New Big ‘I’ Leadership Team with Chairman Houldin Installed

September 13, 2016

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) last week installed new officers who have begun serving their terms.

Connecticut independent agent Spencer Houldin was inaugurated as the new chairman with Vaughn Graham of Oklahoma as chairman-elect and Joe Leahy of Massachusetts as vice chairman.

Also, New York’s John Costello was elected by IIABA’s board as an at-large executive committee member.

Houldin is president of Ericson Insurance Advisors, a second generation, insurance agency with offices in Litchfield County, Connecticut, and New York City. From 2008 – 2011, Houldin served as chairman of the Big “I” Government Affairs Committee and testified before numerous congressional committees on behalf of the association. He also represented the state of Connecticut on the IIABA Board from 2006 to 2011. In 2004, Houldin served as Independent Insurance Agents of Connecticut president. He has held seats on agent advisory councils for several insurance companies. Houldin is also active in his local community serving on the executive committees of Western Connecticut Health Network, which is a multi-hospital organization.

Graham is president of Rich & Cartmill, Inc. headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a past chairman of the IIAO and has served on the Big “I” national board of directors. Graham was recognized in 2012 with IIAO’s highest honor, The Eagle of Excellence Award. At the national association level, since 2009 Graham has chaired the IIAA Member Services Board, served on the Big “I” Advantage Board, was a Trustee on the InsurPac Board, and was a member of the Agents & Brokers Roundtable. Graham remains active in his community with charitable and civic organizations.

Leahy is co-owner and founder of Leahy and Brown Insurance + Realty, Inc. in Springfield, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Frances, started the agency in 1989. He previously served as chief of staff to Massachusetts State Sen. Martin T. Reilly (D-Springfield). At the state association level, Leahy was elected to the executive committee of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents in 2001 and served as chairman in 2005 and Massachusetts director on the Big “I” national board from 2008 to 2013. At the national level, Leahy served on numerous Big ‘I” committees and task forces including the Government Affairs Committee, the Tax Task Force, and the InsurPac board of Trustees. Leahy also serves on the board for numerous other professional and civic organizations in Massachusetts.

Costello is first vice president and construction practice leader at First Niagara Risk Management in Rochester, New York. He served as Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York (IIABNY) chair of the board from 2001 to 2002 and on the IIABNY Trusted Choice committee. Costello also served as Independent Insurance Agents Association of Monroe County president from 1992 to 1993 and was honored as its 1995 Insurance Professional of the Year. At the national level, he served on the IIABA Trusted Choice board of directors and Professional Liability Committee. Costello currently serves as the New York national director, former IIABA Finance Committee chair, and is a member of the IIABNY executive committee and board. He is a member of the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors and past president of the board of directors of Sunset House, a home for the terminally ill. He is also a past president of Brook-Lea Country Club and former director and alumni member of the National Ski Patrol at Bristol Mountain. Costello formerly served as vice president and treasurer of OASIS Adaptive Sports, a not for profit charity providing financial and emotional support to military veterans.

The 2015-2016 Big “I” chairman, Randy Lanoix, who will serve on the committee as immediate past chair for one year, is president of Lanoix Insurance Agency in Lutcher and Brusly, Louisiana.

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