20 Under 40 Q&A: Travis HansenInsurance agent at Reliable Agency Inc.
Get to know Travis Hanson
Occupation: Insurance agent at Reliable Agency Inc.
What do you actually do? I help businesses and individuals determine their insurance needs and work to find the coverage that best meets their needs at an affordable price.
Years in your job: 13
Education: I graduated from Esko High School in 1995. In 1999, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance.
Family: Wife of 12 years, Laura; two boys, Caleb, 8, and Noah, 6; and a yellow Lab named Molly.
Community involvement: Member of Cloquet’s Noontime Kiwanis, Cloquet Area Chamber Ambassador and den leader for my son’s Cub Scouts den. I have served in the past on various boards at St. Matthew’s Church in Esko and was a past member and vice president of the Cloquet Wood City Chapter of BNI.
What brought you to the Twin Ports?
I have lived in the Twin Ports area my whole life. My parents moved up here in the early ’70s when my father’s job with the Soil and Water Conservation Service moved him from the Rochester (Minn.) area to Duluth. I spent the first four years of my life in Duluth. We then moved out to Esko where I attended school and graduated in 1995. Both my father and mother grew up on farms and were used to the small-town life. Esko was a great place to grow up. The Esko schools provided me with a lot of great experiences and friends that are still part of my life today.
Describe your favorite place in the Twin Ports.
There are so many places in the Twin Ports area that I enjoy, but if I had to pick one I would go with Jay Cooke State Park. The park is just a couple of miles from where I live and work so I can be there in a matter of minutes. My family has enjoyed camping, biking, hiking, running and barbecues, just to name a few in Jay Cooke State Park.
What do you like most about the Northland?
I enjoy the variety that the Northland offers. There are four distinct seasons with different activities to enjoy in each one. Also, there are an enormous amount of lakes and wilderness right at our fingertips that we can explore and enjoy.
What I enjoy most about working in the Northland are the people that I interact with each day. Individuals that I encounter, and work with, are hardworking people that are polite and willing to listen to you. They are always willing to share their stories and knowledge. I have enjoyed how busy my job has kept me. The weeks and months just fly by. There is a lot going on in our community. If you are someone who likes to get involved and make a difference, there is a lot to choose from.
How can the Northland retain younger people?
Make sure each one has a mentor. Someone in the same profession that has seen a lot of things happen. These mentors, I believe, would have a lot of insight to share that would get the younger individual up and going a whole lot quicker and would help keep them excited.
I would look for opportunities to give some of these young professionals more responsibility. Doing this would make them feel as if they are a larger part of the team and will keep them involved and engaged. They can handle it.
Who or what has made the biggest impact on your life?
Professionally I would say that Steve Micke, my boss at Reliable Agency, has had a big impact on me. Steve leads by example. He is one of the hardest-working individuals I’ve ever met. In addition to working hard, I also admire how much he gives back to the community. He has served on many service groups and volunteered on countless committees and boards. If he’s not in the office, you can almost bet that he is out volunteering somewhere in the Cloquet or Duluth area.
Personally I would say that my brother, Aaron Hansen, has had one of the largest impacts on me. He also leads by example and works hard and has a strong conviction to his morals, ethics and faith. These are all things that are important to me, and Aaron has helped make them that way.
What are you most passionate about?
Faith and family are the two things that I am most passionate about in my life. These two things are at the core of who I am. When making a decision, I try always to first look to my faith for guidance and consider how the decision would affect my family. Professionally, I am most passionate about helping people. What I have enjoyed most about my job to this point is taking something, such as insurance, that is confusing and often scary to someone, and helping them understand and become comfortable with it. It has always been a very fulfilling experience.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
If I had to pick just one, I would say professionally it would be receiving the Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Young Agent of the Year Award in 2007. I always strive to do what is best for our agency’s clients and will interact with the client on a more regular basis. But, when my work was recognized by my peers on a state level I was really surprised. This was a very humbling experience.
What advice would you give other young people?
Get involved. There are great people in our Northland business communities that are always willing to help you with your endeavors. You will never meet these people unless you take that first step. I believe that one of the Northland’s biggest assets is its people. Northlanders genuinely want to help each other whether it is personally or professionally. The more people you meet the more I believe you will love this community and the more successful you will be. Also, be passionate about what you do. Whether it’s discussing life insurance with a close friend or training for Grandma’s Marathon, go after it with purpose. By doing so you will enjoy everything to its fullest and will realize all aspects of success.