Born and raised in Fergus, Jamie Ostic is definitely an example of a “local” hero. This orientation is reflected in his appreciation for community. For Jamie, community is about helping people. That’s just the way he was brought up.
Thanks to his father—Jamie was involved in the insurance business from an early age. His Dad started his career in the business with a one-on-one approach, delivering renewals to clients in person on a daily basis. At home the phone rang constantly with clients calling in to make changes related to their insurance. So Jamie got used to taking phone calls on his Dad’s behalf.
Jamie claims that he was “weaned on the kitchen table to insurance.” He did his first policy change when he was around 8 years old, on the kitchen phone. From there, it seemed like a logical next step to start working in the family business.
But those childhood experiences had initially convinced Jamie that insurance wasn’t for him. His father was rarely home through the week, other than at meal times, and Jamie didn’t want to be part of that busy life. He felt family was important to balance with work. This perspective would have a huge impact on Jamie’s career with the Ostic Group, but initially it led him away from insurance work.
He attended the Agricultural College at the University of Guelph and graduated in 1979. His first job was working at the United Cooperative of Ontario as a management trainee, working in a large UCO store, driving feed, lumber or fuel trucks. He quickly became a store manager in the small community of Grand Valley. When he left that job, he found himself at a crossroads: his father had offered him a position at the family company, as he was looking for someone, but he had also been offered a job as an embryo transplant technician in the dairy farm industry.
What happened at this point is now history: Jamie entered the business in 1981, working for the Ostic Group in Fergus and selling farm insurance initially. But he decided not to follow the same path as his father. Over the years, he put in his fair share of overtime. But as the business grew, he made it a priority to maintain a work family balance and have a bit of fun along the way.
To do this, he knew he’d have to change the way the Ostic Group did business, by leveraging the new tools available at that time. New computer systems and technology were a big part of this, which helped to streamline the workflows from a labour intensive component of the old insurance business. But the real tension of the change was moving from the old way of hand-delivering policies evolving to the way we do today and into the future, while continuing to value one-on-one communication and strong, personal relationships with clients.
Over the years, this approach has been core to the Ostic Group’s identity. The company promotes a family-oriented business and an open environment for their team. They have deep appreciation for community support, which is reflected in work they’ve done for organizations in the Guelph, Fergus, Elora and Shelburne communities.
On a personal level, Jamie is always looking for ways to return this support: “We make our living from the communities where we work, but we also live and play in those communities and we want to give back.”
Both Jamie and the Ostic Group know that helping people is something that will always be a part of their identity. That’s why Jamie Ostic is our local hero for the month of November.