Charlie Lydekcer is chairman and CEO of Foundation Risk Partners, a position he has held since the company was founded in 2017. He has more than 32 years’ experience in the insurance industry and is a member of the Board of Governors of Florida’s State University System, as well as a trustee of American University. Lydecker is a member of the NASCAR Foundation board, the Halifax Foundation Board and is chairman of the Volusia/Flagler YMCA. Thirty-seven percent of the company’s revenue comes from clients in Florida.
What implications do you see for your organization resulting from the coronavirus and how are you mitigating the potential risks and challenges?
Foundation Risk Partners is uniquely well-suited to assess and overcome the risks and challenges of today’s environment because of the key roles many of our executives play in Florida and in the community of Volusia County. We specialize in an industry that is focused on analyzing risk exposure and providing solutions to minimize potential loss. For instance, Tom Leek, our Chief Legal Officer and EVP, also serves as a member of the Florida House of Representatives, sitting on the Speaker’s Leadership Team and chairing the House Pandemic & Public Emergencies Committee. And Alan Florez, FRP’s National Sales Director, serves on the Halifax Health Board of Commissioners of Halifax Health Medical Center. Our access to information and data was unparalleled in our community and allowed us to make smart and thoughtful decisions for our organization over the past 18 months during the pandemic.
What actions have you taken or will take to return to the growth expectations you had as 2019 ended? When will it be achieved?
Over the last four years, Foundation Risk Partners exploded onto the middle market insurance scene. For us, it wasn’t about returning to our 2019 growth expectations but exceeding them. We knew from the beginning that first and foremost you have to be there for your clients. Second, we needed to have an amazing team in place to make that happen, and we continue to focus on building and maintaining the best team around. In 2017, we had the foresight to invest a great deal of time and money in our team of professionals and in the latest technologies and proven processes in all areas of business (Commercial, Employee Benefits, Personal and Special Programs). This allowed us to quickly pivot processes to limit disruption and thus left us better prepared to manage the pandemic and be there when our clients were in need.
An organization’s culture flows from the top down. What leadership skills do you find effective in promoting the agency’s mission and vision to employees, clients and customers?
We pay our team members well and they earn their pay every day, but what makes us successful is that they give us their hearts as well. Everyone on our team is committed to a singular mission – to build a better mouse trap by putting the interests of our clients above all else. We have developed the most professional, talented, and trusting team as possible who are devoted to maintaining a healthy workplace culture. Because of our dedication to our founding principles and our team, we’ve quickly grown to become one of the Top 20 middle-market insurance brokerages in the entire country. The FRP growth-strategy is based on building thoughtful partnerships. We do not arbitrarily aggregate agencies, but instead establish relationships with leaders, sales producers and account managers that contribute to our mission and culture. We have a healthy collaboration of senior industry leaders with decades of experience who mentor younger college graduates with disciplines in business, finance, economics, risk management and law eager to learn about the evolving global marketplace and how acquisitions and intelligent integration is strategized. One strengthens the other, as does continuous individual development and team building; the stability of our growth trajectory is based on the fundamental principal of wedding complementary talents and knowledge of individual parts into a successful organization so team members feel confident in their own work and experience personal job satisfaction, which is then translated to our clients.
At EVOLVE we have a shared belief that leaders develop their success skills by overcoming the challenges and adversity they face. Do you believe that hypothesis and if so, what adversity have you faced and overcome that helped put you where you are today?
We have weathered many high-risk storms and disasters – quite literally — from hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, economic crises and now a pandemic. And sadly, we have experienced personal loss of some influential team leaders from the FRP family. We celebrated their individualism, sense of community and years of expert leadership. Together we continue to mourn their loss, but we also are inspired by the significant mark each one has left. That inspiration and our laser-focused strategies have enabled us to remain competitive, grow to almost 1,600 team members in four years with 138 locations in 92 cities across the U.S. and propel us to being a Top 20 brokerage in the nation.
What closing comments or counsel would you offer to emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs to continue their path to success?
You will be faced with challenges; some you saw coming and some you did not. Your supporters will cheer you from the sidelines, while your detractors will try to tear you down. Stay the course. Surround yourself with positive, intelligent, experienced leaders, and a special synergy forms aligning interests. We maintain momentum not just by remaining focused on our planned objectives, but by setting new initiatives that advance our operations, technology, and internal and external communications, which is key to overall business success for our clients, partner agencies and team members. Throughout the pandemic, we put our team first and encouraged individual self-care to protect one’s personal health and immune system. We now have team members in 14 states, including New York, Texas, California and Florida. Despite current and past-year challenges, we have all come together and continue to build and strengthen the collaborative culture of this great organization year-after-year, and we do that by following our mission and by understanding risks and always being prepared for the unknown.