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Big “I” Installs New Leadership Team

Connecticut’s Spencer Houldin as Chairman, Oklahoma’s Vaughn Graham as Chairman-Elect, Massachusetts’s Joe Leahy as Vice Chairman; John Costello of New York Joins Executive Committee.

EC 092016 cropped.jpgALEXANDRIA, Virginia, Sept. 10, 2016 — Spencer Houldin was inaugurated today as the new chairman of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”), with Vaughn Graham as chairman-elect and Joe Leahy as vice chairman. Earlier in the day, John Costello was elected by IIABA’s board as an at-large executive committee member. The new officers and at-large member begin their terms at the conclusion of the board meeting held in conjunction with the Big “I” Fall Leadership Conference this weekend in Chicago. 

“The Big ‘I’ is honored to have such a distinguished group of professionals among the association’s leaders,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “Spencer Houldin, Vaughn Graham, Joe Leahy and John Costello, along with the rest of the executive committee and officers, are an outstanding team of industry leaders who position us well for a productive year.”
Houldin.gifHouldin.gifSpencer M. Houldin is president of Ericson Insurance Advisors, a second generation, insurance agency with offices in Litchfield County, Connecticut, and New York City. From 2008 - 2011, Houldin served as chairman of the Big “I” Government Affairs Committee and testified before numerous congressional committees on behalf of the association. He also represented the state of Connecticut on the IIABA Board from 2006 to 2011. In 2004, Houldin served as Independent Insurance Agents of Connecticut president. He has held seats on agent advisory councils for several insurance companies. Houldin is also active in his local community serving on the executive committees of Western Connecticut Health Network, which is a multi-hospital organization. He is also past president of the local rotary. Houldin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Lafayette College. He resides in Roxbury, Connecticut, with his wife, Carol, and two children.

Vaughn cropped.jpgVaughn Graham is president of Rich & Cartmill, Inc. headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a past chairman of the IIAO and has served on the Big “I” national board of directors. Graham was recognized in 2012 with IIAO’s highest honor, The Eagle of Excellence Award. At the national association level, since 2009 Graham has chaired the IIAA Member Services Board, served on the Big “I” Advantage Board, was a Trustee on the InsurPac Board, and was a member of the Agents & Brokers Roundtable. Graham remains active in his community with charitable and civic organizations. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his wife, Candace. They have two children, Hayden and Vaughn, Jr.

MA_dir_Joe_Leahy.jpgJoseph “Joe” P. Leahy is co-owner and founder of Leahy and Brown Insurance + Realty, Inc. in Springfield, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Frances, started the agency in 1989. He previously served as chief of staff to Massachusetts State Sen. Martin T. Reilly (D-Springfield). At the state association level, Leahy was elected to the executive committee of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents in 2001 and served as chairman in 2005 and Massachusetts director on the Big “I” national board from 2008 to 2013. At the national level, Leahy served on numerous Big ‘I” committees and task forces including the Government Affairs Committee, the Tax Task Force, and the InsurPac board of Trustees. Leahy also serves on the board for numerous other professional and civic organizations in Massachusetts. He and his wife live in Northampton, Massachusetts, and have six children and seven grandchildren.

Costello.pngJohn Costello is first vice president and construction practice leader at First Niagara Risk Management in Rochester, New York. He served as Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York (IIABNY) chair of the board from 2001 to 2002 and on the IIABNY Trusted Choice committee. Costello also served as Independent Insurance Agents Association of Monroe County president from 1992 to 1993 and was honored as its 1995 Insurance Professional of the Year. At the national level, he served on the IIABA Trusted Choice board of directors and Professional Liability Committee. Costello currently serves as the New York national director, former IIABA Finance Committee chair, and is a member of the IIABNY executive committee and board. He is a member of the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors and past president of the board of directors of Sunset House, a home for the terminally ill. He is also a past president of Brook-Lea Country Club and former director and alumni member of the National Ski Patrol at Bristol Mountain. Costello formerly served as vice president and treasurer of OASIS Adaptive Sports, a not for profit charity providing financial and emotional support to military veterans. Costello earned a Bachelor’s degree in finance at Villanova University.

Lanoix (1).jpgThe 2015-2016 Big “I” chairman, Randy Lanoix, who will serve on the committee as immediate past chair for one year, is president of Lanoix Insurance Agency in Lutcher and Brusly, Louisiana.
Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 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:

​127 South Peyton Street
Alexandria VA 22314
​phone: 800.221.7917
fax: 703.683.7556

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