Alltrust Insurance founding partner Joe Part had an interesting experience the first time he went on a sales call with new employee Caz Piurowski — a former college and pro football player.
“I'm a pretty short guy and Caz is one-foot, two inches bigger than me,” recalls Part. “It was the first time a CEO I went to see burst out laughing and then apologized.”
The funny story illustrates a serious plan to help Alltrust, which focuses on employee benefits consulting, grow. Piurowski, hired late last year in a benefits adviser position, is part of a growing contingent of former Florida State University Seminole athletes to join the firm. A tight end from 2006 to 2009, Piurowski joins former teammate and 'Noles quarterback Drew Weatherford at Alltrust. Kristen Andonian, an account manager with Alltrust since 2007, was an FSU varsity swimmer.
Piurowski, whose NFL career, first with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later the Seattle Seahawks was cut short by injuries, will be based mostly out of the firm's Sarasota office. Weatherford, a high school football star when he played for Land O' Lakes High in Pasco County, works in business development for AllTrust. Weatherford's older brother, Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is the Florida House Speaker.
An FSU alum himself, class of '75, Part says the hunt for good employees who wear garnet and gold goes deeper than college pride. He says Division I college athletes, in his experience, have the preparation skills, teamwork and diligence he seeks in employees. Andonian, for example, is the type of employee, says Part, where nothing falls through the cracks and everything is done is by the end of the day.
“Nowadays you don't want a lone wolf salesperson,” Part tells Coffee Talk. “And Division I athletes understand that. They get it.”
Alltrust, says Part, had its best year ever in 2013, with more than $7 million in annual sales. The firm, boosted by clients that need precise and real-time federal health care overhaul law information, plans to expand to Orlando, possibly later this year. Part says the Fort Myers-Naples market is another growth target.
The expansion and need for more employees means Part might have to play nice with a rival — and maybe even hire a University of Florida Gator. A few UF alums are already on the Alltrust payroll, grumbles Part. “We prefer not to,” jokes Part, “but we will.”