Meet Your Ambassador - Kirk Faubel
Liberty Mutual Insurance…and Chamber Ambassador
I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of a police officer and a nurse’s assistant. Milwaukee is a beer town like St Louis whose economy had relied heavily on manufacturing. I loved the comfortable summers, having a ton of snow in the winter and I grew up playing baseball in the summer months as well as camping and doing anything in the water.
My grandmother lived on the shores of Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin and my Aunt lived on the Green Bay side of the peninsula. Some of my favorite childhood memories were in the bay or in Lake Michigan just after a thunderstorm passed through which created waves much taller than I was. Being on an inflatable raft was a blast. It’s funny that 60-65-degree water was no big deal when I was younger and now I don’t like it unless it’s at least 80. I also seemed to have some of my most painful memories from summer times spent “up north” as us Wisconsinites called it. My first motorcycle riding experience at age 12 ended after about 10 feet with me running into a pine tree. I was ok but the tree lost a few limbs. To this day, I’ve never ridden a motorcycle again other than being a passenger on my dad’s Police Issued Harley. I also had the worst case of poison ivy. My feet were so swollen I couldn’t put on shoes and I had to soak in bath salts to stop the itch. I also was riding my cousins bike down a steep hill and lost control. Road rash hurts pretty bad! Those were the days I appreciated the 60-degree water because it was very soothing. Amazingly, I never broke any bones, but stitches and staples were a good friend of mine. I’m sure many of you that have raised boys can relate and some of you with young boys may be asking what you got yourself into. Winter time was equally a blast skiing and sledding. Back in the day, at school they would plow the playground into huge piles which were great for creating massive tunnel systems or playing king of the mountain
As a high schooler, I learned the meaning of sacrifice for family and how to overcome adversity. Like most large cities, the crime rate was soaring and the school system was quickly deteriorating. Dad gave up his career and my parents gave up all they had worked for to move us to the suburbs. I ended up going to three different high schools. While I hated it at the time, I believe everything happens for a reason and I appreciate all of my journeys. To this day, one of my favorite quotes is “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” ~Charles Swindoll.
I was recruited to play college football and basketball. I choose to play football at the University of Evansville in Indiana, studying math with an education minor. I have always loved children and working with younger children. While there, I ran a tutoring program for challenged inner-city youth who lacked mentorship at home. I needed to take a break from school due to a family situation and had to find a place to live and find work. Loving the outdoors, I spent the summer maintaining lawns and landscaping for some awesome clients. But winter comes early in Wisconsin and layoffs happen right after early fall cleanup. I didn’t see myself sitting around collecting unemployment so I needed to find work for the winter.
I began my career at a company that became the backbone of my professional growth. I was blessed to find a company that was willing to invest in their people. I love to learn new things and would use all of my free time learning things outside of my job scope. I started in the warehouse and after the first Christmas season at this retailer, became a supervisor. I did a short stint in the training department before becoming a visual manager in charge of appearance and inventory. Due to some timing and personnel issues, I was asked to become a sales manager and lead a team of commissioned sales professionals. This was a huge dilemma! The only thing I ever sold was candy bars to pay for my 8th grade trip to DC and pizza’s & wreaths for the Boy Scouts. Plus, having a somewhat introverted personality type, this was a crazy idea! (So, if you meet me and I seem quiet and not actively participating, it takes me a while to warm up and feel comfortable in new settings…then watch out). Well, I had a baby on the way and loved taking on new responsibilities, so I took the job. Of course, there were some bumps in the road, but I along with some amazing mentors that gave me tough love, I managed to do well. The toughest choice I made was to accept a management position in Des Moines, IA with the company. That risk paid off immensely because it spring boarded my future professional growth. When the company expanded to St Louis, I was happy to accept a position in the St Louis Market as a regional sales manager in 2004.
The kids and I instantly became Cardinals fans. Being a born and raised Green Bay Packer fan, the Cardinals mean to St Louis what the Packers are to Wisconsin. My son and I were lucky enough to meet some season ticket holders, we went in on the playoff tickets with a couple of people, and were lucky enough to attend game four of the ’04 World Series. While the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino that night, it’s a moment my son and I will carry forever and I will always cherish that experience with him.
In 2011, my company that transferred me here closed the stores in the market and it was either transfer to another market and have a job or start over after 18 years. I was a single parent to a 13-year-old and 15-year-old. The lesson of sacrifice my parents showed me when I was younger led me to the decision to stay in St Louis. Most of my employment decisions were based on income potential because I had a high schooler and an 8th grader. I wasn’t about to move out of the school district. O’Fallon, Illinois, like Kirkwood has a great school district, but has a higher cost of living than most areas. I did what I had to do to stay in the area.
Thank God, I did. Just four months later I met the most amazing woman on the face of the planet. I almost instantly fell for her (but I didn’t tell her that right away…remember I’m an introvert). The only concern was she lived in a town called Kirkwood and I lived with my kids in O’Fallon, IL. What the heck, I went to Kirkwood once to take the kids to The Magic House, plus I really liked her so I took a chance. I quickly racked up lots of miles going back and forth between O’Fallon and Kirkwood. That’s when I learned what Kirkwood was all about. I learned her parents both grew up in Kirkwood and lived just a mile up the road (my in-laws are awesome so it’s ok). I learned a familiar story. Keysor, North Middle School, Kirkwood High School…the schools where my mother-in-law, my wife and stepson all went to school (he was still at Keysor when we met but the path was already laid out). Kirkwood is an amazing city. It has modern amenities, incredible schools, but family values from a different era. We love to walk downtown, watch the trains, get ice cream, or just walk and observe the uniqueness of the architecture. We got married in 2004 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood which is where my wife grew up. We reside just off Geyer in Kirkwood. I feel blessed to have married my best friend.
I love having my family here. It’s a great place to raise and keep a family. My oldest is Aaron, a junior engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has a math and science brain like I do. My oldest daughter is a freshman at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. It’s a great small campus overlooking Lake Michigan. She is the artistic one and is an English major. She has had to work very hard at schooling as she has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy, but she’s a fighter. Both my kids have dorms that overlook the lakes…I hope they enjoy their lakefront property while they have it! My stepson, Bryson is a sophomore at Kirkwood High School. He plays soccer and is in band. He hopes to go into computer engineering.
Because my wife and I both were single parents, we decided to expand our family and were blessed with baby Abigail in October 2016. Those that follow me on Facebook know I post just a few pictures of this little blessing.
When the opportunity to get out of retail arose last January, with the blessing of my supportive wife, we jumped on it. It meant less income up front, but an amazing opportunity to have time off together. I started designing and selling audio/video and automation systems for Creative Audio, Video and Automation. I am now with Liberty Mutual Insurance. Knowing the value of networking, one of the first opportunities I jumped on was to join the Kirkwood-Des Peres Area Chamber of Commerce, because I wanted to make an impact in my adopted home town. In addition to being an Ambassador, I was on the committee for the first Annual Taste of Des Peres last year and am continuing this year. If I’m not at work, my wife and I are active at our church and do things like Hands on Kirkwood together. When at home, you can find us hanging out in the yard bringing our 1929 house back to life. I am just finishing building an addition on the back which is one of my favorite hobbies. I love to build things and make my wife proud. There are few things in life that create greater satisfaction that creating something. Lots of power tools are just a bonus! We’ll see you around town.
Kirk D Faubel
Liberty Mutual Insurance
12444 Powerscourt Dr.
Phone: 314-834-0600, #55164