Bill Holdren


‚Äč A Legend's lifetime in the Construction Industry

William W. Holdren, Wood Gutmann & Bogart Insurance Brokers


When I got out of Ohio State University, I went to work for General Motors, a 41 acre under-roof plant in Mansfield, Ohio. I started in the office and was then assigned to time study reports.  This facility was a Fisher Body plant and all body parts were stamped by 500 ton plus presses.  We stamped doors, roofs, trunks, fenders and hoods.  The rolled steel would enter the plant by rail car and leave the plant as final part being sent to assembly plants.  Quite an experience, as I stood there with my clipboard, the press operators knew I was counting their production.
I learned quickly and the hard way, that production counters are not their favorite people.  I was set on fire from sparks when the workers would lift the fire resisters when I was nearby counting. One time, I was covered with grease when the press operator over greased the equipment and grease flew everywhere, including covering me and my white, starched shirt.
My brother Jim worked for Marchant Calculator and Lumbermens Mutual was his client, servicing 600 calculators.  The sales manager at Lumbermens tried to hire my brother for insurance sales, but he told them that his brother Bill, me, was the salesman.  They kept trying to hire me and I kept saying no and finally I went to my boss at General Motors and explained the opportunity offered me.  I was making $400 a month with a $25 cost of living increase every six months.  My boss at GM said what do you have to lose, as GM has 400,000 employees and I will always hire you back. (If I had stayed with GM, I would have retired at age 55.)
So I went to Lumbermens and after 60 years of selling insurance, I now realize I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Therefore, I started in the Insurance Industry in 1960, hired by Lumbermens Insurance Company in Mansfield, Ohio.  Lumbermens transferred me to Burbank, California in 1962 as their sales manager for all of Southern California.
In 1965, I left Lumbermens to start my own Insurance Brokerage firm.
My business was sold to Wood, Gutmann and Bogart (WGB) in 2015 and would you believe, am currently still associated with them, WOW, with no immediate plans to retire. WGB’s home office is located in Tustin, California. 
I was introduced to WWCCA in 1970 when my company became the insurance broker for Martin Bros/Marcowall, Inc., their name at that time.  Dick Martin introduced me to WWCCA and I have been a member of the association for all these years. I have travelled all over the world with many members of WWCCA. In fact, Yvonne and I went on our honeymoon with several WWCCA members.
I have enjoyed handling the insurance requirements for many WWCCA members over the years and am still handling the insurance for several members.
WWCCA has been an exciting 50 year experience for me.  Hard to believe that much time has passed.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in the insurances for many memorable projects, such as:
            The Forum                                      Orange County Performing Arts
            Century City Twin Towers               The Getty Museum
            Disney Concert Hall                        New LA Rams Stadium
            New Lucas Museum                       LA International Airport
            Library Square                                Ritz Carlton-Marriottt
            Disney Amusement Park
I feel very honored to share my history. A special thanks for the memories.