Please allow us to introduce David Fischer. David’s specialty is transforming organizations into market leaders that deliver sustained growth and profitability. Fusing a high-energy sales, business development, change management, and operations background with a lifelong work ethic and leadership built within the US Marine Corps, David has ignited multimillion-dollar growth across a range of industries and settings, including startups, Fortune 500, and PE/VC-backed ventures.  David is an innovator and natural leader that attracts and develops new businesses, expands market opportunities, and builds trust across the entire business ecosystem.

After serving eight years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, David spent twelve years in the high-tech public sector with an emphasis on international sales providing manufacturing software solutions to the Fortune 100. He then moved into the private sector where he led innovative startups from launch to acquisition. Currently, David is the Chief Revenue Officer at Gregory and Appel Insurance, where he leads the organization’s sales development, revenue sustainability, and go-to-market strategies. David earned his degree in Economics and Marketing at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1987.

What is your background and how did you get into this line of work?

I have had a very diverse professional career. After graduating college, I served eight years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.  My combat billets were infantry, parachute, and special operations while my non-combat billets were finance and logistics.  My experience in the military also included a diplomatic tour as a General’s aide.

I then spent twelve years with large publicly traded organizations in the high-tech market where I focused on international sales, sales leadership, and revenue operations. I have spent the last fifteen years in the private sector across many industries and developed go-to-market strategies for emerging companies, led two financial recoveries, and executed multiple M&A events.

My last two roles have both been in the insurance industry serving in leadership and organizational transition, and I have to admit, I never thought I would be in the “insurance business.” Now that I am here, I LOVE it. We are in a fascinating industry — and the best part is that we get to help people.

What are your leadership principles?

Integrity, authenticity, communication, intentionality, and action.

Why are you passionate about BAN? What value has it brought you/your business?

It’s only natural to be passionate about BAN membership!  It brings an incredible peer group of agencies that are open to collaboration and sharing of best practices.  Each interaction with the agencies and members has led to mutual learning that is beyond measurable and ultimately helped create better outcomes for our clients.  In addition to professional growth and relationships, I value the newly developed friendships.

With ongoing inflation, higher interest rates, and a shaky economy, are you worried about the economy?  If so, are you taking steps to prepare for a recession?

I am not worried about the economy minus a catastrophic global event between world leaders and warring nations — then we will all have to face a much different set of issues.  The economy has a proven track record of cyclicality: do not over-enjoy the “ups” and do not dwell on the “downs” as both shall pass.  So, no, I am not taking steps to prepare for a recession but rather ensuring that I have put my organization in a position to withstand any economic condition.  The same goes for my personal life.

Where do you see the industry headed for the balance of 2023 and in 2024?

We are seeing a tremendous amount of activity coming out of the pandemic on all sides of our agency and we planned for the increase in activity.  During COVID, organizations were only addressing the parts of their business that were in critical need.  An employee benefits program change was not high on the list of adjustments to make during COVID unless it was categorically not working or not supporting employees.  Now, all bets are off and it is a blessing and a curse. Tenured clients are exploring options just out of curiosity to understand what the market now has to offer.  This puts current clients at risk but opens discussions and opportunities for new clients.

    We have also seen a significant increase in alternative risk solutions being adopted.  I anticipate that trend to continue if not outright accelerate.   

    What are the industry’s biggest challenges?

    An aging workforce coupled with a limited talent pool is being recruited into our industry.  Every forum, seminar, conference or leadership discussion I have been a part of centers around three critical components: one, retaining, developing, and engaging the talent we have; two, recruiting new talent; three, bringing people back into the office while maintaining a hybrid environment.

    My highest priority and concern for my agency is recruiting.  We will not continue our scale and growth trajectory without increasing our talent pool and onboarding them successfully to build a career. 

    For the younger generation, what are one or two lessons you’ve learned that you can share with them?

      1. Have a growth mindset in all aspects of your life.  Never stop learning.  Never stop pushing.  Never stop challenging.
      2. Be BOLD.  Take calculated risks.
      3. Be reflective and learn from your mistakes.  Embrace them, don’t run away from them.