About Us

Q&A with Mary Gonzalez

Uploaded Image: /uploads/staff/MaryGonzalez.jpgMary Gonzalez joined the Associates family in 1979 and is retiring later this month. As she puts the finishing touches on Adopt-A-Family presents and ties up other loose ends at the office, we asked her to share her experience at AOGF and plans for retirement.

1) How did you get the job 40 years ago?  

After working for five years at an insurance company I decided that I needed something different.  I started to look at the “help wanted” newspaper ads, saw the listing, applied and was called in for an interview.  And here we are 40 years later.

Q 2) What is your role at AOGF?

My main role is Personal Lines Account Manager.  This entails handling all walks of personal insurance.   My daily job consists of handling requests from clients which may include changing/adding a vehicle, insuring a new home, quoting a teenage driver, taking a payment, verifying coverage, etc. I also converse with company underwriters/customer service.  I will also “shop” renewals to be sure the client is getting the best price/coverage for their insurance needs.

Q 3) What kept you coming back every day?  What made you stay this long? 

It’s very obvious what kept me coming back to work – I love my job!  I love talking to all of my clients.  I have many, many clients who have been with me for the entire 40 years I have been here.  It was so nice to be able to share different chapters of their lives as well – children going away to college, weddings, birth of a grandchild. 

What made me stay this long?  Not only do I enjoy working with my clients, but Associates of Glens Falls is really a wonderful place to work.  
Just a couple of things that have always stuck with me.  After being here for just a couple of years, my daughter got chicken pox.  Obviously, I had to stay home, but, my boss, Vice President – Ken Parker, would bring my work to me each morning and then pick it up each night.  I didn’t have to use any vacation time for being home with a sick child.  I don’t think too many other employers would’ve done this.   Fast forward a few years when my daughter played college softball.  President, George Gohn, called me in his office, told me he knew I never missed any of her games during her high school years and just because she was now in college I shouldn’t have to miss a game.  George allowed me to leave the office in the afternoon, so I could travel to Vermont.  Again, didn’t have to use any vacation time.

Q 4) How have things changed at AOGF in the past 40 years? 

Oh my, how things have changed!
When I started here we had no computers.  Any changes, applications, billing was all handwritten.  We also had huge filing cabinets that were filled with paper files.  We now are paperless.  There was a typewriter, yes it was electric, that was used for ID cards as well as typing policies.  We also had one company that only issued a quarterly policy.  Imagine the paperwork that generated.  If we got a phone call from a potential new client, all quoting was done “manually” which meant that I would have to go to eight different company manuals to get a price quote from eight different companies.  So if someone had four vehicles with four operators, it was going to take me half a day to work on one quote.  This would now take me less than 30 minutes to complete. 

Again, there were no computers, so clients weren’t able to check things online, and the phone never stopped ringing.  It was very common to have over 25 phone calls in one day as well as receiving over 100 pieces of mail.  See, change is good.

Q 5) What are your plans for retirement? 

I am so looking forward to not having to leave my cozy home when it’s 10 below zero.  For the first year I’m going to relax and enjoy spending time with my family.  We have two grandsons who are very active in sports, therefore, that keeps me very busy.  Planning a trip to Florida in March to see some family and then we take a lovely vacation early in the summer with family/friends.  At some point I would like to do some volunteer work at local nursing homes.  But for now, I’m going to see what it feels like to be retired!!

Congratulations, Mary!

Thank you for everything and we wish you the very best in retirement!