General manager, Geico – WV, CHARLESTON, 31
On his first paying job:
"I stocked shelves at Publix in Atlanta, Ga., in high school."
Matt Bischof didn't realize he was a West Virginia kind of guy until he got here.
"I'm a big fly fisherman, and Bridge Day was amazing," Bischof said. "This is a great place to raise a family, and we're happy to put roots down here."
Bischof is one of the faces behind the Geico gecko in West Virginia. The insurance company does most of its business by phone and Internet, but Bischof said West Virginians like to do business with people, and he's happy to get to know people in the Kanawha Valley to try to solve their problems.
"The people are just great," Bischof said of his customers. "We're trying to let people know there is a local face here so you can swing by, and if you're upset with your provider, come check out Geico."
Bischof lived in Atlanta through high school then got a double major in accounting and corporate finance from Western Carolina University. Before jumping into the world of accounting, though, Bischof moved to Montana to be a ski bum for a while. His father-in-law opened a Morgantown Geico office and asked Bischof to be the business manager. So Bischof and his wife, Jennifer, moved to West Virginia.
Bischof said it didn't take long to realize West Virginia had demand for a second office, so he jumped at the opportunity to leave Morgantown for Charleston.
"Talk about life changes — my wife and I moved in December 2010, we had our first daughter Nov. 8, 2011, we signed a lease here in Charleston in December, we opened January 1st, and we have one more on the way in June," Bischof said.
The Charleston Geico location grew from a few dozen policies last winter to about 300 policies per month to become one of the top new offices in the country.
"I didn't invent the product I'm selling, and I don't have control over the price," Bischof said. "That's why I provide a new, better way of customer service."
Bischof said he wants to be as involved in the community as possible. He supports the United Way, Dollar Energy Fund and the Charleston Area Alliance. His family attends Christ Church United Methodist, and he said he can't wait to fish the Elk River.