In Williamsport, finishing my high school senior year, then on to college in the big city of Indianapolis.
When you graduated from high school, what did you think you wanted to be as an adult?
An actuary. Thankfully that did not work out.
Was there an event in the last 20 years that had a great impact on your aspirations and/or career path?
My grandmother and grandfather on my mother’s side took my family in when we had fallen on hard times. Had my grandfather not worked hard his whole life … and climbed a ladder of success, they would not have been able to do what they did for my family—essentially rescue us.
Have you been mentored by (or had any significant interactions with) previous Forty Under 40 honorees?
I’ve had the fortune to meet a number of Forty Under 40, including Tom Gabbert, Kelly Pfledderer, Todd Richardson, Krista Skidmore, Joel Russell and Michael Huber. They have become friends, clients and key influences on my life.
Where/what do you want to be 20 years from now?
To be working on things I love—projects, work and relationships. I’d like to go places I’ve not yet been, meet people I admire and be enjoying my family. I’d like to have enough financial means to regularly make a significant impact on the things that I support and that our family values.
CEO, FirstPerson Benefit Advisors
When Bryan Brenner started FirstPerson Benefit Advisors 14 years ago, it was just he and a part-time assistant. Today, he has 40 employees, annual revenue exceeding $6 million and a Keystone at the Crossing address.
FirstPerson administers health care and benefit plans for employers, including ExactTarget, Krieg DeVault LLP and Mike’s Car Wash. The fourth quarter is Brenner’s busiest time of year, as employers open and re-enroll benefit plans to launch on Jan. 1.
“It’s kind of like an accounting firm during tax season,” said Brenner, who grew up on a farm in Parksville and was the first in his family to attend college. At Butler University, he studied public and corporate communications, a degree that has served him well as he endeavors to present complex ideas in a simple way.
“I love the work ethic I gained from farming,” he said, and how it gave him an appreciation for seasons—some are busier than others.
He recently hired the company’s first president, a move that will free Brenner to work on exploring new distribution channels to continue the company’s growth.
Outside of work, he invests his time in several worthy endeavors. He is vice chairman of the board of The Oaks Academy, a private school his children attend that “looks and feels like a charter” but doesn’t rely on state money. The Oaks takes kids from multiple backgrounds, provides a high-quality education and has good results.
He is also vice president of the board of Aspire Indiana, a mental health provider for Hamilton, Boone, Madison and northern Marion counties.
“With health care, I believe that what’s troubling us is people not getting the right treatments for mental health situations and conditions,” he said. Learning how those services are delivered, and seeing which ones are effective, helps him in his business, as well.
Brenner and his wife, Elaine, have four children—Caroline, Grace, John Michael and Lily. They live in Carmel.•