Category Archives: Uncategorized

First Twenty-Miler!

After a couple of weekends deemed by yours truly as too cold and/or wet to ride, we were blessed with beautiful weather here in Houston last Sunday. I had a lot on my plate, so I wasn’t sure whether I would ride or not – that is, not until I logged into my Fitbit app all 1,221 calories of my James Coney Island Sunday lunch – two coney dogs and a pile of chili-cheese fries. At that point, there was no doubt that my Schwinn was going for a ride and I would be on it.

As I left the house, I decided I would re-embark on the Barker Reservoir trail with my goal being to surpass the turnaround point on my last ride. As I rode west along the reservoir, I faced a stiff breeze. I wondered if the breeze would be multi-directional as it seemed on my last ride but I pressed on. As I turned left to head north from my previous turnaround point, I was pleased to enjoy a nice, smooth trail right through the reservoir. I really appreciate that nature is so close by and accessible.

Of course, cycling through nature is not without its hazards. As I approached this day’s turnaround point as Westheimer Parkway, the “pop, pop, pop” from the nearby shooting range grew increasing louder. I was also thankful for the sign reminding me not to swim in the brackish water and to keep my eyes peeled for alligators.

As I turned around at Westheimer Parkway, I noted that I had ridden 11.3 miles thus far. And I was pleased to note, as I turned east between the reservoir and I-10 that the wind was at my back. My ride home was a piece of cake.

I leave for London this Saturday, so I will lose the next couple of weekends to travel. I continue to enjoy my new hobby, and I look forward to daylight savings time allowing me the option to hop on the bike a few evenings a week.

Ride stats:

Cumulative miles 2019: 76.8

Happy Cycling!

Soli DEO Gloria!

(c) kellertxdad.net 2019

RIMS 2018: What Did I Learn?

I’ve lost count of the number of national RIMS (Risk & Insurance Management Society) conferences I have attended over the years, but I’m guessing it is around 20 or so. I always come away from the conference feeling a bit melancholy as I am reminded of how important the relationship aspect of this industry truly is and how much I enjoy hanging out with my friends in this crazy and wonderful industry. Here are a few key takeaways from my recent 2018 RIMS experience:

  1. Be well-read. I had the honor of joining Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg for lunch after he spoke at Chubb’s annual leadership luncheon. I am always impressed at his worldliness as he speaks on world affairs, American politics, challenges in business, and Chubb’s strategies. Given the plethora of misinformation out there these days, I asked him, “What do you read?” He responded that he reads three newspapers daily: The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Financial Times. He also reads The Economist each week. I have been pondering this ever since, as this is an area in which I can improve.
  2. Relationships are important. In this industry, people prefer to do business with people they know and trust. The purchase of insurance for a large publicly traded organization is an important two-way transaction: While I need to rely on my trading partners to be there if the crud hits the fan, they need to rely on me and my team to manage our risks the way we say we do to mitigate that potential. There is much at stake for both of us. Part of my process is to personally meet every underwriter in my portfolio, and to get to know well those who take on the most significant risk transfer. RIMS offers me an annual opportunity to nurture these relationships, and this is one of the aspects of my role that I enjoy the most.
  3. If you need something, ask. I had a need in my claims program that had not been addressed to my satisfaction. At RIMS I had the opportunity to state my case to senior management of an important trading partner, and within a few days my need was met. One important reason was the foundational relationship between our two organizations and us personally. See number 2 above.
  4. You own your program. We risk managers rely heavily on our brokers for coverage placement and addressing any issues or concerns that may arise. They are an incredibly important leg on this three-legged stool (broker, insurer, client), and I value their experience and expertise. Sometimes, however, we must take ownership of solving a problem, not because our partners are deficient, but because it is my problem; I have the greatest stake in seeing it addressed. See number 3 above.
  5. Never stop learning. I recently joined the Board of Houston’s RIMS chapter. Along with four other Board members, I attended a Sunday morning Chapter Leadership forum led by national RIMS. There was much discussion of the RIMS CRMP (Certified Risk Management Professional) designation. I had heard of it, but never explored it. You see, I am fairly seasoned in my career, I have a graduate degree, and I earned my ARM designation many years ago. “What’s the point,” has been my response to earning CRMP. The point is, retirement is several years out (God willing). I have much work yet to do and my organization deserves the most well-rounded professional I can be. And learning is fun. So I’m going for it.
  6. RIMS is worth supporting. The Chapter Leadership Forum offered the opportunity to learn from many very successful chapters from around the US and Canada. We have great people in Houston and we have a great Chapter but we can be better. I have gained much from my RIMS membership over the years and now it’s time to give back. I’m looking forward to working with my fellow Board members on several takeaways we gained in this session.
  7. Work hard, play hard. OK, it’s not really a takeaway. Those who know me well know how much I enjoy the social aspects of what we do for a living. Yes, it’s fun. But it is also very important. In these social settings, we get to know one another personally. We learn about each other’s families. We talk about life’s struggles. We celebrate life’s successes. We build bonds of trust that are personally gratifying, but also business beneficial. Many who I consider my closest and dearest friends are friends through this industry, and for their friendship I am truly grateful.

I suppose these are not really “learnings” per se. They are reinforcements of things I know to be true and sources of inspiration from which I plan to drive my future success and professional development. Thank you, industry friends and partners, and thank you RIMS for being a very important part of my life. I am blessed.

