A Winning Smile - Donald Gaddis, our company founder, poses in an early ‘90s photoshoot in an advertisement for the former First State Management Group, originally captioned: First Rate Style, First State Smile

If you had asked our founder, Donald Gaddis, what he liked best about working as a wholesaler, he would have told you that getting to know his customers one-on-one—listening to their challenges, goals, and ideas—was his favorite part of the job.  Before he struck out on his own in the early ‘80s to build Donald Gaddis Company, Don spent over a decade in the excess and surplus lines industry, earning a reputation for commitment and integrity by working tirelessly with agents and carriers to negotiate tough risks, and spending the time to develop lasting relationships.  But he loved nothing more than making his clients smile:  he’d put them at ease with an impromptu game of Liar’s Poker, or he’d tell a joke at his own expense—and more importantly, he remained enthusiastic and friendly despite entering the field as an entrepreneur in the depths of the softest market in history.  As a result, the fledgling firm thrived.

Don’s sons, Trevor, Chris, and Eric, carry on the tradition of extraordinary service, enthusiasm, and integrity that he established

Now in our forth decade of independent family ownership, our company continues to succeed at the hands of Don’s three sons—Chris, Eric, and Trevor—who share their father’s entrepreneurial spirit and strive to build upon his tradition of extraordinary service, passion, and integrity.  Today the firm, headquartered in Chicago, includes three locations in Illinois and Michigan, with a staff of 28 and an expanding book of business.  With the acquisition of our friendly competitor, Kelly and Elliott, Ltd., in December 2014, we gained additional markets, products, and above all, new talent when K&E’s excellent staff joined our ranks.  And in May 2016, after thirty years on Wacker Drive, we relocated our Chicago headquarters to the Monroe Building on Michigan Avenue to further accommodate our growth.

As we approach our 35th anniversary, we aim to match our founder’s optimism and joy as we strengthen new and existing partnerships, and continue to anchor our legacy as a leading, independent wholesaler.