Columnists Bob Carroll New CEO joins board, unveils new building at Jewelers Mutual

New CEO joins board, unveils new building at Jewelers Mutual

(NEENAH, Wis.) - May 20 was a big day at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company in Neenah, Wisconsin.
"I'm the envy of insurance executives around the country," began new Jewelers Mutual CEO Darwin Copeman when kicking off an employee event to celebrate its expanded building, auditorium, and annual policyholder meeting. "Not only do I join a successful, profitable company with an A+ A.M. Best rating and a dedicated staff, but I inherit a beautiful, newly remodeled building," he continued.

The following are highlights from this momentous day.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company announced additions, re-elections, and changes to its Board of Directors after the company's 96th Annual Policyholder's meeting, held May 20 at the company's home office.

The following board members were re-elected:
  • Nancee James, CPCU, CPA, independent consultant (financial services) in Baltimore, Maryland, to a three-year term
  • John A. Michaels, retail jeweler and owner of Michaels, Inc. in Waterbury, Connecticut, to a three-year term
  • Carl J. Rudolph, CPA, CMA, CLU, retired insurance executive in Appleton, Wisconsin, to a three-year term

The following new board members were elected:
  • Darwin Copeman, CPCU, Jewelers Mutual CEO, to a two-year term
  • Mark E. Fiebrink, retired insurance executive in Bristol, Virginia, to a one-year term
  • H. David Lundgren, insurance executive at Cuna Mutual Group in Madison, Wisconsin, to a one-year term
  • The Board of Directors also named Nancee James as the new board chair, effective as of the date of the policyholder meeting. Carl Rudolph will serve as vice chair.
  • Patti Geolat continues to serve on the Board of Directors and will be instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition period for Copeman as he assumes his new responsibilities as CEO at Jewelers Mutual. Geolat and the other jewelers serving on the board will continue to provide Copeman with jewelry industry background and education as he becomes acclimated to the jewelry industry.
Existing board members include:
  • Cathy Calhoun, CGA, GG, RJ, retail jeweler and owner of Calhoun Jewelers and Avanti Development in Royersford, Pennsylvania and president elect of AGS
  • Patti Geolat, GG, FGA, ASA, ARM, CIOP, jewelry appraiser and owner of Geolat businesses in Dallas, Texas
  • Hugh Glenn, former U.S. distributor for Cyma Swiss watches from New York, NY
  • Thomas D. Silver, CPCU, retired insurance executive from Schaumburg, Illinois
  • Kurt Steckbeck, jewelry manufacturer and owner of North American Jewelers, Inc., in Chicago, Illinois
  • Simon Watt, colored gemstone dealer and owner of Mayer & Watt in Maysville, Kentucky
At their 96th Annual Policyholder's meeting, Jewelers Mutual announced the completion of their building renovation and expansion that added 18,900 square feet, bringing the three-story building to 96,900 square feet.
Building renovation and expansion project unveiled
Also on May 20, Jewelers Mutual board members and staff assembled to celebrate the completion of the building renovation and expansion project that began one year ago. The expansion added 18,900 square feet, bringing the three-story building to 96,900 square feet - enough room to house another 100 employees in the future. Remarkably, this project was completed with no lost-time accidents.

In honor of the official opening of the expanded home office, Jewelers Mutual donated $5,000 to the Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities to help others in the community who need a home.

In addition to an expanded café and office space, Jewelers Mutual added an auditorium large enough to assemble up to 300 employees. This auditorium was dedicated to the late Earl DeLong, former Jewelers Mutual President and CEO who passed away in fall 2008. Retired Jewelers Mutual president and CEO Ron Harder, spoke about his predecessor Earl DeLong, as he dedicated the new Jewelers Mutual auditorium to Earl's memory.

DeLong was employed at Jewelers Mutual for 36 years. He began as its fifth employee in 1946 and served as its president and CEO from 1972 to 1982. Earl's wife, Dorothy, and their children attended the ceremony, and helped unveil a plaque in Earl's memory.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company is the only company specializing exclusively in jewelry insurance in the United States and Canada. The company's strong financial position is reflected in its continued A+ Superior rating from A.M. Best. For more information visit the Jewelers Mutual Web site at

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