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team

You can learn more about the Executive Team Members through their individual bios.
Skip SchrayerMax (Skip) R. Schrayer CEO
Skip Schrayer is the CEO of Associated Agencies, Inc., and Auto and Home Insurance Agency. As CEO of these two companies, he oversees all aspects of commercial and personal insurance for individuals and businesses—small and large, for-profit and non-profit—nationwide. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and is also a board member for the First Bank of Highland Park. In addition, he serves as an executive committee member and treasurer of the NCSJ, advocates on behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Eurasia. Skip has long been active in his community. He is the past chairman of the 2006 Jewish United Fund Annual Campaign, and the past national chairman of United Jewish Appeal. He is also a past member of Roosevelt University’s Albert A. Robin Campus advisory board, and a past participant in Leadership Greater Chicago, Project Interchange, and the Jewish Vocational Service. In addition to his professional and community work, he frequently travels to Israel, and in 2002 cofounded and co-chaired Nachshon, an annual men’s trip to Israel. He is a graduate of University of Michigan and Northwestern University, Graduate School of Management. Skip and his wife, Lynn, have three children.

Joshua HerzJoshua B. Herz President 
Joshua B. Herz joined Associated Agencies in 2003 as an account producer. Since then, he has consistently served his clients with excellence, while increasing his influence in the insurance community. In 2009, he was promoted to senior vice president, joining the management team and boards of Associated Agencies and Auto and Home Insurance Agency.  In 2012 he was promoted to President overseeing not only his own client accounts but focusing on the development and growth of Associated Sales staff. Josh regularly extends his business acumen to his community and charitable work, as well. He has been heavily involved in the Jewish United Fund’s Young Leadership Division, where he also sat on the executive board for three years.  He co-founded—and currently serves on the steering committee for—the Chicago Jewish Entrepreneurial Forum. In 2004, he co-founded For the Fallen, a charity to benefit families of military members who were killed or severely wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. Josh is a graduate of University of Arizona. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Highland Park with their three daughters.

Karen VackoKaren Z. Vacko Executive Vice President
Karen Vacko is a highly qualified professional who has spent her career in property and casualty insurance, and employee benefits. She was a founding member of the Robert M. Schrayer Company, which purchased Associated Agencies, Inc., in 1986. As the executive vice president of both Associated Agencies, Inc., and Auto and Home Insurance Agency, she often teaches insurance seminars ranging from personal lines insurance to employee benefits for professional associations, corporations and colleges. Karen currently serves as secretary of the board for Benefit Security Insurance Company, and as the secretary of the boards of Associated Agencies, Inc., Auto and Home Insurance Agency, and C.W. Olson. In 1989 she co-founded RMSCO, a third party insurance administrator, and served as the organization’s president.A graduate of Elmhurst College, Karen is an active volunteer with her church. She has served on a short-term mission trip to India, and has taught at the church’s Bible College.

Carol UlasyCarol J. Ulasy CFO, Senior Vice President
Carol Ulasy has been employed with Associated Agencies, Inc., for 30 years. Starting her career as the company’s bookkeeper, she earned promotions to assistant controller, controller, and eventually became the agency’s senior vice president and chief financial officer. In addition to her current role, she serves as the treasurer of the board for Associated Agencies, Auto and Home Insurance Agency, and C.W. Olson. She is a member of the ICPA. Carol is deeply involved in her community. She was recently elected as precinct committeeman for her district; prior to this election, she served a term as Trustee for the Village of Fox Lake. As trustee, she chaired the Finance and the Impact Fee committees, and she served on the board of Fox Lake Centennial Committee. For many years, Carol volunteered her time to work with Johnsburg Boy Scout Troop 455, serving as den leader, treasurer, and committee chairman. She also worked with—and raised funds for— many charities including United Way, Make-a-Wish Foundation, and the AAI Charity Committee. In her free time, Carol enjoys gardening, boating, swimming, and is an avid reader.

Maredith SplendoriaMaredith Splendoria Vice President of Administration 
In July 2004, Maredith Splendoria joined Associated Agencies, Inc., as an office manager, and assistant to the president. Four years later, she was named vice president of administration and currently oversees both operations and human resources for the company and its more than 100 employees. A long time administrator, Maredith first applied her skills in the real estate market, as an office supervisor for a 400-person agency. Moving into the insurance industry expanded her portfolio from solely focusing on operations administration to include human resources and personnel issues. Maredith is a wellness advocate, and regularly trains for marathons to inspire others toward a healthy lifestyle. She lives in Hinsdale.

Jim BartnickJim Bartnick Executive Vice President, Auto and Home Insurance Agency Senior Vice President, Associated Agencies, Inc. 
Jim Bartnick currently serves as executive vice president at Auto and Home Insurance Agency and senior vice president at Associated Agencies, Inc. In 1992, he led the merger of Associated Agencies’ personal lines accounts, and Willis Corroon of Illinois, creating Auto and Home Insurance Agency. Since that time, he has been involved in the agency’s acquisition of three additional companies. Jim is an insurance professional with more than 45 years of experience. A graduate of the Fireman’s Fund Insurance School, he held management positions with the nation’s largest insurance carriers prior to his independent agency career. He has also served on many insurance carrier agency advisory boards, and currently serves on the board of Benefit Security Insurance Company and Auto and Home Insurance Agency. Jim lives in Arlington Heights and has three married children and ten grandchildren.
Associated Agencies, Inc. Executive Team Background Associated Agencies, Inc. was originally formed in 1890 by three brokerage firms merging together to form one agency. We have grown from what was a rather small independent agency to what has become a large independent all lines insurance agency.  Associated writes property and casualty insurance for commercial accounts as well as employee benefits which represents a large part of our business. We are extremely proud of our relationships with the insurance companies that we represent, of the very loyal customer base that we service and especially with our outstanding staff that we have built.  Our employees are knowledgeable, dedicated and committed to excellent and prompt service.  Our customers enjoy the staff’s expertise and their commitment to servicing their business. Our management team has been together for most of their adult life.  Robert Schrayer began working for Associated in 1955, began his own agency in 1971 and purchased Associated in 1986. Karen Vacko began her insurance career working for Liberty Mutual and moved to Associated in 1969. She is one of two Executive Vice Presidents and services large commercial accounts for property and casualty business and employee benefits. Karen serves on the board of Associated. Skip Schrayer is our other Executive Vice Presidents and has been with Associated since 1974.  Skip is a producer of large accounts and handles the largest book of business in the office as well as serving as sales manager and serves as a member of the board of directors. Carol Ulasy joined Associated in 1980 and has become the Chief Financial Officer and a Senior Vice President. Carol oversees all of the Agencies financial issues with the insurance industry and the banking industry. This management team has been with Associated for 150 years or an average of 37.5 years.  Obviously we pride ourselves in loyalty and reliability.  One of our most important and significant assets is the quality, knowledge and commitment to excellence of our staff.  61% of our entire staff has been with us for 5 years or more, an exceptionally high percentage.