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“We were doing the ‘What ifs’ if this


happened in the positive and doing the ‘What ifs’ if this happened in the negative,” Mondics said. “And I said ‘Hey, it’s not going to be so bad.’ … We just kind of fed off each other. It was a great time in life to do it.”


Mondics took the exam and returned


to Dallas to await the results. Days later he received a letter telling him he’d gotten 49 of the 50 questions correct. In other words, he’d passed. “I never found out which one I


missed,” Mondics said. In two weeks, Mondics had opened a


small office stocked with used furniture and featuring one secretary and three phones. The company didn’t advertise and relied on word of mouth to build its cus- tomer base. “It was a struggle,” Mondics said.


“Basically at the end of every month it was pay everybody else and see if anything was left over for me.” Having those first two clients helped sustain the company and get the bills paid


in the early going Mondics said. It was stressful but also fun, and Mondics said his simplest pleasure in those days was going to the bank each month and depositing whatever profits there were. “I was very fortunate to have loyal cli-


ents and a lot of good luck to get started and be successful,” Mondics said. “The agency made a profit that first year and we have been profitable every year since then.” Profitable may be a modest way of


putting it, as Mondics Insurance Group has grown to be one of the larger independent- ly owned agencies in the state. The compa- ny touts its experienced personnel, many of whom serve on boards or as advisors to various state and national associations. One of the challenges, Mondics said,


was finding talented, capable employees. “What nobody realizes until you own


your own business is having one employee is like having your own child,” Mondics said, adding that the “parental” responsi- bility increases exponentially with each new employee. “I’m not their boss,” he said “All of


our clients are their boss. … I am not self- employed. I am employed by all the differ- ent trucking companies we represent.” Besides the welcome headaches that


come with growth, challenges have includ- ed dealing with government rules and guidelines on everything from taxes to licenses and learning to take a hard line when collecting money that is owed, Mondics said. “It’s always easy to say ‘Pay me later,’”


he said. Mondics Insurance Group actually


gravitated more toward trucking industry clients after a real estate crash in the early 1980s changed the face of a business that had been almost 50-50 between the two fields until then, Mondics said. But however it happened, it has been


good for both. “Our relationship with the industry


has been very fruitful but I put that value in the friends we have made,” Mondics said. “Some of the people whom Lee and I consider our closest friends, we have met through the industry.”


Continues


Summer 2015


37


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