Family and Career

Jan & Joe in Santa Barbara April 2015I grew up in Stratford, Conn., attended Sacred Heart University and the University of Connecticut, and started my career in the Bridgeport office of a reference publication before moving to Illinois in 1984.

After moving to the Chicago area, I worked six years for Pioneer Press, a chain of suburban newspapers, where I met my wife, Jan Wheaton Harrington, a graphic designer and fiber artist who is experimenting with projects in wood. From Pioneer, Jan went on to work for the Chicago Sun-Times, Hermitage Art (a specialty publisher), and the Daily Northwestern newspaper at Northwestern University.

Jan and I were married in 1985. We live in Morton Grove, Ill., and have two grown children:
IMG_1354 (2)April, the former COO of a Chicago non-profit, currently on her own as a fund-raising and workforce development consultant; and

Joe, a civil engineer developing electrical grids in Sierra Leone for a company based in Nairobi, Kenya. Joe has been working from the US since the start of the pandemic lockdowns.

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While at Pioneer Press, I won several journalism awards and was chosen to coordinate business coverage for the company’s North Shore group.

I found community journalism to be a challenging and rewarding experience, because one has to write independently and, at times, critically about people (often volunteers) you’re going to encounter regularly. It can lead to many awkward moments, but community journalism can be a very noble calling for those who commit to it.

I left Pioneer to spend a year and a half as an associate editor for Savings Institutions magazine, published by the former US League of Savings Institutions, before joining Moebs $ervices, an entrepreneurial firm that provides training for banks, savings institutions, and credit unions. At Moebs $ervices, I edited and formatted newsletters and manuals, and published articles in industry magazines to support its seminar business.

AAIS

My work for Moebs $ervices prepared me to be productive immediately when I became communications manager for the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS), an insurance “advisory organization” (or “bureau”) that provides specialized services to property/casualty insurers.

My work over 21 years with AAIS is detailed in my resume and elsewhere on this site.

I managed many functions capably under the limitations one finds in a small organization, and I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. I worked with some of the smartest, most committed insurance product specialists in the industry, and I had the added privilege of engaging with insurance industry leaders.

My colleagues and I maintained a highly regarded communications operation with a fraction of the staff of comparable organizations, and together we transformed marketing communications from a cost center to a source of substantial revenue.

Independent

Since leaving AAIS in June 2016, I have secured work engagements with several major insurance and risk management organizations, including:

  • Adjusters International, an organization serving independent claims adjusters
  • Advisen, a leading provider of data, media, and technology solutions for commercial insurance
  • All Risks, Ltd., the nation’s largest independent insurance wholesale brokerage
  • Applied Systems, a leading firm providing systems support to insurance agents and brokers
  • Carrier Management magazine
  • Cothran Insurance Agency
  • DataRobot, a leading provider of artificial intelligence and machine learning 
  • Demotech, a firm that provides financial stability ratings for insurance companies
  • Direct Connection Advertising & Marketing, a firm that serves insurance entities
  • FastTrack CE, an insurance educational training firm
  • The Insurance Information Institute
  • The Insurance Journal Academy of Insurance
  • The Institutes, the leading educational organization for property/casualty insurance
  • The International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI)
  • MSO, Inc. (formerly Mutual Services Office)
  • The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC)
  • Prep Training Group, a Chicago-area training firm
  • Rough Notes magazine, a publication for independent insurance agents and brokers