Jerry Hemmer is a patient man.
For the last five years, he and business partner Michael Kochis have been preparing to buy financial-planning firm Alliance Financial Group in Fort Myers.
The firm’s previous owners tapped Hemmer and Kochis as successors and they closed on the deal in April. “I believe I’m one of the youngest agency owners within Guardian out of 80 independently owned offices,” Hemmer says. (Alliance is an agency of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.)
Alliance Financial has $320 million in assets under management and $35 million in life-insurance premiums on the books. “We’ve almost doubled in size since 2007,” Hemmer says.
Alliance Financial was successful growing its business even as the financial services industry suffered through the recession. “It’s amazing what you can do when you choose not to participate in something,” Hemmer says.
Customers turned to Alliance for help when the economy went into recession. “When there’s chaos in the world, that’s when they reach out to us,” Hemmer says. “We had some of our best growth years in 2008, 2009 and 2010.”
Currently, the firm has 15 employees and 60 financial advisers. “Our goal is to have 100 advisers,” Hemmer says. Alliance Financial recently opened a Naples office and it’s growing its Orlando and Sarasota offices, too.
A father of five children, Hemmer says he’s focused on work and family. “I DVR a lot of football games,” he laughs.
— Jean Gruss
City of residence: Fort Myers
Birthplace: Syracuse, N.Y.
Years on the Gulf Coast: Eight
Marital status/children: Married, five children
Alma mater: SUNY at Fredonia
Best place to network: Charity events
Coolest business experience: The day we transitioned as owners of Alliance Financial Group
The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Today’s integrity lives beyond tomorrow
One website that makes your job easier: thelivingbalancesheet.com
Favorite off-hours activity: Spending time with family and church
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr.
Best award you ever received: Guardian’s Platinum Presidential Citation Award
One community group you’re most involved with: Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida
Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Sky diving over the Swiss Alps
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Matthew McConaughey
What’s at the top of your bucket list: Play a round of golf at Augusta or Pebble Beach
What new skill would you like to learn: play a guitar
If I had a magic wand I’d: Teach people to put the needs of others ahead of their own.