by P. Andersen
The Business Council of Westchester 2017 Hall of Fame
On April 25th, Levitt-Fuirst Associates was honored to receive the Hall of Fame Family Owned Business Award, presented by the Business Council of Westchester. The evening included 5 other award recipients (Montefiore, Valerie Wilson Travel, Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty, Leason Ellis Law Firm, and DeCicco & Sons Grocer) along with 680 attendees, and was held at the beautiful venue of Glen Island Harbor Club in New Rochelle. We were honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and 40 or so Levitt-Fuirst employees, along with many of our clients and business partners, attended the event.
Watch the short video the Business Council created to tell the story of Levitt-Fuirst.
The Levitt-Fuirst Family
The Family Business Award is fitting for Levitt-Fuirst, as we were founded by David Levitt and Alan Fuirst in 1969, and continues to flourish today with Ken Fuirst, Jason Schiciano (Son-in-law to David Levitt), Valerie Levitt, and Ondrea Levitt all continuing the two-family tradition. It is also fitting because the business is not simply run by two families, it is run like a family. The employees at Levitt-Fuirst are treated as a part of the LF family, with trips to Long Beach Island every year, regular after work meet-ups to celebrate “Non-Work Related” events (Cinco de Mayo 2017, here we come!), monthly birthday events, holiday parties, and many other events for employees and our families. We work together, spend time outside of work together, and volunteer together – as a family.
Like any family, there are ups and downs – but like any family, we stick together. Levitt-Fuirst has had amazingly low turnover of its staff, something that is unusual in the very aggressive insurance brokerage industry. In our region, we compete with the largest regional and national brokerage firms – they are known to churn employees at a startling rate. In the middle of this storm, Levitt-Fuirst keeps its people by treating them like human beings, and by understanding that to be a true leader in our industry, you must hire and keep good people.
I have been at Levitt-Fuirst for 6+ years, and most of the faces I started with are still here. There are many more faces, mind you – we have added 20 employees since that time – but the core people I met when I began work here continue to plug along with me day after day. During Jason’s BCW acceptance speech, he mentioned 3 people in particular, evidencing what Levitt-Fuirst stands for. Louise Rush just finished her 25th year at Levitt-Fuirst (you would never guess by looking at her). Louise has worked in just about every department in the office – our office’s swiss army knife, doing what needs to be done wherever her talents are needed. Jose Arevalo began as a mail clerk, and is now a million-dollar producer. Jose always joked he is Ken’s younger brother, because Alan Fuirst always treated him like a son. Kimberly Vargas was a receptionist, and is now the exceptional manager of our Personal Lines department, a highly profitable and essential piece of our business. 3 stories, unique to the industry but not unique to Levitt-Fuirst.
The Family Owned Business Award was fitting, on many levels. The Levitt & Fuirst families have built a great business, relying on a great staff. The staff stays because we are treated well, and our opinions matter. Because we have good people, and consistent staffing, our clients are better served. Because our clients are happy (Levitt-Fuirst retains clients on an exceptional level), we continue to grow. With growth, we hire more top notch employees. With our continued growth, we moved to a new office in Tarrytown, NY in 2016, and opened a Bonding office in New Jersey in 2017. We are happy with what we have been able to attain as a team, but are not satisfied – we look forward to the next challenge to continue to grow – as a family.
We want to thank the BCW for recognizing the Levitt-Fuirst Family, the entire Levitt-Fuirst family, for this award. We truly appreciate the honor.