Justin J. Fowler
My career has taken me through several iterations. The experience and skills i've acquired along the way allow me to comfortably navigate between outside sales, business analysis, programming, and management.
In addition to several for profit projects i'm working on, I do spend a lot of time mentoring and helping people to start businesses. If you are a business owner and looking for help in any area, please reach out to me.
I've had the good fortune to work in many capacities throughout my career. I started at a large insurance company and worked through several positions ultimately ending up as a business analyst. After finishing graduate school at St. Mary's, I left the corporate world and decided to pursue entrepreneurship.
My family members have owned businesses and it is something I've always wanted to try. I built a retail insurance brokerage starting in 2005 and ultimately selling my book in 2017. There are many changes taking place right now in the insurance industry and my goal going forward is to direct some of the change that preserves the value of experience but leverages the increased efficiency of technology and visionary thinking.
Master of Business Administration
I earned my MBA in Finance from Saint Mary's College of California in 2003. The program is foundational for anyone who hopes to understand how businesses function both financially as well as organizationally. Since my time in the program, the business school has expanded into international programs and CFA prep sequences that were not available as I was going through. However, working full-time and earning my Master's degree in 2 years is infinitely more pleasant at this school than a public institution.
Bachelor of science
My undergrad was completed at Cal State Hayward - before they renamed it to "East Bay". I majored in Industrial Psychology and graduated Cum Laude in 1999. During my studies, I received a grant to conduct original research on test design. Along with the statistics department chair, we tried to find a reliable predictor of success in statistics to better align students with their goals.
WORK & PROJECT EXPERIENCE
This is my favorite project, a comparative rate for workers compensation insurance. We really need this. Insurance brokers need tools to dramatically increase efficiency if we are to stay a relevant part of the distribution chain. Things like Ninja Rater are crucial to our survival in my humble opinion. You can see it here www.ninjarater.com
I Served as an executive coach and corporate strategist for a consultant in the insurance industry. As a consultant, I recommended organizational redesign to increase projected growth of 3% to 15% over 18 months for several small-medium sized businesses.
Through virtual and live training sessions on core concepts in sales, service, and communication, we delivered quality content to customers across the nation. As a team, we delivered personalized training modules to each group of clients based on their initial assessments.
While actively consulting, I served as a ghost writer for the founder's first book. While writing the book, I also curated several existing programs to add electronic products to introduce new customers into the pipeline. Additionally, I refined existing marketing methods to target those prospects most likely to buy based on predictive analytics. Along with methods, I also helped create video segments, website redesign, and new products for distribution.
A local contract furniture distributor worked with a branding firm to completely overhaul the company's profile. The work they produced was exceptional. The problem remained however that after they finished, there was nobody at the company who could execute all of the high-level strategy.
I stepped in as interim director of marketing and sales to establish and train sales staff, cross-train existing service staff, and grow the company. I started literally on day one creating sales disciplines and marketing materials for the sales force. I had to create segmented messaging and collateral for the 4 most profitable verticals and identified all the top prospects within a 25 mile radius.
Within 2 months, we built a $350k pipeline and increased the top of the funnel from less than 500 to 6600 prospects. I also Introduced an efficient CRM solution that allowed all users to track progress in real-time and speed up the communication between staff, sales, and management.
I built my insurance agency from scratch in 2005 primarily by focusing on nurturing referral relationships with several key powerpartners. At one point, I employed 5 full-time and 18 part-time employees.
After years of being as a generalist, I ultimately became specialized in workers compensation. I've created programs and resources that directly impact the costs and outcomes of workplace injuries.
Anthony Miller, of GS Insurance solutions officially became owner Fowler & Associates on Jan 2018. His team has been managing all of my prior clients insurance needs and continues to grow his own practice through Real Estate affiliations as well as Tech ventures located in Silicon Valley.
I started my career at Liberty Mutual working through several promotions ultimately ending as a business analyst supporting the 8 western states. Our division included approximately 240 service, 120 sales, and 25 managers. My job was to document business requirements during what was then a waterfall development life-cycle for several core systems upgrades. In addition to my assigned duties, I created my own applications in VBA for Excel, Access, and Hyperion to track and report KPIs to 4 different departments. Many of the data silos required custom SQL scripts to conglomerate the information necessary to perform even simple projects. I was also directly responsible for pitching investment projects to senior management for our department.
SKILLS AND CERTIFICATIONS
Certified Associate Project Manager
In 2019 I passed my CAPM certification. This is the first step to becoming a PMP, which I will tackle when I acquire the rest of the requirements.
