PIA Washington-Alaska Executive Vice President Clark Sitzes got a standing ovation at last week’s PIA Washington and independent agents (IIABW) annual joint conference.
He is retiring.
Members of both associations clapped and cheered. Some shed a tear or two as PIA Washington President Heidi Duncan talked about how much Clark has meant to the PIA and to independent agents, brokers and companies in the last few decades.
She called him quietly amazing.
“I use the word ‘quiet’ deliberately. Though Clark leads an association of independent insurance agents in 9 states, he leads that association quietly,” she said. “He works best behind the scenes and in the background. His philosophy is that he runs an agent association that is FOR agents. Though he has input, and often offers very good advice, he wants agents to make decisions on how that association operates and the direction it goes.”
Heidi Duncan says that collaborative management philosophy that has worked incredibly well for the PIA Washington-Alaska.
“His work on behalf of the independent agency system has benefitted agents, agencies and companies who are within and outside of the PIA,” Duncan added. “The list of what he has done for this industry is too long to do here. What you do need to know is that all of us have benefitted from his hard work on our behalves.”
One example she did give was how quickly he and the PIA responded to Washington Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s ill-conceived ban on credit scoring.
“I have known Clark Sitzes for 20-years. It was Clark who pushed me into a deeper leadership role in the PIA. He saw things in me that I didn’t see. That push radically changed my life and how I see the industry of insurance and my place in the grand scheme of things,” Duncan concluded. “Many of you have had similar experiences with Clark and because of his leadership, and how he values you, it has led you to serve in ways you never thought you could serve.”
She also noted his influence isn’t just in Washington State.
“It was Clark who gave PIA National the branding it used to use to identify, and separate itself from the competition,” she said. “Main Street agents serving main street America was the slogan.”
In conclusion, Duncan noted that Clark Sitzes will be impossible to replace.
“I don’t want to drag this out and I know Clark does not either. He is a modest man who would rather praise go to others. Clark does not seek the limelight. However, when Clark is in the limelight, few of us shine more brightly,” Duncan concluded. “Clark Sitzes. Do know this, you are one of a kind and will be impossible to replace. We love you and thank you for what you have so selflessly done for us for so many years.”
And with that, the room stood and applauded the career of a man who has made a tremendous difference to the independent agency system in the state of Washington.
A Lot of Love at the PIA Washington and IIABW Conference
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The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.
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