Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

A humorous Hall of Famer

Local businessman earns lofty praise and entertains along the way

August 4, 2005

What do you call a male ladybug? . . . Do fish ever get thirsty? . . . I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous . . .

Nobody loves a good quip as much as a former English teacher.

While heading north down 155th Street, Basehor motorists are treated with brain-teasers such as these courtesy of a marquee sign at the Lynne Sebree American Family Insurance Agency at 15516 Crestwood Dr. in Basehor.

For the curious, there's no real rhyme or reason behind the slogans. Sebree calls it "subtle marketing," but outside of that, the messages are simply a way to add a little humor to a ho-hum drive through downtown Basehor.

"I hear a lot of reaction from it," Sebree said. "I have people ask me 'are you the one that puts those up?' It's all been very positive. I think it just makes things entertaining."

So where does Sebree get his sounding board material? Not even he can say for sure.

"There's no pattern, really," he said. "Sometimes I'll see something and write it down. Sometimes people from the community bring the ideas in. It's just kind of a hit-and-miss type thing."

Sebree, who taught eighth grade American history and English for 10 years at Basehor Middle School, has lived in Basehor since 1986. He's owned and operated the insurance agency in Basehor for the last five years.

And while his sign slogans bring smiles to the faces of passersby, Sebree's work for American Family brings a grin to his peers. The company announced last week that Sebree has been named a Hall of Fame Agent, a distinction earned for 15 consecutive years of outstanding sales.

The Hall of Fame is located at American Family's corporate office in Madison, Wis., and a plaque and picture of Sebree adorns the walls along with other distinguished agents.

"This is a tremendous and well-deserved honor for Lynne," said Steve Taylor, American Family district sales manager. "He has a very strong insurance background and realizes it takes commitment and high quality, personalized service to earn the trust and respect of his customers."

Sebree credited his staff, Chamlie Lingenfelser for his award. "Success in this business takes a team effort," he said.

Sebree said he'd like to spend the next 15 to 20 years in the business. And, he said, in that time customers can expect two things: a steady effort to provide "products and services that have value" and the same humorous, head-scratching messages on his sign out front.

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