MEET THE TEAM

We are relationship-based and customer-focused. Our associates truly partner with your team to help attain your strategic goals, both immediate and long-term. We are conversational, accessible, focused and experienced.

Our team’s commitment to getting it right starts with the relationship we have with our customers. We pride ourselves on being good listeners, this means we hear what ‘you’ say and understand what ‘you’ want. Then we deliver solutions to fit your needs.

Dr. John A. Strong

Chief Executive Officer

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Dr. John A. Strong
Dr. John A. Strong

Dr. John A. Strong

CEO, Bankers Financial Corporation

John Strong is the CEO and Chairman of the Board for Bankers Financial Corporation and its affiliates and subsidiaries. He has served at the executive level of the insurance industry for nearly a decade following an accomplished career as a medical doctor turned business leader of the premier provider of medical diagnostic imaging services in North Carolina’s Triad.

As President and CEO of Greensboro Radiology, Dr. Strong spearheaded the implementation of several highly successful technological upgrades which significantly increased productivity, decreased costs, improved communications throughout the organization and enhanced patient care.

As CEO and Chairman of Bankers Financial Corporation, Dr. Strong remains focused on providing the best customer service possible while developing our associates. He introduced the Bankers Internship Program shortly after becoming Chairman and CEO. This past summer, the program included nearly 20 students from across the Southeast. Many of our interns have found permanent, full-time positions within the company.

Dr. Strong believes Social Responsibility – one of Bankers’ five core values – is critical to the company’s overall success. He has overseen growing partnerships with the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg as well as PARC and Metropolitan Ministries.

Dr. Strong has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Duke University. He received his M.D. from Michigan State University.

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Robert G. Menke

President

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Robert G. Menke
Robert G. Menke

Robert G. Menke

President, Bankers Financial Corporation

Rob Menke has decades of experience in both the Insurance and IT sectors. Rob started at Bankers at the age of 23 as a programmer before taking on several leadership roles, including Manager of Information Systems to Senior Vice President of Corporate Services. From 1999-2002, he served as CEO and President of P&C Companies with Bankers Insurance Group. During that tenure, Bankers posted revenue growth of 33% and became the second largest Flood carrier in the Federal Write Your Own (WYO) program. After his departure from Bankers in 2002, Rob served as President and CEO of Riscserv, LLC, an IT consultancy focused on helping insurance companies define, implement, and execute key strategies. Menke also served on the BFC Board from 1996-2002 and 2006-2010.

Rob provides leadership oversight for Corporate Shared Services (IT, Corporate Marketing, and Human Resources) and Insurance. He also oversees BFC’s corporate alternative investments.

Rob holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Florida.

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Brian J. Kesneck

President, Bankers Surety

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Brian J. Kesneck
Brian J. Kesneck

Brian J. Kesneck

President, Bankers Surety Services, Inc., Senior Vice President, Director, Bankers P&C Insurance Companies

Brian has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. He began his career at Bankers in 1985 as a customer service representative and quickly worked his way up to claims manager. He became President of Bankers Surety Services, Inc. (BSS) in 1993. Under Brian’s leadership, BSS has grown from $7 million to more than $200 million in gross annual revenue. In June 2004, he was also named Senior Vice President of Bankers Insurance Company.

Brian is also Senior Vice President and Director of the P&C companies as well as Vice President and Director of Bankers Insurance Group, Inc. He holds a current Florida 2-20 General Lines and 60 MGA license, as well as several non-resident licenses.

Brian earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

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Judy Copechal

President, Insurance

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Judy Copechal
Judy Copechal

Judy Copechal

President, Insurance

Judy has more than 40 years of experience within the Property & Casualty (P&C) business, holding several leadership roles focusing on product management, insurance operations, sales and marketing, reinsurance, and strategic and financial planning. Judy joined Bankers in 1995, serving several key roles including Senior Vice President, Product Management, and Vice President, Insurance Operations. Prior to returning to Bankers in 2015, she served on the Leadership Team at United Insurance Holdings Corp. as Chief Underwriting Officer.

