Skeele Agency celebrates 50 years
By Willie Kiernan
Established in 1957 by Charles W. Skeele Sr., the Skeele Agency has spanned three generations and is celebrating its 50 year anniversary. The full service insurance agency currently serves over 4000 clients in Madison, Onondaga, Cortland and Chenango counties from offices in DeRuyter, Chittenango, Cazenovia and Manlius.
Charles Sr., the agency's founder, was known as the Colonel after his many years of military service. After the Korean War he returned to Central New York and began selling life insurance. Flooded with inquiries about auto and property insurance, the Colonel established the Skeele Agency in 1957 in DeRuyter.
In 1972, after years as a math teacher, Charles Jr. known as Win, joined the agency. His son Mike joined in 1977 and younger sons Shawn and Shea joined in 2001 and 2002 respectively.
"What is noteworthy is that our family business is in its third generation," Win said. "Only 4 percent of businesses make it to the third generation"
The Cazenovia office opened in 1983. The Colonel passed away in 1992 and didn't get to see any further expansion. In 2000, the Granish Agency in Chittenango was purchased. And in 2002, the Ernst and Cooper Agency in Manlius was bought. The expansion has provided a living for half of Win's sons and their families, and for himself as well.
"This family has 15 plus and counting in the fourth generation pool for potential continuation as a family business," Win said.
Mike Skeele, current president of the Skeele Agency, was appointed to the New York State Board of Directors of the Professional Insurance Association in October, 2000.
The PIA is a national association of insurance agents which seek to uphold professional standards and foster a positive public perspective for the industry. Mike Skeele has served on a number of task forces for the PIA and brings 23 years of experience as an independent insurance agent to the board. He has a strong, positive background dealing with people as a friend, neighbor, and advocate. He has been a varsity soccer coach for the DeRuyter High School for 20 years, a trustee of the village of DeRuyter for 16 years and a member of the DeRuyter Fire Department for the past two decades.