COLUMBUS, OH – According to Rick Spreng, owner of Ashland-based Spreng-Smith Insurance Agency, “my business is a ministry to members of my community.” Ohio Insurance Agents Association presented Spreng with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime of leadership to the association, insurance industry and local community.
“There is no better business than the agency business to know people and work with them in the best and worst times in their lives,” Spreng says. “When I started in this business, I didn’t know anything about insurance. And now, after 46 years and a few days from retirement, I can honestly say I am blessed. This career path has provided me with the opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of others.”
For over 40 years, Spreng has been involved in the independent agency system. He has been an association leader since he was first elected to represent Ohio Big I District 6 back in 2002. He served as president of the Big I Board from 2008 to 2009. He was elected to the merged Ohio board in 2013, and will conclude his service at the end of this year. Spreng has served as Big I National Director representing Ohio members on the IIABA National Board, which sets the strategic direction and policy of IIABA. While serving on the Trusted Choice Board of Directors, he helped to educate the public on the value of an independent insurance agent
“As I end my career, it's valuable to reflect on my experiences,” Spreng says. “God has placed me with those that have lost loved ones, had debilitating injury, experienced divorce, lost all of their material possessions, and many other difficult issues. I have been personally blessed by the strength of people. Insurance is an honorable business that hopefully has made me a better person.”
Spreng is passionate about making a difference in his community. His volunteer leadership involvement includes President of United Way of Ashland County as well as Campaign Chairman, President of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, President of the Rotary Club, President of the Brethren Care Village, a long-term care facility in Ashland, Vice President of the Boy Scouts of America Johnny Appleseed Council and lay leader of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Ashland. He has also served on the board of the Ashland University Alumni Association.
Spreng’s proudest volunteer leadership experience was chairing the Ashland Bicentennial Celebration, along with his wife Kim. He also chaired the 175th community celebration where he founded the Ashland BalloonFest, which has become one of the premier annual festivals in Ohio. Spreng managed this event for the first 10 years. “Bringing an entire community together is a great experience,” Spreng says. “I am proud to be a part of such as wonderful tradition.”
Ohio Insurance Agents Association
Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of 1,400 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. Our purpose is to help our member agencies protect consumers and employers by offering them access to the best resources, tools and professional development programs available. OIA serves our members in four key areas: advocacy, professional development, business solutions and industry thought leadership.