The Immigration Debate: My Take & My Support for Marco Rubio

You were born in Mexico. You know that your chances of giving your family a better life than you’ve had to this date are far superior in the United States. You also know that the US government is extremely lax in enforcing their immigration laws. Knowing those things, do you stay in Mexico and begin the long and arduous process of immigrating legally? Or do you take your chances and swim the Rio Grande in search of that better life for your family?

Before you answer, consider this scenario:

You’re driving down the freeway. The speed limit is 70 miles per hour. You know that state troopers will allow 5 to 7 mph over the limit before they stop you and possibly issue a ticket. So, do you drive the speed limit or, knowing you won’t be stopped, do you drive 75? Or do you own a radar detector so that you can exceed the speed limit by an even greater margin, comfortable that the likelihood of being stopped is significantly mitigated?

If you are consistent, you would either (1) go through the legal immigration process in the first scenario and drive the speed limit in the second, or (2) disregard the law by swimming the Rio Grande in the first scenario and by exceeding the speed limit in the second.

So what’s your point, you ask? I’m betting that many of those who support a position on illegal immigration that all who entered this country illegally must be deported because they “didn’t respect our laws” are some of the same people that fly by me on the Interstate on a regular basis. I would opine that the habitual speeders, especially those who use technology to evade detection “don’t respect our laws.” Would it be unfair to call the people belonging to the “deport all illegals (because they don’t respect our laws) while I continue to speed down the freeway” group hypocrites? I don’t think so.

We have an immigration problem in the United States. The root cause of the problem is not a disrespect of our laws by some who want to live here. The root cause of the problem is a lax and negligent federal government who, for decades, has turned the other cheek as people flowed into this country illegally. Just like the state trooper who sits on the shoulder as speeders fly by is inviting the traveling public to exceed the speed limit, so also is our government’s failure to enforce our immigration laws an invitation to come on in. Yes. Our illegal immigrants were invited to be here. Many of them have had children here (legally US citizens) and raised their families here. I believe that the vast majority of them truly are here to improve their lives, not to do us harm. And now, many of my fellow Americans want to yank the rug out from under them, separate families, and build a symbolic wall to keep them out once and for all. Shame on us.

Here is what I propose:

  1. The federal government must develop and implement a plan to enforce immigration laws currently on the books to stop the flow into the country. Until this is done, the problem will not be solved.
  2. Get rid of the wall idea. Enforce the laws. Invest the money that would go towards building the wall (no way will Mexico pay for it) in enforcing the laws.
  3. People who have entered the country illegally would have a reasonable amount of time during which they would have the opportunity to identify themselves and apply for legal residency.
  4. Of those in number three above, any with felony or greater criminal convictions would be immediately deported.
  5. Any person in the country illegally that is affiliated with any gang, even if they have no criminal convictions, would be immediately deported.
  6. At the expiration of the registration period, any person in the country illegally would be subject to immediate deportation.
  7. Amend the law to provide that children born in the US to parents who are not US citizens are not granted automatic citizenship; their status would match that of their parents.

Our government created this problem. We citizens stood by and let it happen. There is a humane and reasonable way to address this issue that could benefit millions of people while showing the world that the United States is still the world’s brightest beacon of opportunity. Let’s not be hypocrites. Let’s be kind, caring, understanding, and compassionate.

I support Marco Rubio for president. His immigration views align more closely with my own than any other Republican candidate in the race. Rubio is the compassionate conservative America needs right now. He is pro life. He is a constitutionalist. He is fiscally conservative. I believe that he is best positioned and most desirous of working towards healing the divide that the current Administration has nurtured over the past 7 years.

2015 Photo-Some-Days 3.14.2015

The Peggy V. Helmerich Great Reading room in the Bizzell Memorial Library at the University of Oklahoma is nothing short of inspirational. Reeking of history, the room beckons one back in time to an age at which this 50-something man wished he could enroll himself! The notion that generations of students have read, studied, and learned here – and continue to do so today – is quite fascinating. I could have lingered for awhile, but alas, our tour must move on.

“The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.” ~ Carl T. Rowan via brainyquote.com

Note to Self: Put ‘Busy’ in Perspective…..

Here is a healthy perspective on Easter preparations posted by a sister in Christ. Enjoy!

I Place My Trust…

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. ~ Psalm 1

This is the man I yearn to be: one who trusts completely in the Lord. There is a significant element of peace that comes with standing firmly on The Rock, even as the world around me embraces sinful ways. My heart aches for my country and for the church, but I take great comfort in God’s sovereignty: no matter what happens in American politics or church polity, Jesus Christ has won the battle over sin. On that promise I stake my life. May God help me live a life that consistently witnesses to this Truth and may He give me the ability to lovingly and respectfully share this Good News with a world that so desperately needs to hear it.

Travel Bible study. Taken 9.15.2013, Chicago, IL

Travel Bible study. Taken 9.15.2013, Chicago, IL

Be Thou My Vision – Alison Krauss

Be Thou My Vision – Alison Krauss

I was working from home this afternoon, quite frustrated at having to redo work I’d already done through no fault of my own. While I brooded over my computer, grumbling with each entry in my spreadsheet, this hymn came to mind. As I sung the lyrics to myself, I completed my work wearing a smile. I sometimes need to be reminded that, even when working my job in corporate America, I must work as for the Lord. He lovingly delivered this much-needed reminder in the words of this beautiful hymn. May it be as much a blessing to you as it was to me this afternoon!

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