Born: Phenix, Va.
Education: Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., bachelor of science degree, business management; Virginia Commonwealth University, MBA
What is the greatest business challenge you’ve ever faced?
As a manager, the biggest challenge was moving to Indiana. My wife and I were both from a small town. I had a very secure job with Farm Bureau in Virginia. The challenge of picking up and moving to take on a bigger challenge here in Indiana where I didn’t know anybody and had a staff where I needed to earn their respect. A big key was just to come in and listen to people’s concerns and listen to what they did and look at the types of jobs they did instead of trying to come in and just change it to my way. We started working very close together as a group on strategic issues to get their input and learned a lot about what people knew about the company and how they went about doing their job.
Whom do you admire most?
My father-in-law, John Lyle. He’s just a great person. He was in a small town himself. Their town was very small, and he had a small business. Everybody listens to him, and he has a lot of wisdom. He always knew where he was going in life and was very well-based.
Canada on growth: From Indiana’s perspective, years and years ago, it probably would have been easier to get out of our niche because the farm business is dwindling, even though agriculture is still a large part of the state of Indiana. It would probably have been easy to say, ‘Let’s branch off into other areas, maybe commercial lines, and not worry about the farm business.’ The key is just to stay with it and have faith in what you do.