June 19--When Jimmy Rogers Jr., graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1956, he knew where he was headed.
He knew he wanted to work in his father's insurance business in El Paso: Rogers & Belding Insurance Agency, which grew to be one of the largest insurance brokerages in El Paso.
"I saw a future in it. Primarily because it was dealing with people, and I felt it was something I would enjoy -- providing products and services to people that they need," said the soft-spoken Rogers, 77.
He plans to retire at the end of this month from the place he's worked for 53 years.
But Rogers isn't retiring from the community work that's brought him the nicknames of Mr. Sun Bowl and Mr. El Paso.
"I'm still on nine different boards and committees
throughout El Paso, and I plan to stay active," Rogers said. He also plans to move into a West Side office to run family financial matters, he said.
He also wants to spend more time with his wife, Jody, "and enjoy what time we have left," he said. The avid skier also plans to spend time on the slopes during ski season, he said.
Rogers, an El Paso native who graduated from El Paso High School in 1952, grew up in his father's insurance business. He was one of the company's owners and its top executive for more than 25 years until it was sold in 2007 to Wells Fargo Insurance Services, the nation's fourth-largest insurance broker.
Since the sale, Rogers has been vice president and sales manager of Wells Fargo Insurance'sEl Paso office,
which retained most of the Rogers Belding employees. It employs about 60 people, including two of Rogers' sons: Michael Rogers, claims manager, and Jimmy Rogers III, a salesman.
A retirement luncheon for Rogers was being held today at the company's offices at 2505 E. Missouri in Central El Paso.
"He is a man of high integrity and someone you can certainly trust. Those are values he instilled in our operation," and values important to the success of an insurance brokerage, said Ken Mitchell, who's worked with Rogers for 27 years.
Mitchell was president of Rogers & Belding and one of its owners when it was sold. He now runs Wells Fargo Insurance'sEl Paso and Lubbock offices.
"He's a good salesman" because of his sincerity in taking care of people's insurance needs, Mitchell said. "He's a great mentor, a great leader."
Rogers said he always had an aptitude for sales. Even today, he still helps agents get accounts, he said.
W. Martin Yung, president and chief executive officer of JDW Insurance, another large El Paso insurance brokerage, characterized Rogers as a gentleman and a businessman who forged lasting relationships in and out of his insurance business. And, he noted, Rogers' company always provided good competition.
"His service to the Sun Bowl speaks volumes. He's a key part of why the Sun Bowl has remained an El Paso institution," Yung said.
Rogers has been playing a leadership role with the Sun Bowl football game for more than 50 years. He's currently chairman emeritus, and continues to serve as liaison for CBS-TV, which telecasts the game. He's also a long-time member of the game's football selection committee, which helps pick college teams for the annual game.
Mitchell said Rogers has been a great promoter of the city through various boards and committees he's served on.
"I've heard business people speak of him as Mr. El Paso because he's been a great ambassador for the city," Mitchell said.
Yung added, "I can't say anything bad about Jimmy. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has anything bad to say about him."
Rogers said his people skills have been a key to his success.
"The most important thing in life is people. If you get the right people, and treat them well, they will do well for you," Rogers said.
Vic Kolenc may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6421. Follow him on Twitter @vickolenc.More information: https://wfis.wellsfargo.com
-- Name: Jimmy Rogers Jr.
-- Age: 77.
-- Job: Vice president and sales manager for Wells Fargo Insurance Services'El Paso office, formerly Rogers & Belding Insurance Agency, which Rogers was an owner and its top executive for years.
-- Education: Graduated from El Paso High School, 1952. Business degree from Southern Methodist University, 1956.
-- Family: Wife, Jody, and three sons.
-- Noteworthy: Inducted in 2007 into Junior Achievement'sEl Paso Business Hall of Fame.
(c)2012 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)
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