GETTING TO KNOW OUR COO
Brush Country Claims President & COO Troy Stewart shares his story of success!
I have always been a big dreamer – grand plans surrounding love, family, financial achievements, and business. But there is often a gap between our dreams and our reality. I always believed that the bigger my dreams were, the grander my reality would be. My grandfather was a dreamer too. He was a hard-working farmer who found his way into commercial real estate later in life and became wildly successful. I looked up to my grandfather for many reasons, but what I admired most was his persevering, generous and courageous outlook and attitude in all that he did. It was not until his passing that my mother gave me a copy of a poster he kept up in his office: “21 Suggestions for Success” by H. Jackson Brown Jr. My grandfather lived by these suggestions and was successful in fully executing on every one of them.
1. Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.
2. Work at something you enjoy and that’s worthy of your time and talent.
3. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
4. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
5. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
6. Be generous.
7. Have a grateful heart.
8. Persistence, persistence, persistence.
9. Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.
10. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
11. Commit yourself to constant improvement.
12. Commit yourself to quality.
13. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.
14. Be loyal.
15. Be honest.
16. Be a self-starter.
17. Be decisive even if it means you’ll sometimes be wrong.
18. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
19. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
20. Take good care of those you love.
21. Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your mom proud.
As corny as it may sound, this poster picked me up out of my lowest point. I dropped out of college when I was 20 years old to launch my first business. Against all my parent’s warnings and caution, I was committed to my endeavor. I didn’t want to look back in 50 years and say if only I had been bold and courageous (Suggestion #19) So, with no knowledge of the business, I launched my decorative concrete company. I did a 2-day training and attended a trade show the week after where I was able to book out the next several months with jobs.
I vividly remember showing up on my first job, with my 3 hours of live training and my dad as my “employee” wondering what I had gotten myself into.
I knew that my first job could make or break my business, so I was diligent and persistent and gave my first customer more than he could have expected! The job likely took me 3x longer than it should have but, in the end, it turned out beautifully and my customer was elated with the results. With my newfound courage, I continued to better my process and my craft and became more successful than I could have imagined.
In 2003, I was approached by another tradesman who proposed we join forces in a new construction company. But not there in Colorado where I was living, in Arizona! The funny thing is, I don’t recall thinking twice about it. I jumped at the opportunity and six months later moved to Arizona to launch our General Contracting company. The launch of this business was nothing like my former, it was hard. Our investor no showed the closing on the five lots where we were planning to build our first custom homes. Come to find out he had been indicted for fraud and money laundering, so even though we were very fortunate to not get tied up in his mess, we were left with big dreams and little to no money to make them come true. But we were determined and, piece by piece, built our credibility and ultimately a thriving business. Unfortunately, our successes were relatively short-lived and when the economy collapsed in 2008, we quickly found ourselves overextended with no way out.
I lost everything: houses, cars, but nothing compared to the hit to my pride and my confidence. I found myself questioning everything and blaming everyone else.
I was forced to move to Texas where my sister and her husband were generous enough to put a roof over my head while I sorted through my mess of a life. While unpacking the few belongings I had left, I came across none other than this poster. I sat on my bed in self-pity and read and re-read these words. I kept reading #18, “Stop blaming others”. It was a solemn reminder that I was solely responsible for everything that had happened, people and circumstances aside. I have held #18 close to this day and believe anything that happens in my business because of someone else’s actions is ultimately my responsibility. If mistakes are made it is because I missed an opportunity to ensure proper training or effectively communicate the vision of the company.
With a fresh outlook courtesy of H. Jackson Brown Jr., I went to work on myself and began to reintroduce structure and routine to my day. I found a job selling life insurance and met the woman of my dreams, a South Texas native who was teaching school in central Texas. I quickly fell in love, proposed, and we were married within 18 months of meeting. But I realized I was not happy selling life insurance and longed to be back out in the field building. It was then that I was offered an opportunity in catastrophic insurance adjusting. It was not an easy decision to make with a new marriage because it meant we would be apart for months at a time, but my wife knew how important it was to me and supported me wholeheartedly. It was then that I knew I had fulfilled #1: I married the right person!
Within a month I was up and running claims. It was a relatively easy transition with my extensive construction experience and I found a new passion for my work. I loved engaging with policyholders, working with them in a time of need and supporting them along the way. This interaction is still what I love most about the insurance adjusting business and now, as the President & COO of Brush Country Claims, I can affect real change in the way our company conducts business.
Everything we do, from tech innovation to new program implementation, supports our full claims solution that is built around the customer experience. They are at the center of all that we do.
I have not always been successful in abiding by all of these Suggestions for Success, but I vow each year to be better than I was the year before and I encourage our people to adopt the same philosophy.
No matter where we are in our lives, what is occurring in our world or in our great nation, there is always opportunity to grow and improve. If one person reads this and can experience a mental shift through reading, digesting, and abiding by even a handful of these suggestions, it was worth sharing my experience. Oh, and do not forget to make your mother proud!
This article was written by Troy Stewart, President and Chief Operating Officer of Brush Country Claims.
About Brush Country Claims
Brush Country Claims is an independent adjusting firm that offers a full claims solution for residential, commercial, daily, and catastrophe claim management. Brush Country utilizes an innovative suite of proprietary technology to maximize customer experience while consistently having some of the fastest cycle times in the industry. A human led, tech forward approach embraces the grassroots beginnings of the company as well as their incredible drive to propel into the future.