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40 Under 40 - Class of 2013
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 8 years ago

Rich Mathews, 35

Owner, State Farm Insurance Agency

Rich Mathews is a model State Farm agent in many ways.

Mathews, who owns the State Farm agency in Estero, was selected to be in a State Farm television commercial in 2010 in part because he was among the top 5% agents in the nation. Plus, he’s a great-looking guy.

The production company that created the State Farm commercial flew Mathews out for a week to Los Angeles where he stayed at the Four Seasons hotel, all expenses paid.

But Mathews didn’t shoot straight to the top without considerable effort. The son of a Tampa State Farm agent, Mathews opened his own agency in 2007 just as the recession was hitting the state hard.

Because State Farm wasn’t writing homeowners’ insurance, Mathews focused on financial planning, auto and life insurance. After countless hours of cold calling and knocking on doors, Matthews’ agency now has 12 employees.

“The agency is growing quite a bit and life has gotten better,” Mathews says. “We’re still building homes and people are moving into the area.”

—Jean Gruss


City of residence: Estero

Birthplace: Charleston, S.C.

Years on the Gulf Coast: 25

Alma mater: Florida A & M University

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Always do the right thing for the client and you can’t fail.

One website that makes your job easier:

One community group you’re most involved with: CCMI, the Soup Kitchen of Fort Myers

Best award you ever received: Presidents Club Auto, top 50 out of 1,800 State Farm agents

Book you’re reading now: “The Slight Edge,” by Jeff Olson

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Denzel Washington 30 years younger

If I had a magic wand I’d: Get rid of the sense of entitlement that has become so prevalent in our culture and replace it with a value-driven culture where people embrace hard work and daily self-improvement and accountability.


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