Your Professional Service Team
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Dana Coates - President & CEO (License #FC0529163)
Dana has been a licensed insurance broker for over 30 years. From 1975 to 1990, he was a member of Ingham, Coates & Payne, his father's insurance agency in Pasadena. In 1990 he left his father's company to help form Arroyo Insurance Services. In 1995, upon combining his business with Supple-Merrill & Driscoll Insurance in Pasadena, he formed United Western Insurance Brokers and The Small Business Insurance Center on the Internet.
Today, Dana's company is known as the Western Division of United Agencies. The company represents importers, exporters, manufacturers and professionals as well as software companies and members of the specialty coffee industry.
United Agencies generates annual sales in excess of 200 million dollars. The company directly and indirectly supports the local community and many individuals within the company are involved with community outreach in one form or another.
Dana is a Rotarian and is one of the founding members and a past president of The Young Insurance Professionals. He is also a past president of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association, serves on the Board of the San Gabriel Valley Council Boy Scouts of America, is involved in social outreach through his church, is a member of The University Club of Pasadena, is on the development committee of Huntington Memorial Hospital and is a long time member of The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.
Dana enjoys auto racing, bicycling, boating and travel. He and Gina attend church in Eagle Rock and reside in Pasadena.
Gina Coates - Personal Lines Sales and Corporate CFO (License #0610591)
Gina grew up in West Covina and after high school, took her first job in the insurance business. Being a natural "people person", Gina excelled quickly in her career, first with Baiseri Insurance Services in Covina and then with Ingham, Coates & Payne in Pasadena where she and Dana first met. It was at C.G. Anderson & Associates and Bolton & Company where Gina honed her skills in personal insurance sales.
Structuring personal insurance plans for affluent families is more of an art, than a science. For more than 25 years this has been Gina's forte. But not every family has a mansion; some have teenage boys driving hot cars, while others live in the mountains or at the beach and sail yachts. What ever the combination of needs, Gina has the know-how to craft an insurance portfolio that meets the needs of each family.
Gina is quick to point out that she does not handle life insurance, that specialty is left to another one of our team members, David Strellitz.
Gina also serves as our company's CFO and in this capacity works closely with Rita Carrillo to be certain that all of our corporate commitments are kept.
Gina enjoys travel, snow skiing, gardening, yoga and puppies (not necessarily in that order). She and Dana reside in Pasadena.
Eric Schirding - Western Division Account Executive (License #0F18686)
Eric was born and raised in La Canada and received his degree in Business Management from Cal-State Northridge, then immediately joined a well respected insurance carrier. After a fast-paced two year stint as a company underwriter, Eric parlayed that experience to transition over to the retail side of the insurance industry. After two additional years of retail insurance experience, Eric joined the Western Division of United Agencies in 2009.
Eric partners with middle market companies to help them become more profitable through the implementation of TCOR principles (Total Cost of Risk).
Eric's energy and commitment to his clients is evident the moment you meet him. Eric strives to go beyond being a 'trusted advisor' for his clients to being a 'trusted provider' of resources, information, and solutions.
Eric and his wife enjoy travel, sports and socializing with friends, they reside in Montrose.
Maria Gonzales - Commercial Lines Account Manager,
Customer Service Representative - Large Accounts Division (License #0772415)
Maria grew up in Southern California and entered the insurance business just after high school. Her first job in insurance was with Thomas V. Humphreys followed by Ingham, Coates & Payne in Pasadena. After working for Jackson & Jackson and Narver Associates, she and Dana re-established their business relationship when, in 2003, Maria joined the Western Division of United Agencies as a Commercial Lines Account Manager.
With more than 25 years of insurance experience, Maria brings a broad spectrum of knowledge to our team. Many of the accounts for which Maria is responsible generate sales in excess of $150 Million.
In addition to being a very capable Commercial Account Manager, Maria is also "down to earth" and is a wonderful mentor to others in the company, in particular our younger staff members. But more than that, Maria is our "curve-ball hitter", and so when any of our associates are struggling with a complex or "outside the box" problem, Maria gets involved to help.
Maria, her husband and their daughter attend Lake Avenue Church and reside in Pasadena.
