01 Feb Paul Howard, CEBS Fellow: Celebrating 25 Years of Quality Service at DCI
By Dave Racer, MLitt[i]
“We at DCI congratulate and thank Paul Howard for his 25 years of service, and for being a trusted friend and advisor to our clients and us.”
Greg Dattilo, CEBS, President, Dattilo Consulting, Inc.
One day in January 1996, Greg Dattilo, President of Dattilo Consulting, Inc., shook hands with Paul Howard for the first time. Greg appreciated how Paul presented himself that day – sharp looking in a suit and tie, and wing tipped shoes. This first meeting evolved into a partnership of excellence between the two, now celebrating 25 years together serving DCI clients.
Greg’s agency needed help during that time of growth. He asked around, to other agents, insurance companies and vendors, if they knew of someone who could meet DCI’s unique needs and could hit the ground running.
Paul Howard grew up in the insurance business. His grandfather and father both were agents and his father founded the Howard Insurance Agency, which eventually became BHK&R. Over time, a national insurance agency, Gallagher Agency, acquired the company.
Paul’s dad, Frank Howard, taught him the primary importance of serving clients’ needs – the importance of the personal touch and “Doing things the right way.”
“When Frank, his dad, served as Mayor of St. Louis Park (1979-80), Paul had special privileges,” Greg Dattilo joked. “He got to drive the Zamboni, cleaning the ice at the ice arena.”
Dattilo sees Paul’s huge heart for helping other people as one of his key qualities. “He has incredible knowledge that he has no issue in sharing with our clients and fellow employees,” Greg said.
As a result of a stint in the Peace Corps, Paul learned to speak Spanish. DCI’s clients include many Spanish-speaking employees who enjoy doing business with Paul – someone who speaks their language.
Actually, Paul is most fluid in the “language” of customer service. DCI’s clients know he will personally work to solve their problems and answer their questions. This includes business owners, management and individual employees who are covered by group insurance.
Paul is passionate about customer service. “I’ve learned how to simplify answers to client questions, so they can understand it. And I prepare myself with the necessary details when I call a vendor on a client’s behalf,” Paul said. “I get results for our clients.”
“My dad taught me how important client communication is,” Paul said, which fit him perfectly into one of DCI’s primary values. “When I tell someone I will get an answer and then call them back, I will do it. And if it takes extra time, I will let them know I’m working on it.”
Paul , Greg and the rest of the DCI staff, make sure that clients feel confident in receiving authoritative help and assistance in resolving problems. Paul and the DCI staff have gained respect in the industry for their client advocacy.
Working for the same employer for 25 years takes commitment to the company’s guiding principles and a good relationship with owners and other employees. “Paul excels in being responsible every day, faithfully learning all he can about the insurance business,” Greg said. “Every day, as he comes to work, I know he will provide quality, competent advice on the complex issues of employee benefits.” Paul provides that advice to clients, but also to the DCI staff, including Dattilo.
Why has Paul Howard remained so committed to DCI? He greatly enjoys serving DCI’s unique clients. “We have a boutique agency in that we focus on employer groups,” Paul said. Most employer groups lack anyone with expertise to oversee the complex and confusing employee benefits programs and regulations. “They need help, and we provide it.”
Paul explained that DCI provides many support services to clients far beyond what other agencies do. “Greg Dattilo invests in support services so that employer groups of all sizes get the advice and backroom services they need,” Paul said.
Paul continues to make himself available to DCI’s employer group clients and their employees and plans to do so for many more years.
“We’re looking forward to the next 25 years with Paul,” Dattilo said. “Okay, some day he’ll retire, but we’re working to continue this relationship as long as we can.”
The staff and DCI clients say “Thank you” to Paul Howard. (Individual greetings can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org).