David Hodges: A Leading Role
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter
SANTA ROSA — As a young actor, David Hodges was naturally excited about landing the lead role in a San Francisco theatrical production. However, he didn’t realize that this experience would set the stage for something much bigger. “While preparing for a production at the Curran Theater in San Francisco, another cast member and I carpooled from Santa Rosa every night for rehearsal,” he remembers. “He was an insurance agent, and over the course of riding with him for several months, he convinced me to start selling life insurance.”
David says his experience as an actor benefited him greatly in his subsequent career. “One of the things I learned from acting was the art of listening. A director once told me to stop acting and start reacting—to listen to how a line was being said and respond honestly. That was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received, and it’s something I regularly apply in my profession.”
Today, as vice president of Vantreo Insurance Brokerage, David says his favorite part of his job is finding solutions to his clients’ problems. “I think an insurance broker’s job is similar to that of a mechanic or doctor in that it requires an ability to listen, diagnose and repair problems. By talking with my clients and determining their needs, I’m able to fix the things that aren’t working for them and enhance those that are.”
A resident of Sea Ranch (where he lives with his wife, Nancy), David says his favorite part of living and working in the Bay Area is his unique daily commute. “I’m a pilot, and every morning I fly my plane from Sea Ranch to Santa Rosa for work. It’s a really scenic flight, starting over the ocean and then going over Sonoma County forests and vineyards. It’s a nice thing to wake up to—plus, it only takes me 15 minutes to fly to my destination, whereas it takes about 90 minutes to drive.”
Outside of work, David engages in a variety of pastimes, from hunting and golfing to writing music and gardening. However, he says a substantial portion of his free time revolves around aquatic activities. “The ocean is a big part of my life. I have a boat in Bodega Bay and enjoy going fishing and abalone diving with friends.” Additionally, David says he looks forward to family get-togethers during the holidays. “Nancy and I have five grown children, and we all get together for Christmas and Easter, which is always a lot of fun.”
In his life and career, David espouses the importance of having the right motivation. “I take an ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ approach to my job,” he explains. “If someone asks me for a second opinion after getting a quote from another broker, if it looks good, I tell them so and walk away rather than try to be a salesman. Obviously, being an insurance broker involves sales, but at the end of the day, you’re supposed to be solving problems, not trying to gain at the expense of your clients.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, David says he wouldn’t. “I’ll never retire—working is enjoyable to me. However, I do have plans to work less than I do right now. I’ve been mentoring a young man in the business, so by the time I’m ready to cut back, he’ll be prepared to take on some of my workload.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: St. Orres in Gualala—it’s a French restaurant that serves a lot of wild game.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Stay inside and watch the ocean. We have a great view of it from our home, so I love to just sit there with a hot drink and try to spot whales and porpoises.
Q: What’s one website you visit on a daily basis?
A: Facebook, because all my kids are on it.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: Yes, and it’s considered one of the worst movies of all time by most critics: “Dune.” My second favorite movie is “Forrest Gump,” and my third is “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
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A: Chicken fried steak, eggs over easy, wheat toast, hash browns and a cup of coffee.