Chapter Volunteer Profile
By Patrick Raleigh, Merrill Corporation, IASA Land O' Lakes Chapter Past President

Featured Volunteer: Mike Kollath, President, Kollath & Associates, CPA, LLC, IASA Wisconsin Chapter Vice President

eInterpreter: What was the first IASA Chapter event you attended and what inspired you to go?
Kollath: Good question. I would guess it was 1995 at the fall meeting. I started working for McGladrey (not sure what the name is now) doing insurance audits and tax so I figured it was a good career move to go. They paid, so that helped.

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eInterpreter: What is the biggest benefit of having access to insurance education locally to you and your company?
Kollath: Wisconsin has a vibrant insurance economy and Madison also has a concentration of insurance companies. We provide economical education for the insurance IT and accounting personnel in Wisconsin. For my company, Kollath CPA, it allows us to keep up to date on changes in the insurance world at a reasonable price.

eInterpreter: If money was no object...what would you love to do for a living?
Kollath: I would love to write travel guides for islands around the world. As I write this, we are in Grand Cayman for a vacation. 

eInterpreter: Do you have any hobbies that could affect your personal insurance premiums? 
Kollath: Not really. I've done a few reckless things in my time (cliff diving in Hawaii) but my family and my business keep me on the straight and narrow.

eInterpreter: Do you volunteer for any other organization other than the IASA? If so, which organization and why?
Kollath: I volunteer for the Madison Development Corporation, as treasurer (owns low income housing in Madison to help low income people and also loans money to small businesses, a 501 (c) (3)), Crestwood Association of Parents and Teachers as treasurer (my daughter's school) and Madison4Kids as treasurer (an organization entirely volunteer driven and makes grants to kids and organizations that help kids to be more confident, to be healthier, to be inspired and to learn.) I helped as a founder of Madison4Kids.

eInterpreter: Besides family and friends, what 3 things could you NOT live without?
Kollath: Pistachios, tropical islands, and going for a run 

How did you first get started in the insurance industry?
Kollath: I began working for McGladrey & Pullen as an auditor, consultant, and tax accountant for a variety of insurance companies, then went to Physicians Insurance Company of Wisconsin for 8 years and headed up the finance department. After that, I started my own CPA firm, with an emphasis on insurance, consulting, tax, and audit.

eInterpreter: What would you say to a colleague, or even a peer at another company, who has never attended an IASA Chapter event about getting involved?
Kollath: IASA is a great way to get to know your peers at the other companies, in addition to getting an education in the insurance industry. A lot of good people get involved.

eInterpreter: What is your current job and what aspect of your position do you find most rewarding?
Kollath: I currently own my own CPA firm, which has grown from just me to 33 people in the past 8 years. The most rewarding part, for me, is twofold. First, it's the discussion with clients. I love the entrepreneurial nature of my clients and it drives me to be a better entrepreneur. Second is my employees. It is very rewarding to watch someone grow in their profession. Finally, I really enjoy entrepreneurship. I recently started a captive management firm with a partner focusing on captive management and insurance technology.

eInterpreter: So after a tough your release a good workout, a certain food, or something over ice?
Kollath: Definitely a good workout--my wife can tell if I haven't been running or working out.
Pictured: Mike and Family