Beyer-Barber Company - Employee Benefit and Actuarial Consultants


Humble Beginnings

Beyer-Barber Company HistoryThe story of Beyer-Barber Company begins in 1936, in the mind of Harold "Jake" W. Beyer, head of the Pottstown High School English Department. Seeking to supplement his income, he became a part time agent for the Equitable Life Insurance Company. Two years later, Jake resigned his academic post to become a full time Equitable Agent. He concentrated his efforts on the newly developing area of pension consulting. One of his first major tasks was to develop pension plan funding tables for Equitable.

In the early 1940's, Beyer became District Manager of the Allentown office and recruited Aman M. Barber, Sr. as an agent. The first pension plan administered by Beyer and Barber was for the A. B. Wyckoff Dept. Store in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, Barber entered the armed forces and following his discharge, he became District Manager for Equitable in Stroudsburg. Beyer and Barber operated independently until 1949, when Harold W. Beyer Associates (an independent pension consulting firm and life insurance agency) was formed. The offices were originally located in Allentown's Commonwealth Building on Hamilton Street.

Expansion and Growth

As the years passed and pension plans became more popular, the business continued to grow and improve. In 1958, Donald S. Guman joined the firm and 4 years later Barber's son Aman "Buzz" M. Barber, Jr. became employed after attending Lafayette College. These two individuals would later become partners in ownership and determined the direction of the firm through the ERISA years until the 1990's.

Full in-house actuarial capability was achieved in 1968 and after having outgrown the original Commonwealth Building offices, Beyer-Barber relocated to Linden Street in 1972. The first on-site and in-house computer system was installed in 1975.

In the early ERISA years, 1974 to 1976, Buzz Barber, President, and Donald Guman, Vice-President, made a decision to focus the energies of the firm towards pure employee benefits consulting and away from insurance sales. This was the first step in a deliberate effort to give the firm its technical bent providing all services on a fee for service basis.

Traveling Through the Rough Waters

In 1988, Beyer-Barber Company moved to 7th Street in Allentown during another transitional phase. Barber had resigned and the firm was now under the direction of Donald Guman as President and Randee W. Sekol as Vice-President. At this time, the firm was renamed Beyer-Barber Company. The office building in which it resided was named Corporate Plaza, and Beyer-Barber resided comfortably on the 7th floor. In 1991, as Don sought to reduce his corporate responsibilities, Randee W. Sekol became CEO.

On February 23, 1994 during a late night snowfall, the office building partially collapsed into a sinkhole that had formed underneath 7th Street. Despite a huge crack in the side of the building, brave rescue workers saved as much of the files and equipment as possible before the building's planned destruction on March 19, 1994. During that time, the company pulled together its resources like never before in a struggle to keep servicing its clients. Beyer-Barber temporarily set itself up in a local hotel and put into action its disaster recovery plan. With the support of the community and clients, the company continued to give them excellent service through this incredibly challenging event.

Moving Forward

Today Beyer-Barber Company has moved to a different office building back on Hamilton Street, (this time on the 1st floor). With the most current technology and training, we have become an organization with a staff of dedicated employees headed by the current owner, CEO and Chief Actuary, Randee W. Sekol. His acquisition of the firm in 1996 represents the first time in Beyer-Barber history that an Enrolled Actuary has also been the owner, which continues to give the firm the technical edge in the servicing and marketing of employee benefit plans. The executive committee of the firm includes Randee and Peter M. Karapelou, CEBS, Vice President and Senior Consultant.

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