ALEXANDRIA, Virginia, Oct. 5, 2015 – The InVEST program awarded Michael-Charles “Mike” Hilson, vice president of G.B.G, Inc., a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agency in South Holland, Illinois, with the Dach Award which honors an insurance industry volunteer who has made tremendous contributions in fostering the growth and development of InVEST. The InVEST program is a key driver to attract new talent to the insurance industry.
“InVEST is a group effort with great mentors and volunteers, like Mike Hilson, who are the backbone of this program which is so critical for the success of the industry and financial literacy for our high school and college students,” says Cindy Hower, InVEST board chair and president of Kellerman Insurance, an independent agency in Holton, Kansas. “Mike has been the state champion for Illinois for several years and has been instrumental to the success of the InVEST program not only in Illinois but on a national level as well. We are excited and proud to present the Dach Award to Mike Hilson for his countless contributions and dedication.”
Hilson joined G.B.G., Inc., in 1994 and is currently the agency’s vice president. In addition to his leadership role at the agency, he’s active at the state and national association levels. Hilson is an active member of the Chicago area chapter of the National African-American Insurance Association (NAAIA), serves on the board of the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (IIAI) as regional director, and is also on the board of IIAI’s Young Agents Committee. For the past five years, Hilson has hosted a fundraiser for InVEST in Chicago which has also served as an opportunity to engage new volunteers and network with teachers in the area. Together, the event has raised almost $6,000 for InVEST scholarships and created opportunities for more than 70 insurance professionals and teachers each year to learn more about InVEST and gain new tools to help their programs. Hilson also coordinates with each InVEST teacher in the Chicago Public School system to gain the volunteers needed to execute the extensive six week schedule filled with many guest speakers. For the last two years, Hilson has worked with the Katie School of Insurance at Illinois State University to execute a field trip for Chicago-area InVEST students so they may attend the university for a day and learn more about insurance. In addition to the fundraiser Hilson hosts in Chicago, he also coordinates another fundraiser in partnership with the Chicago Bulls where a portion ticket sales is donated to InVEST. Hilson also personally purchases tickets so some of the teachers and students may attend the game.
Hilson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sports management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The Dach award, created in 1989, is named in memory of the program’s founder, Stephen Dach. Dach had a vision in 1970 to capture the attention of students at an early age to reveal the vast opportunities available to them in the insurance industry, which led him to begin what is now known as the InVEST program.
“The future of the independent insurance agency system and the industry as a whole depends on attracting new talent and InVEST is a big part of this development,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “Our industry needs more professionals like Mike Hilson to continue stepping up to train, inspire and teach the next generation of independent agent and industry leaders.”
As a 501(c)(3) educational trust, InVEST benefits from the support of numerous insurance organizations, hundreds of agencies, brokers and volunteers. The program provides the insurance industry with motivated, talented and intelligent professionals through a support structure of state associations, board members, national staff, teachers and the many industry professionals who work in the field as classroom liaisons.
Founded in 1970 and based in Alexandria, Va., InVEST promotes insurance education in order to attract individuals to pursue a career in the insurance industry. Each year, the program prepares thousands of students for insurance-related careers with a hands-on curriculum taught in high schools, adult education centers and colleges. The high school curriculum is a business-education program that utilizes a hands-on approach which simulates an insurance agency and company operations to prepare students for various business careers and create more knowledgeable insurance consumers. At the college level, InVEST is an information-intensive curriculum of risk management and financial services. These courses provide students with a working knowledge of the basics needed to pursue careers in the insurance industry. For more information, go to www.investprogram.org.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.