Robert Ramsey, VP, WTPhelan

NK&A Passionate Profiles
At NK&A we work with a lot of passionate people—entrepreneurs who charge forward, driven by their passionate pursuit, whatever that may be. It got us wondering, what effect passion has on the world? On the people around you? The following is the second in a series of “passion profiles” on some of our most passionate clients. We think they’ll inspire you as much as they inspire us.

Robert J. Ramsey, Vice President, WTPhelan
To Robert Ramsey, family is everything. Robert and his three brothers own and operate WTPhelan, an insurance company built by their father and his business partner Frank Phelan. “Growing up my father used to say to us, ‘We are all in this together, no one is bigger than the group,’” Robert recalls. He has applied this same principle to WTPhelan, and in many ways the company has become an extension of the Ramsey family.

“My life is too short to walk in this office and not be happy to see who’s here,” Robert says, explaining why he has had a hand in hiring every employee, assessing a candidate’s energy, drive and positive attitude in addition to skill set. Their team of 46 employees includes “some of the smartest, most energetic people in the industry today,” according to Robert and is a big part of what sets the service-based business apart from its competition.

But to Robert, equally as important as who they hire is how those employees feel about being there. Creating an atmosphere where people feel they matter means making what matters to them a priority. “We do a lot in our communities,” explains Robert. “And our community service stems from our staff—we ask them, what are you passionate about?” Any WTPhelan employee can request company support of any kind at any time, with very few restrictions. Robert sees to it that donations of money and time go to area food pantries, animal rescue organizations and colleague 10k road races. It is one of the many ways he has successfully built and nurtured a culture of deep respect, commitment and loyalty.

The true impact and reach of Robert’s passion for family became evident when his wife Anne passed away from cancer in 2011, and six months later a key employee at WTPhelan also lost her battle with the disease. The company did what any strong family would do in tough times: they joined together, galvanized by the need to support one another. When Robert participated in his second Jimmy Fund Walk as a member of “Kulke’s Krewe” (a team he founded in honor of Anne’s oncologist, Dr. Matthew Kulke, when she was diagnosed with cancer), 64 other team members walked beside him, together raising more than $95,000 for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that year. The walk has become tradition; in five years, Kulke’s Krewe has raised more than $312,000.