Sue Larson - Commercial Lines Account Manager,
Customer Service Representative - Professional Services Division (License #0498696)
Sue grew up in Glendale California and fell in love with the Southern California beach communities. She took her first insurance job with California Casualty and later spent more than 17 years with Marsh & McLennan, the world's largest broker. With over 40 years of insurance experience, Sue heads our online insurance agency operations and our small business unit. Sue is a seasoned professional and a key to the success of our company. She is known for her quick wit, her fun spirit and for her ability to see a complex project through to its successful completion. Above all else, Sue prides herself on providing superior customer service to each of her clients.
Sue and her husband reside in Huntington Beach, are active in their local community and enjoy spending time with their (very active) grandchildren.
Rita grew up here in Southern California and pursued her career in bookkeeping and accounting right after high school. In 1991, Rita took the position of office/accounting manager with Wilber & Company, a widely respected paper and printing company in Southern California and Hawaii.
In 2003 Rita began assisting our company, as an independent contractor, providing accounting services specific to the insurance industry. Over time, the company became more and more dependent on Rita's cool and reliable approach to accounting and internal management and in 2011 Rita accepted her now full time role as a member of our team.
Rita has been in accounting and organizational management for over 20 years. In the commercial insurance brokerage business, having excellent accounting controls is a critically important factor to success. Together with "state of the art technology" Rita brings all of us to a level of standard that ensures our continued long-term success.
Rita enjoys reading, and devotes much of her free time to support her daughter who is an avid horseman. Rita and her family reside in North Hollywood.
Thomas Cassidy - Group Health Benefits Specialist
Thomas R. Cassidy was first licensed as an insurance agent & broker over 30 years ago. In 1981, he was the founder of a full service Farmers Insurance Agency in Pasadena. He attained the highly desirable Preferred Underwriting Authority designation achieved by less than 1% of the agency force on two different occasions. He was also awarded the Topper Club Agency status given to the most profitable agents on numerous occasions.
Today, Thomas specializes in employee benefits, working closely with businesses & their employees providing dedicated hands on service. He also works with families to guide them through the wide variety of health plans. Thomas has devoted a great deal of his time recently studying the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) commonly referred to as Health Care Reform, allowing him to be of greater service to his clients.
Thomas enjoys participating in running & cycling endurance events, working as a volunteer with the Tournament of Roses and as a running coach teaching the Chi Running technique designed to prevent injuries. He is a former board member & Past President of the Pasadena Quarterbacks Club, which serves the needs of local high school and college athletes.
Thomas is a Certified Workers' Compensation Advisor (CWCA) and currently attends a variety of Insurance Professional curriculums to stay current.
His son Ryan is a senior at Glendora High School who plays on the varsity football team, and his daughter Ashley is a junior at Cal State Long Beach.
Thomas has lived in the Pasadena area nearly all his life & currently resides in Sierra Madre.
David Strelitz - Life Insurance and Estate Planning Specialist
David has been associated with United Agencies for over 20 years. He has extensive knowledge in estate planning and strategies that are designed to protect family wealth. With more than 30 years of medical underwriting experience he is extremely effective at matching our clients needs with the appropriate insurance company and product.
David earned his Bachelors of Science degree in finance from California State University, Long Beach. He received his Chartered Life Underwriter designation from the American College in 1986 and he is a past president of the Long Beach chapter of the National Association of Financial Advisors where he is still quite active.
Growing up in Southern California provided David the opportunity to do the things he most enjoys, taking long walks and spending quality time with family and close friends. As a boy he was captain of the ecology club at school and today David continues to be passionate about recycling and conserving our earth's natural resources.
David and his wife reside in Torrance and have two college age children.
Joe Gieson - Account Executive (License #0786905)
Joe Gieson is a principal of United Agencies, Inc. and with more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, his professional focus has been on assisting small businesses with their insurance and risk management. Before joining United Agencies in 2002, Joe worked for several national insurance carriers.
He has assisted thousands of small businesses to manage their business risks. Joe has a reputation of working closely with start up companies to aid them in developing scalable solutions to their changing risk management needs.
With a bachelors degree in economics, Joe is a graduate of California State University at Northridge.
He resides in Santa Clarita, CA with his wife and their daughter.