Our CEO Scott Kidder recently celebrated 25 years at Colonial Adjustment, Inc., the business that his father started. Here he shares his thoughts on this milestone, as well as some of his personal and professional reflections on leadership:
This past week marked my 25-year work anniversary at Colonial Adjustment. This milestone anniversary marking a quarter century of personal and professional growth in this family business that my father started in 1974, combined with everything that our company has been faced with through the COVID-19 pandemic over the last several months, has me feeling reflective. introspective
In 1995 I was fresh out of college, just having graduated from the University of Denver with a Business Administrative degree. I traveled home across country that summer, bought a new suit, and began working full-time at Colonial with my dad and brother. I had worked many summers at the company prior to this, riding with adjusters, answering the telephone, filing claims, and helping out in customer service. Our company was definitely no stranger to me, it was not just a place my dad went to work. I can remember as a kid, riding in the car with my dad, and being stuck in the car waiting for him for hours while he investigated a fire. My dad was an amazing connector and I would watch him when he met people, how he got to know them, and build strong relationships both professionally and personally. You might say I was raised on adjusting. It was in my blood and so was Colonial Adjustment. I knew growing up watching my father, that this business truly interested me for many reasons.
Never believing anything of value came without hard work, my father started me out as a rookie adjuster just like anyone else. I worked in property and learned the casualty aspect of insurance adjusting as well. I soon learned that casualty was my forte thanks to a great mentor. It also made sense as my brother was specializing in property claims adjusting. My brother left the business in 1997, after 4 years, to pursue other interests. For the first five years that I was with the company full time, I basically did whatever my father told me to do. I was eager to learn, and during the next five years, I developed my own thought processes about the business and began challenging some of his decisions. Like many family-work relationships, my dad and I butted heads at times. We struggled with old school management versus new school management, as well as having different opinions strategically. It was a running joke that I was fired about once a year, but I kept coming back! I was determined and love a challenge. I understand now that it must have been difficult for my father to have his son challenging him, and while he wanted me to carry on his business legacy and to learn the ropes, it was also difficult for him to let go.
After I had about 10 years of experience under my belt, we began to seriously discuss transitioning the business leadership from my father to myself. That was also a rocky road at times, but we were each committed, ultimately, to making it work. This year will also mark the completion of the business Purchase & Sale Agreement between my father and myself.
I am grateful to my mother, who was the original Colonial Adjustment bookkeeper in the basement in our home in Westbrook, Maine at Colonial Acres. Even while raising a young family at home, she was fully supportive of my father when the decision was made to take a risk and start his own business.
I am grateful to my father for his tenacity and drive to grow the business, build strong relationships with staff and clients, and maintain his vision for his company. He taught me the business, life lessons, and provided me the opportunity to own it and take it to the next level.
I am also so appreciative of my wife, Erica, and our two sons, Jack and Sam, who have supported me through numerous years of hard work, late nights, and travel. As my sons are currently transitioning into their adult lives, I hope for them every opportunity I had, and Erica and I support whatever path they each choose to pursue. I am humbled and grateful to our extended family of Colonial staff. They have allowed us to grow into the company we are today through their dedication, commitment, and hard work.
A family business has a special culture. With our roots based in family, I learned to put family first, and this includes our employees who I also refer to as co-workers as they are an extension of the family and we are all in this together! Building relationships with our team, our clients, and our community is so vital to business success, and it is also what makes me want to come to work each day. It’s what drives me to build Colonial into the best it can be – for all of us.
During this crazy year, I have spent a lot of time reflecting, both professionally and personally. The adversity presented to us by COVID-19 offers opportunity to all of us. I choose to focus on those opportunities to learn, change and grow. I ask myself how I can get better, make necessary changes, even slow down a bit to better appreciate my life and family. These last few months have forced that reflection, enabling me to recognize the positive aspect of the crisis. I am looking forward to the future and what it may bring for the Colonial family. I also want to thank all of you for your support and relationships. I cannot imagine any other profession where there is such an impressive group of people that I truly care about both personally and professionally.
Here’s to the next 25 years!