Rusty Reid, president and CEO of Higginbotham, was honored with the third annual Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Susan Halsey Executive Leadership Award at the Chamber’s 136th Annual Meeting luncheon June 7 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.
The award, named after the late attorney Susan Halsey, who served as chairman of the Chamber board in 2013, recognizes presidents, principals or CEOs who strengthen and transform the organization they lead.
“Rusty was the proverbial boy wonder when he was named president and CEO of Higginbotham in 1989 at age 25,” said Chamber Chairman Allyson Baumeister.
“The strategic moves he made then and over the years have grown Higginbotham into the largest independent insurance brokerage firm in Texas and the 27th largest independent insurance firm in the United States. Additionally, Rusty and everyone at Higginbotham comprise one of the greatest civic-minded teams in Fort Worth. Their extensive community involvement makes a huge difference in quality of life here and in all of the markets they serve,” she said.
Reid pointed to a decision he made in 1989 as one of the best he ever made, making Higginbotham an employee-owned firm.
“In that respect, this award goes to everyone at Higginbotham, not just to me, because we’ve all contributed to growing our firm and giving back to our community,” he said.
“When one person on our team wins, we all win. And this is a big win that I’m especially honored to receive from Fort Worth’s respected leaders.”
Paul C. Higginbotham founded the firm in 1948 as a small agency in Fort Worth’s Riverside neighborhood. Today, Higginbotham offers full property/casualty and financial services through 28 offices and more than 900 employees across Texas and in Oklahoma City.
Reid joined the firm in 1986 as its twelfth employee after beginning his insurance career in 1983, following graduation from the University of North Texas with a BBA.
He and Molly, his wife of 32 years, are parents to Charlie, Jake and Sainty.
Also at the event, Byrne Construction Services, founded n 1923 and general contractor for many of the city’s most famous structures, was honored with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Spirit of Enterprise Award.
The annual award, launched in 1975 and sponsored by BNSF Railway, recognizes a local company that has made significant contributions to Fort Worth’s development. The Chamber’s four most recent chairmen select the recipient.
Chairman and past President and CEO John Avila, Jr., a retired National Guard brigadier general, philanthropist and scholar, said the company was “humbled and honored.”