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Management Team

Skip Schrayer Max (Skip) R. Schrayer
Skip Schrayer is the CEO of Associated Agencies, Inc., and President of Auto and Home Insurance Agency. 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 Jewish Community Relations Counsil of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JCR), Executive committee 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. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the American Joint Distribution Committee.

Skip has long been active in his community. He is the past chairman of the 2006 Jewish United Fund Annual Campaign,Past Chairman of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitant Chicago, and the past national chairman of United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Cabinet. 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
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, and employee benefits insurance. She was a founding member of the Robert M. Schrayer Company, which purchased Associated Agencies, Inc. 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. She co-founded RMSCO, a third party insurance administrator, and served as the organization’s president.

Carol UlasyCarol J. Ulasy
CFO, Senior Vice President
Carol started 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.

Maredith SplendoriaMaredith Splendoria
Vice President of Administration 
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.

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. 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 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.