Stephen Strange Sr.*

American Management Corp.

City: Conway
Category: Business Executive of the Year
Year: 2001

Stephen Strange is president and chief executive officer of American Management Corp., a company with which most Arkansans probably aren't familiar because it

doesn't deal directly with the public.

AMC is essentially a wholesaler of insurance products, providing personal and commercial product lines and a sales system to more than 400 independent insurance agents across the state.

Since buying a Morrilton insurance company that had $1 million in revenue in 1984, Strange has built a company that now has 190 employees and had about $110 million in revenue last year. The annual growth rate of AMC has been about 15-20 percent. He sees his business doubling in the next five years.

"We have been growing and will continue to grow by moving into new markets and offering new product lines, mainly on the commercial side," Strange said.

"I believe in hiring good people and letting them do their jobs," he said.

That's become even more important as the company has grown, since he can no longer be directly involved in every aspect of the business.

"Insurance is a fairly homogeneous product - it is the people and the service they provide that sells it," he said.

Vision is necessary for success, Strange said, but "you must work your fanny off toward that vision."

Strange is an admirer of Warren Buffet, who built an insurance powerhouse and is one of America's wealthiest people. One of Buffet's newest holdings, General Reinsurance, has been partnered with AMC for many years.

Strange has maintained an active role in the community. Besides having served on the board of the Conway Regional Medical Center, he's been a contributor to the football stadium at the University of Central Arkansas and has made a major commitment to help UCA build its new Donald Reynolds Performing Arts Hall.

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