Broker Words—December 2021

Raymond J. Phillips

It is my distinct pleasure to congratulate dear friend Raymond J. Phillips, Jr., CLU, LTCP, president of The Brokers Source, Ltd, Pittsburgh, PA, the 2021 recipient of the Billy Vogel Award. One of the industry’s premier marketing organizations, The Marketing Alliance (TMA), presents the award annually to honor an individual who embodies business acumen, a sense of innovation, and above all, integrity. The award is named for William E. (Billy) Vogel, the late president of the W. S. Vogel Agency, Inc., who exemplified all of those qualities.

TMA President Tim Klusas, who presented the award, said Ray is “Recognized for his business acumen, his innovative resourcefulness, and the integrity essential to bring people together and mobilize resources.” Klusas continued, “While there are many examples of innovative situations or expressions of business acumen I could offer, probably the most widely beneficial was how Ray revitalized many of the local chapters of different groups around his city and state. The local NAIFA, local Association of Health Underwriters, local chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals…he saw the value in those organizations and took the bull by the horns to get them back up and running, whether at the helm or as a supporting player.”

A past chairman of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA), Ray is also past president of the Pittsburgh Chapter of National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, the Pittsburgh Association of Health Underwriters and the Society of Underwriting Brokers (SUB Centers). He has served on the board of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and is a member of the International DI Society, The Plus Group, The Marketing Alliance, SUB Centers, and the Pittsburgh Estate Planning Council.

Ray was also a recent recipient of the Keystone Award—which is Pennsylvania’s NAIFA chapter’s highest award, given to the volunteer who made the greatest contributions on the national, state and local levels. A past chapter president said, “There is nothing past about his relentless passion for the industry. He is always there to light the spark, to offer guidance and perspective, a story, or build a relationship to bring the industry together. I can’t think of a more appropriate recipient of the Keystone Award.”

Ray has been a great friend to the Howards and Broker World for 40 years. I’ve found him to be a tremendously loyal and enthusiastic friend, a great source of industry knowledge, and always eager to help in any way he could—usually under a ridiculously tight deadline! The only chinks in his armor I can see are his questionable choice for NAILBA’s Chairman’s award during his term and a rather poorly thought out invitation to a speaker at a SUB Center’s meeting (which he then judiciously fled before his poor choice was exposed). But the Jack Stack barbeque was really good…

I was surprised to learn recently that Ray’s first foray into the insurance business was when he was offered a job at an agency ordering phone books for nearby major cities, going to the insurance section, and calling all of the names he could find. As they say, “You’ve come a long way, Baby!” Congratulations Ray! And thank you for decades of your wonderful friendship.[SPH]