Experience Is The Best Teacher
As an entrepreneur, Urisk Solutions President TJ Lewis’ winning attitude has led him to victories in both business and in life. When he’s not helping organizations obtain multi-million dollar bonds or identifying ways companies can save on insurance, you will find him creating plays for his younger son’s basketball team or cheering on his oldest on the baseball field. Just like his sons, Lewis’ journey to success began as a young boy.
Born in Hampton, Va., Lewis is the youngest of three brothers. Both focused and responsible, Lewis parents always encouraged him to take chances in life. He attributes his steadfast work ethic and resulting accomplishments to what he gleaned from his father.
“My dad started off as a route salesman for Wonderbread and worked his way up to the vice president of sales for the Northeast region,” shared Lewis. “He never missed a day of work in all of his 40 years within the bread industry. He may not have realized it then, but my dad shaped my outlook as a young man and was molding me into a dedicated individual.”
Applying this lesson to business, Lewis emphasizes the importance of placing one’s self in the right position, which sometimes necessitates sacrifices in order to be prepared when an opportunity presents itself. Doing so is what led Lewis from 13 years at Bank of America to his position at Urban Lending Solutions before eventually taking on his role at Urisk Solutions.
“Starting out in commercial banking, I was able to learn a vast amount of information about many different industries,” said Lewis. “Not only did I speak with CEOs and CFOs about banking, but I also learned a lot about how their businesses operated.” Lewis joined Urban Lending Solutions in 2009, working closely with CEO and Founder Charles “Chuck” Sanders, and never looked back.
“I worked in every area from operations to sales and immersed myself in all aspects of [Urban Lending Solutions],” Lewis explained. “So when the opportunity with Urisk Solutions came about, it only felt natural to take the leap. I felt well prepared because I had gained the practical knowledge and understanding of what it takes to manage a company through the relationships I developed while working in the banking industry. I took the best of what I’d learned from so many other organizations and applied it to one company.” Lewis has learned many valuable lessons that he applies to both business and life. His first lesson: When you make a mistake, own up to it. Lewis makes it his ultimate goal to convey to clients that his organization will quickly correct any problem and ensure it won’t happen again.
“A mistake may not directly be your fault, but quickly finding out what the solution is will reassure everyone,” Lewis learned. “Not only can these experiences make relationships better, but I believe it is through challenges that the true colors of an organization are revealed.”
Lesson number two: Surround yourself with individuals who are going to make you better.
“I am partnering with two individuals who I have a great deal of respect and admiration for,” Lewis shared. “Chuck Sanders and Brian Long have both built successful companies, and give back in a myriad of ways. To be able to work with these individuals on a regular basis is an indescribable feeling.”
His gathered experiences led him to becoming president of Urisk Solutions, an organization that provides employee benefit solutions, risk management products, surety bonding and other services that enable companies to maximize profits. In his role, Lewis is responsible for day-to-day management and developing relationships and products that Urisk Solutions offers its clients.
“At Urisk Solutions, we identify risks within a business, and put a team and plan into place to protect the business and help grow their profits,” Lewis stated.
When all is said and done, Lewis believes that life is about waking up everyday with a feeling of joy.
“I enjoy making people and businesses happy. I enjoy building great things,” he shared.
Along with his accomplishments in business, Lewis professed that “being a dad on the sidelines and spending time with family” are the experiences that truly define his success in life.