ECBA - Business Analyst
In July 2018, I passed my ECBA Certification from the IIBA, which qualifies me to be an entry level business analyst. I've done this kind of work before but there are many new exciting tools that we didn't have years ago, such as Tableau, Power BI, Python, R, and others. I'm learning all of these new skills and will post up certifications as I acquire them.
psm i scrum master
Agile development teams are becoming more popular in software development, manufacturing, and other team based operations that function best without a top down, command-and-control power structure.
Having passed the assessment, I can honestly say that I appreciate the Agile philosophy and what the scrum methodology is trying to accomplish.
Modern project management is more democratic and focused on delivering results, which differs greatly from prior linear methods.
Using wordpress, I've been able to build some professional looking sites for customers, friends, and business associates as well as my own projects. Wordpress really is an impressive platform and though it is difficult to learn at first, the ability to scale your project quickly is unparallelled.
- CAPM - Certified Associate in Project Management
- ECBA - Level I Business Analyst
- PSM-I Certified Scrum Master
- CPCU (in progress)
- CPA (in progress)
- UC Berkeley Advanced Programming Certification (in progress)
- Property & Casualty Broker License #0c71609
- Real Estate Broker License #01471853
- Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
- Life Underwriting Training Fellowship (LUTCF)
- Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS)
Several young rotarians organized a weekend service trip to Mexico. We repainted and refreshed one of the orphanages that they operate. We worked during the day for the Patrona, Hilda Pacheco Taylor who happens to have an amazing story as well as a private winery. As a reward for our work, we had a beautiful meal overlooking the vineyard. This organization really appreciates direct support and the investment of a small effort returns infinitely greater results.
Orphanage in thailand
While on vacation in Phuket, we stopped at local orphanage and bought some toys for the kids. The most popular item was a soccer ball. After 10 minutes of trying to play soccer with 4-10 year olds and I was already winded. My friends Mark and Stacey Albert were in better shape and able to handle a bit more activity in the crushing humidity. Hands down, this was the highlight of the trip.
As one of the founding members of the Diablo View Rotary club in Walnut Creek, one of the thankless but necessary duties is serving as the group's treasurer. You might think this is simple, but in a short period of time and with the right connections to other clubs, the relatively smaller sums we were able to generate ourselves, multiplied several times and became water well projects in Africa which one of our members actually got to experience first-hand in Burkina Faso.
If you have a passion for any form of charity, I highly recommend Rotary International. There is no other organization that can magnify a small amount of effort and enthusiasm. Whatever you bring with you, plan to have it grow exponentially by the full resources of 2 Million members worldwide. There is literally no project you can't touch if you have the drive.
Justin's Interview Appearances
Profiles in Risk
The INS Nerds - Nick Lamparelli, Tony Canas, and Carly Burnham have been instrumental in moving our industry toward the younger demographics and keeping us relevant. My discussion with the Nerds centered around my experience in this industry and why it is still a great choice for someone looking to build a career.
The INS Nerds are involved in several projects and their own audience has now grown to over 15k+ listeners in only a few years. Their work is commendable in any industry, especially the insurance vertical.
Agency Nation sound
There is a lot of debate about the future of our industry and which sections are most vulnerable to disruption. Joey Giangola and I get into a discussion around our own experiences in this industry as well as the trends that are shaping the new competitive environment.
My position is that most of the advantages we have enjoyed as brokers for the past several decades is the result of the asymmetry of information. Our industry is one of the last areas of commerce where a consumer has considerably less access to product information and research than does a salesman.
This is changing rapidly. The people that will win are those who will embrace the change in consumer behavior, not those who deny it.
The Insurance innovators
Abel Travis has done an amazing job at calling out those in our industry who believe it's business as usual. In our discussion, we talk about what the competitive advantages are that we still offer in the value chain and how we can remain relevant. Cooperation is where we have the best chance to beat the machines.
Arleen & Ted Taveras run Spot on Insurance podcast which is one of the most well produced products in the industry. Their designers are top notch and the team is very well organized. We had a great conversation and I admire the company they've built and their approach to business. We probably talked a lot more about chicken farming than Insurance on this one, but it was great discussion.
The attachment point
Video Chat with Nick Lamparelli and Brett Fulmer on a saturday. Talking about Ninja Rater and the democratization of Data Analytics.
If you are a business owner in need of coaching and operational advice, you can make use of my fancy business school education and 20+ years of entrepreneurship. I'm always happy to share my experience with hard working business owners.
Presently, I'm partnering with other like-minded professionals to change the way parts of the insurance industry work. (Mostly the parts that aren't working.) Additionally, I've consulted with several insurance agency owners and small business owners to help them grow.
Feel free to contact me directly if your business has reached a plateau and you are looking for a way to build again.