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Bob McIntire named Bedwell Small Business Person of the Year

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May 01, 2017
        The 2017 Mel Bedwell Small Business Person of the Year clearly reflects the commitment to customer service and community that earned Bob McIntire recognition as winner of this year’s prestigious small business award, presented at a special award luncheon today.
        The Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce recognized McIntire, president of McIntire & Associates Insurance, because he “embodies the true spirit of a small businessperson with integrity who is invested in making his community a better place.”
        McIntire is the 19th individual to receive the Bedwell Small Business Person of the Year award since its renaming to honor the contributions of the late Mel Bedwell and 24th to receive the award since this recognition program began. Bedwell was one of the most loyal and supportive members of the Small Business Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, which coordinates Business Development Month.
            Forming the basis for the Bedwell Award are staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales or unit volume, innovativeness of product or services offered, response to adversity, and evidence of contribution by the nominee to aid community-oriented projects.
            Bob McIntire started McIntire & Associates Insurance in 1981 with his father, Bill, and became owner of the business in 1992.
            “Bob is part of a generational legacy of small business owners in this community and is very proud of that legacy,” said Eddie Cartwright, long-time client and friend. “My parents even did business with Bob’s grandfather, Raymond Cornutt.”
            What began as a two-person operation more than 30 years ago has grown into a business with almost 20 employees, including an in-office claims manager, 10 insurance agents and a dedicated team of customer service representatives.
            “Many customers at McIntire & Associates still remember coming in as little kids with their parents or grandparents because the business has been serving the community that long,” nominator Melinda McIntire said.
            The agency reports a steady increase in volume of business during its history and has consistently seen double-digit growth throughout its more than 30 years in business. It currently represents over 25 major insurance carriers.
            “Even though the business has been around a long time, Bob keeps on top of trends in the insurance industry, as well as new developments in technology that keep costs low and customer satisfaction high,” Melinda shared.
            Bob has found a unique way to help customers with asset protection. His business connects local customers with nationally known and top-ranked insurance corporations to bring his clients the best protection at the best price. His business finds insurance coverage that is comprehensive and affordable. In addition, the company has markets for insurance for many different products and services so they are able to help a wide range of customers.
            “Bob has created a culture in his office that puts the needs of his customers first, and he treats them like family,” Cartwright stressed. “He even goes out of his way to make his customers feel valued and to help them whenever possible.”
            Cartwright recounted that a tree fell across his driveway during the tornadoes of 2011. He called McIntire & Associates to turn in a claim, and a few hours later, Bob showed up in his yard wearing work clothes and carrying his chainsaw.
            “He personally cut up the tree so I could get out of my house,” Cartwright said.
McIntire & Associates is continually looking at and talking with peers to find better ways of doing business. Currently, the business is revamping its website and increasing its social media presence to reach young adults as they emerge into the insurance market as new drivers or homeowners. The company is also upgrading its client management database to a totally web-based system. This is innovative for the insurance industry and will allow integration between their website, client management database and rating software, which finds better rates for customers.
            “This will ensure customers have a seamless experience and will save time and money for both the business and its customers,” the nominator explained.
            Most companies experience challenges, especially those in business more than three decades. McIntire & Associates Insurance has experienced typical challenges: increased competition, employee turnover and price hikes within the insurance industry. More significant, though, was abuse of power by an employee in a position of trust.
            Bob worked tirelessly to correct the situation and was able to keep the business running to serve their customers. He turned around a difficult situation and became a rock to his family and his employees, showing grace and strength throughout the process.
Such commitment reflects this year’s Bedwell Award winner’s passion about making Cleveland and Bradley County the best place it can possibly be.
            “He doesn’t just spend time talking about ways to make our town better,” Cartwright said, “he jumps in with his sleeves rolled up and does the work. That is rare and that’s part of what makes him such a great asset to our city.”
            Bob is past president of Cleveland Civitan Club and past Lieutenant Governor of the Appalachian District of Civitan. He is a past board member of Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region, the Professional Insurance Agents of Tennessee and the Cleveland Emmaus community. He has served on the agents advisory boards for several prominent insurance companies, including Bituminous Insurance, St. Paul Insurance, Builders Mutual Insurance Company, Grange Insurance Company, Central Insurance Company and Celina Insurance Company.
            He currently serves as vice president of the Insurors of Tennessee and will fill the role of president in 2019. He is a member of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce and serves as vice chairman for Economic Development, chairs the Workforce Development Task Force and is a member of the Bradley/Cleveland Industrial Development Board.
            Bob is also a member of the Cleveland State Community College Foundation and has served on the board of directors for Life Bridges Inc. for more than 27 years.
            Bob and his wife, Melinda, are members of First Baptist Church where he previously served as a Sunday school teacher for high school students and currently serves on the Stewardship Committee. 
            The Small Business Committee of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce sponsors Business Development Month as part of the Chamber’s commitment to the business development of its members, the economic growth of the region, and the highest quality of life in our community.
Nancy Neal, Vice President, Communications
(423) 472-6587

225 Keith St SW
PO Box 2275
Cleveland TN 37320-2275
Phone: 423-472-6587
Fax: 423-472-2019
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

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