It used to be common practice for sons to follow in their father’s footsteps regarding the family business. Over the years, especially with the advent of technical jobs and the expansion and computerization of the job market, it is now more the “exception” than the rule. It stands to reason, then, that a local father and son for whom it does apply, would be “exceptional” don’t you think? And, yes, that’s the way most people would define Barni and Brandon Strausbaugh – exceptional!
In case you’re not familiar with Barni and Brandon, let’s start with a little background. Barni came to Valley Center in 1977 after graduating from Illinois College with a Bachelor of Science degree. Barni was partners in the development of the Old Town Shopping Center (near the corner of Valley Center Road and Cole Grade Road), where he founded Pauma/Valley Insurance Agency (PVI) in 1978. (It was where the Video Playhouse was located for many years). He later started the Country Junction Deli in the same shopping center in 1984. In 1998, Barni relocated PVI to its current location at 27357 Valley Center Road.
Barni has almost 40 years of experience servicing insureds throughout San Diego County. In the process, not only has he received numerous awards and recognition for his dedication and outstanding achievements in the insurance industry, he also has earned the respect and trust of his customers and his community. This obviously had a profound effect on his son, Brandon, who is very proud of his father’s accomplishments, and the high regard that others have for him.
Although Brandon, a life-long Valley Center resident, grew up around his father’s business and knew that he “sold insurance” he had no idea what that encompassed. It wasn’t until he began working at the insurance office (and a “light bulb” went on for him) that he saw that it was much more than just selling insurance, it was a way of life; which meant long-term personal relationships being built with members of the community; it meant supporting local businesses, events and sports teams; and it meant making a difference in the lives of others, while enriching your own life through those connections.
Prior to joining his dad at PVI in 2007, Brandon had a successful career with the Amateur Motocross circuit for ten years until a very serious injury (the last of many) sidelined him for good in 2003. After a stint at residential contracting (derailed by the collapse of the housing market), Brandon found himself turning to his dad for some direction. Brandon, as usual, didn’t take the easy way out, but did accept the opportunity to work with his dad, albeit to start at the bottom.
Brandon took out a credit card to pay for Insurance school, where he not only earned one license, but two. In 2008, as a licensed sales agent, he started building his own book of clients. His father supported him by making his office resources available, but Brandon had to do the work himself.
And work he did. Brandon soon discovered that being an insurance agent was his niche after all. Exhibiting his family’s strong work ethic and community spirit (and his personal motto of being true to himself), Brandon, like his father, has made a name for himself in the insurance industry and in his community. Additionally, he has continued to pursue ways to make himself and the company more valuable to their customers, and earned his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), one of only a handful in North County and, currently, the only one in Valley Center. He also is a Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist (CLCS) and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU).
Brandon, like his dad, believes in giving back to the community, and has served on the Valley Center Chamber of Commerce Board for several years, including President in 2013. He also is an active member of the Valley Center Rotary.
One of the things that makes PVI unique, in addition to being a family-owned business, is that it is comprised of Independent Insurance Agents. What that means to you is that every member of their outstanding team works for you, instead of any one insurance company. Therefore, they are able to source the best fit for you and your lifestyle from the over 50 companies with which they are affiliated – including all the “name brands” – for all your insurance needs! They are committed to the company’s pledge: To do everything they can to make your life Safer, Simpler and more Secure. It should come as no surprise, then, that PVI was honored as the Valley Center Chamber of Commerce 2015 Business of the Year.
Barni is the CEO, while Brandon is the Manager. Together, they are quite the team, both “on the field” and off. The respect and affection they have for each other, as father and son, but also as business partners is quite moving. One of the first things you’ll notice when you walk in the PVI office is a stained glass panel with the PVI logo incorporated in it. That panel (although much larger at the time) was in the original office. When Brandon did a remodeling of their current building in 2012, he discovered the glass panel in storage and had it updated to their new logo color (blue to red) and resized to fit their reception area. When he surprised his dad with the unveiling, needless to say, it was quite a moment for both of them.
Understandably, Brandon is proud of his family’s heritage and success in his hometown, and he is honored to follow in his father’s footsteps, while making his own way. Together, they take great pride (and rightfully so) in the fact that PVI is Valley Center’s Most Trusted Independent Insurance Agency Since 1978. But they couldn’t do it without you, their valued customers! Thank you for your support and the opportunity to serve you!
Happy Father’s Day!
Brandon Strausbaugh, CIC, CLCS, CPCU
http://vcvrs.com/ (DMV Services)