Bill Bald, president-employee benefits, has been with Melcher & Prescott for 27 years. The new executive team plans to maintain the same levels of service to its clients, while also looking for opportunities to grow the company. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)
By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The new executive team of Melcher & Prescott, which has been in place since Mike Sherman purchased the insurance firm on Nov. 1, has a message for its clients, employees and community: don’t expect any changes.
“A lot is going to stay the same,” said Bill Bald, who is now serving as president-employee benefits. Vincent “Butch” Schuck, COO, is heading the casualty and property side of the business. Sherman, who holds the titles of chairman, CEO and president, oversees both.
If there was any question about business continuing as usual, it should be resolved by the fact that Sherman is the only new face at the company – Schuck has been with Melcher & Prescott for a few years, and Bald is a 27-year employee of the company.
“It’s the same people, providing the same service,” said Schuck.
Sherman purchased the company from Tom and Chris Volpe. The Volpe family had operated Melcher & Prescott, a 150-year-old company, since 1959.
Sherman brings career of insurance experience with him. He grew a small insurance business, known as The Dawson Companies, headquartered in Rocky River, Ohio, to a regional powerhouse with several officers in the Cleveland area. Six years ago, he sold the company to a private equity firm, and continued to work for the firm until 2015. After a year out of the insurance industry, he took a position as president of another insurance company, also owned by a private equity firm.
He didn’t last long, though. He missed the days of running an independently owned insurance company, where he could focus on service instead of worrying about his company’s stock price.
“I wanted to re-enter a closely-held businesss environment, I find that a lot more rewarding, working with the clients, employees and the community,” Sherman said.
Melcher & Prescott attracted him because of its size and its positive reputation. He also liked its location. Sherman’s wife had grown up in Moultonborough, and for the past six summers they have lived in a lakeside home in Gilford.
Although he doesn’t plan to change how the company serves its clients, Sherman does have a strategy to grow Melcher & Prescott.
“I do intend to grow it.We see good oppourtnitiies in New Hampshire,” he said. “Our growth strategy in New Hampshire is twofold. We are looking for organic growth, simply by adding new clients and salespeople, and the second is acquisitive.”
“With Mike’s capital, we have a lot of opportunities,” said Bald. The company will look to expand its geographic footprint by acquiring other small firms.
In today’s industry, it’s a rarity for a small insurance company to have access to such capital without the trappings of private equity interests, said Schuck.
“Being able to maintain local, independent ownership is huge to us,” said Schuck. “We’re passionate in maintaining our independence so we can focus on doing what’s best for our clients instead of some distant shareholders.”
The new executive team plans to carry forward the company’s tradition of community involvement, said Bald.
“We want to focus on being a strong community player. Keeping that focus on the community is increasingly important to us. Butch and I can say we’re both excited to work with Mike. He’s totally committed to our people and the community,” Bald said.
As Melcher & Prescott grows, Sherman said the company will attract high quality workers.
“It’s really our goal to make Melcher & Prescott the preferred employer in the insurance space in New Hampshire. We’ll be working very hard to create the environment that attracts the best insurance talent to Melcher & Prescott. You create it by being very attentive to the needs of their associates, listening to their ideas and allowing them to participate in the leadership of the company,” said Sherman. “We are a work-with, not a work-for environment. That makes all the difference. People who have worked in both know exactly what I’m referring to.”