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Feb. 6, 2020
Talk about a work anniversary.
This week, Dwane Boxdorfer marks 60 years in the insurance industry.
As for whether he thought he’d work that long, “You’d have to define ‘work,’ ” he answered.
It’s rarely felt like work for Boxdorfer.
A bit of an unconventional path led the Sioux Falls native to the insurance business. After learning to run a printing press at a printing company, he took on a part-time side job running one for an insurance agent.
That upset the labor union at the time, “and then they changed their mind and decided they wanted me to help the rest of the guys find printing jobs that paid (more),” he said.
His boss at the full-time printing company and others decided it might be best if he exited the industry, he said, so his part-time job in insurance evolved into a full-time one.
“I started at the bottom. I knew nothing, absolutely nothing,” he said. “I was 23 years old. You don’t know anything about anything at that point.”
After a few years in the office, he would come home and his wife – who worked for Western Airlines – would be busy around the house.
“So I wondered who would buy insurance after dark,” he said. “So I’d go call on motel owners and talk insurance and started selling it. Liquor store owners were working at night, so I wrote a few accounts. So they put me on the street peddling insurance.”
By 1986, he was ready to go out entirely on his own and formed North Central Insurance. It has grown from two to 16 employees, including several with decades of service. The office is located at 3700 S. Western Ave.
Joe Kolb, the firm’s president, came to work for Boxdorfer “about six months after I opened the doors,” he said.
“We have three minority shareholders who run the business, and I’m still chairman of the board.”
His daughter, Lori Helland, works in the business as secretary-treasurer.
And Boxdorfer, who turns 84 next month, still starts his days at the office.
“They won’t let me do too much because of all that computer stuff, so I wander around and say good morning to everybody and pat them on the back, have a cup of coffee and come home late morning,” he said.
And he has no plans to change that routine.
“We just live in a great city with a great business community and a bunch of great people,” he said. “It’s always been a point of contention with me to do things honestly and intelligently and fairly with everybody, and maintain an atmosphere in our business that’s aboveboard.”
Insurance is “one of the greatest businesses people could get into,” he added.
“It gave me an opportunity to learn a whole lot about a lot of different things, how people do things and how they think and how they work. It was just a blast. It was a lot of fun.”
Talk about a work anniversary. This week, a longtime insurance company owner marks 60 years in business.