical plans.
I was told by an older gentleman and a mentor something pretty profound about marriage roughly six years ago. He said, “It doesn’t matter how much you love someone. What matters is how much they feel loved by you.” It’s been a guiding principle for me in all my relationships with people, as well as my marriage.
You may think that you care deeply about somebody, but if they aren’t aware that you do through your actions or otherwise, then what value are your feelings?
A gaming software developer. I even started that program in college, but quickly learned that I wanted to work with people, and sitting behind a desk writing code wouldn’t really let me do that. So I decided to switch gears.
Through my church I work with a group called opens in a new windowHope Worldwide. It’s a needs-based organization that does all sorts of cool things around the world. I contribute both financially and with time spent. There’s a local chapter in Tacoma I work with.
For the last couple of years I’ve also been involved with opens in a new windowEmbrace Oregon, which helps place kids in foster care. It’s been really rewarding to work with a group that supports that need with a solid structure and coordinated effort.
It gave me the privilege to work with a lot of different types of people with all sorts of personalities. I had to learn how to build relationships in order to help them – and everyone had different needs or preferences on that. Whether it was being a mentor or just a friend, that role helped me understand how to work with people from diverse backgrounds and to help them accomplish their unique goals. Today I use that experience to be an advocate for my clients and their employees, no matter their backgrounds or demographic profiles.
I captained an ultimate frisbee team in Wisconsin for five years. I helped build the team and secure sponsorship from a local brewery too. We played twice a week and always had beers at the brewery afterwards.
I like to be active; whether that’s climbing a mountain or skiing. My whole family loves to be outside, so we travel together a lot, whether it’s local camping in our RV or farther abroad.
I also love to golf, when I can, of course.
I grew up in Union City, which is a suburb just outside of San Jose, California, and stayed there up through my senior year of high school. From there, I moved up to Spokane, Washington, and was able to get in-state tuition at Eastern Washington University, where I met my wife. We got married right out of college, packed up a U-Haul, and drove through the Yukon to Alaska. We lived in Anchorage for a year before an opportunity came up that I couldn’t turn down: to work at a nonprofit associated with the University of Wisconsin. I actually was lucky enough to watch Russell Wilson play his senior year there.
Then we lived in Portland, Oregon for two years before moving up to Seattle, where we live now.
I’m the type of person who’s passionate about anything that I happen to be involved in. Employee benefits provides an avenue for me to be strategic and creative. There’s just so many options out there, and most employers need help making sense of them. They need someone to stop and listen to their story and needs, ask the right questions, and then translate that information into relevant recommendations.
But even beyond that, I need to be cognizant that those decisions also impact employees, whether it’s a payroll deduction or a change in the level of care that they’ll be receiving. I really relate strongly to employees in that regard.
For a long time, I was studying computer science and thinking that I might be a video game developer. Writing code is so creative – you’re essentially building what you can imagine. With benefits, there’s so many choices out there that the ultimate program design is completely up to your imagination, all the way down to the contribution strategy. I find that kind of work really fun.
Where are you from? Bay Area, California
Family? Wife, Jolynn; daughters, Charlie and Adeline
Favorite vacation spot? Sierra Nevadas, I’ve hiked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park
Favorite musician? Dave Matthews Band
Seattle favorites? Proximity to some of the most beautiful places in the world: Olympic National Park, Mr. Rainier, etc.
Favorite food? Salmon