Judy is a former alternate board member of the IBHS (Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety) and maintains active involvement in numerous industry associations. In 2014, Insurance Networking News named her one of the Top 10 Women in Insurance Leadership.

Judy holds an Associate in Underwriting (AU) designation and is a graduate of the Leadership Development Institute at Eckerd College.

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Bill Lafontaine

Chief Marketing Officer

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Bill Lafontaine
Bill Lafontaine

Bill Lafontaine

Chief Marketing Officer

Bill brings more than 30 years of marketing expertise to Bankers. He is responsible for a complete reorganization of the corporate marketing function and the implementation of advanced marketing systems which have both helped propel Bankers’ customer base to 2.6 million individuals.
Prior to joining Bankers four years ago, Bill spent a 27-year career at General Motors and Delphi Corporation. He led marketing and corporate strategy efforts around the world for both companies, working in 23 countries.

Bill holds a B.S. in Marketing and Finance from Syracuse University and an M.B.A. from the J. L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he was a GM Fellow.

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Terin Barbas Cremer

Chief Human Resources Officer

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Terin Barbas Cremer
Terin Barbas Cremer

Terin Barbas Cremer

Chief Human Resources Officer

Terin is responsible for the company’s overall human capital and talent strategy as well as the delivery of human resource services to approximately 950 nationwide colleagues. She manages a team of 15 HR professionals and holds responsibility for all performance management, employee relations, recruitment, training, benefits, HRIS activities, and internal communications. Before serving as the Chief Human Resources Officer at Bankers Financial Corporation, Terin began with Bankers as the Associate General Counsel, where she managed all employment law issues; along with a variety of litigation, transactional, governance, and regulatory matters.

Before joining BFC, Terin worked at a boutique labor and employment firm. Prior to that, she worked under Governors Crist and Scott for the State of Florida coordinating a statewide legal team defending legislation she helped draft for the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Terin remains involved with many organizations in the community. She is a mayoral appointee to the City of Tampa’s Civil Service Board where she serves as an administrative judge resolving City of Tampa employment disputes. She is involved with and holds leadership positions with Leadership Florida, the Junior League of Tampa, the Diversity Board for the University of Notre Dame, Association of Corporate Counsel, HR Tampa, and SHRM. Terin has been recognized by Florida State University as its Alumni of the Year (2016) and a top Thirty Under 30 alumnus (2014), the Tampa Bay Business Journal as an Up and Comer (highest award given to one young professional per year), and been named a Legal Elite by Florida Trend.

Terin graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Marketing, and received her J.D. and M.B.A. from Florida State University. While at Notre Dame, Terin was a Division 1 NCAA athlete and a team captain her senior year.

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Richard Torra

General Counsel

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Richard Torra
Richard Torra

Richard Torra

General Counsel

Richard brings over 20 years of experience handling a wide variety of legal matters, leading the company’s internal and external legal teams, and providing support and proactive legal guidance to the company’s senior executives and directors. He started his career at Bankers in 1994 before serving as the Assistant General Counsel for a publicly traded Fortune 500 company based out of Boston, MA. In 2007, he returned to Bankers in his current role.

Outside of the company, Richard is an active member of the Tampa Bay legal and business community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Association of Corporate Counsel (WCFL Chapter), the Salvation Army (Pinellas Chapter), and the Keystone Little League. Richard also sits on the Association of Corporate Counsel’s national Financial Services and Employment Law committees.

Richard earned his B.A. in Business Management and Marketing from Florida State University and his J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law, both with honors. Richard is admitted to the Florida and Massachusetts Bar.

