An Invitation

It is a simple truth: A few words, a simple gesture, an invitation, an opportunity—you never know when one thing might just change your life.

Kevin Ferrell is a believer.

Kevin is a successful Regional Sales Leader with USHEALTH Advisors. In fact, he is a Top Five Sales Leader in the history of the company. USHEALTH Advisors is a subsidiary of USHEALTH Group, offering flexible health coverage and supplemental benefits to the self-employed, individuals and families.

“I was in church the other day,” says Kevin. “The pastor said every great encounter starts with an invitation and I thought, ‘He’s right. You can probably tie that ask to any encounter that matters.’”

For Kevin, it has been a lifetime of asks and answers, which have led to life-changing encounters because when the invitation was presented, Kevin was prepared to respond and answer the call.

More than 20 years ago, there was that ask from his buddy in college.

“I still remember my roommate inviting me to go out to a dance hall,” says Kevin. “That invitation to go to the hall was the night I met Lucy—talk about a great encounter!” 

That night changed Kevin’s life. Two years later, the two were married and they now have three boys: Clayton, Colby, and Carson.

“Getting married to my beautiful wife and having our three sons is one of my greatest accomplishments in life,” says Kevin. “It’s been 20 years of marriage and, oh man, I’m not sure how it’s lasted, but it’s gotta be because she is very good at putting up with me. She and I have a great relationship. We are best friends, we are ying-and-yang, and that works for us. She’s got a lot on the heart side, on the emotional side of things. I’m more analytical and business-like. Bottom line is Lucy’s just an amazing woman, that really is the reason it’s lasted 20 years.”

Back in 1999, Lucy was there when Kevin answered an invitation to make a move from the commercial poultry company, where he was working as a farm construction supervisor, to what would lead to greener pastures and a career in the insurance industry.

“I was working long hours and not making any money to speak of,” says Kevin. “When you get out of college and get a job offer and they want to pay you $25,000 a year, that seems like a lot of money, especially when you’ve been making nearly nothing or never had a job. But when I realized the highest paid guy at the poultry company was making about $100,000 and he was in his 60s, I thought there’s got to be something better out there!”

That something better ended up being an invitation—an ad in a newspaper offering the opportunity to work in agriculture sales communications. As it turned out, it was much broader than that. It was about helping and serving all self-employed business owners, not just those in agriculture, with access to an array of benefits, including health coverage.

Another invitation, another great encounter.

Kevin’s interview for the position was in a small office in Waco, Texas.

“After that meeting, where I learned how I would be helping the self-employed with better benefits, I went out to the car where Lucy was waiting,” says Kevin. “I opened the car door, leaned in, and said, ‘I just found my last career.’ I think she rolled her eyes right then. We weren’t married just yet, but we got married in September of that same year.”

The ride was a good one, though Kevin says he did not start his career by setting the world on fire. After going to a convention where he got to see the best-of-the-best get awards and walk across the stage, Kevin says he started to pick the brains of the top sales agents in his office. He says he has learned what makes a great agent in the insurance business is “having a strong work ethic, being coachable, competitive, a passion for helping others and an entrepreneurial mindset.“

Pretty soon, Kevin was finding others like him. He built successful teams in Texas, then moved his family to Arkansas to build more teams there. Then, he moved back to Texas, where he opened a new office with only four agents and grew to become the number one division in the region. He also got to know the CEO of that company pretty well—a man named Troy McQuagge.

“I’ve known Troy since I was 25 years old,” says Kevin. “My dad passed away from cancer when I was only 13. Not having him around was one of the greatest challenges of my teenage years and beyond. It’s not easy as a young man trying to find your way. You go to college, get a degree, and think you’re gonna go out there and set the world on fire. But you’re left thinking, ‘What is my niche? What am I really supposed to do and how do I build a life?’

“It was tougher without my dad around to advise and guide me, but Troy came along. Not only has he been a mentor and a friend, but I’ve always looked to him as a father figure. In everything I do, every decision I make, I think, ‘What would Troy do?’”

When the insurance opportunity changed back in the late 2000s, Kevin decided he too would make a change. Troy had already retired from the former company, but Kevin says the two stayed in touch.

“Troy has been there for me even when we didn’t work together for a few years,” says Kevin. “When I had questions about what I should do, Troy was always there to give me advice and to help me.”

Back in 2011, as things were changing in a negative way for Kevin, it was a text he received from Troy that led to an invitation and a re-encounter that changed Kevin’s life.

Troy had come out of retirement to help create USHEALTH Advisors and, not long after things got rolling, he reached out to Kevin.

“I got a text from Troy from out of the blue,” says Kevin. “He just said, ‘How are you doing?’ Troy had heard about some major changes and layoffs with the old company I was working for and was just reaching out to check on me. He said, ‘We should probably talk soon.’

“That was the text that ended up bringing me here to USHA. I was traveling to one of my offices and was going to be in Dallas where Troy was, so we met to talk about things. Troy explained his vision to me for USHEALTH Advisors and what the company was doing to reach that vision. At the time, I had commissions and benefits with my current company, and my wife was pregnant with our third son but after talking with Troy, it wasn’t a hard decision to make. I had lost my faith and passion with the old company and Troy knew it.”

Kevin officially joined USHEALTH Advisors in 2012 and says the early days with USHA were not easy. Kevin was building from the ground up, but he knew one thing: Hard work works, so Kevin got to work learning, building, serving, and focusing on the company’s mission of HOPE—Helping Other People Everyday. Today, as a Regional Sales Leader, Kevin oversees 13 offices and continues to grow and help others live their dreams, as he has with his own.

“Honestly, this company has helped me and my wife to accomplish most of the dreams we’ve had,” says Kevin. “We are very, very blessed. We are big believers in sharing and helping others. Like Troy has always said, the more people you help, the more successful you’ll be.

“I’m also a very competitive guy. For me, the competition is more fun than the paycheck. In the beginning, it was about making more money and getting paid what I’m worth and the freedom and flexibility. And then, as you develop, you learn a lot about the other things, like our mission of HOPE and how the real rewards come from helping other agents to become successful here. I don’t even know the number of people we’ve helped over the years, it’s so many.”

As for the future, Kevin says he is exactly where he needs to be.

“I can’t imagine not doing this,” he says. “I have the privilege of working with my friends and family. Most of my meaningful relationships are with people from this company. I’m so privileged to be surrounded by so many elite people! I always want to help. I’m a ‘give you the shirt off my back’ kind of guy. I operate with the highest levels of integrity and character, and I have not broken that bond of trust with myself and anyone that works with me. In the long run, I hope people remember the impact Lucy and I have had on their lives. We are big on sharing and giving back to the community.”

As for his immediate family—Lucy, Clayton, Colby, and Carson—they have just finished building a home, a long journey to get to that point (even having the entire family live in an RV for nine months) but now that it’s here, life on their ranch is even more abundant.

“I am blessed,” says Kevin. “I have a beautiful wife and three great boys. We all love each other, and now we have a new home, a beautiful ranch, because of the work I’ve done with USHEALTH Advisors. We are really living the dream. I want to be there for my kids to help them and guide them. Not that I didn’t have anybody helping me when I was growing up, but I didn’t have my dad, and it’s tough for any young man.

“I want to help my boys to grow, to be productive citizens, and accomplish whatever they set out to accomplish. Give them the tools to be successful and be there to coach and to mentor them. That’s important to me because part of that was missing in my own life until I found Troy.”

Just another invitation and great encounter that changed Kevin’s life. #USHAStrong

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Your Storyteller,
Mark Brodinsky