Gordon Walker, after 43 years of dedication and commitment, is retiring from his career at Pekin Insurance. His leadership has allowed the company to tackle some of the industry’s toughest issues on his watch, but through his vision and quest for achievement, Pekin Insurance has grown and prospered. Thoughtful, energetic, and professional, he has been committed to upholding the company’s unparalleled standards of excellence. Never believing in the words, “we can’t do it,” he has worked even harder to make sure that the impossible became the possible. He motivated all at the company to reach their personal potentials and then to exceed them as he has done for the past 43 years.
At the Annual Subscribers Meeting of The Farmers Automobile Insurance Association on February 11, 2014, he officially retired as Chief Executive Officer. He will remain as Chairman of the Board.
Due to his professionalism and dedication, agents, policyholders, and employees have all benefited. He has a strong belief in the independent agency system, and by continually staying in touch with the ever-changing insurance industry, he has helped to build Pekin Insurance to the success and notable stature that it holds amongst other insurance carriers today. He was instrumental in the company branding initiative in 2010. Beyond the expected,® the company’s new branding slogan, is not a hollow slogan to him. It is his standard of performance over the last 43 years in every aspect of every position he held within the company.
A few of the many noteworthy events that have taken place under his capable guidance and demonstrating his ability to be a catalyst of change were developing Strategic Planning teams for all companies that focus on producing better products and services that the company’s agents and policyholders expect and deserve and continuing to be the easiest company for agents to do business with. Entering a new marketing area in the state of Arizona in late 2011 was another mark of success in his career. A new focus on Commercial business and an emphasis on the rebuilding and improving of the Information Technology Department were both major and ongoing projects that were possible through his expertise. A shortage of space and the need for improvements in the company’s Home Office led to the purchase of a vacant building in Pekin, which now houses the entire Property/Casualty Claim operation and was molded by his vision. Throughout his years as chief executive officer, he has always been successful in meeting new challenges and reaching lofty goals.
Born and raised in Rushville, Illinois, he is a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He began his career with Pekin Insurance in 1970 as an assistant bond manager in the Surety and Fidelity Bond Department. In 1972, he transferred to Indiana as a field trainee and later worked as a field manager in Effingham, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In July 1984, he was transferred to the Home Office as property/casualty marketing coordinator. In 1985, he was promoted to Staff Management status and was named sales manager. He was promoted to vice president – sales in January 1998. In 2003, he was elected senior vice president of all Pekin Insurance companies and chief operating officer of the property/casualty companies, and in 2006, he was promoted to president and chief operating officer of the property/casualty companies. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors since 2005. In March 2008, he was elected chief executive officer of Pekin Insurance and Chairman of the Board.
A strong supporter of the insurance industry, he has been actively involved with numerous organizations like the Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (PIIAI) and the Illinois Insurance Association. He pursued his professionalism in the industry with his attainment of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) Designation in 1995. True to the character of a leader of a service-associated company, he has always held great interest in community life. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Herget Bank, N.A., and the Pekin Police Foundation. His private generosities and consistent and positive devotion to St. Jude were instrumental in the development of the company’s current Birdies for St. Jude program. After his retirement, he will lend his energies, expertise, and talents as a member of the Board of Directors for St. Jude.
His mark will always be seen in the dramatic growth of the company and the broad footprint the company has achieved within the insurance industry.