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Ian Barber

Chief Administrative Officer

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Ian Barber
Ian Barber

Ian Barber

Chief Administrative Officer, Bankers Financial Corporation

As Chief Administrative Officer, Ian helps manage Bankers’ holding company operations, which includes managing Bankers’ internal capital market, achieving cross-subsidiary synergies, and leading M&A and other corporate transactions. Prior to his current role, Ian spent five years as primary legal counsel for Bankers’ insurance subsidiaries.

Before joining Bankers, Ian practiced at Abrams & Bayliss LLP, a Delaware corporate litigation boutique, focused on high risk transactions and related litigation. He began his career as an analyst at Capital One.

Ian graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Commerce and a concentration in Finance. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Ian is on the governing boards of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the West Central Florida Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

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Randall Rempp
Randall Rempp

Randall Rempp

President, van Wagenen

Randall Rempp joined van Wagenen in 2002 and has used his combination of legal savvy and business acumen to boost profitability year after year while still providing the high level of customer service required to meet the needs of the company’s blue-chip clientele.

Randall has served in a variety of capacities at van Wagenen, including Associate General Counsel. He is actively involved with both the mortgage and auto finance markets and currently serves on the NAF (National Automotive Finance Association) Board of Directors, the AFSA (American Financial Services Association) Advisory Board, AFSA Ancillary Products Working Group, the ABIA (American Bankers Insurance Association) GR Working Group, and the Young Presidents’ Organization.

Randall holds a B.A. in Political Science from Brown University and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He is also a graduate of the Eckerd College Leadership Development Institute.

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Peter Newman
Peter Newman

Peter Newman

President, DecisionHR

Peter has been President of DecisionHR (DHR) since 2014 and has overall responsibility for the strategic direction and the operating activities of the company. Peter joined DHR in 2002 as Chief Financial Officer and has been instrumental in the company’s record growth. Peter previously served as an Audit Manager at Arthur Andersen, where he led audit engagements across many industries, including several PEOs. He also served as an Actuarial Analyst with global advisory consultancy Towers Perrin (renamed Willis Towers Watson).

Peter is a Certified Public Accountant. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Florida and a Masters of Accountancy from the University of South Florida.

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Dawn Morris
Dawn Morris

Dawn Morris

President, Bankers Warranty Group

Dawn started within the Accounting department 22 years ago to become President of one of Bankers’ most competitive business lines. She has held a variety of roles within the organization including Director of Client Services and Manager of Operations. During her tenure, BWG has strengthened its relationships with clients by creating new programs and focusing on top-line sales growth as well as better service and support for customers and clients alike. BWG has also seen its Better Business Bureau rating raised from “B” to “A+.”

In 2016, Dawn was named as a Finalist within the Financial Services category for the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s BusinessWoman of the Year Award. She was also recently awarded a Bronze level Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year in Consumer Services for a company with 11 to 2,500 Employees.

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Stephen Messina
Stephen Messina

Stephen Messina

President and General Manager, BinTech Partners

Stephen oversees all claims and operations activities at BinTech Partners Inc. (BinTech) and is directly responsible for the overall direction and management of the company. Stephen joined BinTech in 2012 as Vice President of Claims before moving into the President and General Manager role later that year, where he has led several key initiatives for the parent entity and third-party servicing relationships.

Prior to joining BinTech, Stephen spent 14 years at Progressive Insurance, where he held a variety of local, regional, and corporate roles. In addition to his time with Progressive, he also served as Regional Claims Manager with Grange Insurance and Direct General.

Stephen holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Rhode Island and a Masters of Business Administration from Saint Leo University.

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Svetlana Townsend
Svetlana Townsend

Svetlana Townsend

Chief Accounting Officer, Bankers Financial Corporation

Svetlana has served in several controller roles since joining Bankers in 2007. She is responsible for all of Bankers’ accounting operations and financial reporting functions.

Svetlana is a former athlete and speaks four languages. She holds a law degree and a B.S. in Education from Voronezh State University in Central Russia, a B.A. in Accounting from the University of South Florida, and a Masters in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas-Austin. Lana also holds a CPA license in the state of Florida.

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