Former farm kids – Today’s farm insurance experts: Dave Schlichting
Dave Schlichting’s story
We have a confession. Unlike most of his colleagues on the Farm-Ag Underwriting team, Dave Schlichting, SECURA Vice President – Farm/Ag Underwriting , did not officially grow up on a farm. He’s one generation removed from the homestead, but he’s no stranger to farm life. And most importantly, he’s passionate about the industry he serves.
Farming is a family affair
Dave spent a large portion of his childhood working and spending time on his grandparents’ farms along with his whole family — cousins, parents, aunts, and uncles.
Both Dave’s paternal and maternal grandparents lived and worked on farms, and Dave helped out feeding pigs, baling hay with his uncles, picking stones, and helping any way he could. Dave says some of fondest memories from his childhood come from the time he spent on his grandparents’ farms.
With 18 sets of aunts and uncles, his family took the team approach to farming. When he was younger, he and his cousins played as their parents helped on the farm. Dave remembers swinging endlessly from a rope in his grandpa’s hay loft with his cousins while his dad and uncles worked during threshing season.
While it was good clean fun, it wasn’t always spotless.
“I remember being about seven years old and playing hide-and-seek with my cousins,” Dave said. “I took a hard turn on a wet cow pie and ended up covered in it. My mom refused to let me in the house until she sprayed me down with the hose.”
Dave left farm life behind to study accounting at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Ill. He was eventually hired at SECURA as an Accounting Manager and made his way through various roles including Controller and a stint in Personal Lines. When the position for VP – Farm/Ag Underwriting opened up, Dave already felt connected to the growing department and the people it served, so he went for it.
Building a team of farm kids
“Watching my family work so hard gave me the ability to understand that farming is more than just a livelihood for people; it’s their way of life. It was our way of life,” Dave said.
He may not have lived full-time on the farm, but he has a deep appreciation for the experiential knowledge farmers learn by doing. He has filled his team with the best talent for our agents and policyholders, and any of his team members are former farm kids that can truly relate the challenges farmers face day in and day out.
“Having a team of farm kids sets us apart as a carrier because we speak the language. We know the pressures farmers are facing, and we know how to find common ground with our agents,” Dave said. “Plus, generally speaking, farm kids have a great worth ethic and attitude. They know the work they’re doing here is a lot easier than the work they did growing up, and I think that respect makes them work harder for our agents and our policyholders.”
This story is part of a new blog series highlighting the stories and experiences of some of the truly “homegrown” members of our Farm-Ag team.