High school captures the moment in a person’s life when they transcend from adolescence into adulthood. Over the course of those four years, bright-eyed freshman become anxious seniors faced with significant life choices, such as choosing a career and alma mater, moving out of a parent’s house, and becoming independent adults.
However, sometimes there are students who surpass the norm and find an alternate, accelerated path.
By his senior year at Decatur High School, Derek Dykman had already enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and was taking college courses through the running start program offered at Highline Community College. By the end of the school year, Derek graduated not with a diploma, but an Associate’s Degree.
After graduation, Derek went straight on to basic training and served as an active reservist for 10 years, with four-and-a-half of those years being active duty time.
After returning from Iraq, Derek started working a federal position as a civil servant for the U.S. Army. Derek held this position for six years until 2013, when he and his wife decided to start a family. “Because I was having a child, I didn’t want to deploy anymore, and my job required me to be in the reserves,” explains Derek.
After committing a decade of his life to serving and defending his country, Derek decided to start a new career that would allow him to focus more on his family. While exploring different career paths, Derek came across Farmers Insurance. Having a friend who worked as a Farmers agent, Derek had heard good things about the company and decided to submit a resumé to Farmers’ District Office in University Place.
Shortly after submitting his resumé, Derek was contacted by Executive Recruiter Al Schilling who discussed with Derek the pros and cons of a career with Farmers. Derek, who at the time was also considering returning to school and pursuing a career in the field of law, was impressed by what Schilling told him and decided that Farmers was right for him – and his growing family. But, Derek didn’t want to just become an insurance agent, he wanted to become an agency owner.
“I started working on my licensing right away,” says Derek.
Derek says the training was challenging, but all the support and resources he needed were available to him at University Place’s District Office 10. “District Office 10 is one of the best because they offer some of the best support. They were able to help someone like myself coming from a military background,” explains Derek.
And, there is a lot of support available to prospective agency owners who have served in the military. “The military gives you some bonuses and takes care of some of the costs. That has helped me be able to put more money into my business right away,” explains Derek.
With support from District office 10, Derek was able to open his own agency in Tukwila in less than one year of training. “It’s been the best experience of my life. It’s awesome!” Derek says proudly of his career. “All the hard work is mine, so it directly benefits me and my family. I’m the boss, I get to hire people and they get to come work for me. I can offer them packages and benefits that can potentially change their lives too,” says Derek.
Taking ownership of his future and benefitting the lives of others are two of the reasons why Derek enjoys being an agency owner with Farmers Insurance, but it’s a lot of hard work too. “You definitely have to be adaptive to both the education – which is always changing – and learning new things and new approaches. You also have to be able to hear people say, “no,” and be able to keep pushing forward,” explains Derek. “It’s not a job and it’s not a career, it’s your life.”
Interested in learning more about the opportunities available through Farmers Insurance? You can read more about the different entry points offered for prospective agency owners, including Farmers’ Military Transition Program, or you can contact District Office 10 directly to set up an appointment and learn if Farmers is right for you.