AMHERST – Trust. Shared vision. Lifelong commitment. These are the values Michael Stack, vice-president of Archway Insurance, thinks a family owned and operated business can bring to the marketplace.
Archway is one of three finalists for the Family Enterprise of the Year Achievement Awards for Nova Scotia. One of the three will be selected at a luncheon March 7 in Dartmouth to represent the province in a selection process leading to a single national award-winner.
“I absolutely love the industry,” said Stack.
He also loves what the industry has given his family. His father began the business in Yarmouth most of three decades ago – a second career after banking. While Garry Stack remains president, day-to-day operations are handled by Michael and his sister, and Michael will be assuming the mantle of company president in December.
Over the years, the enterprise has grown to six offices in Nova Scotia and two in New Brunswick. Michael’s mother is also in the business and so is his other brother. The VP’s wife is an employee, too.
“I’m sure there were some sleepless nights early on,” said Michael, reflecting on the early days of the company.
The VP didn’t walk right into a senior job with the family business. He knew from a young age he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, and pursued a degree in commerce at Dalhousie to help on his career path. But his first job in the industry was with the Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company. He worked there as part of his degree and then for another year and a half after graduation.
“There was no room for me (at Archway),” he said.
They were lean times, according to Stack, and he thinks it may have been in the back of his father’s mind that it would give him a chance to experience the industry before joining the family endeavor.
“It was probably a wise move at the time,” he said.
The skill set he brings compliments the talents of his sister, who was formerly a VP in the banking industry.
“We’re a good team,” he said.
Stack said employees don’t have to be family to progress in the company. The growth of Archway has created more middle management positions, he said. He offered examples of employees who started as secretaries and are now agents or department managers.
As for the next generation, it’s too early to tell: his kids and his sister’s kids are still children.
The achievement ward is presented by the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise – of which Archway is a member – and its platinum sponsor, BMO Harris Private Banking.