Rodney WatkinsCIC, CRM President of IAAT
Rodney Watkins joined Watkins Insurance Group in 1994 at the urging of his uncle, David Watkins.
Rodney is active in the East Texas community serving as the current Mayor of Mineola, and a board member for East Texas Medical Center hospital in Quitman. Past positions include a trustee on the Mineola Independent School Board, Mineola City Councilman, President Wood County Chamber of Commerce, President Mineola Chamber of Commerce, President Leadership Lake Country, President of Mineola Youth Foundation, President Mineola Optimist Club, President of Mineola Advocates for Safe Schools, Chairman of the Certified Retirement Community Designation program for the City Of Mineola and board member for Main Street Mineola.
Rodney was awarded the Honorary Chapter FFA degree by the Mineola FFA in 1998, Mineola Man of the Year by the Mineola Chamber of Commerce in 2001, and the Community Builder Award by the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas in 2006.
Professional involvement includes serving on the IIAT Board of Directors for 2015 and 2016 and as Regional Vice President for IMPACT (the largest insurance-producer political action program in Texas). Past positions include serving on the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) Budget and Finance Committee, elected President of Independent Insurance Agents of Tyler and serving on agent advisory committees for various insurance carriers. Rodney has earned the prestigious professional designations of Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Certified Risk Manager (CRM).
Rodney spends his spare time being actively involved in political and community activities that benefit both the insurance industry as well as customers.
Jonathan WatkinsCompliance – Operations Manager
Jonathan Watkins joined Watkins Insurance Group in 2008 while attending Tyler Community College as a Business Management Major. He works in personal lines, accounting, marketing, and management and holds his Property & Casualty and Life & Health licenses. He currently serves as the Vice-President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Tyler and will take over as President in 2018.
In his free time you can usually find him spending time with his wife and children or on a golf course.
Betsy SmithAgency Development Specialist
Betsy joined Watkins Insurance in 2002 as a personal lines CSR. She received a Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) designation from the National Alliance of Insurance Research and Education in 2008. She began working with IAAT in 2009 when the East TX division was established.
In 2011 she became personal lines manager for the East TX offices of Watkins Insurance before working solely for Access Plus in 2014. With over 15 years in the industry, her experience with IAAT has given her the opportunity to work with various agency structures from start-ups to fully staffed and operating agencies.
She is a native of Baton Rouge, LA and enjoys reading and cheering for the LSU Tigers with her family.
Melissa ChrietzbergAccess Plus Manager
Melissa has over a decade of experience in the insurance industry. Her insurance career started with a small independent agency in personal lines, she moved into commercial lines and then took on an administrative role. She left the independent world and went to work for a captive agency.
Her career started with Watkins Insurance Group in 2004 and subsequently took a break from Watkins to open her own agency with Allstate. She sold the business after several years and came back to Watkins Insurance Group in the commercial lines department. Melissa took on the role as Marketing Coordinator for Commercial Lines in the East Texas Area and has continued to retain key commercial accounts for Watkins Insurance Group. Melissa has her Life & Health license and Property Casualty.
When not working, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family and friends, but she and her husband are most excited about their new role as Nona and Papa.
Kayla WilliamsAccess Plus Placement Specialist – CL
After receiving a Bachelor’s in Accounting and an Associate’s in Business Administration and in Bible in 2015, Kayla joined the IAAT team and began her career in insurance. She serves as the AccessPlus Processor in commercial lines and holds her Property & Casualty license. When not in the office, Kayla spends her days on the road exploring with friends, kayaking new waters, and working with teens.
Mark Lazare, MARecruiting
Mark is an accomplished entrepreneur with executive management experience and a proven track record of business development success over the past 20 years. He has successfully led companies in both the public and private sectors of healthcare and in For-Profit and Not-For-Profit settings. Mark excels at strategic planning and transforming an organization’s vision, mission, and goals into operational success.
Mark volunteered for two years at a Not-For-Profit agency whose primary purpose was to take care of the adult children suffering from mental illness and developmental disorders to ensure their care would continue well after their parents have passed on.
Mark holds a Masters in Psychology from Stephen F. Austin University. When Mark is not working, he is an active participant in the community. Mark has supported such organizations as NAMI, Maggie’s Place, Crossroads, and Life Teen.