It's game day.
The smell of burgers and brats, barbeque and prime rib floats through the parking lot of historic Kinnick Stadium at the University of Iowa, and somewhere in the tailgate party is insurance agent Dave O'Brien and all his rowdy friends.
Work hard. Play hard. That's how Dave O'Brien rolls.
O'Brien is one of Western Catholic Union's top salesmen, and he's also the driving force behind the new Des Moines, IA branch of WCU. "I've seen so much in a short time," O'Brien says. "It's amazing to me that this little fraternal can have such an impact on so many. A parent who was sick was able to have Christmas for his children because of us. The Holy Spirit moved through us all that day."
O'Brien has been in the insurance industry for 26 years. It didn't take long for him to feel how he could serve his community. He had been in the business just six months when he delivered a $150,000 death claim to the widow of a 27-year-old client who died in a car accident. "What do you think it was like when I gave this young mother of two, and expecting their third, that check?" he says. "It still brings a tear to my eyes 26 years later. I thank the Lord every day that I am in this business and ask for his guidance."
He's become a road warrior, and while he taps his toes to bluegrass or "anything from Sinatra to Santana" he's learned every twist and turn of the roads that wind through the Iowa cornfields. Four years ago he started his company, Senior Benefit Solutions, located in Des Moines. "I was born to do this," he says. "This is my life's work, my calling. It's the path the Lord has chosen for me."
"This profession gives you a chance to make a difference in people and their lives. People tell me they don't know what they would have done without me and how much it means to them. They put their financial life in your hands. It's a tremendous responsibility. The reward is to see the plans you and your client put into place and then see it unfold just as they wanted."
As the weeks pass, O'Brien gets more and more excited about the upcoming football season. Last fall his Hawkeyes knocked off #1 Penn State, and O'Brien is already dreaming of a win over Michigan this year. Hawkeye fans are passionate, and revel in the success of their team.
Colorful head coach Hayden Fry re-energized the program in the late 1970's, and the home games have been packed since. His approach on offense was: "We'll take what the other team gives us. We'll scratch where it itches."
Scratch where it itches. Get information, determine the plan for attack, and solve the problem. For the Hawkeyes, that meant
lighting up the scoreboard. For Dave O'Brien, it means finding the exact problem to fill his clients' needs. "We work with clients who are 50 years old and over. We work alongside with CPA's and attorneys. We invest our time in face to face meetings and develop relationships and
listen to clients' concerns. We put together a unique strategy for them to deal with their current situation as well as long-term. We place 90 percent of our clients with Western Catholic Union products. We represent all major companies but most of the times WCU beats the price or pays a better return to the client."
"We take great care to make sure the client understands all details. By the time the process is complete we have done the best we could for our clients, and we've established a client for life. That means everything to me. That's why I work as hard as I do. That is my conviction."
Family is everything to O'Brien. And he understands that his clients have the same feelings. That's why he will listen to their needs, and even ask the tough questions if they can help provide the information needed to solve his clients' problems.
He wants to make sure his clients are able to enjoy good times with financial security, just like he will this fall, with his wife Vicki, daughter Deborah, son Travis, and grandson Hayden (as in Hayden Fry.)
Football season starts September 5th, and O'Brien is expecting a very big season. "We need to beat Iowa State, win the conference title, and go to a BCS game," he says. "And if all that happens I will thank the good Lord."
"And upgrade my season tickets next year."
It's game day.